Archive for the ‘Writing Contests’ Category

looseidcontestFor authors who don’t want to invest a lot of time on a manuscript contest without knowing they’ve got a shot at winning, here’s a new contest where the writing and judging are done in stages. Loose Id has announced their “Hot Hooks” competition.

What is it: A multi-stage contest to find the hottest stories with the hottest hooks.
What’s a hook? A unique premise, clever idea, or new twist on old trope.
Who can enter: Anyone not employed by or working for Loose Id. Current Loose Id authors, however, may enter.

Entrants start by entering a blurb of 250 words for an erotic story in any genre of 30K+ words. Loose Id’s in-house editing team selects the top twenty, and then visitors to the publisher’s site pick the top ten. The top ten then submit the first 1000 words of their manuscripts which are judged by the editors. Of those, the top five are asked to submit their full manuscripts by February 1, 2010.

The winner receives a publishing contract, while the remaining four in the top five win critiques of their full manuscripts. According to a survey by Marianne LeCroix, titles from Loose Id sell well for their authors, with 52.6% self-reporting that they make between $1K-$5K per year on one title.

Remember, however, that Loose Id publishes erotica only, so all entries must communicate a high heat level.

We’re looking for stories that unleash the power of fantasy and the id. New twists on old favorites, both erotic and romantic. Whether it’s that hotass cop and the speeder he pulled over, a threesome with your two best gay friends, anonymous sex with the guy you saw pumping gas, capture fantasy, sex slavery, cowboy and city slicker, secret babies, secretary and sheikh, we want stories that tap specific reader fantasies and make them as erotic as the plotline will support.

Be sure to take a glance at their submission guidelines before entering.


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Is inspirational romance your writing niche? Check out the “Hearts Crossing” Story Contest at White Rose Publishing. This Christian romance sister site to The Wild Rose and Wilder Rose Presses will offer an eBook publishing contract to the winner of the competition.


Similar to the current “Cover Seeks Author” writing competition at Pink Petal Books, contest entrants are instructed to draw inspiration from a pre-prepared book cover with the title “Hearts Crossing.” The only thing missing from the cover is the winning author’s name. In a twist on this type of competition, authors must first fill in the blanks in a synopsis provided by the publisher, and then write a novella based on the customized storyline they create.

The basic rules:

  • Finished word-length must be between 20,000 and 25,000
  • Story must be have a contemporary setting
  • Must be an original, never-before published work, and you must own the rights to it.
  • Entries must not stray from the synopsis except where blanks are left for you to fill in.
  • Your hero and heroine must look like the couple on the cover
  • Entries must arrive on or before 30 September  2009

The winner’s novella will be released in 2010 by White Rose. Complete rules, plus the synopsis, are included on the contest page. It’s advised to take a peek at the publisher’s normal submission guidelines before entering, since these also apply.

One caveat: though I like the idea of story-specific writing contests—what author wouldn’t love to see their name on a gorgeous cover—such competitions have just one winner. What will you do with your finished novella if you aren’t that winner? Luckily, the synopsis plot in this case is general enough so that unique and different stories have the potential to emerge, but in order to sell your novella elsewhere, be prepared to do some revision.

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Pink Petal BooksIt may be disguised as a competition, but it’s still a bona fide opportunity for romance writers. eBook publisher Pink Petal Books recently announced a Covers Seeking Authors contest on their website.

Mock-ups of two romance novel/novella covers are posted on the site to serve as inspiration for authors to submit stories of at least 25K words that fit the titles “Beautiful Release” or “Storm Surge.” Deadline to submit your manuscript is Halloween.

Two manuscripts will be chosen from those entered and their authors given standard contracts with Pink Petal Books.

Good luck!

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God, I wish I could have gone to Nationals.

Sitting in my living room with my laptop last night reading the play-by-play action at the RITA and Golden Heart 2009 ceremonies on twitter (#rwa09), I could see how amazing it would be to be in the audience. Between Anne Stuart’s Buzzkill to Bling transformation onstage—recapped by Jane at Dear Author—to Gwen Cready’s acceptance for her win in Paranormal Romance—she told the audience she began writing when her sister passed away, and left everyone in tears—to Nora Roberts and her editor, Leslie Gelbman of Putnam, walking hand-in-hand up to the stage to accept the RITA, it sounds like quite the night.

If, like me, you couldn’t make it to Nationals this year, let’s vow to get our collective acts together and head to Nashville in 2010! In the meantime, check out these links to RWA wrap-ups and tidbits:

Neith over at Romance Divas was kind enough to point me toward the mother load of RWA Nationals 2009 photos, uploaded by Emily at Scorched Sheets.

Smart Bitches’ Sarah Wendell has a list of overheard snatches of conversation at the conference (examples: “I’m pitching Leprechaun shifter romance. Just the right height for gettin’ lucky,” and “Oh, yeah, that nipple was way too big for the cover.”)

Blogging National has done a top-notch job of gathering links to various RWA attendees blogging about their experiences at the conference. I highly recommend you head on over there for the many photos and first hand narratives.

Lastly, though it was written at the start of the conference, I didn’t have a chance to post a link earlier to Michelle Buonfiglio’s blog post, “H2H, RWA and the Digital Divide: It’s All About the Shoes,” at Buns & