Seriously folks, only 117 days left to DIVA this year.
Time to get your inner Diva/Diva in gear. Share your contest goals, or if a reader just say hi for a chance to win a ten page critique for a writer. For a reader, a chance to win a copy of any Seeker book currently available or available for pre-order on Amazon- for Kindle or in print. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.
CONTESTS: This month we have combined categories as there are no current contests for published authors only. Red type indicates contests are open to published and unpublished authors. Personally, I think we are going to see many changes to contests as they struggle to compete for your $ in a publishing world where there are many more options.
Gateway to the Best. Deadline September 5. Entry: submit up to the first 7000 words (approx 25-28 pages) of manuscript.
Contemporary Series AND Single Title/Mainstream Romance
Editor: Latoya Smith - Grand Central
Agent: Nicole Rescenti - The Seymour Agency
Editor: Kathyrn Pelz - Berkley
Agent: Jessica Watterson - Sandra Dijkstra
Editor: Kerri Buckley - Carina
Agent: Jim McCarthy - Dystel & Goderich Literary Management
Editor: Patience Bloom - Harlequin
Agent: Mary Sue Seymour - The Seymour Agency
Agent: Michelle Grajkowski - 3 Seas Literary Agency
The Stiletto Contest for Unpublished Contemporary Romantic Fiction. Deadline September 5. Entry consists of the first 25 pages. All authors, regardless of publishing status, are welcome to enter this contest. All authors must be at least 18 years of age.Submitted manuscripts must be new, original works of fiction that have not been published, self-published, or contracted to be published.
Single Title Contemporary Romance (70,000 words and up)
Final Judge: Amanda Bergeron, Editor, Avon Romance
Single Title Contemporary Erotic Romance (70,000 words and up)
Final Judge: Christa Desir, Editor, Samhain Publishing
Short Contemporary Romance (40,000 – 70,000 words)
Final Judge: Alethea Spiridon Hopson, Editorial Director of Indulgence, Entangled
Contemporary Novel with Strong Romantic Elements (60,000 words and up)
Final Judge: Allison Carroll, Editor, Harlequin HQN
Young Adult Contemporary Romance (50,000 words and up)*
Final Judge: Margo Lipschultz, Editor, Harlequin Teen
Young Adult Contemporary Novel with Romantic Elements (50,000 words and up)*
Final Judge: Elizabeth Poteet, Assistant Editor, St. Martin’s Press
New Adult Contemporary Romance (70,000 words and up)
Final Judge: Nicole Fischer, Editor, William Morrow Books
*The Stiletto Contest reserves the right to combine these categories if less than 10 entries per category are entered.
Melody of Love Contest. Deadline September 7. Eligibility: published and non-published. Entry consists of the first chapter (up to 25 pages) of unpublished novel-length manuscript (40,000+) including prologue, if applicable.
Danielle Burby - Agent at HSG Literary Agency
Angela James - Acquiring editor at Carina Press
Victoria Lowes - Agent at The Bent Agency
Brenda Chin - Acquiring editor at ImaJinn Books
Cindy Brannam - Acquiring editor at Soul Mate Publishing
Heidi Moore - Acquiring editor at Samhain Publishing
Janet Clementz - Acquiring editor at Soul Mate Publishing
Eric Ruben - Agent at Eric Ruben Literary Agency
Mary Altman - Acquiring editor at Sourcebooks
Mandy Hubbard - Agent at D4EO Literary Agency
Lauri Wellington - Acquiring editor at Black Opal Books
Kathryn Hayes “We Need a Hero” Contest. Deadline September 8.
Eligibility: Authors unpublished in romance as of September 8, 2014 and self-published authors. Entry: A maximum of 20 pages that show your hero in the best light as well as a brief synopsis (two pages maximum, not judged) to set up submission. Electronic entries only.
Final Judge: Cat Clyne, editor, Sourcebooks.
Four Seasons. Deadline September 30. Open to unpublished writers and to any author who has not been contracted or published in the past five years in any novel-length work of fiction (40,000 + words) in any format (e-book, mass market, etc) to include self-published works. Entry consists of first 25 pages.
2014 Final Judges:
Editor: Leah Hultenschmidt, Grand Central Publishing
Agent: Jita Fumich, Folio Literary Agency
Single Title Contemporary
Editor: Michelle Meade, MIRA
Agent: Sara Megibow, Nelson Literary Agency
Editor: Kristine Swartz, Berkley Publishing
Agent: Michelle Grajkowski, Three Seas Literary Agency
Editor: Aubrey Poole, Sourcebooks
Agent: Sarah Negovetich, Corvisiero Agency
Editor: Elizabeth Mazer, Harlequin Love Inspired
Agent: Amanda Luedeke, MacGregor Literary
Editor: Dana Hamilton, Harlequin Intrigue Agent:
Victoria Lowes, The Bent Agency
UPDATE! The SYTYCW Contest info has been updated. Harlequin So You Think You Can Write Web Page. Mini Conference and Contest Launch this month.
