Well, maybe that last one...
You didn’t buy the judge’s book, therefore you didn’t get picked and you suck as a writer and should quit – although that is NOT the message I wish to give.

Here’s an actual email telling you to QUIT  WRITING if you didn’t get selected for what I’m calling “BULLSHIT CONTEST.” (Part 1 was yesterday. Warning: This is an exercise in sarcasm and parody, so don’t take any of it too seriously. Undies = to remain unbunched.)

First, don’t quit writing, ever.

Second, join any freaking contest you want, including the next one these disgusting people are hosting. Buyer beware.

Contests are designed to gain favor for the hosting party. Always. The Florida lottery MAKES money, okay?

Here’s some REALLY BAD ADVICE about people who played the BULLSHIT CONTEST game. (Yes, I changed the name of the contest, to be nice; the bad judges don’t know about that kind of thing – being nice. Read about how these bozos attacked me IN THE MIDDLE OF THEIR CONTEST.) I hope you didn’t get this email/blog post, and if you did, I hope you disregard its bad advice:

Gosh, do I feel bad, you sucky writer...
Gosh, do I feel bad, you sucky writer…

“I feel the dust is still settling after this years (sic – typo! These are writer types, people! They work with words and they profess to help you and guide you but they can’t get their first sentence out without a mistake. See a problem?)”

Let’s start again.

“I feel the dust is still settling after this years BULLSHIT CONTEST, and what a year it’s been. There were over one thousand entrants, and from them, 125 were picked to be…”

Let’s stop there.

This thing is a dud.

Contest results
Contest results

If you work people over for a few months and only get 1,000 entries, you don’t know how to run a contest. (This wasn’t their first rodeo; it’s an annual thing.) With close to 100 judges, that means each of these amazing, famous, well-connected judges needed to only bring about a hundred people to the table. I expected 10,000 entrants. Honest. At least 5,000.

Why couldn’t they do that?

Let’s look at the judges. A quick review shows:


Many judges had less than 1000 followers.

More than half of the judges have less than 2,000 followers.

Folks, my friend’s dog has more than 2,000 followers. If you don’t, that’s okay – you’re probably not trying to be a judge in a big contest where you profess to be connected and know all and be all to the starry eyed ones.

These are allegedly published authors who would profess to teach you how to be successful.

Those are not great numbers, folks.

Wow, this judge's book will be great... one day... if it ever actually gets published.
Wow, this judge’s book will be great… one day… if it ever actually gets published.

More about the judges:


Some had 1 book, and of those, most had very few reviews.

A few judges – very few, in my opinion – had multiple books published and decent Twitter followings and probably make good money as an author. (One of those was a mini-bully in the fight, too, so you know she’s big time.)

So let’s call it what it is. Most of these judges have less experience writing books than the contest promoter wants you to believe; most of the judges have less experience than the people they want to “tutor.” (Tutor MY word; theirs is much worse, in my opinion.) They all have agents (Hmmm… strange coincidence), and folks, so can you, but you don’t have to dance like a monkey to get an agent. You don’t need an agent to get published by a traditional publisher. Oops, did I let a cat out of the bag? Sorry, BULLSHIT CONTEST.

Maybe you should buy TWO copies of the judge's book next time, and maybe you'd get selected. BUT DO NOT DISPARAGE THE CONTEST OR YOU MUST DIE
Maybe you should buy TWO copies of the judge’s book next time, and then maybe you’d get selected. BUT DO NOT DISPARAGE THIS COMPLETELY LEGITIMATE CONTEST

Fine. Again, buyer beware.

Back to the letter:

“…while I wasn’t involved in BULLSHIT CONTEST in any way this year, working on… (name of OTHER WEBSITE OR BLOG) meant that I was very aware of the mayhem going on behind the scenes.”




Miriam Webster says Mayhem is: actions that hurt people and destroy things

You can’t make this shit up, folks!

Let’s try this statement again with the actual, definition in there:

“I was very aware of the actions that hurt people going on behind the scenes.”

Remember yesterday when I discussed how they dogpiled on me and tried to trash me? CLICK HERE to see the online assault you can expect from the judges if you act up.

Now, they are wordsmiths, so let’s look at that second part of that statement: behind the scenes. Does that mean things the judges were doing to hurt people? Because I think we know they were (Damn screen shots!). Oops. Freudian slip? Did we accidentally tell the truth? Ooooops!

The letter continues, and I’ll delete some/a lot stuff for brevity:

“Obviously, not everyone could be picked. So as the molecules drift to the ground, I have a couple of things I’d like to say…

It’s all right to feel like poopers… You got all excited and now that you didn’t get picked…

… you can be angry with yourself…

you, after reading this pep talk
you, after reading this pep talk

It’s all right to quit.

Yep. It really is… It really is okay to feel as though you don’t want to write anymore.

…at some point, but you have to have to have to move on.

…you’re going to be rejected many, many times…”


Now, for each of these terrible statements, or most of them, she eventually says don’t quit. I’ve used her words here (but I may have, here and there, done it a little out of context for emphasis and effect, unlike what the judges did to me, which was flat out lying, in my opinion.)

Here’s what I say.


What's this quitting nonsense? If we'd have listened to that, we'd have lost the Empire.
What’s this quitting nonsense? If we’d have listened to that, we’d have lost the Empire.

NEVER give up your dream, not for a day, no for an hour, not for a minute.


The person who QUITS FOREVER started by quitting for just one minute or one day, didn’t they?

Maybe that’s the fucking difference between a person who’s gone to President’s Circle with two different Fortune 500 companies and had a dozen published books in 14 countries and 12 languages and a few bestsellers, versus a person with about 3,300 Twitter followers and 1 book… about vampires.

