I recently had an unpublished manuscript that placed on the long list of finalists in a competition. The press said it plans to send out excerpts of our entries for promotion separately from the promotion material announcing the winner. The long list was announced October 31. The winner of the competition will be announced before the new year but the long list information won't be sent out until January, at the earliest - there's no definite date.
What I'm wondering is, what's the shelf life on placing in a competition? I've already had an agent ask for this manuscript, but if I was querying agents is there a point where it wouldn't be useful to mention this? Say, if this one agent passes on the manuscript, would it still be worth mentioning 6 months from now?
Yes. I've had query letters mention contests more than a year old.
Let's hope you win-that's a big boost.
Even being a finalist though is worth mentioning if you're just starting out.
Use this window of time to get your material out there.
Then, if you win, or place, or show you can write/email the agents looking at your work to update them. This is one time when it's ok to email agents..but only those actively considering your work at this time.