Friday, September 4, 2009

September Contest Update

What are you waiting for? Only 118 days left this year.

The Golden Heart and RITA contest are right around the corner. Online entry will begin very soon. And RWA announced just this week that they are going to make PayPal an option for members paying for the contest entry fees.

For those interested in the GH Timeline, here it is:

September 21, 2009
2010 Golden Heart Contest opens to entries.

November 16, 2009

Entry forms and fees must be received by the RWA Office.

December 2, 2009
Entered works must be received in the RWA Office. Failure to meet this deadline shall result in disqualification and forfeiture of the entry fee.

December 31, 2009
Preliminary-round judging begins.

March 25, 2010
Notification will be sent to finalists by two-day delivery. Phone calls to notify finalists will also commence. Release of official finalist list on RWA Web site by 2 p.m. Central Time.

More information is available on the RWA website.

RITA timeline:

September 15, 2009
Any publisher applying to be an RWA-Eligible Publisher or an RWA non-Subsidy/non-Vanity Publisher for the purposes of the RITA Contest must be approved by this date for books to qualify for the upcoming contest.

September 21, 2009
RITA Contest entry is available for books published by RWA-Eligible Publishers. The RWA list of Eligible Publishers may be found on the RWA Web site.

October 12, 2009
RITA Contest entry is available to all books published by non-Subsidy/non-Vanity Publishers. The RWA list of non-Subsidy/non-Vanity Publishers may be found on the RWA Web site.

December 1, 2009
Deadline for entry forms and fees to be received by the RWA Office.

January 4, 2010
Deadline for books to be received at the RWA Office. Failure to meet this deadline will result in disqualification and forfeiture of the entry fee.

January 20, 2010
Preliminary-round judging begins.

March 25, 2010
Notification will be sent to finalists by two-day delivery. Phone calls to notify finalists will also commence. Release of official finalist list on RWA Web site by 2 p.m. Central Time.

More information is available on the RWA website.

Today the Seekerville prize vault is open and for no apparent reason we are giving a prize to a random Seeker Follower. So you have to be listed in the right hand column of Seekerville as a Follower. Unsure what a Follower is? Find more info here.

The second prize goes to a random poster who shares what's going on in their contest world.

Winners will be announced in the Weekend Edition.

What's the prize you ask?

You get to pick a book
that is currently in print
and available, and authored by any Seeker.

Unpublished Contests:

Last call for entries Where the Magic Begins. Deadline has been extended to September 15. They are low in several categories. FMI check the site.

Launching a STAR. Postmark deadline of September 5. THAT'S TOMORROW! First 25 pages. One editor and one agent judge in each category. The overall contest winner has a star named in their honor through the International Star Registry. An engraved, star-shaped paperweight is presented to the first place winner of each category, and stars cover the frameable certificate provided to all finalists.

Fantasy/Futuristic: Meredith Giordan, Berkley/Jove and Diedre Knight, Knight Literary Agency.
Inspirational:Natalie Hanemann, Thomas Nelson and Rachelle Gardner, WordServe Agency.
Historical: Talia Platz, NAL and Elizabeth Pomada, Larsen-Pomada Agency.
General Paranormal: Heather Osborne TOR and Laurie McLean, Larsen-Pomada Agency.
Young Adult: Kristin Daly, Harper Collins and Elaine Spencer, The Knight Agency.
Novella: Angela James, Quartet Press and Roberta Brown, Brown Literary Agency.
Single Title: Selina McLenmore, Grand Central and Becca Stumpf, Prospect Agency.
Romantic Suspense: Sara Goodman, St. Martins and Kimberly Whalen, Trident Media.
Series Contemporary: Susan Litman, Harlequin Special Edition and Michelle Grajkowski, 3 Seas Literary Agency.

Gateway to the Best. Deadline September 11. Electronic entry includes the first 25 pages. Each entry will be judged by three experienced judges with the lowest of the three scores dropped from the final tabulation. The Grand Prize Winner will receive US $100, a full reading and critique of her entire manuscript by a MORWA Published Author, a certificate, and a "Gateway to the Best Grand Prize Winner" electronic banner announcing the win for the author’s website."Historical: Esi Sogah, Avon-- Contemporary Series : Laura Barth, Harlequin--Paranormal: LaToya Smith, Grand Central--Single Title: Katherine Pelz, Berkley-- Suspense : Margo Lipshultz, Harlequin.