(Hey, she’s young, I think; and ya gotta start somewhere. Plus, she was already smart enough to move on from the bullshit contest. She’ll be outselling me one day, I bet, because I believe she has drive.)

And that is my point.

Yep. And so are you.

If you want to join contests, have at it. Don’t EVER sacrifice your dignity to do so. That’s what the bad judges didn’t understand. That’s where they went wrong. Your book doesn’t get better because you bought a judge’s book or subscribed to their blog.

Approach your writing like a business. When you query an agent or enter a contest or whatever, give it your best, but be working on the NEXT query and the NEXT agent and the NEXT contest and the NEXT book and your BLOG and your PLATFORM.

There’s this very successful lady you may have heard of, Oprah. She had this interview-style TV show, and the competing networks kept bringing out talk shows to go against her. Each time they did, she said, “We gotta up our game” NOT “It’s okay to quit” – like vampire author lady just did.

Expect the best, but be prepared for the worst, and always have a plan B – as in, always be writing the next book. That is far more likely to get you success. If somebody professes to be an author but runs 4 contests a year and writes 1 book every two years, are they a writer or a paid promoter? And is that who you want to take writing advice from?

It’s okay to sell products, but why can’t people just be honest? When I want to sell you something, I’m very up front about it: Buy Poggibonsi when it comes out, please. See?

We've got your back.
We’ve got your back.

I got great advice from successful published authors (trad and indie) with many, many bestsellers and zillions of books sold. They helped me because I asked for help.

YOU can get advice from good people who actually want to help you.


I may know of a few.


Published by Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

International bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 17 titles published in over a dozen languages. From Romance in Poggibonsi to action and adventure in the sci-fi thriller The Navigators, to comedies like Night Of The Colonoscopy: A Horror Story (Sort Of) and the heartwarming and humorous anecdotes about parenting in the popular Savvy Stories series, his knack for surprising audiences and making you laugh or cry - or hang onto the edge of your seat - has been enjoyed by audiences around the world. And you are guaranteed to get a page turner every time. “That’s my style,” Dan says. “Grab you on page one and then send you on a roller coaster ride, regardless of the story or genre.” Readers agree, making his string of #1 bestsellers popular across the globe. He will make you chuckle or shed tears, sometimes on the same page. His novels always contain twists and turns, and his nonfiction will stay in your heart forever. Dan resides in the Tampa area with his wife and daughter. You can find him blogging away almost every day on www.DanAlatorre or watch his hilarious YouTube show every week Writers Off Task With Friends. Dan’s marketing book 25 eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew has been a valuable tool for new authors (it’s free if you subscribe to his newsletter) and his dedication to helping other authors is evident in his helpful blog.

14 thoughts on “BLOWING UP A BULLSHIT CONTEST, part 2

  1. Giving up because you have lost your passion is okay, I did that with a job once and felt glad to be free from it (that was self employment too). I loved the job, but some of the people around me were callous, scheming, pathetic, vermin. They would smile to my face then (as good as) stab me when I turned my back to them. I know this because I watched them do it to others. If someone gossips to you about their so-called friend or treasured colleague, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will gossip about you to them. Not nice.

    So, before giving up, you need to ask yourself why you lost your passion. If that was because of what somebody else said or did, stop, think, and think again. In my former self employed occupation, there were people, competitive people, who cared only for themselves, not their clients, not the people who supported them on their journey, and definitely not the minions who worked parallel to them, or followed in their footsteps. They called themselves ambitious, but ambition doesn’t have to be nasty. I always think it is important to be careful who you trample on as you climb towards the top, because one day, you may need to rely on those people to catch you on the way down. (I’m sure that comes from a known saying, but can’t place it)

    Only give up when you want to give up for yourself. Never let the bullies win, ever. I wish I was as strong as you Dan, I really do admire your ability to face up to them.

    1. Two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead. I knew these idiots would get on their blogs and give up the goods in bits and pieces. One has to ask what the vetting process is for these “judges” is, and if the contest is so beneficial for them, why do so many judges quit?

  2. I sent my writing in once you have a professional critique. The one that I received was very harsh, but also very honest. It made for very tough reading, because I reckon all people think there is nothing wrong with what they have done. He followed up his writing with a phone call, and then several emails to make sure that I understood what he was trying to say to me. I did understand that, and I hope that his advice has made me better writer (although I very much doubt perfect) however, what I am trying to say is that an no point in is incredibly harsh writing did you tell me to give up. Quite the opposite in fact, he told me that I had a very good idea and that at some point, if I listened to advice, it would all work out. He also did not tell me to only listen to his advice, but instructed me to talk to other people. I just don’t understand people who feel the need to belittle other people. You are very right and nobody should ever give up.

    1. It was nice that he followed up to make sure you knew where he was coming from. I try to reread critiques I give, especially if it’s a new author and it’s my first time critiquing them, to make sure I’m sounding how I want to sound. When it’s somebody I’ve read a lot or who has read me and we have critiqued each other before, a lot of shorthand can take place. That shorthand would come off as rude if we didn’t know each other.

  3. Hahaha, this is some consolation… Like I said, though I did not believe in these contests, I tried.. this year.. and I felt the same things you felt.. haha, very nice, thank you so much for putting it so much better than my evil ranting 🙂

  4. Just like everything else, know what you’re getting yourself into. It’s easy to fall in love with the idea of taking advice, especially as a newbie author. Everyone wants to be successful. And, for an author who is just starting out, in the beginning it seems like EVERYONE knows better. It’s great that you spoke up here. I hope that some of the people participating in this “bullshit contest” have found their way over to this blog. Thanks for the laugh!

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