Sunday, June 12, 2016

Asking for Help to Keep the Contests Running

It's that time of year when I have to screw up my courage and stick my neck out. Asking for help is daunting and difficult. 

I delayed starting my annual fund drive waiting to see the donations from Query Kombat. While many people donated to support our hours of work (so appreciated), it was less than hoped. And that amount was split three ways after ten percent went to Flint Kids. We really did not want to make a fee mandatory to enter, so I was totally fine with that number. Unfortunately, that means back to my summer fund drive. 

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.

Due to various economic influences, I'm resuming my 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 again.

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. For the first three weeks of Query Kombat I didn't have time to write a thing. 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 if I'm forced to look for another job. 

True, most contest hosts have day jobs, but you might notice that the various contests don't tend to last many years. Most contests vanish after two years or so. I've helped run three plus contest a year for over four years.

A (very) little background information:

-I'm an aide, not a teacher.
-I don't get paid over the summer.
-Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (which I support), my hours were cut back two years ago by over ten percent, reducing my pay further.
-I have two kids in private colleges.
-My husband is unfairly left with all the burden of our bills on his shoulders during the summer. 

It's seek out donations to support my blog or give it up to work full time. Because if I have to pick my writing or the blog, the blog has to go.

Rather than require a fee of ten dollars to enter my contests and perhaps making it impossible to enter for some, I'm turning to crowd funding again. 

What I have to offer:

-Numerous contests per year: Query Kombat, Nightmare on Query Street, New Agent, Sun versus Snow, PB Party. I'm also a PitchWars mentor.
-Mentors from those contests providing feedback.
-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
-Fun parties and chats on twitter

Each of my contests averages three success stories from just my picks. That doesn't include all the writers who have met and found critique partners from my twitter parties.

My contests often close out in 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.

Through careful saving I was able to make my donation goal half of what it was last year. $1200 instead of $3000. I do receive royalties from Grudging now; sadly it's only enough to take my family out for ice cream once a month. Maybe when a couple of more books are out this will be a different story. It's pretty much a fact that you earn pennies when you're starting out, however. 

This was not an easy decision, nor a happy one to ask for help again. 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.

There is a donation widget in my sidebar or you can use this link to donate. Some have asked about PayPal. In order to help by PayPal you can use my email address listed on this blog on my bio page. 


  1. Michelle, happy to contribute a little something, though it pales next to the HUGE opportunities you give to all of us through your contests.

  2. Michelle - please don't be embarrassed. Asking for money is no fun (as my politician friends attest) but neither is working so hard without the income to show for it. For all you do, you've earned the support! I contributed to QK, but will gladly contribute to help you do what you do, which helps us all so much. Thank you!

  3. We writers have to cobble together incomes from all sorts of projects. Everyone who participates in Michelle's contests, please help her earn a fair payment for her INvaluable services!

  4. Michelle, might want to make the link a little clearer, though. It kind of blends in!

  5. I'll not only be making a donation once payday hits but I'll share this on my social media sites. And like MET said, don't be embarrassed. There's no shame in asking for help.