Fiction From the Heartland. Deadline extended to September 23. Prologue/First Chapter and Synopsis (35 pages total). Finalists entries will be judged by both an editor and an agent. Each entrant will receive two one-page written critiques and detailed score sheets. This is a snail mail contest.

Contemporary: Susan Litman, Harlequin/Silhouette
Historical: Keyren Gerlach, HQN Books & Luna Books
Romantic Suspense: Allison Lyons, Harlequin Intrigue
Inspirational: Melissa Endlich, Steeple Hill Books
Erotic Romance: Audrey LaFehr, Kensington Publishing
Paranormal : Deb Worksman, Sourcebooks
Young Adult: Meredith Giordan, Berkley Publishing

Agent Judges:
Laura Bradford, Bradford Literary Agency
Michelle Grajkowski, 3 Seas Literary Agency
Lois Winston, Ashley Grayson Literary Agency

Beacon Award, Unpublished. October 1 deadline. Electronic Entries only. The first 30 pages. First place per category - Beacon Lapel Pin, and .gif for website (if applicable).

Historical / Regency - Jesse Feldman, New American Library

Long Contemporary / Single Title Contemporary (over 70,000 words) - Alicia Condon, Dorchester Publishing, Love Spell

Contemporary Series (All except Suspense and Adventure) - Gail Chasan, senior editor, Silhouette Special Edition

Romantic Suspense / Contemporary Series: Suspense and Adventure - TBA
Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal - TBA

Inspirational - Amanda Bostic, Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Chick Lit / Women’s Fiction / Mainstream - Danielle Poiesz, Simon and Schuster

Erotic Romance - Susan Swinwood, SPICE

Young Adult - Kathy Dawson, Dial Books for Young Readers, Penguin Group

First Kiss. October 1 e-deadline. Send the scene from your book where your couple first kisses. The scene should convey the emotion and romantic conflict between the characters, sparkle with creative dialogue, description, and characterization, and move the story forward. As one of our authors said, “Good kiss scenes are essentially emotional discoveries. The first kiss brings a new closeness… but also a new set of complications.” The final judge is Patience Smith, Senior Editor, Silhouette Romantic Suspense at Harlequin, will judge six finalists.
Cash Prizes. Submission : 10 page maximum scene, plus one set up page.

Kathryn Hayes Love & Laughter. October 1 deadline. Cash prize. Final judge, Chris Kessler, Dorchester Publishing. A scene from anywhere in your novel,between the hero and heroine illustrating humor and love and romance. Submission; 15 pages and 2 page unjudged set up/background.

MERA: Synospis is not a Four-Letter Word. October 1 deadline. USPS and electronic entries. Submit a synopsis of ten pages or less.The top entry in each category will go to our final judge, an acquiring editor, to choose the overall winner. Final Judge: Chris Kesslar, Dorchester Publishing.

The Emily. Deadline October 7. All electronic. Submit the first 35 pages of your manuscript. No synopsis. Entries may be limited to the first 60 submissions in each category. Each finalist will go to both an editor and an agent!

Paranormal:Chris Keesler, editor with Dorchester; Maura Kye-Casella, agent with Don Congdon Associates
Historical:Esi Sogah, editor with Avon ; Barbara Poelle, agent with Irene Goodman Literary Agency
Contemporary Series:Patience Smith, editor with Silhouette Books; Sha-Shana Crichton, agent with Crichton & Associates, Inc. Literary Agency
Contemporary Single Title: Frances Jalet-Miller, editor with Grand Central; Carolyn Grayson, agent with Ashley Grayson Literary Agency

BEST OF THE BEST: The Best of the Best manuscript will be selected by booksellers from the first place manuscripts of each of the four categories. The winner will be awarded a detailed critique of the first three chapters and synopsis by Leis Pederson of Berkley.

