I recently received a phone call, followed by an email message that begins with:
Dear Roxana Arama,
Congratulations! You are a finalist in the 2017 Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest. You should be very proud as PNWA received close to Eight Hundred contest entries from all around the world. An agent or editor will be selecting the first, second and third place winners in each category.
I entered the Historical category of the PNWA Literary Contest in February 2017 with The Wedding Bell, my speculative novel. I’ll be pitching to agents and editors at their literary conference in July, and being a finalist could only help in that nerve-racking process.
Update 07/25/2017: I did not win an award at the conference, but I met interesting people, learned new things, and pitched my novel to agents. A few told me I exceeded the wordcount allowed for a debut novel, so I stopped seeking representation and began the laborious process of shrinking my novel.