Wednesday, March 28, 2012

April Contest Update

Welcome to Day 28 of Speedbo and time for another Seekerville Contest Update.

As you peruse the contests, note the trend toward 
allowing published authors to enter
contests previously unpublished authors only.  
 So, what do you think about this trend?

The prize vault is open. It's almost April so it's raining first five page critiques.  Two in fact. Just let me know you're up for it (YA, Historical, Women's Fiction or Contemporary Romance only please- does not have to be inspy.). So the reader's can join in the fun there's also a Surprise Seeker Book Pack to be given away.

Published Author Contests

International Digital Awards. OKRWA. Open to all works of fiction in English with original copyright date in 2010 or 2011 that are available only in digital format; entries capped at 100 per category.  Deadline May 1.

The Maggies. Published Division. Deadline May 10.

Unpublished Author Contests

Southern Heat. Deadline March 31, 2012.All electronic.Entries include the FIRST 15 PAGES plus a 5-page max double-spaced synopsis.

Ethan Ellenberg - Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency
Ann Leslie Tuttle - Senior Editor, Harlequin Paranormal

Courtney Miller-Callihan – Sanford J. Greenburger Associates
Laura Bradford – Bradford Literary Agency

Contemporary Single Title
Rebecca Strause – McIntosh & Otis, Inc.
Rhonda Penders – The Wild Rose Press

Mary Sue Seymour – The Seymour Agency
Melissa Endlich - Senior Editor, Harlequin Inspirational

Contemporary Series
Nicole Resciniti– The Seymour Agency
Alicia Condon – Kensington Books

Romantic Suspense
Aubrey Poole – Sourcebook
Maria Carvainis – Maria Carvainis Agency, Inc

Young Adult
Elaine Spencer, The Knight Agency
Leticia Gomez, Sawy Literary Services

Query Quandry Contest. Deadline April 1. All electronic. Queries must be constructed in standard query format and must be no longer than one page. For purposes of the contest, please use a generic "Dear Agent" or "Dear Editor" greeting. For a closing, in place of your name, please use "Author." Do NOT use a pseudonym or make up a name for purposes of the contest, as it only serves to confuse final judges. Amazon gift cards for all first-place finishers and the Grand Finalist.

Final Judges:

•Historical: Courtney Miller-Callihan, Sanford Greenburger Associates

•Contemporary Series: Charles Griemsman, Harlequin Enterprises

•Contemporary Single Title: Lauren Ruth, BookEnds, LLC

•Mystery/Suspense: Patience Bloom, Harlequin Enterprises

•YA: Jenny Bent, The Bent Agency

•Paranormal: Esi Sogah, AVON/HarperCollins

•Erotica:  Christa Desir, Samhain Publishing

Touched By Love. Deadline April 1. All Electronic. The total attached submission is to be no more than 32 double-spaced pages with up to 30 pages of the beginning of the manuscript and a synopsis of not more than two pages (synopsis is not judged).

Finalists will receive the opportunity to have their entry judged by five published inspirational authors. Scores will be averaged in order to establish a winner. The winner will be announced at the 2012 RWA National Conference. There will be three finalists in the three categories. There will be a winner in each category and an overall winner from the three categories.

The overall winner chosen from the three winners of the categories will receive a critique of their entry by an editor and $100 toward any writing related expense paid within one year of the end of the TBL contest.

Critiquing Editor for 2012 is Raela Schoenherr of Bethany House Publishers

The remaining two First place category winners will receive $75 toward any writing related expense paid within one year of the end of the TBL contestcontest and NEW THIS YEAR, 1st place category entries will be sent to editor to review (not critique).   Second place winners will receive $50 toward any writing related expense paid within one year of the end of the TBL contest. Third place winners will receive $25 toward any writing related expense paid within one year of the end of the TBL contest. Writing expenses include the Golden Heart or other writing contest entry fee, conference fees, National RWA dues, etc. Receipts are required for reimbursement.

Royal Ascot. Deadline April 6. Electronic contest. All entries must have at least partial Regency (Late Georgian) setting, broadly defined: within the United Kingdom between 1780 and 1840. Entry length limited to 7,000 words (determined by computer word count) from the beginning of the manuscript. An optional 500 word synopsis may be included.

Categories are utilized for the first round only:

Regency Historical (longer Regency or Mainstream Regency-set)
Hot Regency (Very sensual to Erotic Regency, at author's discretion)
Wild Regency (Paranormal, Time Travel, other similar Regency)
Sweet & Mild Regency (Traditional, Inspirational, Young Adult or other without explicit sex)

Final Round Judges

Stephany Evans, Fine Print Literary

Louise Fury, L Perkins Agency

Pam Hopkins, Hopkins Literary Associates 

Editors Lauren Plude, Hachette Book Group

Angela Polidoro, Random House

Deb Werksman, Sourcebooks

The Sheila. Deadline April 7. All electronic.Participation is open to all RWA members, published and unpublished, who have not published a full-length novel (40K words or more) in the category entered at the time of the contest deadline and within the past five years. Submission-the beginning of manuscript, and synopsis (up to 5 pages). The manuscript and synopsis may not exceed 35 total pages.

