Contests, Critiques, and the Joys of Loglines

I’ve recently discovered a number of fun contests designed to give authors a different way to get their pitch — and hopefully their manuscript itself — seen by agents.  (One good source for learning about upcoming contests is the Sub It Club.)  The gals who run these contests certainly deserve kudos for all the hard work they put in, and it’s nice to see that it looks like they usually have a lot of fun doing it, too.

It’s something I’d like to consider doing myself down the road — though I’ll probably want to enlist the help of someone more computer and web savvy to help with the logistics.  And speaking of logistics, I’ve learned a lot about loglines in the past few weeks, thanks to all the great information at Miss Snark’s First Victim, a delightful site with lots of resources for writers, as well as great contests, including the monthly ‘Secret Agent’ contest.  (And there’s quite a few success stories posted on the site, showing that the process really does work to connect writers and agents.)

One of the challenging things about writing loglines — which are required for entry in many of these contests — is that there are so many different definitions floating around as to just what a logline is and how long it should be.  My conclusion is that the answer depends on who’s asking for the logline, and what they’re looking for.  Some people want a logline that’s no more than 25 words, while the logline critiques at Miss Snarks’s First Victim permit up to 100 words (although they stress that shorter is better).  And the Halloween-themed Trick or Treat with an Agent Contest going on this week asks writers for a three-sentence pitch, with no word count restriction. Continue reading