Earlier this year, #FicFest was one of the trending topics on Twitter. Writers all over the world were sending in their manuscripts to the brand new contest in hopes that their hearts and souls would be put in front of all the right people. What they found were mentors willing to dedicate their time to help them perfect their work, agents excited to discover new talent and a huge network of writers that all wanted to have a virtual party with people that really understand them.

I caught up with the creator, Tiffany Hofmann, to find out a little more about the competition, including what you can expect for 2017. I think it’s safe to say she was the reason I wanted to join in on #FicFest to begin with – she’s such a colourful character and everyone in her team is just as wonderful and friendly. It’s such a treat to have her on Caffeine Addled Ramblings!

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Q: In the simplest way possible, how would you explain what #FicFest is?

A: #FicFest is a unique writing contest that pairs writers with individual mentors to edit their manuscript for a chance to get partial/full manuscript requests from agents and small press editors.

Q: What was it that made you start #FicFest in the first place?

A: I’d entered several contests myself over the years and always loved the connections and knowledge I took away from them. I wanted to create a contest that gave a fair shot to all five writing categories, where writers could learn and connect.

Q: What makes #FicFest different from other writing competitions?

A: #FicFest is unique for several reasons. First is because it incorporates the five major categories of books: Picture/Children’s Books, Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult. #FicFest also has a set number of finalists for each category, which means an even number of manuscripts goes to the final round, ensuring that no category overpowers another. Lastly, #FicFest accepts all genres in submission, including the less sought after such as Paranormal Romance and Erotica.

Q: How many agents sign up for the event?

A: Our first year we have around 27 agents participate in the agent round. For 2017, we’re doing things a little differently. While I can’t make any officially announcements yet, I can tell you that we’re expecting a bigger agent/editor turn out for the coming year. I think mentee hopefuls will be excited. I know we are.

Q: Out of curiosity, how many submissions did #FicFest have in 2016?

A: In 2016, which was the launch year, we had 427 submissions.

Q: What does it mean to be ‘successful’ in #FicFest?

A: Success/Successful are relative terms. For me, not just as the host, but as a writer and editor, if you learn something new or make one new connections—you’re successful. This contest isn’t just about getting the agent requests. We do so much more than that to help the writing community which is what I love about the contest itself and the mentors that participate in it. They giveaway books, edits, critiques, and so much more leading up to submissions. They’re completely and utterly dedicated to helping other writers and it really does make them superheroes in my book.

Q: How does the mentoring side of things work?

A: Mentoring in a contest like #FicFest is very involved, and it takes dedication. My Board of Directors (who are also mentors) meet with me often. Sometimes as much as 1-2 times per week, especially the closer we get to submissions. The general category mentors not only mentor their mentee, but they’re very involved with contest promotion and preparation. They also meet with me often leading up to submission, usually via video chats. We discuss ideas they have for the contests, and questions, comments, or concerns. They organize games for the mentee hopefuls, giveaways, ect. They’re a truly amazing group.

Q: The hype for 2017 has already begun. How has #FicFest changed this year?

A: The major way that #FicFest changed is that we’re not having teams this year. In 2016, each category was made of five teams with three mentors on each team. This year we’re having individual mentors and each mentor can have an assistant, if they chose to. There are also some other changes hitting this contest BUT I can’t reveal them yet. Very soon though 😉

Q: What can we look forward to before the submission date?

A: Before submission begin, you can find a calendar of schedule dates on my website: ; but the best way to get all the details first is to follow my blog, . Every time we reveal something, it’s on the blog, and there’s going to be some big things happening! You can also follow #FicFest on twitter! We post a lot of things on the hashtag including giveaways and prizes, so you won’t want to miss it!

Q: To wrap up: in five words, can you explain why writers should enter #FicFest?

A: It will change your life!

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If you want to be part of the fantastic team that make #FicFest possible, there are still a few mentoring slots in the Picture Book and Middle Grade categories!

Click here to apply.

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Why We Mentor…