Single Title Romance:
Emilia Pisani, Gallery Books

Historical (short or long and Regencies):
Elizabeth Poteet, St. Martin’s Press

Leah Hultenschmidt, SourceBooks

Women’s Fiction with Romantic Elements/Chick Lit:
Alex Logan, Grand Central

Romantic Suspense:
Katherine Pelz, The Berkley Publishing Group

Young Adult:
Wendy Loggia, Delacorte Press/Random House Children’s Books


The Orange Rose. Electronic. Deadline April 14. One of the few 50 page and synopsis contests out there.  But the judging is a little different so read the rules carefully.   Entries include, ONE document (.RTF) that is 50 pages in total maximum, which includes the first chapters of the manuscript and a synopsis – manuscript pages should be first.  Finalists are chosen by their overall score, NOT by category. A finalist’s manuscript must be among the top ten scoring manuscripts, eleven in case of a tie, that receive a minimum of 85% of the possible points.Finalist manuscripts to be read by three acquiring editors and/or acquiring agents ; their scores to be averaged to determine the winners.

 Categories (Judges not provided.)

Contemporary Category Romance
Mainstream with Romantic Elements
Erotic Romance
Paranormal/Time Travel/Fantasy Romancce
Historical & Regency Romance
Romantic Suspense
Inspirational Romance
Young Adult Romance
Single Title Romance (over 70,000 words

Duel on the Delta. Electronic. Deadline April 15. The first twenty (20) pages. Additional pages will not be judged. You may include an optional one-page, single-spaced synopsis.

 Contemporary - Aubrey Pope, Sourcebooks

Erotic - Angela James, Carina Press

Historical - Deborah Nemeth, Carina Press

Inspirational - Sarah Long, Bethany House

Paranormal/Urban Fantasy - Jill Marsal, Marsal Lyon Literacy Agency

Romantic Suspense - Liz Bass, Carina Press

Young Adult - Liz Pelletier, Entangled Publishing

Tara. Electronic. Deadline May 1st. Entries include the first chapter, 4,000 words max (actual word count), including prologue if applicable.Note: Per editor request, finalists must include a synopsis of up to 1,500 words at the time they submit revised entry for final judging.The TARA Contest is open to unpublished and published authors of novel length fiction, however the entry must be the author's original work, unpublished and not contracted as of the time of the contest deadline.

Series Contemporary-Brenda Chin- Harlequin
Historical-Leah Hultenschmidt-Sourcebooks
Inspirational-Natalie Hanemann-Thomas Nelson
Paranormal-Elizabeth Bistrow -New American Library
Romantic Suspense-Emilia Pisani-Pocket Books
Single Title-Sue Grimshaw-Random House
Women's Fiction-Lauren Plude-Grand Central

The 2012 Annual Colorado Gold Writing Contest. Contest opens April 1 and the deadline is June 1. Submission is the first twenty pages and an 8 page synopsis. Categories include: romance, mystery, speculative fiction, action/thriller and mainstream fiction. Five category winners receive a $100 dollar prize. Final judge is an acquiring agent or editor. Check out the website for a contest instruction video!

Just for Fun

2012 Family Circle Fiction Contest. Contest begins March 1, 2012, and ends September 7, 2012. Entries must be postmarked on or before September 7, 2012, and received by September 14,2012.Submit an original (written by entrant), fiction short story of no more than 2,500 words. Entries must be unpublished and may not have won any prize or award. Cash prizes.

Thanks to Stephie Smith for this lead:

Coffee and Cream Publishing's Spring Romantic Fiction Contest. Deadline April 30th.  Short stories with interracial and/or multicultural characters.Short stories between 7,000 and 20,000 words. Cash prizes. Categories:Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Mystery & Suspense, Paranormal, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Christian,Young Adult.

Today is another day of our March Speedbo. Find out more about Speedbo and our exciting weekly prizes here. Comment today for a chance to win! Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.


  1. So glad y'all post these's helps to know what is out there :)

  2. Great contest update, Tina! I'm tempted to memorize these contest names for future reference. I'm not sure if I'm ready to put my "baby" in another contest just yet, but best wishes to all who do! I love looking at the names of who judges my categories, even if I don't enter any this round.

  3. Contests, contests, contests... Thanks for letting us know.

    I kind of like that they are allowing pubbed authors to enter especially in different categories and if they haven't published in awhile.

    I wouldn't mind a critique.

    Tina P.

  4. P.S.

    Evil laughter bubbled out as I typed the last words of the night.
    I spoke into the hush that ensued.

    "I just killed my hero."

    My mom moaned. "Oh, Natalie. You didn't."

