Friday, April 4, 2014

April Contest Update

April contests bring..requests! Which contests are you entering?

Published Author Contests

 Book Buyer's Best. Deadline April 14.

The IndieReCon Howey Award Contests are coming. Keep an eye on this site.


Unpublished Author Contests

 Sheila Contest. Contest opens March 3 and closes April 13. Check out this video for the Sheila Contest. Participation is open to all RWA members who are unpublished, self-published, and published. The entry must be the author’s original work, unpublished in any format (including author’s website, self-publication, ebook, mass market, etc.) and not under contract when submitted to the contest. Entry consists of a manuscript and synopsis that may not exceed 35 total pages. For the Novella Category ONLY: entries must not exceed a total of 20 pages including a synopsis up to 3 pages long.


Single Title Romance – Emilia Pisani, Gallery Books
Historical (short or long and Regencies) – Elizabeth Poteet, St. Martin’s Press
Fantasy/Futuristic/Paranormal – Megha Parekh, Grand Central Publishing
Women's Fiction with Romantic Elements– Madeleine Colavita, Grand Central
Romantic Suspense – Katherine Pelz, The Berkley Publishing Group
Young Adult – Wendy Loggia, Delacorte Press/Random House Children’s Books
Novella – Jodi Warshaw, Amazon Publishing

Orange Rose. Deadline April 14. Entry consists of 5 pages of synopsis plus beginning of ms (35 pp max).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. Cash prizes.

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

Final Judges:

Heather Long, Editor, Decadent Publishing

Kerry Vail, Senior Editor, Decadent Publishing

Malle Vallik, Director Editorial Digital Initiatives, Harlequin

Jill Limber, Editor, Boroughs Publishing

Sarah Jane Davis, Editor, Hot Ink Press

Music City Pitch Contest. Deadline April 15.  Eligibility: published and non-published.
 Entry is the "pitch" for back cover copy that you plan to self-publish, or that oh-so-perfect query letter blurb/maximum of 200 words. All judges receive top 10% of entries.

Final Judges: 
Suzie Townsend, New Leaf Literary.
Pam van Hylckama Vlieg, Foreword Literary.
Lauren MacCleod, Strothman Agency.
Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Agency.
Holly Root, Waxman Leavell Agency.
Elizabeth Poteet, St. Martin’s Press.

The Catherine. Deadline: April 30. Open to all unpublished writers, and published members of RWA who are not eligible to join RWA-PAN. Entry must be uncontracted, unpublished at time of entry. Entry contsists of the first pages plus a synopsis, maximum 7500 words.

Final Judges:
New Adult – Megha Parekh, Grand Central Publishing.
Contemporary Series – Megan Long, Harlequin.
Contemporary Single Title – Esi Sogah, Kensington;.
Historical – Katherine Pelz, Berkley.
Romantic Suspense – Leah Hultenschmidt, Grand Central Publishing.
Young Adult – Karen Chaplin, HarperCollins Children’s.
Paranormal, Fantasy, Futuristic – Brenda Chin, Belle Books.
Strong Romantic Elements –Kerri Buckley, Carina Press.


The Write Stuff. Deadline: May 1, 2014. Entry consists of the first 25 pages, electronic entry only.Open to Published and Unpublished authors alike, however, all work submitted must be unpublished at the time of submission and remain so until after the finalists are announced.
Final Judges:
Contemporary Single Title: Esi Sogoh, Kensington
Short Contemporary, Leonore Waldrip, Harlequin
Romantic Suspense: Cat Clyne, Sourcebooks
Paranormal Romance: Rebecca Strauss, DeFiore and Company
Historical Romance, Elizabeth Copps, Maria Carvainis Agency
Woman’s Fiction: Stephany Evans, Fine Print Literary Management
Young Adult: Laura Zats, Red Sofa Literary

Annual Alaska Break-Up Contest. Deadline May 1. Published authors welcome, but submitted manuscripts must be unpublished. Entry consists of all entries electronic; submit up to 10 pages of your manuscript's most tense argument, breakup, or black moment. A 3-page scene set-up may be included but will not be judged.  Open to all categories and heat levels.

Final Judge: Tessa Woodward, Editor at Avon Publishing.
Top Prize: Personal critique of the 10-page entry by NYT Bestselling Author Cherry Adair
Second Prize: Personal critique of the 10-page entry by a USA Today Bestselling Author.

The TARA. Deadline May 1, 2014 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. No entry can have been previously published in any format (on author’s website visible to the public, self-published, ebook, mass market, etc.). Entry consists of the first 4,500 words of a qualifying manuscript (actual word count). First and subsequent chapters up to the maximum entry word count of 4,500 words. No synopsis required in preliminary round.

Categories/Final Judges:
Category Romance – Karen Reid, Harlequin;
Inspirational – Raela Schoenherr, Bethany House Publishers;
Paranormal – Leis Pederson, The Berkley Publishing Group;
Romantic Suspense – Amanda Bergeron, Harper Collins;
Contemporary Single Title – Sue Grimshaw, Penguin/Random House;
Women’s Fiction – Katherine Pelz, The Berkley Publishing Group;
Historical – Kerri Buckley, Carina Press.

Unpublished Maggies now open!  Deadline:  June 10, 2014 by 10 p.m. (EDT) Entry to consist of synopsis and prologue (if applicable) and first chapter(s). Total number of pages may not exceed 35 per entry.

Single Title Romance
Esi Sogah-Senior Editor, Kensington Publishing

Contemporary Series Romance
Megan Long-Associate Editor, Harlequin Superromance

Inspirational Romance
Raela Schoenherr-Editor, Bethany House

Historical Romance
Katherine Pelz-Assistant Editor, Berkley

Paranormal Romance
Lauren McKenna-Executive Editor of Galley/Pocket

Young Adult
Holly Ingraham-Associate Editor, St. Martin’s

Novel with Strong Romantic Elements
Ellen Edwards-Executive Editor, NAL/Penguin

Erotic Romance
Kelli Collins-Senior Content Editor, Ellora’s Cave

Other Contests

If you were a Speedbo participant. (167 writers) and you meet the requirements, you are eligible to enter the Perfect Pitch Contest. Deadline is April 30th. Details here.

Meet our April Contest Diva, Connie Queen. (Appropriate name for a Diva!)

2008 Southern Heat 3rd place Historical
2009 Southern Heat 3rd place Historical
2009 SOLA Honorable mention Historical
2010 TARA 2nd place Inspirational
2010 Gotcha 2nd place Inspirational
2010 Fabulous Five Double finalist, 4th place and honorable mention Historical
2010 Enchanted Words 2nd place Historical
2011 Write Stuff 3rd place Historical
2012 Phoenix Rattler 2nd place (tied for first, lost tie breaker) Inspirational
2012 Southern Heat 1st place Inspirational

Warning: Contests can become addicting.

My first contest final was Husband’s May Run…But They Can’t Hide in the 2008 Southern Heat Contest. I framed my certificate and hung it on my wall—my own wall of fame. I didn’t complete that ms but started the next in the series, Thief by Night. The judges liked this story much better and in no time, I had placed in several contests and even gotten a couple of requests from editors to send in the completed manuscript. 

The problem was, I never finished this story either. Oh, I worked on it and wrote some here and there but made little progress. But the first 10 pages I had down! I made people cry! Break out the confetti and toot-horns. Somewhere in here family issues came up, VERY stressful issues. I couldn’t concentrate. But I could enter contests which validated my writing—and it was something positive in my life. 

Everything began to unravel when I entered the Phoenix Rattler. The final judge was a sought-after editor and a fantastic agent. The contest coordinator who informed me I had finaled, sounded excited like I had won something from the Publisher’s Clearing House Prize Patrol. My heart sank. I didn’t have a completed manuscript. 

I told myself I would work on it, but my heart wasn’t in it. Things were in upheaval at home, and now there was one more burden to weigh me down. I didn’t want to be one of those authors who never turned things in. By then, I had started working on book one again, thinking if I completed it, I could get into the book two.

Then I entered one more contest even though I knew I shouldn’t. (I was addicted to contests—they really should have a support group for people like me.) I entered Husbands May Run in the Southern Heat Contest again. It had never fared as well as Thief by Night anyway, but I fully intended on completing it.

About four or five months after placing in the Rattler, the editor wrote to see how I was coming along on my book. I told her the truth that I went back to the first book. By this time, I no longer felt like my writing was validated. I was a failure. Loser. Embarrassed. From that moment, no matter how tempting, I swore off contests until I had a complete book.

However, in June, I learned Husbands May Run finished first place in the Southern Heat Contest—my only first place win. Melissa Endlich requested a partial. I knew I couldn’t fail this time. If I did, I was quitting writing forever. That November I sent in the partial. Then in June of 2013, LIH requested the full. This book was in a mess, but I kept working on it and finally turned it in on February 1 of this year. I only lack about 15K to complete the second book and am working consistently on my Killer Voices ms.

Enter contests. Learn all you can. Enjoy your successes. But please don’t do what I did. FINISH THE BOOK.

Comment in Seekerville today for a chance to win a Shakespeare Love Quotes Mug.Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.

 That's it! Now go forth and contest!


  1. YES,Connie...I am waiting for your finished book!!!

  2. Hope you get those manuscripts finished--and SOLD, Connie.

    There's coffee, coffee, and more coffee.

  3. Wow, Connie! Look at that contest list! Congrats on your finals/wins and on the requests!

    Tina, thanks for the contest update.

  4. Well done Connie.

    I love the tulips make me happy. I got a belated birthday gift today which is going towards tulip bulbs.

    I got to judge in the Carolyn readers choice awards and it was so cool.

  5. Connie is so close to a first sale she's dangling her feet off the edge of the boat that takes you from Unpubbed Island to the Mainland.

    Go, CONNIE!!!

  6. Thanks for inspiration Connie! I applaud you for never giving up. How did you celebrate when you finally wrote "The End" on your first book?

  7. Nice work, Connie. WOW!
    ...the next step for you is hearing you have a contract!

    I love the TARA and the Maggies. Great opportunities to get work in front of a Bethany Editor!! I told myself 'no more contests' but I do obsess over this list every month...


  8. Connie, life does get in your face, doesn't it? I wish I was more like you...I want to enter contests, but I refuse to until I have my novel finished. And I can't seem to get there...

    The contest wins you have under your belt shows me that you have what it takes to be a good writer.

    Really good.

    I hope you can find the strength and maybe some help to work around the issues that are stealing your writing time. :-) Good luck and thank you for sharing with us

  9. Impressive Connie! So, do you need a support team to finish those books? Look no furthere! We're here for you!!

    Great Contest Update, Tina!!

  10. Connie, congrats!

    Thanks for the great contest list.

    Do you think it's smart for an unpublished author to enter contests open to both published and unpublished authors? OR should I focus more on contests only open to unpublished?

    Have a great weekend!

  11. There are some great contests here. Thanks for sharing, Tina! I'm looking at which ones I might want to enter. :)

    Congratulations on being the CONTEST DIVA, Connie! I love your story. Yes, contests ARE addicting! Once i finaled in one, I wanted to keep submitting and final in more. :) I also understand the not finishing the book part. Congrats on the full request from LI. That's exciting. And good incentive to finish your books, and finish them well. I can't wait to read more from you!

  12. I totally forgot today was the day! I'm looking at Twitter where Mary Connealy posted about the contest update...

  13. Thanks HELEN...I'm working on it. It's like getting that dreaded ms completed opened the flood gates. I feel like I can do anything now.

  14. Thanks HELEN...I'm working on it. It's like getting that dreaded ms completed opened the flood gates. I feel like I can do anything now.

  15. Thanks Missy, Jenny, and Tina.

    Marianne, hopefully one day.

    LeAnne,I didn't do anything big except breathe. I felt like I had lost 20 pounds. My husband took me out to eat but nothing was better than yelling, "I finished!"

  16. I hope I get a contract DEBRA. I'm working on the Killer Voices ms right now. We only have until June to complete it.

    MARY HICKS, I had this book half-way complete when I started entering contests, but then I started changing everything with the feedback I received. I lost my story. If you enter contests, just make sure you can finish by the time the results are in and you should have no problems.

  17. Congratulations, Connie! Cheers to you for pushing yourself. If you need more nagging ... uh ... encouragement ... just let us know. We're good at that :-)

    Nancy C

  18. I want to win that mug!!! :-) I always loved Shakespeare, but have been surprised that my daughter does NOT like Shakespeare. Go figure. Maybe this mug would make her appreciate him more. LOL!

    Contests can be addicting, Connie. You are so right. I had to get a part-time job just to pay for my contest habit, back when I was entering so many. Now my writing pays the bills. Don't you love how God can turn things around?

  19. Thanks so much for this list of contests. I love that so much of that type of information is available here.

    Connie, I feel like I can totally relate...I like to enter contests, and I can see how they can become addicting.

    My "addiction" is shorter writing projects--projects with faster payoffs than writing a novel. :P If I'd stop being detoured by those, I'd make progress on my novel.

    Thanks for this post. It inspires me to not give up on that novel!

  20. AUDRA, Seekerville has been awesome. Where else would you here to put on your big girl panties? Everyone here are great supporters.

    JACKIE, Part of that depends on you're wanting. If you just want feedback, it doesn't really matter. But if you want to get a judge's attention and you're going against published authors, I'd think your chances were less of getting into the top. But maybe not if you ms wows them.

  21. Thanks for a story that gives all of us newbies the motivation to keep trying.
    Would love the Shakespeare mug!

  22. I agree, contests are addicting! Even if you don't final, the feedback is usually super helpful :)

  23. There is nothing so satisfying at typing THE END.

    I wish many, many THE ENDs in all of your futures.

  24. JEANNE... My writing goal for 2010 was to enter a contest every month. I think I entered eleven that year. LOL. "I wanted to keep submitting and final in more." Exactly!

    MELANIE...I love it when writers go the extra mile to get off the island, like getting the extra job to pay for the contests. And it paid off!

    JENNIFER...I can't help but think of quilting when you said your addiction is writing shorter projects. I've made like 2 full-size quilts and started several others. I finally started making wall-size hanging ones and found that I like them much better. I'm not good with delayed gratification.

  25. I love tulips!

    Thanks for the contest update, Tina. Always appreciated! Always helps to keep me on track...which is a constant challenge. :)

    Way to go, Connie! Look at all your success! Woot! You rock.


    How are our Killer Voices folks doing? Fingers crossed for all of you! Keep us posted.

  26. Congrats CONNIE QUEEN

    Best wishes to all contestants.

  27. CONNIE, my darling girl, congratulations for your diva-hood! I am happy to share my Seekerville queendom with you!

  28. What a fabulous contest track record, CONNIE! And LIH requested a full!!!! You go, girl!!!

  29. thanks for sharing your experience Connie, now I aim to actually finish something myself. extra kick in pants is being part of the Killer Voice contest as well (me, panic? uh... yeah)

    deadlines help me though. going for that big THE END

    your story is inspiring and a good lesson learned example. awesome that you finished your book. yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. What a list of contests, Connie! Congrats on placing first! I know how hard it is to finish a ms. After my first three, I started more than I should probably admit to, but never got past 60K at the most. Thankfully, I've finally knocked that habit. The Genesis contest's requirement that the ms be completed helped a lot with that. If I wanted to enter, I had to finish the ms. Lot of incentive.

    Great lineup of contests! I'll be looking into several of those unpublished ones!

  31. Debby
    about to send my synopsis in. just waiting for last feedback from people who reviewed it for me. (hi peeps, THANKS!!!!!!!)

    then on to finishing/polishing those first three chapters.

  32. Question: so are you recommending entering contests before you finish a ms or wait until you have it 'complete'?



  33. Stephanie, the key to entering a contest before your manuscript is finished is to know how fast you can finish if you get a request.

    First book? Don't do it. You have no idea how fast you can write.

    If your home situation is not one where you can CLEAR THE DECKS to finish that manuscript if it is requested, don't do it.

    It's a gamble.

    But it's far worse to have a request and never fulfill it than to never get a request.