More Contests:

Remember the Harlequin Presents 2009 Contest is still open:

1. To enter, submit by e-mail a Microsoft Word file of a typed, double spaced, first chapter (no greater than 5,000 words) of a story you have written which is suitable for the Harlequin Presents or Modern Heat series, and a synopsis (no greater than two pages in length, double-spaced) of the complete novel, along with your name, address, e-mail address and phone number to:


2. All submissions must be in English and be received no later than November 2nd, 2009. Story concept must be original and must not have won a previous prize/award nor have been previously submitted, reproduced or published. One entry per person.

3. Entries will be judged by a panel of members of the Harlequin Mills & Boon editorial staff, based on the following criteria:Voice-Content-Writing Skills.

4. Prizes - 1st Place winner will be awarded the services of a Harlequin Mills & Boon editor for one year [1st December 2009 - 30th November 2010], who will offer advice and guidance on contest entry, plus subsequent, previously mutually agreed submissions of partial or full manuscripts aimed at Harlequin Presents or the Modern Heat series.
2nd - consultations for two runners-up on their first chapter and synopsis aimed at Harlequin Presents or the Modern Heat series (5,000 words) with a Harlequin Mills & Boon editor

Writer's Digest Popular Fiction Awards :
A Short Story Competition from Writer's Digest
Compete and Win in All 5 Categories!

•Mystery/Crime Fiction
•Science Fiction/Fantasy

The Grand Prize-Winner will receive $2,500 cash, $100 worth of Writer's Digest Books and the 2010 Novel & Short Story Writer's Market. Entry Deadline: Monday, November 02, 2009.

That's it for this month. See you in October. May the your word count always be met and may the spell checker be kind to you.


  1. Got encouraging results from two contests in the past month.

    Got an entry out last week. Working on another that I hope to get out the first of next week.

    At least I'm keeping busy!


  2. I heard good news from three contest coordinators this past month. Have some pending entries and plan to enter a few more contests.

    Thanks for the update.

  3. What am I waiting for? I'm waiting to receive the feedback from the last contest I entered so I can make adjustments to my manuscript before I submit it to the Golden Heart. (I'm also waiting for my coffee to kick in this morning. I'm obviously grouchy. :-) )

  4. I'm going to try the Beacon this year, and I'll be entering the new CWOW contest DOES YOUR STORY HAVE BITE? because I won the entry fee from the Seekerville site. I like the idea that it's an inspirational contest, so I can enter in a genre-specific category within Inspirational. Check it out on Christian Writers of the West!

    I used to enter for the feedback but now I enter based on the final round judges.

    Everyone have a great LONG weekend, okay?

  5. Helen, way to rock the contest circuit.

    Keli, congratulations and way to go.

    Walt, the GH!! There's a bold and daring move. Great plan.

    I have to go put the coffee on. ASAP!!

    TGIF. Four day weekend Wooohooo!!!!

  6. Debra, dude, love your newest picture.

    And good luck in the contest~~

  7. I entered the WOW-Women on Writing summer short story contest and plan to have an entry ready for the Harlequin Presents contest.

    One of my yearly goals is entering free contests so I can't let the Harlequin contest get by me! AND I hope to finish the manuscript during the Seekerville book in a week...


  8. Wow, this is great. Thanks! I submitted to the Golden Pen last month and plan to try the Golden Heart. It seems that the contest Where the Magic Begins keeps popping up in all kinds of places for me, so I'm going to take that as Providential and try to get my contemp or historical into it this weekend.

    can anyone give me some idea about whether I should submit my chick-lit/mom-lit into a 'chick-lit' category or contemp series. It is the first book in a long series, but I'm not sure which place it should fit for some of these contests?

  9. Thanks for another detailed contest report, Tina! And congrats to all those here who are posting that they're faithfuly working on their manuscripts and getting feedback through the contest circuit! Way to go!

  10. I wish I could enter several of these. Sigh. I guess I'll just have to settle for GOING TO THE ACFW CONFERENCE!!!!!!!!

    Sorry, just cheering myself up because I can't enter these contests. :-)

  11. Over the past couple of weeks, I experienced a different aspect of contests. I judged 5 contest entries for my Indiana RWA chapter's IGO contest (I can't remember what IGO stands for).

    Anyway, I had three suspense entries and two single title.

    I found it an enjoyable but time-consuming project. I have entered several contests in the past and recently took a class on judging.