    I reassured her he's only mostly dead. "There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead." - The Princess Bride. I think I just realized what that quote means. :D
    I'll bring him back to life in the morning. Meanwhile, my heroine languishes in fitful sleep. ;)
    This is so cotton pickin' fun.

  5. Natalie, you crack me up. In the good way =)
    Thank you Tina. I'm taking another shot at Duel on the Delta again. It will be the first contest for this baby, so a five page crit would be so appreciated before I get the "big guns" haha.
    Keep writing Speedboers!!!

  6. You're welcome, Nancy. Glad I could help. Oh wait you meant that other Tina.


    Natalie, I understand completely about killing a hero off. It's quite exhilarating and sad at the same time.

    Tina R. Did I mention I might like a critique? LOL


    Tina P.

  7. Hmmm, which ones, which ones? Throw me in for prizes! Must go to bed now though. Thanks for these contest posts, makes it so much easier for me!!!

  8. Good mornin' fellow night owls and speedbo-ers!

    Lovin' that Natalie! HA! (and love Princess Bride - yeah - I think you're right about just now understanding this.)

    Lots of contests, but doesn't appear much for middle grade which is where I find myself writing. That's ok though!

    Just wanted to check in and see what's shaking. It's realllly foggy here this morning. Yuk.

    Interesting about pubbed author trend. Wonder why that is? Was reading another blog from yesterday which was talking about contracts and how publishers are limiting what authors put out on their own. Makes sense on one hand, but... tough on the author if s/he needs more sales to make a living.

    Would love to be in for a critique but since we're MG, we'll leave that for others.

    Write on, SpeedBo-ers, write on!

  9. WHAT??? I can enter the TARA again? I'm so excited! I swear I'm going to write something just for that contest. :) It was such a great experience and I had really great critiques from the prelim judges.

    And I would love a five page critique. Maybe I could send in a ghost story?? No, no, just kidding. I can't even read ghost stories without freaking myself out. But it would be fun to win a crit of a YA. I don't have any critters who read YA.

    And speaking of crit partners, one of mine just got a story accepted to Clarkesworld, a SF mag he's been submitting to for 3 years!!! HE just told me the good news, since 'd critted that story for him.

    It just made my heart so happy! Three years of subbing to his dream magazine, girls. And he did it.

    LOVE perseverence!!

  10. Oh, if I wasn't clearm, I think letting in the pubbed autors is a good idea. One, they won't be joining a contest with a judge who has already seen/turned down/asked for their stuff. Two, they may be trying to feel their way into a new area, like YA, and can't just be sending pages around now that they're working on a line.

    Just my thoughts. It's all about getting your stuff in front of an agent or an editor.And if the pubbed author already has an agent submitting for them to that editor, they won't need the contest. I don't think many authors would be joining contests just to rack up their 'wins'. But they may be wanting some feedback or just the joy of biting their nails while they wait to hear the news!!

    I learned so much from contests. Truly. Most about how to be brave, hahahaha!

  11. Good morning.

    If you all see a spare 500 hiding somewhere, would you send them my way. They are elusive little beggars!

    I think published writers should be allowed to enter contests previously open to only uns. There are advantages to being one or other.

    Natalie, I don't kill people outright either. I just blow up factories. Must share your PB line with my currently supportive but wondering spouse.

    Peace, Julie

  12. Argh, that would be words I am looking for. See, even the word "words" is hiding from me.

  13. I'm so up for a critique.

    And I'm still diligently writing. Yea for Speedbo. Even with all the daily distractions, the end is so near...

    Having previously published authors entering contests? Hmmm, experienced writers should raise the bar, I think, which is mostly a good thing although a little intimidating to someone like me who has never entered a contest. But I plan to. This year. Regardless. Thanks to Seekerville.

    Back to the keyboard.


  14. Thanks, as always, for the contest info.

    I wonder if more contests are allowing published in due to the influx of self-published authors, and therefore the have to in order to get enough submissions. Or if there just aren't that many unpublished submitting to contests?


  15. I needed this post. One of my 2012 goals is to enter more contests.

    Because I'm unpublished, I'll probably lean more toward contests that are only open to other unpublished authors. I think the expression is, "it evens the playing field."

    Thanks again!
    Jackie L.

  16. Ah, these look great! I think I'm working on just writing at this point, but I'll keep my fingers crossed for those of you who are entering!

    I don't know what to think about published and unpublished writers being able to enter contests side-by-side. I'd feel like the published authors had a leg up, you know?

    A five page critique always gets me excited! Please enter me. : )

    NATALIE-- what wonders a fitful sleep can do for our heroines when the hero has been mostly dead all day!


  17. DONE!! 3 chapters and a synopsis drafted and ready for editing. Thank you, Seekers, for sponsoring the Speedbo challenge that got me in gear and kept me moving forward.

    Seekerville ROCKS!

  18. Look at all the contests taking out of genre pubbed authors....

    When did this become a thing????

    Interesting turns of events, right?