"Join us the week of September 15 – 19 for our 24/7 online conference AKA Harlequin’s boot camp for writers. Exercise those writing muscles with an intensive workout packed with blogs, live chats, writing challenges, Twitter events and more. You’ll meet over 50 Harlequin Editors ready to coach you, answer questions and get your book in shape. Watch for the conference calendar coming soon!
2014 SYTYCW Writing Contest Details
Beginning September 22 at 10am EST you can submit the First Chapter (5000 words max) of your romance story plus a 100-Word Pitch to the series you have targeted. The pitch should outline the concept, plot, characters, conflict and setting. You must target one of our 18 eligible series.
All First Chapter submissions will be posted for everyone to read and add comments in the space provided. Last day for submissions is October 1. Don’t delay…submit your chapter right away so more people—including the editors–will see it! "
Other Writing Contests
WD Short Short Story Competition. Early bird deadline is November 17. Deadline is December 15. Think you can write a winning story in less than 1,500 words? Enter the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition for your chance to win $3,000 in cash, get published in Writer’s Digest magazine, and a paid trip to our ever-popular Writer’s Digest Conference! The winning entries will be on display in the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition Collection.
The Seventh Annual Life Lessons Essay Contest. This contest begins at 12:01 A.M. Eastern Time (ET) on May 9, 2014, and ends at 11:50 P.M. ET on September 18, 2014.
Have you ever had a eureka moment? Tell us about it.Think back on the instant when everything became clear. The split second when you realized that you had chosen the right career. Or the moment when you knew that your dearest friendship would last forever. Whether your epiphany changed your life or just made your day, write it down and share it with us.
Enter Real Simple’s seventh annual Life Lessons Essay Contest and you could have your essay published in Real Simple and receive a prize of $3,000.
Seekerville introduces this month's Contest Diva: Cindy Regnier
Top 10 Finalist in the 2012 Family Fiction Create Romance Short Story Contest
Top 50 Family Fiction “The Story 2014”
2014 Finalist in the Faith Hope and Love Chapter of Romance Writers of America Touched by Love contest – 2nd place Historical Category
2014 Finalist, Lone Star Contest, Northwest Houston RWA, Inspirational Category
2014 Finalist, Pages From the Heart, From the Heart Romance Writers RWA Chapter 177, Inspirational Category
It’s All About Conflict
Contest results show up in my inbox. Do I open it? Maybe I should wait. No, I can’t stand it. I have to open them now. This is what I find:
No editor will pick it up.
This seems to be a story that would fit well in the CBA.
Poorly constructed sentences. Good spelling, average punctuation.
The author has a good command of grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
There is so much description, it takes away from the story instead of advancing it forward.
The author includes many sensory details. These help me see the scene.
The dialogue is stilted at times and doesn't flow in a manner that's always believable.
This writer does a great job with the dialogue, and that makes the writing pretty strong.
Some of it is good, but it all needs work. The characters are flat at this point. There is very little for their dialogue to reveal.
The characters are unique and really add to the story. Their dialogue is great.
I am concerned that your synopsis does not hold enough conflict to carry a book of this size.
The synopsis lets us know there is a good setup for conflict.
Score 57 of 100
Score 91 of 100
These are actual comments I received from judges in a recent contest. Same contest, same story, different judges. Frustrating! I enjoy entering contests. I take seriously the feedback and suggestions I receive. But what to do when you get conflicting opinions?
I guess I understand. Sort of. Most books with a five-star review on amazon also have a one- star review. Someone loved it and someone else, not so much. It’s subjective, a matter of opinion. But that insight doesn’t make the dilemma any easier to resolve, so I’ve devised a plan for sifting through contest feedback. The ‘Cindy method’ may not work for everyone, but this is what I do:
1. Weigh each comment or suggestion individually rather than as part of a whole. The judge ‘loved my story’ or ‘hated my story’ is not a good place to start.
2. I then try to step out of my author shoes and into a reader’s footwear. If I were reading my story for the first time, would the judge’s suggestion make it better?
3. If I answer ‘yes’, I change it. If not, I don’t.
Some of the best editing advice I ever got was from my friend Jackie Layton. I’m paraphrasing, but basically she told me that until I sell this story, it is mine. I have the final say-so of what I change and what I don’t. If I want to make the change, then go for it to the best of my ability. If not, leave it as is and the judge will never know.
And I take it a step further. The Author of the Universe has instilled in me the desire to write. I write the words He gives me and surrender them to be used for His glory. I’m writing for the Lord, not a judge. I need only surrender the words to Him. Anyway, He’s a much better editor than some crotchety old judge.
So next time you bomb at what you know you are called to do, remember it’s only a contest and one person’s opinion. Use what you want and forget the rest. Then enter that next contest with the new and improved version and say a little prayer before you hit the submit button. That simple. What‘s your method for dealing with conflicting contest feedback? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
That's it for this month! Now go forth and contest!