    I learned several things. 1) Stories can be interesting even if they have a lot of flaws 2) An exceptionally good mss will be recognized by most people 3) Reading other people's efforts can help you with your own. 4) Easy "grading" doesn't really help anybody. There's no reason to give false hope. People who tell you what they really think are doing you a favor. That doesn't mean everything they say is right, though.

    It takes courage to enter a contest and my hat is off to all of you who do!

    By the way, I signed up as a Seekerville follower but can't find my picture up there. Are those in alphabetical order? Can somebody check to see if mine went thru?


  12. i've entered the launching a star contest 0 with a really revamped edition of what i entered in genesis. i'm eager to see what feedback i get.

    thanks for the updates!
    Where Romance Meets Therapy

  13. Cathy, judging is very insightful isn't it? IGO = Indiana Golden Opportunity. I will check on your Following status during my lunch break :)

    Jeannie!! Way to go. No guts. No glory.

    Melanie, we can't all be divas all the time. There is the budget to think about.

    Pepper, go, go, go. I will look into your question and give you my HUMBLE input later.

  14. Rose, way to go!!

    I really want to enter WOW and have not yet. You inspire me!!!

  15. Hi Seekers! Who may I email with some info about a new contest?

    Pam Neal

  16. Great list! Good luck to everyone who enters!

  17. Hi Pam, I went to your site and saw the contest. It deadlines in November so it might be mentioned in the November Contest Update.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  18. Cathy Shouse,

    I looked and do not see you as a follower. Try again. Are you sure you didn't subscribe? That is different.

  19. You know what Pepper, sometimes you just have to do some research and find out what the final judge editor likes or buys.

    I Google them and read interviews and Publisher's Market place to get the scoop.

    Also if you subscribe to Cindy Myers Market Newsletter on Yahoo she does reviews of RWA Spotlights where they tell you what they are looking for.

    To subscribe put Cindy Myers in the Seekerville search and there will be a recent post with her that tell you.

  20. Wow...contest time I guess. Lol! Good luck everyone in whatever you enter! : )

  21. Oh, man, I'm so late today and never even got here yesterday...

    Holiday weekend approaching and extra bakery hours. Extra money is never a bad thing, but right now time is even better.


    Thank you so much for a wonderful update, as always! You rock, woman.

    And I'm so excited to see such great judging lineups in all categories. Yowza. That's always a wonderful thing.

    Okay, gotta scan stuff here. I brought evening snacks, some buttered popcorn, iced decaf and sweet tea, fresh fudge (I love passing signs that read "Fresh Fudge" because who knew how wonderful that would be until you consider the alternative...

    "Stale Fudge".

    Just doesn't have the same curbside appeal!

    So grab some fresh fudge and veg for the night.

    Have I mentioned how wonderful that it's Friday????


  22. Thanks a bundle, Tina. That's great advice.

  23. Hey Ruthy!
    Thanks for the fudge! I'm so glad it's Friday! It's been a tough week.

    Just to let you know the parts I got in the musical are chorus and a Bianca girl. A Binca girl is that I am 1 out of 8 girls who sing a song called Bianca in a double quartet in 4-part harmony. Sounds like a piece of cake, eh!?

  24. What a wonderful post! But Teeeenaaa, pretty please can you tell me where you can go make a cool chalkboard like that??? :)


  25. Look at all you've all been doing!! Woo hoo on all the contest entries!

    Pepper, I didn't check out the contest, but off the top of my head, I would say a contemp. series category is for books like Harlequin/Silhouette category lines. So you'd probably want the chick-lit. But don't trust me on that! Check it out like Tina said. I'm just guessing.

  26. I've entered the Launching a Star contest. My dear friend and critique partner Debbie Lynne Costello (hi, Debbie Lynne!) twisted my arm, and I am soooo glad she did. It forced me to take a hard look at my opening chapter. (thanks Melanie Dickerson for your amazing advice, too)

    Looks like September and October abound with opportunities. First Kiss looks interesting. Hmmm, back to the 'drawering board.'

  27. Thanks so much for posting such a comprehensive contest list. I have entered several already and plan to enter a few more!

    Please enter me in the drawing:

  28. Way to go Kathleen and Edwina.

    No guts, no glory, RIGHT???

    Contest winners have been posted but stop by next week for more chances to win!!