    Hey, I have a fresh batch of my FAMOUS DARK CHOCOLATE CHIP TOFFEE CHIP COOKIES!!!!

    Sharing. Because I care THAT MUCH.


  19. Great updates. Thanks, Tina! I don't know if I'll be entering any other contests, but it's fun to see what's out there. Who knows, I may change my mind and do it just for grins. :)

    As a newer writer, the thought of entering work alongside pubbed authors makes me nervous because I don't have the same skill set they do yet. On the other hand, like someone elsesays, it raises the bar and challenges me. Hmmmm, lots to think about.

    I wouldn't mind a five page critique, so please enter me. :)

  20. NATALIE--you had me laughing. I'm surprised your heroine slept at all thinking her hero was dead. :)

    I was relieved to hear he's only "mostly dead." Love that quote, too.

  21. Cannot emphasize enough just HOW important contests are for aspiring authors in SO many ways, so take the leap if you haven't before and get out there, guys!!! It's a VERY good thing, I promise, and hurts a LOT less when you don't final than it does with a rejection ... :)


  22. I think I'm only planning on entering one of those. That particular editor has one MS from another contest but will enter a different MS this time.

    I'm not crazy about the pubbed thing. I see the point someone made up there, but this happened to those of us in Great Expectations a few weeks ago. Three of us unpubbed against one who has over 40 books out and a bunch more contracted, just not in inspies.

    Felt kind of like those poor guys who had to play the Dream Team in 1992. What chance does Bob from Bulgaria and his buddies have against Magic and Michael and Larry and all them, you know?

    Genesis allows pubbed authors, but only if they don't have ANY books pubbed in the last x years [5?]. That's one thing [though it also would have made someone like Dee Henderson eligible before she signed with Bethany a few weeks ago]. Personally, I think that's okay. I think currently pubbed, esp without a cut off [of several books? maybe 5 in the last x years or soemthing?] makes the playing field decidedly unfair.

    Still smarting over it :/. Not that I really expected to win, but it would have been nice to at least have a shot...

    Did any of that make sense?

  23. This is for Jeanne and anyone else concerned about entering contests alongside pubbed authors. This is fairly new, and I'd imagine it's meant to help authors who want to change genres. I'm sure there are other reasons, but the point for you is that an author who's published in one area may be testing the waters in a new one. That person may not be any better or worse in that genre than you.

    So give it a shot! You might be pleasantly surprised :)

  24. Tina P., I just popped back and saw your comment.

    And some of them are just in other categories....

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed this!

  25. Mostly Dead, Natalie, LOL!!!

    I loved the opening to Petticoat Ranch where Sophie is DRAGGING that poor man to some sort of possible safety...

    LOL, I love what we do to people.

    (is that mean to say????)

  26. Good morning! So many contest to consider, thanks for the links.

    Can't believe speedbo is almost over! Gotta get back to work.

  27. Celebrating today - lunch with friends.
    Completed that first, short, rough draft of new work yesterday at 22,000 words!
    Now to let it sit in a dark corner like yeast rolls for a few weeks before I go back and punch it into better shape.

  28. Ruth, do we at least get the recipe for those cookies? PULEEESE!!

  29. Natalie! Now you're in the spirit of things!!! Way to go!!

  30. I think that the reason they are entering pubs is there are too many contests and they have become less unique so the entry numbers are down.

  31. Thanks for the update, Tina. You make it so easy.

    I like when we (unpub's)are segregated from the pub'd writers, unless the pub'd writer hasn't been pub'd for a long time. But as I always say, "I just work here," and I doubt contest owners care much abt my opinion, lol. I'm grateful for any exposure, and contests really pay off in so many ways.

  32. I get that Tina. I'm trying hard to remember that there's lots of reasons but still seems a bit unfair or something... /shrug/ JMHO

    Anyway - Speedbo wise -

    I'm at 52009 which means I need 17991 in the next 4 days. If I can get to 60K or more by tomorrow night, I should make it, but that means I need a really good day today since Thursdays are hard and I doubt I'll make it to Panera on Saturday. And I really want to get it done, otherwise it'll languish for months.

    Back to work...

  33. Quick check-in [haven't read the post or comments yet ... that's my lunch break]. I did the math this morning and since Speedbo started I have written 12,972 words and edited a bunch of pages. No, no, don't get upset about the editing. It was cut and paste from the earlier version of this WIP ... which got me that much closer to finishing this puppy :-)

    Thank you Seekers and Supporters!

    Nancy C

  34. Nancy K.-- Heeheehee. :)

    Tina P.-- It IS exhilarating! A little sad, but I know the reader will be sad, so that makes me happy. "No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader." right? :)

    KC-- I'm a HUGE PB fan.

    Julie H. S.--Blowing up factories? I like it. It's stealthy, sophisticated even. Me? I just had him stabbed at his outdoor wedding, then the heroine blacks out. I'll worry about the logistics in the editing stage. :)

    Whitney-- LOL. I totally agree. Love your pic, btw.

