Marcher Lord Press, the premier publisher of Christian speculative fiction, today announced the results of their first ever on-line competition for book authors. Thirty six authors competed in the full manuscript event and 49 authors vied in the premise event. Over 2000 people participated in the contest as readers, authors, and or voters.
“Authors from the Netherlands to New Zealand participated in this ‘by invitation only’ contest,” said publisher Jeff Gerke. “Our winning manuscript was The Sending by Matt Koceich of Mansfield Texas. The Sending will be published in our Spring 2010 release. The top three finishers in the premise only contest all receive fast track acquisitions reading for their full manuscript. The three are Dreamwalker by Gerald Sims, The Haunting of Cowhole Mountain by Michael Johnson, and I am Ocilla by Diane M. Graham.”
Dennis Brooke of Auburn placed third overall in the full manuscript contest with his book, The Last Apostle. Kent Smaciarz of Seattle was a semi-finalist in the premise category with his book Crypto. Brooke has been published in Focus on the Family Magazine and is a board member of the Northwest Christian Writers Association. Smaciarz writes under the name, “Kent Alyn.” A handful of his short stores are forthcoming in various anthologies.
In the initial round of this “American Idol meets book acquisitions” contest, voters were presented with the book’s title, a premise, and other introductory information. In successive rounds voters received larger glimpses of the surviving submissions. In the final round of the manuscript contest, voters were able to read the first 60 pages of the three finalists. In the premise event, voters had access to the first 500 words of the ten finalists.
Contest entrant Paul Baines of the Netherlands said, “… every word in the hook, blurb, and synopsis counts. You can’t assume anything about what the reader will think.”
The contest message boards gave participants the opportunity to praise, question, and critique different entries. “Since the contests began, I feel like I’ve been on a journey with fellow saints,” said Matt Koceich, the manuscript division winner. “We all arrived by different paths, but because of Jeff’s vision, we’ve had the blessing of being able to walk a while, side by side encouraging, supporting, teaching, and caring.”
Premise contest co-winner Diane Graham said, “…I have learned that every detail matters. You only get one chance to shine when your book goes before an agent/editor.”
“There’s a great, diverse community of creative Christian writers and encouraging Christian readers on the [contest] forum,” Kent Smaciarz of Seattle said. “Writing can be a lonely vocation–so it’s great to check-in and see others have their hand to the plow.”
“Of course I was pleased to see the increased visibility Marcher Lord Press received as a result of this experiment,” Gerke says, “but the thing that thrilled me the most was how the participants came together as a mutually encouraging instant family. It was a surprise and a blessing to watch it unfold.”
Marcher Lord Press is a Colorado Springs-based independent publisher producing Christian speculative fiction exclusively. See the www.marcherlordpress.com website for information on their nine current novels and Jeff’s book, The Art and Craft of Writing Christian Fiction. Contact: Jeff Gerke; www.marcherlordpress.com.
Local Contact: Dennis Brooke, 253-670-8959, firstname.lastname@example.org