Hello, friends! Sorry for a post two days in a row. But the #KidsChoiceKidlitWritingContest is fast approaching and I want to make sure that everyone is prepared. I've been getting a lot of questions recently, which I don't mind at all, but a lot of them are repeat questions, so I figure a lot of you have the same queries. So read these FAQs and if you have a question that I don't cover, feel free to ask it in the comments below!
Q: Can I submit the same story from last year's contest if I have changed it a little bit?
A: No. You need to submit something new so that none of the judges are swayed from reading your story last year. If you took a very small element from last year's story (character name, setting, or something like it) and wrote an entirely new story, then you may submit that this year.
Q: Can I submit a story that has been published?
A: No. You may not submit a story that has been officially published in a book, journal, magazine, or online, whether traditionally published or self-published.
Q: Can I submit a story that is currently under contract to be published but not yet published?
A: No. Even if the story is not yet published, it is still going to be published. You may not submit stories that are currently under contract for publication. Trust me, you don't want to get in trouble either.
Q: Can I submit a story that has been queried to agents or submitted to publishers but never published?
A: Yes. So long as you stay within the word count, you may submit stories (or portions of stories) that you have queried or submmited that have NOT gone on to be published.
Q: Can I still enter the contest if my child is a judge?
A: You may not enter in the same category that your child will be judging. However, you may enter in a different category. If your child is judging Picture Books, you may enter a Middle Grade or Young Adult story. If your child is judging Middle Grade, you may enter a Picture Book or a Young Adult story. If your child is judging Young Adult, you may enter a Picture Book or Middle Grade story.
Q: Can I use art notes?
A: Yes, but please remember that they count toward your word count. Also remember that kids will be judging this contest, so make sure the art note makes sense to your audience.
Q: Will I get feedback from the kid judges?
A: Most likely not. This is a HUGE endeavor for the kids and they will be reading SO MANY ENTIRES. While there is an option on the judging form for kids to leave any comments, it is not required, only there for those who have a deep desire to pass comments along. I DO send comments along to the authors who receive them, but I would say that was less that 2% of entrants last year. All of the winners did receive at least a handful of comments on the final round, so they all received those.
Q: Did any of last year's winners go on to get book deals, agents, etc. with the pieces they used for the Kids' Choice contest?
A: YES! I can't share details yet, but hopefully soon we'll be able to share some "success" stories. But truly, having kids read and love your work is the true point of this and a great success on its own.
Q: Do I have to post my entry on your blog?
A: No, you do not. If you choose to enter only through the Google Form, that is more than okay. I do encourage you to post your story (or an excerpt of it) on my blog to foster community. Then everyone can read and encourage each other while we wait for news from the kid judges. NOTE: IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO QUERY THE PB ENTRY YOU SUBMIT TO THE CONTEST AS IS, YOU SHOULD ONLY POST ABOUT 50-70 WORDS OF IT ON MY BLOG.
Q: How do you decide which kids read which entries?
A: Since we receive hundreds and hundreds of entries, it's too many for all of the kids to read. So I randomly create groups of 10 entries and send them to groups of 7-12 kid judges (depending on how many entries we get and how many kids are judging) who will vote on that set. Then the top 2-3 winners from each of those groups go on to a middle round where again they are put with 10 entries and voted on by about 15 kids. Then the winners of that round go on to the final round. In that round, ALL of the kids in each category will read and vote on the final 10 entries in each age group.
Q: Only 200 words? Really? What if I submit something longer?
A: Yes, only 200 words or less. Any entries that don't follow this guideline will not be considered by our kid judges.
Q: Why is the submission window shorter this year?
A: Honestly, to make the contest a bit more manageable on the administrative side. I know it's a lot shorter this year, but it is still three full days, so hopefully you can find time to submit within that window.
Well, I think between that and our Rules Post, things should be pretty clear. But if you have any additional questions, don't hesitate to ask. I am more than happy to help!
Good luck with your writing and I truly can't wait to see what you create! Make sure to subscribe to my blog so you are ready to come back here and submit your entries between January 26th and 28th.