    Jeanne T.--Very good point. I wondered about her ease of sleeping too, but she passed out and is in a state of near delirium. :D It just keeps getting better.

    Ruthy-- ME TOO!!! I opened PR, read the first couple pages and thought, THIS is going to be GOOD. I just realized how much we can get away with when we're writing fiction. :)

    Tina R. Haha! Thanks!

    Going for a run in a bit. Speedbo has inspired me in so many areas. "If I can Speedbo, I can ____." Fill in the blank. :)

  35. If I can Speedbo I can take over the world.

  36. I admit. I do love the Tara as well. Excellent contest.

    Why not enter,Virginia!

    You only live once. Why waste time. Keep as many pokers in the fire as you can.

  37. MIA--I appreciate you sharing your thoughts about contests and pubbed and unpubbed writers. Today's quesiton definitely has me thinking!

    CAROL--I actually have the gift of time today, and I'm at your favorite place--Panera for the next few hours. :) It's your fault I'm here. I'd never thought to come to Panera to write before I read that it's where you go. :) I'll be praying that you get those words written. YOU CAN DO IT!!!

  38. Rollin' rollin' rollin' keep that Speedbo rollin, RAWHIDE.

    After Speedbo is one we should list how many ways we have misspelled Speedbo in the last 31 days.

    I just typed Seedbo.

  39. Jeanne!! Good for you. Have an asiago cheese bagel for me.

  40. Wowza on the page counts, writers. You guys are amazing.

  41. I like the idea of pubbed authors being allowed to submit to unpubbed contests. For one thing it's cheaper to send 3 mss by e-mail than 3 books!

  42. Oh, my gosh, isn't that the truth Cara. Pubbed contests are so expensive.

  43. And if you are a published author, which OTHER category would you enter if you could?

    I'd enter YA.

  44. Jackie, I agree...

    Kirsten, I don't know... You could have something there because the small-pubs vs. royalty paying pubs are blending some lines.

    A conundrum for chapters holding contests, for sure.

    Hey, did you guys try these cookies???

    I'm almost tempted to put up a pic on Teeeeeena's perfect update. Think she'd notice???


    Would she get upset???

    Remember, she's Italian.

  45. Carol, it makes perfect sense. And good thinking.

    The other side of that coin is it can be tricky for authors to find anyone willing to talk with them out of genre...

    Agents frown at it.

    Editors waggle their eyebrows and it may affect future contracts.

    So I can see it from both sides, but here's an interesting thing: I read a book recently from a NYTIMES bestselling author... It was his YA....

    It was horrible.

    So telling... So... grownup.

    So not all authors can cross genres. I can't imagine a self-respecting teen not chucking the book across the room.

    So it's tricky to play in other fields. Unless you're my buddy Karen White who has dazzled me with WF, ST, and her original super-natural time travel fun fantasies.

    She amazes me because she can don hats with aplomb.

  46. I'm up to about 26,000 words for Speedbo! Yippee!

    I'm always up for Seekerville books. Count me in on the drawing please.

    There's on short story contest I'm considering.

    As to intermingling pubbed and unpubbed, I agree with Carol. I don't think it's fair. If they want to do that, they need to have two contests, separating the two.

    I'm still waiting to see contests for self-published authors. I think that would be interesting! Yep, with that I say, "Let the games begin!"

    Today is my busy day, so I don't know how much writing will get done. I'll have to make up for it the next three days. :)

  47. Great contest update, Tina--as usual!

    And interesting question about opening some of the ms. contests to published writers. I certainly understand the mixed responses about this issue. There are pros and cons to both sides.

    Personally, I get stressed enough about contest results. Not sure I care to have even more opportunities opened for me!

  48. The only contest I've entered is the Genesis, but some of these look really interesting, so I might try them out. Plus, I've got a short story that's been hanging out in my computer for far too long that might be perfect for Family Circle.

    SpeedBo count for me: about 15,611! 4K on an original work, and I did some editing the last few days on my novel, about 11,600 words worth. I'm reshaping part of the plot, so it's a combination of writing and editing. That counts, right?

    JEANNE: Have an orange scone for me at Panera. They're delightful.

    CAROL: I understand your point about unpubbed vs. pubbed authors in contest. I personally wouldn't like to compete in a contest against, say, Francine Rivers, but then again, I also understand an author wanting to change genres. It's tricky. Hopefully the contest is as anonymous as possible, to help judges not be biased by a name, but rather the content of the story. Maybe there can be a separate category for pubs.

  49. Tina, thanks for the contest update!

    I'm with you, Julie. Contests are a fantastic way to get feedback and to feel like you're in the hunt. Better yet, if you final, your story gets in front of an editor judge. Best of all, you can meet some fantastic fellow finalists like I did!!


  50. I have one book that I completed years ago. I may enter it into the Southern Heat. I love the story, but it was poorly written. Head-hopping kind of stuff.