    You have to decide.

  34. The Grammar Queen is sharing her crown. Be very worried.

  35. Not the crown itself, dear TINA, only the territory. Seekerville is certainly big enough to support additional royalty.

    As long as you remember who has seniority.

  36. Now, that said, Stephanie....(I gave you a few minutes to digest that info)...


    GUILTY. Hand raised. If you are guilty of entering a contest and not having a complete manuscript or not finishing that manuscript. RAISE YOUR HAND!!

  37. Olivia, just keep writing. You'll get there.

    Courtney, sometimes I'd get a judge that would offer great suggestions and I wished they could just keep reading the whole thing.

    Thanks Sandra and Debby. And I just hit send on my synopsis Debby. During Speedbo I was able to get almost all my rough draft. I'm paranoid now about not finishing. And I've been reading The Agent's Secret Past. Love it. My daughter read it first and then grabbed your other books from my shelf.

  38. Thanks SANDRA and MYRA.

    DEBh... Don't you love how the Killer Voices contest is set up? They're giving us enough time to write, but not much.

    CRYSTAL...60 K sounds good to me. I'm glad you learned to work past it. And I'd say the Genesis made that requirement because of too many people like me...

  39. Thanks Jackie Smith.

    Stephanie, I agree w/Tina. After the first request, I should've stopped entering and started writing.

    Grammar Queen...I find it difficult to share w/so many imitations. People who clearly don't have the title Queen take up all the good internet names. Can be trying at best.

  40. Loved the photos of tulips! I check outside everyday to see if mine are coming up, but nothing yet :)

    What a contest list, Connie! Good for you!

    And good luck to everyone else entering contests!

  41. Connie, congratulations on Diva Queen and finishing that novel. I'm impressed by all those successes with contests and encouraged to see that you didn't give up the dream. I agree you can sometimes lose your story when following feedback. So the need to be selective in what to apply to your work. That's easier said than done, right? I write short romantic stories. I don't write strictly romance novels, but enjoy reading them My hat's off to those who do. Still, I check the list of upcoming contests. Does anyone have info on whether there'll be a Phoenix Rattler this year? It's been two years since the last. Aside from the Genesis and FI historical category this one was a good contest for me to enter. Thank you, Tina, for this list each month. And I love the mug.

  42. Connie, congratulations on Diva Queen and finishing that novel. I'm impressed by all those successes with contests and encouraged to see that you didn't give up the dream. I agree you can sometimes lose your story when following feedback. So the need to be selective in what to apply to your work. That's easier said than done, right? I write short romantic stories. I don't write strictly romance novels, but enjoy reading them My hat's off to those who do. Still, I check the list of upcoming contests. Does anyone have info on whether there'll be a Phoenix Rattler this year? It's been two years since the last. Aside from the Genesis and FI historical category this one was a good contest for me to enter. Thank you, Tina, for this list each month. And I love the mug.

  43. Great post as always :D. I'm done contesting until fall probably [finances and all] and [let's be honest]I'm hoping not to be eligible for much longer ;).

    Hubs had the day off work today and we spent our morning with a very cranky 12yo and picking out glasses before going out for lunch [twice in the last 2-3 weeks!!!]. Now I'm off to get ready to head over to the Called to Write conference - not to confer but because it's not far and I have friends there :D. Hoping to meet Christina Rich for the first time.

    Plus, I'm still smarting over the GH non-final :/. And a month before Genesis semi announcements...

    Not that I'm counting...

  44. Okay, I must share. I just spend an hour and a half having breakfast with Marianne Barkman.

    I am full of good food, good fellowship and now cinnamon rolls.

    The best Friday, ever!!!

  45. Congrats on being a CONTEST DIVA, Connie! :)

  46. PAT DAVIS...I just went to the Phoenix Rattler page. Here's what they had to say; We are redesigning the Rattler Contest and hope to have a Winter 2014 contest (instead of Fall 2013)

    So there you go. It's never too early to get your entry ready.

    Thanks PAM!

