Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Contests: Testing the Waters

October 11 is the deadline to enter the Linda Howard Award of Excellence.  Last year, I entered. It was my first contest, and it was a fantastic experience.  The entry fee was reasonable, and I received constructive and supportive feedback.  Not only did I receive great critiques, but I also had an opportunity to have my manuscript reviewed by an editor for one of my dream publishers.  I cannot encourage people enough to participate in this contest.

As a result of the positive experience I had with the Linda Howard Award of Excellence, I started looking at other contests.  But there are so many. How do I know which ones to enter? I'm tight with a dollar, and it is difficult to know which of the dozens and dozens contests are right for me.  This could easily turn expensive.   My primary criteria have been the final round judges and cost.  If the judge is an agent or editor who I would love to place eyeballs on my writing, I am much more likely to enter the contest.  However, I'm not willing to pay $75 for the chance.  Call me cheap. I won't deny it.

I would love to hear everyone's contest opinions, pro and con, as well as recommendations of contests where they've have positive experiences.

Oh, and if I forgot to mention it, the deadline to enter the Linda Howard Award of Excellence ( is October 11.  Why are you reading this blog?  Shouldn't you be getting your entry ready?  Go on now . . . get to entering!


Carla Swafford said...

I pick contests with several things in mind, 1) who the final judge is. Yes. I try to think positive. 2) No synopsis (I'm terrible at them. I have a hard time showing the romance in them.) One of the great things about the Linda Howard AoE. Wish I could enter, but that would look funny, being the contest coordinator and all. 3) Score sheets. I look for one with questions I know I score big in. 4) Drop lowest score. Love those type. (LH AoE does that) 5) I like the ones who have more the 3 finalists. (LH AoE has 5) 6) I like seeing where I place in contest. Few contests have that anymore. I can see if I placed fourth (If they have only 3) or last. :-)

Carla Swafford said...

Oh, and cost. I agree. That's a biggy. Thank goodness, LH AoE is only $20 for chapter members and $25 for RWA members. That's a steal considering many contests have gone up to $30. Geez! That's greedy considering they no longer have to mail any of it (except maybe to a final judge).

Plus if you judge the contest, you get $5 off that.

Sorry, my inner salesperson is showing. It is what I do for a living, sorta.

Heather said...

Did we mention that the deadline to enter the LH AoE is October 11?

Jeanie said...

Contests are a great way to find out if you're on the right track with your writing. Where else can you get constructive feedback on your story from editors and agents when you're on the climb to publication? And we writers in the romance field are lucky to have sooooo many wonderful contests from which to choose, many of which are affordable. I also had a very positive experience in the Linda Howard last year. It's a great contest that I heartily recommend.

Christine said...

Final editor/agent judge wins hands down for me. If I need feedback, I go to the CPs :-)