    I don't mind if published authors are allowed, especially if it's been years since they been published.I figure there are a couple of reasons the contests allow this. Low entries and quality. The contests try to get good editors and agents to be the final judges. If the quality is low, they may have a hard time getting good final judges. Nothing compliments a contest more than having all the ms requested.

    Just look at the awesome results of Seekerville contests.



  51. Thank you, thank you, Tina! With all these updated contest options I may be nudged into entering something somewhere. (I'm such a chicken... I'd much rather just keep writing.) And back to writing I go. Gotta make the most of these last few days!

    Oh, but Ruthy... DARK CHOCOLATE CHIP TOFFEE CHIP COOKIES??? You *are* going to post the recipe at Yankee-Belle soon, aren't you? As Mindy said recently, "A writer must have the proper level of chocolate in their system to perform at their best." I NEED those cookies!

  52. Throw me in the mix for the reader's book pack prize package! I read so many of the books it's not funny! I love to read and read as many books as I can. I'm grateful for everyone's talents so I can enjoy my pastime :) Thanks!

  53. I haven't read all the comments, but Carol, I don't think being PUBLISHED makes anyone a better writer than someone unpubbed. It's all a matter of getting your stuff seen. But I agree with 40 books being a good 'leg up'. But seriously, I can just imagine the brilliance that is waiting out there, and just trying to get the pages in front of an editor is the hard part.

    I remember reading the response to the old 'how do I get published' question. Answer? Write well. If you write an amazing novel, it WILL get published. Even after a bazillion rejections. I think contests just help you get to that place faster if you don't have an agent.

    Carol, I'm sorry for the 'final-no-win' but you FINALED!! The Genesis kicked my behind. You're going to be published. Count on it.

  54. Stephanie, I think they're ALL anonymous.

    At least, that was my impression, since we couldn't have our names anywhere. If they did see the names, that would ruin the whole idea of it, which is to judge the writing.

    But like Vince said here once, the bestsellers aren't exactly the best WRITERS. So, without the name, the material could really get a thumbs down. (Stephanie Meyers, anybody ?:)

  55. Turn over the cookie recipe and no one gets hurt.

  56. Orange Scones? I didn't know they have orange scones at Panera!

    Next stop...

    I don't actually know how you folks get any work done at Panera. I'd be eating my way thru the menu.

  57. Ooh, Virginia, Stephenie Meyers really burns me. I read the first Twilight book, and when I got done, I just sat there going, "That's what all the fuss was about? Really?"

    Then I proceeded to read aloud to my husband all the heart-stopping moments Bella had, and we concluded she needed to see a doctor. I don't think a girl can go into cardiac arrest that many times without being in serious trouble.

    I've also concluded that some authors are excellent writers but poor storytellers, and vice versa. I think Dan Brown is a phenomenal storyteller but an average writer. The key is to be both, and you'd be unstoppable!

    TINA- Yes, the orange scones are heavenly, especially warmed up in the microwave and slathered with butter. Not that I speak from experience...

  58. Haha! My daughter wanted to read Twilight and so I opened a copy and read her a scene where Bella passes out from not breathing when Edward is next to her and she almost gagged. Soooo bad. But, again, good story. Not so hot writing.

    Heyyyy, maybe this is about marketing now?

  59. P.S. I have to say SLOW BRAIN DAY...

    I totally see why a pubbed writer shouldn't be in a contest. If they have an agent, why do they need to get read by an agent? And if they've published that much, then yeah....

    I was doing dishes and it all sort of clicked into place. Probably not fair, exposure-wise. They can ask their agent to help them jump the slush pile if they're switching genres.

    Unless their agent doesn't know?? :D

  60. Thanks for this contest update, Tina---I'm always amazed at how many contests are available! ~ About to dive back into my WIP for SPEEDBO, but would appreciate prayers....My precious FiL went to Heaven this sad, but we rejoice knowing he's in Heaven.
    Hugs, Patti Jo

  61. Virginia - oh I know and I'm very proud of my final there and I can also understand why someone changing genres might want to try a contest. I really do. That was my point with some kind of cut off or something. I'm sure this gal had great reasons and I know just being published doesn't necessarily mean great writing but... /shrug/ still felt just a bit unfair to me.

    I've not read Twilight but have heard that about the series. Wasn't it Stephen King who said Stephanie Meyers isn't a very good writer [which is all anybody focused on when he also said she was a good storyteller].

    I really wasn't too upset about not finaling in GH this week [now if I got all 1s I might cry... ;)} but today I had one of my judges "Golden Heart Stalk" [her words] me to tell me how much she enjoyed my entry. Very. Nice. Email. Totally made my day :D.

    With distractions today, I'm 'only' at 1542 for the day so far. 53551 overall. Still hoping to hit at least 55K today :). We'll see... 4yo isn't feeling great so may end up at home tomorrow [which, let's face it, would be kind of nice and help the word count].

    Tina - the key to working at Panera is to find a table as far away from the bakery side as possible [while still being close to the soda and bathroom ;)}.

