Friday, December 5, 2008

December Contest Update

Happy Holidays from Seekerville to your corner of the world.
Another year is about to end.
Hard to believe this is the last Contest Update of 2008. I hope you accomplished all your writing goals and were nudged along the way by our posts.

Remember that there are several contests listed in the November Contest Update that do not end until the end of December.

December 31, we will pick the winners of the
2008 Writing Challenge !

You must have submitted a complete (not a partial) manuscript to an editor or agent in 2008, send me proof, and you will be entered in a random drawing for one of two prizes: a box of Godiva chocolate or $50 to off-set your writing expenses for the year. One entry per unique manuscript submitted to an editor or agent. There will be two winners.

I'm already brainstorming next year's 2009 Writing Challenge!

Now on to Contests:

Published Authors Only!

The end of the year brings lots of published category book contests for books with a copyright date from January 2008 to December 2008.

Unpublished Author Contests

Because this contest has such a great judging line up and has an inspy category, I am mentioning the Great Expectations Contest again.

  • NTRWA’s Great Expectations 2009 Contest. This is a query letter/ first 25 pages contest. Note this contest has an entry date and a mail in date. Please complete the on-line entry form and submit electronically by December 27, 2008. Emailed entries should be received by the category coordinator by midnight CST on Saturday, January 3, 2009. Mailed entries should be mailed in time to be received by Saturday, January 3, 2009. All finalists will have the opportunity to update their entry for the final round of judging. Cash prices for first, second and third places: $50, $30 & $15. Open to both RWA® members and non RWA® members.

  • Marlene Awards:Deadline January 15, 2009 for hardcopy or electronic. Each entry will be read by three judges and scored using a 50 point scale. The lowest score will be dropped. The winner of each category will receive a Marlene Medallion and a detailed critique of her or his submission by a published author. Entry is synopsis and the beginning of the manuscript up to 35 pages total.

Series Contemporary
Editor: Patience Smith, Silhouette
Author: The Pink Hearts Society (Donna Alward, Jenna Bayley-Burke, Ally Blake, Nicola Marsh, Natasha Oakley, Trish Wylie (winner to receive at least one critique from PHS depending on type of series she or he is targeting)

Single Title
Editor: Latoya Smith, Grand Central Publishing (formerly Warner Books)
Author: 2008 Rita winner Kristan Higgins

Editor: May Chen, Avon
Author: 2006 Rita winner and WRW member Diane Gaston

Editor: Tracy Farrell, Luna & HQN
Author: NY Times Bestseller Gena Showalter

Mainstream with Strong Romantic Elements
Editor: Jennifer Enderlin, St. Martin’s
Author: American Title III winner and WRW member Jenny Gardiner
Young Adult Editor: Kristin Daly, Balzer & Bray/Harper Collins
Author: 2008 double Rita finalist Kelly Parra

  • The Winter Rose Award of Excellence-January 24, 2009 - Deadline for all print and electronic submissions. Enter the opening twenty-five (25) pages of romance novels of all above sub-genres (projected length of at least 50,000 words. Categories include:Contemporary Single Title: Hilary Sares, Kensington
    Historical (Includes Regency): May Chen, Harper Collins
    Mainstream w/ Romantic Elements: Elaine Spencer, Knight Agency
    Paranormal: Leah Hultenschmidt, Dorchester
    Romantic Suspense: Esi Sogah, Harper Collins
    Series Contemporary: Johanna Raisanen, Harlequin
    Young Adult: Allison Brandau, Berkley

Other Contests:

  • The 2009 San Francisco Writer's Conference Writing Contest. Postmark deadline, January 2, 2009. The Categories:Adult Fiction, Adult Non-Fiction/Memoir, Poetry, Children's Picture Book and Children's Fiction: Submit two copies of a one-page single-spaced synopsis and two copies of the first chapter, double-spaced, up to 2,500 words. See site for poetry rules. Also include a fee of $25.

  • Highlights 2009 Fiction Contest. Category: Contemporary world cultures stores. Three prizes of $1,000 or tuition for the Highlights Foundation Writers Workshop at Chautauqua. All entries must be postmarked between January 1, 2009 and January 31, 2009. No entry form or fee is required.

Just for Fun:

Do you have a True North story to tell?

What is a True North Story?

A true north is that singular passion in life that causes you to leap out of bed in the morning and think, “This is why I’m here.” It can be something that leaves a legacy, empowers others, or simply makes the world a more interesting place to live. It could involve a handful of people or connect entire communities across the globe. While every true north is unique, we believe that each one has the power to inspire millions more.

Open to legal residents of any of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia, who are 18 years of age or older as of October 20th, 2008.

Submit a written story of 300 words or less about either your life’s passion or the life’s passion of a friend or family member must be submitted in order to qualify for the contest.