  47. Connie,
    Your writing must be not only strong, but have that magical something special to not only have so many contest finals, but to have an editor check back months later to see how your m/s is progressing?! Color me impressed. Life's stresses may have thrown you a curve ball and delayed your writing path, but it sounds like your perseverance is about to pay off. Good luck with both the LIH full and Killer Voices!

    Thanks for the contest update, Tina! A wealth of information.

  48. You're welcome, Pat Jeanne!!! Good to see you!

  49. Here you the world not full of coincidences?? I just joined CWOW and went to my first meeting. They put on the Phoenix Rattler.

  50. Congrats on being the Diva, Connie!! And yep, sounds like you are REALLY close to that first sale!

    Tina, thanks for faithfully posting all the contests--wow!

    I need some of Helen's coffee - - even though it's late afternoon, I need coffee desperately!! ;)
    Hugs, Patti Jo

  51. I need to get brave and enter a contest! Haha


  52. LEE, I've had plenty of low scores in contests. Sometimes it's just a good match for the judges. I remember one judge who wrote, "And thank goodness this wasn't another Victorian!" I write western. :)

    Thanks Patty Jo.

  53. No guts, no glory. Go Christen. You can do it.

  54. And you are welcome, Lee! What's next after finaling in the GH???

  55. Thanks, Diva Connie and Tina, for getting back on Rattler contest. I've gone to CWOC site again. When I saw the announcement way back last summer, I discovered the contest had been postponed for autumn but was expecting it to open for entries sometime last winter. Glad for the clarification. Yes, gives me plenty of time to get those first 10 pages ready from a new novel. Again, many thanks. They're so fortunate to have you as part of their chapter, Tina. Good to hear about your meeting and breakfast with Marianne. Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

  56. Connie Queen, I loved reading your story. I can relate to those feelings so well.

    This is a business that can kind of beat you down if you let it, but what I always clung to... besides GOD!!!!! Alpha and Omega Dude!!!!... was that it's truly subjective. And if I kept on writing and truly worked at improving, eventually someone would take pity on me!!!

    AND THEY DID!!!!!

    You have every reason to be proud, but also to be just plain old-fashioned satisfied. What a lovely thing to be almost done with book two, finalling in Killer Voices.

    I'm just stinkin' proud of you.

  57. Alright. I need that coffee mug. (If I don't win, where do I get it?)

  58. I'm staring at the TARA and the Maggies, but Ms. Schoenherr is going to get sick of me.

  59. Aww, thanks for the kind words RUTHY. Now looking back, I don't know if it would've been a good time in my life if I had written those books even if I had received a contract. I had important things to deal with that didn't need to be set aside. I just hope my name isn't mud w/those editors.

    Thanks Pat. :)

  60. Tina Radcliffe said...
    If you are guilty of entering a contest and not having a complete manuscript or not finishing that manuscript. RAISE YOUR HAND!!


    In my defense - ahem - it never dawned on me that a manuscript might be completed before entering the first three chapters/whatever in a contest.

    I was focusing on the feedback because I wanted to know if what I was writing was even worth pursuing. Then the rules for one of the contests I wanted to enter said the manuscript MUST be complete.


    But really. I mean ... like ... who knew? I was a newbie. I wasn't so much guilty as ... uninformed. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

    Nancy C

  61. I was not uninformed and I did it. GUILTY!!! Blatantly guilty.

  62. Connie, Congratulations on your contest achievements and your full request.

    Look forward to hearing updates on future writing endeavors.

  63. Congratulations, Diva Connie! Great advice to FINISH the book. Sounds like you are on the right path with God's timing and your hard work. Yay!

    Tina, thanks for the contest update......tempting......!

  64. I'm getting in here late, but I want to say congrats to you Connie on all of your contest success and being named contest diva! I'm more than willing to give you a kick in the backside over on FB if you need a push in the 1K group! Finish for the Killer Voices! You can do it! :)

  65. Oooh, I look forward to hearing more about the Rattler contest updates. They will always have a special place in my heart.

  66. Thanks for sharing. I've just started and I'm already addicted.
    I'm finally starting to look at contests analytically-check score sheets, check whether the lowest score is dropped, all that good stuff-as opposed to just hitting send on the entry form :)