It's been a little while, but we've got another success to celebrate. Perfect timing, after the hullabaloo of Baker's Dozen submissions.
Disclaimer: This one's a bit unorthodox. I'm not advocating this author's "rule breaking;" I'm simply celebrating her ultimate success. Because--well, yay!
Here it is, in the author's own words, and with her permission:
I wanted to thank you so much for your time and dedication to keep your Secret Agent contests running. I have an indirect success story to share with you. I entered the January 2011 Secret Agent contest with Mary Kole judging. I didn't win, but a "lurking agent" (Weronika Janzuk) spotted my story, THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER, and asked to see the manuscript. Well, I was thrilled, except for a small problem...the manuscript was just a very rough first draft and not ready for submission. I KNOW this is breaking the rules, so I'll just be up front about that and beg forgiveness :) But by June, when it was ready, I sent it to Weronika as well as several more agents. About a week later, I had signed with my wonderful agent, Josh Adams of Adams Literary. And a few weeks after that, we had a three-book deal from Balzer+Bray/HaperCollins!
Participating in your contest and having a lurking agent take an interest in my work gave me the confidence to eventually submit. And the feedback from Mary Kole and the other contest participants was invaluable. I took all their advice into consideration and rewrote a much stronger first page, and novel as a whole. THANK YOU for giving me this opportunity!