The most inspiring true north story, as judged by the TrueNorth™ brand, will be used to create a 60-second commercial, shot by a celebrity director and scheduled to debut during the 2009 Academy Awards®. In addition to having his or her true north story turned into a commercial, the winner will also receive $25,000 to help in the pursuit of his/her passion.You may enter a submission in the contest between 12:01:00 am Central Time (“CT”) on 10/20/08 and 11:59:59 pm CT on 12/31/08

That's it until New Year's Eve
when we announce the 2008 Writing Challenge Winners.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


  1. Tina, you rock. Thanks for doing this update, girlfriend.

    And that True North contest??? How fun is that? I love short-story inspirations. Some of those are life-changing reads. Thanks for including it with the others.

    I've brought along a a HUGE batch of white-chocolate-chunk, chocolate chip, M&M cookies made with the help of my young friends. I gave them the choice of making M&M cookies or chocolate chip cookies.

    They said, "Can't we make them with both???"

    So we did. To die for. Literally.

    And the coffee/cappuccino service is on hand. I think we've got vanilla caramel, mudslide and pumpkin spice creamers, with fresh cocoa and nutmeg for sprinkles.

    Dive in, everyone. Set those December goals. In your spare time, LOL!!!


    Ruthy (who's living in PuppyLand right now...)

  2. Morning Ruthy!

    Chilly day, just perfect for cookies.

    Yes. Time for planning and goal setting and clean slates.

  3. Hi All:

    An Ethical Question About Contests

    Is it proper or ethical to enter a writing contest, where you send in a synopsis and three chapters, when you have no intention of writing the actual novel? Would this deprive another contestant of a valued opportunity – especially when the other contestant really wants to submit a full manuscript? I’d like to try out some of my writing ideas (on rewarding the reader) in several sub-genres to see what the reaction would be; however, I would probably not want to write the full novel if I won the contest. I’d also like to add a chapter to my book about the experience of “Entering Writing Contests”. It would be very good for the book if I won a few writing contests but I don’t want to alienate my target market. Any ideas?



  4. Vince, you ask the most interesting questions.

    Why would you enter a contest if you have no intention of finishing the manuscript? Is this a science experiment? Do you have too much time on your hands?

    Okay, I reread your post. You are thinking of doing it as research for your book.

    Go for it. I suspect you will find it is much more difficult than it seems.In fact some writers might find your suggestion OFFENSIVE--I mean to think you can just enter three chapters and win a contest.

    But since you are a nice guy I am not going to take offense. I am going to CHALLENGE you to do it.

    How about entering the three unpublished contests listed in this post? I'll enter them too. Let's see how we fare, Vince old buddy. (he he he)

    What about it Seekerville guests? Let's see Vince put his non fiction background where his mouth is.

    By the way..what's wrong with actually writing a novel and selling it? I am told there is much gratification from this process. (however elusive it may be to me personally, ha ha ha)

  5. Such an interesting question, Vince!

    Okay, my problem with it? Using myself as an example...

    What if I received really good feedback?

    What if judges said, "You've got a lot of talent." or "I can see you going far in this industry."

    I don't even NEED to final for those encouraging comments to set me on fire to finish a ms! lol

    Lordy, if an EDITOR or an agent said, "If I published historicals, I'd ask for a complete." (Happened, btw), I'd keel over in a swoon of pure happiness.

    Now, flip that scenario around. What if judges only gave me pat answers to "study your craft", "buy this research book, that one", or gulp "Don't quit your day job any time soon."

    Okay, at that point I might decide that my original intention of never finishing the ms. had a lot of merit after all.

    But for some reason, even with the less than encouraging interest, I've always found a reason to keep writing, keep pressing toward the end on most of my stories.

    I just can't imagine writing 3 chaps and a synopsis that's good enough to final, but not having any intention of finishing it. I might not ever finish if for one reason or another, but to start out KNOWING I'm not going to finish. That's totally foreign to me.

    It would be like...Ruthy planning, plotting, buying all the ingredients to make a 7 tier wedding cake, mixing it all up, but never having any intention of baking it.

    Sorry, Vince, but I just can't fathom it!

    But the question is STILL interesting to ponder!

  6. Oh, as far as ethical?

    For contests, all you have to do is pay your entry fee and follow the rules.


    Nothing unethical about it.

    Weird, but not unethical!

  7. You know, Vince, if you did write three chapters and a snop and enter it in a contest and ace out other hopeful authors, then you should do it. And once you win, by golly, you should finish the book and get it published.

    Go for it!!!

  8. Interesting question, Vince. I like trying out story ideas on my contest crowd. Considering there's money involved, I do choose carefully which mss to enter, but what I'm interested in is feedback (and of course, editor/agent recognition).

