Although you've already referred to this, I have another question re. the Gawker American Idol contest. If one was to enter this contest, despite reservations, and subsequently be rejected, would you be compelled to let an agent know in the future? My major hesitancy about this contest is that I haven't shopped my novel around at all yet, since I'm a first-timer and while I have a manuscript, I want it to be blindingly good before I begin the querying process. So if I put it up there and got rejected, I should probably let a prospective agent know, right?
This is like discussing the difficulty of French seams when someone admires your dress.
This is like discussing the travails of the kitchen when someone says "yummy".
This is like showing your surgical scars when someone ogles your bustline.