Saturday, April 2, 2016

Writing Contests - Why They Work by Denise Devine



I received an email yesterday from the Great Expectations Contest with a list of their winners and I have included it at the bottom of this post along all with all the reasons why I believe contests are a good thing.
 
If you are unpublished, there are some very good reasons to enter contests.
 
1.  You will get valuable feedback on your entry from published authors
2.  If your manuscript gets into the final round, it will be judged by editors and agents
3.  This is a fast way to get to the top of the slush pile and get your work read by a major publisher
4.  If the editor judging your manuscript wants to see more, she will request it
5.  Many people have received offers from editors to buy their books through contests
6.  Contest finals and wins are a great testimony to put on your website/blog
7.  Contest critiques are an excellent way to prepare your manuscript for the Golden Heart
8.  Even if you belong to a critique group, this is one way to test the waters with your manuscript
9.  Receiving critiques from total strangers will teach you to accept constructive criticism and learn by it
10.If you are open to learn, this is an excellent way to fine tune your skills as a writer

Look at the contest results below and notice all of the manuscripts that were requested by the final round judges. The contest sounded familiar, so I looked in my scrapbook of all the contests I have won or placed and (some years ago) I took first place in this one! I received a hand-written note from the coordinator, a certificate and a purple ribbon for the win. Other contests gave me jewelry and one even gave back my entry fee!

But most of all, I received valuable feedback from anonymous published authors that helped me hone my writing skills. I didn't do very well in the first few contests I entered, but I listened to the feedback and made changes to my manuscripts. Eventually I began making the finals and started winning. Those small victories gave me the energy and the determination to keep writing. Then in 2008 I made the Golden Heart finals and doors began slamming open all over the place for me. It was tough reading those first critiques because I wasn't used to receiving such detailed criticism, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me because it was good, practical advice that I needed to become a better writer. If more than one judge pointed out the same error, I knew I needed to study that area. Don't misunderstand me; it wasn't all hearts and flowers. I expected my judges to tell me how wonderful I was and instead I found out I had a lot to learn! Over time I developed a thick skin to such things and accepted the fact that you never stop learning as a writer. No matter how good you think you are, you will always run into someone who is smarter, more gifted and more successful than you. Learn all you can from them. The moment you think you know it all is the moment your career as an author begins to decline.

PERMISSION TO FORWARD GRANTED AND ENCOURAGED

The North Texas Chapter of Romance Writers of America is proud to announce…

The 2016 Great Expectations Contest Winners!

Denotes Request for Partial Manuscript *
Denotes Request for Full Manuscript **

CONTEMPORARY SERIES ROMANCE
Final Editor:  Karen Reid, Associate Editor, Harlequin Publishing
First Place:  Shell of a Chance, by Tanya Agler **
Second Place:  The Brothers of Brigadier Station, by Sarah Williams **
Third Place:  Higher Learning, by Seana Kelly **
Honorable Mention:  Faking His FiancĂ©e, by Jessica Davidson*

HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Final Editor:  Gabrielle (Elle) Keck, Editorial Assistant, HarperCollins
First Place:  My Lord Mercenary, by Trace Hemming *
Second Place:  The Lost Letter, by Mimi Matthews
Third Place:  Lord James' Challenge, by Evelyn Alexie
Honorable Mention:  Taming the Earl, by Elizabeth King

INSPIRATIONAL  ROMANCE
Final Editor:  Raela Schoenherr, Acquisitions Editor, Bethany House
First Place:  Honorable Intentions, by Michele Morris *
Second Place:  The Thief's Redemption, by Connie Queen
Third Place:  Love Never Fails, by Lorri Dudley
Honorable Mention:  15 Days, by Rebekah Millet

MAINSTREAM WITH ROMANTIC ELEMENTS
Final Editor:  Marla Daniels, Assistant Editor, Simon & Schuster, Inc.
First Place:  Off-the-Grid in the Tropics, by Mindy Miller **
Second Place:  Happily Ever Afters, by Rachel Magee
Third Place:  Lady Jane Lives, by Angie Dicken
Honorable Mention:  A Town Called Hope, by Abby Gaines

NEW ADULT
Final Editor:  Julie Mianecki, Assistant Editor, Berkley Publishing Group
First Place:  Heartfall, by Diana Beebe
Second Place:  Saving Grace, by JoAnn Sky *
Third Place (Tied):  Crossing the Lines, by JoAnna Grace
The Mercy Killers, by Jessica Grace Kelley

ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
Final Editor:  Alex Logan, Senior Editor, Grand Central Publishing
First Place:  In the Wrong Sights, by Tracy Brody **
Second Place:  Deadly Secrets, by Lynn Balabanos
Third Place:  Thrill of the Chase, by Shelly Alexander
Honorable Mention:  Smoke and Secrets, by Nikki Brock

SINGLE TITLE ROMANCE
Final Editor:  Madeleine Colavita, Associate Editor, Grand Central Publishing
First Place:  Welcome Home, Katie Gallagher, by Seana Kelly
Second Place:  Season Pass, by LS Rhoades
Third Place:  Murphy's Secret, by Becke Turner
Honorable Mention:  Eire Ever After, by Jeanne M. Dickson

SPECIALIZED ROMANCE (Alternate Earth, Dystopian, Fantasy, Futuristic, Paranormal, Time Travel)
Final Editor: Kristine Swartz, Assistant Editor, Berkley Publishing Group
First Place:  Rolf's Quest, by Aubrey Wynne *
Second Place:  Sanctuary, by Seana Kelly
Third Place:  Rain Goddess, by Amanda Byrd
Honorable Mention:  Beneath Us, by Michelle Joyce Bond

YOUNG ADULT
Final Editor:  Alice Jerman, Assistant Editor, HarperCollins
First Place:  Soren's Resistance, by Christine Gunderson
Second Place (Tied):  Mom I Married a Highlander, by Lana Pattinson
The True Ones, by Nina Bangs
Third Place:  Resistance, by Linda J. Parisi

Congratulations to our winners and good luck on your road to publication!

 

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