  62. Enter the Maggie. It's a great contest. Plus, then you HAVE to attend the Moonlight and Magnolias Conference if you final!!! Missy and I will be there. Probably Walt, too. Lindi Peterson. Other folks you know from Seekerville.

    Great contest! Great conference! Lots of fun people!

    Enter now. Good luck!!!

    Thanks, Tina, for the update.

    Heading back to SpeedBo!

  63. PATTI JO-- so sorry to hear about your FIL. I'll be praying the Lord comforts your family during this season. so difficult.

    TINA R.-- When you're gluten free, working at Panera is a little less tempting, so I managed to get some good work done. I had a virtual orange scone for you, though. :)

    CAROL--yes, being near bathrooms and soda machines (or the coffee carafes) is wonderful. :)

    Time to be a mom again. Happy writing everyone.

  64. NATALIE MONK you have the heart and mind of a writer.

    Also a fiend and maybe a serial killer, but then that sort of goes with it.


  65. Do you think the pubbed author in unpubbed contests is connected to epublishing?
    Is the line between pubbed and unpubbed getting so blurry that they can't really tell who is and who isn't these days?

    I'd say if someone wants a contest final it's yes, in part to get their book in front of an editor in the finals, but is also resume enhancement.
    And if you've had some books published that is a far better resume enhancement than a contest win, don't you think?
    So to me, it's a little like if published authors who were pretty successful were still applying for the scholarship ACFW gives to their conference. At some point you need to be a big girl, step out of the way and let other people have a turn.

  66. I just heard that Southern Heat is very low in Inspirational.


  67. If for example I wanted to get a book published in some outrageous 'out of brand' genre like, oh, writing a romantic thriller with a demon possessed serial killer set in modern day Chicago, for me to go enter an unpubbed contest is a far more convoluted route to getting that published than just asking my publisher directly if they'll give me a shot at it.

    I'd like cookies. I'm dieting. :( I can't even eat imaginary food :(

  68. OOOH, there you go. Hit Southern Heat. Perfect opportunity!!!!

  69. Virginia, I think it's a matter of opinion. As an author I can see how Stephenie's craft and mechanics isn't exactly what most would consider up to par. But I loved the entire Twilight Saga and her other novel The Host very much. I considered them good books because they held my attention start to finish, gave me a tremendous emotional reader experience, and I was happy for the time I spent reading them. (I also actually went to Forks, WA, LOL, but that's before I rehabbed myself. I REALLY liked Twilight =)

    Carol, Stephen King did say that, and ticked off a lot of her fans, including me at the time. But now as I've studied craft and the principles of fiction, I'd have to agree. Stephenie tells a great story but breaks a lot of the rules.

    I'm really looking forward to pushing hard to finish the WIP by 3/31. I made my 30K speedbo goal and thought back on 3/1 that would have been enough words to finish but I was wrong. I've got four more scenes to write but they're big ones. That's one a day. So I'm checking out to write until I can't anymore haha.

  70. Wow. Lots of great contests coming up! Good luck everyone!

  71. Mary, seriously? You can't even eat imaginary food? Bummer!!! (I won't over think that =)

    Tina, I'll have to check out southern heat and see how it compares to duel on the delta. If anyone knows, please share! I want REALLY GOOD FEEDBACK because this will be the first contest for this MS/WIP. Is there anyone else who wouldn't send anything in for Genesis that hasn't already been through a contest somewhere else? Just Curious.

  72. I am just a reader so please count me in for the Surprise Seeker Pack!Thanks!!!

  73. I have a friend who got 2 books published several years ago. She has written several books since then but no longer has an agent and she hasn't found an editor interested in her new books. She's finally turned to self-publishing.

    Another friend of mine went 10 years between her firt book and second even though she never stopped writing.

    I guess it's published authors like these that I picture entering these contests. I really didn't think about the published ones who already have an agent and don't need to get their foot in the door.

  74. I'm thinking on all the comments on both sides of the published in contests question.

    This goes back to what Tina said about difficulty getting entries.

    I suspect if contests keep having situations like Carol described, you might find the unpubs backing away from those contests figuring it's a waste of money. So it could end up backfiring.

    Just thinking out loud about possibilities. I'm enjoying reading the different opinions. Food for thought. Not as good as chocolate though.

  75. Missy, I just realized you and I both won Southern Heat the same year - just different categories.

  76. Yeah, Connie - that's different. The GE rules were '3 years in the category you're entering' and something like that is reasonable. I was wondering out loud if it shouldn't be something like '3 years in the category you're entering and no more than 5 books in the last 5 years in all categories' [totally made up numbers]. And of course, only with traditional publishers. Self-pub wouldn't count [though maybe something like Genesis does where you can't enter the MS you self-pubbed].

    Not like I know anything about running contests. I'd imagine Tina's probably spot on with the reasoning, but I also think MaryC is right too - if what happened in GE starts happening a lot, unpubbed may back off too...

