Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Little Help From Our Friends

Once again I'm trying something new to see how it turns out. Here goes...

It's come to the point where I have to reach a decision. I very much love running contests and helping authors come together with agents. You might say I'm addicted to it. It's so gratifying to have a blog that people visit when they are doing something other than writing. Interacting on twitter and meeting new writers is so much fun. There's nothing I like better than being able to help.

And speaking of help, I also love my day job working with children, specifically special needs children. I want to go on doing this forever!

Unfortunately, we don't always get what we want as the Rolling Stones said.

It's time for a decision. Due to various economic influences, I've started a donation campaign to see if I can continue doing what I love. The hard facts of life are I either have to do this or cut back on my activities. Let me lay out the facts.

As you can guess, hosting contests and doing daily posts on this blog as well as writing my own stories is very time consuming. During a submission week I can easily spend thirty hours just on contest work. Even a mini-contest like the Picture Book Party takes so much time to coordinate, not to mention answering questions and finding agents. There's no way I could manage that and still have time to write with two jobs. True, most contest host have day jobs. One I have managed. Two would be impossible.

A (very) little background information:

-I'm an aide, not a teacher.
-I don't get paid over the summer.
-My school system is in a pinch. They expect to be twenty million in the red in the next few years. We have numerous leaks in our building roof that they can't afford to fix. Needless to say, they haven't given raises in seven years. Seven years at basically the same pay.
-Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (which I support), my hours were cut back a year ago by over ten percent, reducing my pay further. 

It's only fair to my Hubs and family that I do more than I am. Especially with two kids heading to college this fall. It's seek out donations to support my blog or take a second job.

Rather than require a fee of ten dollars to enter my contests, thus making helping me out mandatory, I'd rather see how a crowd funding campaign for my contests and blog goes. 

What I have to offer:

-Numerous contests per year: Query Kombat, Nightmare on Query Street, New Agent, Sun versus Snow, PB Party, other mini-contests. I also take part in Pitchslam and PitchWars.
-Mentors from those contests providing feedback.
-Various giveaways of new books
-Critique workshops and Critique blog hops to help with query letters and first pitches.
-Posts with Advice for Querying Writers
-Posts with Editing Advice on such things as filtering and plot holes
-A newsletter giving early notice of submission dates for contests
-Inspirational posts from guest authors about their Call with agents
-Interviews about query slush from over thirty agents

Just in the last month, four former contest picks of mine have signed with agents. Last year's Query Kombat had almost ten success stories alone. That doesn't include all the writers who have met and found critique partners from my twitter parties.

My current contest drew 200 entries in less than a minute. The contest before that closed in under four minutes. Writers recognize the value of these contests.

I promise one hundred percent of any donations will go toward expenses that keep me working for you, such as electricity for my laptop, a roof over my head, internet to keep blogging. It will not be used for buying books or going out to dinner or anything frivolous.

This was not an easy decision, nor a happy one. If you have entered one of my contests or plan to in the future I'd love your support. If you find my blog a valuable resource and wish to see it continue in full, consider helping out. This is totally your choice. I'll do my best to continue as much as I can of my activities no matter what because I love being your cheerleader so much. 

Sometimes we all need a little help from our friends.

Thank you everyone, and I hope I haven't offended anyone--but no one is perfect. Everyone is free to disagree with my choice, respectfully.

I'll add a discrete donation button in my sidebar, but until then here is the link to donate.    


  1. Hey Michelle, have you thought about requiring a small entry fee for some of your bigger contests. You might have mentioned it above but I didn't see it. I believe Authoress requires an entry fee for the Bakers Dozen (and that's her only contest with a fee). Just a thought. Good luck. And bless you for working with special needs kids. Aids, like yourself, make a world of difference.

    1. I have thought about that, but I wanted to keep the contests free for everyone. This would make it optional to support my contests.

  2. Hi Michelle! Just sent you an email with a thought. Too long for a comment. :) I will help as soon as I'm back to working!

    1. It's because of the wonderful generosity of people like you that I don't want to put a fee on my contests! Thanks!

  3. Thanks so much for all you do to help aspiring writers like me!

  4. Hey Michelle! I'm SO appreciative of you and all that you do. I'm happy to toss a few bucks in the donation bucket now and again.

    I'd also add that like a few other people above I wouldn't have a problem with contest fees. I always get a ton of good stuff out of the experience. You could always use your free pass giveaways to address the issue of those who aren't able to pay.

    But in any case, thanks for everything!!

  5. I like the way you are doing it - I won't always have money to enter a contest - 4 kids = they eat faster than we can make money - and I am a stay at home Mom, this way I can do what I can when possible! You do such a wonderful job and do not get paid enough.

  6. Replies
    1. Thanks so much for asking! I don't think Go Fund Me takes Pay Pal.

  7. Ahh...this almost made me cry. You give and give and give and have helped countless writers in so many ways. There are other contests that I've paid $10 for and didn't think twice about it. I believe that people make time for and spend money on the things they really want to (a latte here, a book there) and I would hope everyone entering your contests would pitch in--and buy your books, too!

    I really wish you the best and hope you get an overwhelming response.

  8. Michelle,

    First, I really appreciate everything you do. I think what you've managed to put together and provide is superwoman level amazing! Thank you!

    Second, I think it makes the most business sense to ask for payment where the work/time goes. I have no problem paying $5-20 per contest that I enter and I enter multiple per year with fees, both poetry and KidLit query contests such as Bakers Dozen.

    Most importantly, you deserve to get paid for your time and effort. Any writer serious about her craft pays at least one professional organization fee annually and attends conferences and workshops with fees. That's because of the benefits we receive in return. You are providing clear benefits to us as writers and you've earned the right to charge a $10 entrance fee. You have proven results and hundreds if not thousands of supporters. Please consider this and don't shy away from knowing your value. You're worth it and your contest are worth it!

  9. i am so impressed with this opportunity and the connections we're making...i would be happy to donate and am headed to the link now! thanks for all u do!