    Now, I also want to be judged against high quality entries. If you write a high quality entry and top mine, well, then, good for you! It also shows me I need more work, which really is the feedback I'm after.

    I say, choose your best work, pay your money and go head to head against Tina!! Word of warning, she's a formidable opponent. The good Lord only knows she's beaten me out enough times!!! C'mon, Vince! C'mon, Tina!!

  9. Hi Tina:

    You made a great point. I should have wrote, “if in the very unlikely event I were to win a contest, would this be unfair to the other serious contestants.”

    I have been researching the romance novel for the last seven years and I think I could apply what I have learned for up to 35 pages and do it reasonably well. However, I don’t think I could carry this off for a full novel. After all, if applying my research can make me, a mere man (LOL) and nonfiction writer, a romance contest winner, just think what it could do for a talented writer. (And didn’t Camy Tang say to go out and get some “credits” in her last blog?)

    Challenge Accepted

    I’m game. How about we do one contest? The Marlene Awards. My RWA membership has lapsed but I don’t think I need to be a member to do this contest. You come up with a way to decide the winner. This is just the motivation I need.

    What do you say?


    BTW, I just did finish the first draft of my philosophy novel. (A philosophy novel has to be at least 51% philosophy with the rest being fiction).

  10. Hi Pam:

    I love the exhilaration of the creative experience. I love to outline a complete romance novel right down to the HEA. I enjoy visualizing how the story would play as a movie. I even like working the synopsis out so that I show how each character has changed by the end of the story. That’s the fun part. After that everything else is very hard work! However, I have to agree, if the publisher wanted to see the full manuscript, I might be motivated to finish the project or at least find a willing co-author.



  11. LOL, this is too much fun.

    BTW, the Marlene is one tough contest. Those Yankees are really hard to impress. I have never finaled in this contest.

    Enter whichever category/ies you feel best suits your writing and I shall do the same.

    Who ever finals or the highest non scoring finalist wins.

    In the event we both final whoever places higher or wins their category wins this challenge.

    There is no prize-- as entering and taking up this challenge is indeed its own reward.

    In the event we both do not final the score sheets have to go to an impartial judge to tally points. Audra, who is egging us on will be our judge. We can email them to Audra to make the final decision.

    Good luck, Vince.

  12. You researched romance novels for 7 years and have not written one? That is a bit like going to medical school and a surgical residency and never touching a patient in the OR.

    Vince, time to get your feet wet.

    I don't outline. I am a pantser.

    There is the same heady feeling in writing THE END as there is in finishing an outline.

  13. Thanks, Tina, for all your hard work! Now I can come here to find links to the contests I plan to enter. :)

  14. Hi Tina:

    I think I am more like the person who has studied the history of medicine for 7 years with an emphasis on medical ethics. This would not incline me towards picking up a scalpel so I could try my hand at an appendectomy. Knowing “what” and knowing “how” are quite different things. The more I study, the more I appreciate how difficult writing a superior quality romance really is. Often what looks easy is the hardest to do. Maureen Child can say more with fewer words than any romance writer I’ve read. As an advertising copywriter I know how incredibly hard this is to do. So while I don’t think writing a romance is easy, I think I know why it is so difficult to do well.

    BTW, my favorite mystery writer, Tony Hillerman, was a ‘pantser’. He said ‘if I don’t know what is going to happen next, the reader sure won’t.”

    I only have time for one category. I’m not sure which of two ideas to select. A contemporary or a paranormal. What do the doctors say? “First do no harm.” I can only hope I won’t be involved in literary malpractice. I feel like a Gladiator looking up at the Emperor and saying, “We who are about to write, salute you”.

    Thanks and good luck!


  15. Tina, thanks for the reminder on the 2008 writing challenge here. Congrats on getting another story accepted by WW. I will look for it. I did submit a full ms to an agent but was declined representation by her. I feel good about meeting my goal to take the leap and submit but still feel disappointed. On to the next person on my list. I wish everyone success in whatever contest you enter.This is such a great place to come for support and instruction. Pat

  16. And, they're off...

    Good for you, Vince! The Romance Contest world can be a daunting place. You're up against a seasoned contest professional, but this business is so subjective according to voice, content, bad-hair-day, you name it.

    I'm praying, and I encourage everyone to join me, that God places your entries in the hands of judges who are fair and balanced : )

    (In other words, please Lord take this cup of *judgement* from me, LOL)

    Good luck!!!!

  17. Pat,

    Good for you for submitting!! You should be proud of yourself for taking that big step.

    Missy :)

  18. Go Tina and Vince! ;) And good for you, for getting the courage to send in your manuscript, Pat!

  19. Congrats to YOU, Pat, for following through. Lots of people want to be a writer. But you are a writer. You put your work out there!!

    Huge kudos to you!