    Who knows? I'm gonna go with positive thinking and that I won't be eligible much longer anyway ;). How's that :D?

  77. I'm late! But I wanted to say I really like the trend you mentioned. It lets authors try out new genres. And it can also help authors who haven't pubbed in a while.

  78. I'm very green where contests are concerned and probably shouldn't even speak my opinion on this, but I have to agree with several others that there should be a minimum on the number of years since publication for contestants to enter.
    One of the reasons I entered the Phoenix Rattler last year was because of their entry rules.
    I knew I was inexperienced and didn't want to go up against "the pros."

  79. I am majorly impressed with all the accomplishments here. True inspiration.

    Ellen -- I laughed out loud when I read "Now to let it sit in a dark corner like yeast rolls for a few weeks." Great description.

    I have mixed feelings about published authors entering contests. I'm usually in a contest for the judges' feedback, not expecting the manuscript to place [although there've been some pleasant surprises in the past year -- big smile] so am not concerned about published writers entering. Plus, in the real world, any manuscript of mine will be considered by agents/editors right alongside published writers.

    About anonymity in contests -- I've judged for several years and never known the name of the author unless the work finals. A 'name' published author would have no advantage in that regard.

    A bundle of encouragement to anyone who hasn't entered a contest. Please do. When you receive the results, keep in mind that judges' comments/opinions [constructive or not] are not absolutes, they are subjective ... just like an agent's or editor's will be. Go for it and grow ;-)

    Nancy C

  80. I like your thoughts, Nancy C.

    After all it's all practice for the REAL world of publishing.

  81. And here's a reminder...

    Every time you submit a manuscript to an agent and/or editor, you are already competing with published authors...

    There is only ONE POOL....

    So we all have to swim in it. Now if you're looking at a contest as a teaching tool/editor's desk, then pick the ones with just unpubs.

    But if you're thinkin' you're runnin' with the upstream salmon, then you might as well run with them. Take your smackdowns. Every time a newer author enters a Rita or a Carol or a Maggie, they go up against Nora... Linda... Robin Lee... Amanda Quick... Teresa Medeiros...Karen White...

    You get the picture. Runnin' with the big dogs comes at the price of your ego. Really. Truly.

  82. Carol, good idea on the cookies at the Cafe!!!!

    Maybe next week.

    In time for Easter, perhaps??? ;)

  83. Late to this party, but I'll throw this out there.

    1) Chapters allow published to increase entries/revenue, and someone mentioned self-pubbed. Probably for this reason too, because many self-pubbed aren't considered pubbed for some contests.

    2) Why a published author would enter an unpublished contest is a mystery. I'm sure there are good, valid reasons, but seems to me that that time and money would be better spent sending proposals out to agents and publishers. BUT, on the flip side, if the contest allows it (back to why) then of course you can't fault the published author if that's the way they want to roll. Addendum: I just thought of another reason for pubbed authors to enter: Same as for unpubbed. If they final, they will more than likely get an answer quicker than if they submit on their own.

    3) Unpublished authors. I'm of two opinions and both are valid. I think it does give unpublished authors a disadvantage. Those finalist slots held by a published author could have been yours and made the difference in getting in front of (and getting a response) an editor/agent quicker. BUT, on the flip side, when you're good and getting better, it's SO cool to know you put your work up there with published authors and held your own. Now that's something to be proud of!!!

  84. Hi. I second the ? about why a published author would enter a contest. Haven't they already won the "prize"? Wouldn't the be hysterically busy writing the next book, and the next, and...?

    Anyway, thank you for the contest info, and I would love to be included in the 5 page critique drawing. I'm working on a sequel to my WWII WF, this is WF, too, and involves a female French resistance fighter. Exciting, eh?

    Thank you for including me, Gail Kittleson
    gkittleson at

  85. I haven't entered any contests. I've heard from several people that they thought they were just a waste of money - I take it that you folks disagree!

    Hmm, maybe I should reconsider. If published authors want to submit to a different genre, that's OK with me. They'd still have an edge though, so I hope they stay out of my preferred area. ;-)

    Your talk of cookies is making me hungry. LOL! Time for lunch!

  86. Rebecca!! Several of the Seekers sold thanks to contests. SOLD.

    They can help you bypass the slush pile, keep your name out their, snag you a sale or an agent, get you a objective critique and did I mention get your name out there??

  87. And SEVERAL friends of Seekerville sold thanks to contests here in Seekerville..or got agents.

  88. Rebecca, some contests probably *are* a waste of money :-) But please do enter one. Pretty please?

    I waited a long time before entering a contest. For me it was mainly an issue of not feeling competent enough -- and a huge fear of rejection of my 'baby.' I've had emotional ups and downs because of contest results, but I believe participating helps me learn how to weigh opinions, when to consider *constructive* criticism, and how to reject nonconstructive criticism. And one glowing remark from a judge will float me for a week :-)

    Nancy C