Monday, November 13, 2006

For Aspiring Writers: Contests

When I began writing, or maybe I should say when others discovered I was writing, I began sharing it with friends and family, and received wonderful feedback. However, I could not shake the feeling that people were just being nice. Be honest, could you really look your friend in the eye and say "I'm sorry, but your writing sucks!" That would be cruel. Sometimes necessary, but cruel.

One day, as I was flipping through my Romance Writers Report, the official magazine of RWA, I ran across the contest section. Aha! Just what I needed, unbiased eyes to provide real feedback on my writing.

My hands trembled like a candle wick in a match factory every time I went to mail off a contest entry, but for the most part, entering those contests were invaluable on my journey to publication. The high scores provided the ego stroke that was sometimes necessary when I was feeling really blue about writing. Those low scores and harsh remarks helped me to form the thick skin that is so needed in this business.

Pardon the interruption as I revert to age eight in order to address those low scoring judges:

Ha Ha Ha, I'm getting published! Take your 48/100 and shove it up your you know what!

Back to the regularly scheduled blog entry.

The point is, contests can be a great help to aspiring writers, no matter where they are on their own road to publication. For those who are just starting out, you can get some of that unbiased feedback that can give you an indication whether or not you're heading in the right direction. For those who have been in this game for a while, contests can get your manuscript in front of some really big names in the publishing biz, since nearly all contests have either agents or editors as their final judges.

For those thinking of taking the contest plunge, here's one that's being held by my RWA chapter. It's very easy to enter, and top prize gets your entry in front of powerhouse agent Pamela Ahearn (think Sabrina Jeffries and Steve Berry, she's their agent).

You must act quickly...entries must be postmarked by Wednesday, November 15th.

Here's the skinny:

Louisiana Chapter of the Romance Writers of America Chapter No. 42

The Dixie Kane Memorial Contest is a writing contest in honor of the late Linda Kay West, who wrote as Dixie Kane. A member of SOLA and RWA for many years, Linda served in numerous board positions. She shared her knowledge of writing, publishing, and law generously as a speaker at SOLA's meetings and conferences. SOLA created the Dixie Kane Memorial Contest to encourage aspiring writers to hone their craft and submit their work.

Sponsor: SOLA, the Southern Louisiana Chapter of RWA
Fee: $15.00
Deadline: November 15, 2006
Eligibility: Not contracted by RWA-approved publisher in book-length fiction in the last (5) years by deadline date.
Enter: Just a taste--first five (5) pages double spaced and a synopsis (one page, single-spaced, not judged)
Categories: Short Contemporary, Long Contemporary, Romantic Suspense, Single Title Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Inspirational, Novel With Romantic Elements

Top prize in each category: Top of the slush pile and reading by literary agent Pamela Gray Ahearn (The Ahearn Agency) and a certificate

Other prizes: Certificates for 1st-3rd places; names published in RWR contest winners' page and posted on SOLA's website,

FMI: For entry form and rules visit, or e-mail, or send SASE to N. Genovese, 237 Pi Street, Belle Chasse, LA 70037

Good luck and keep writing!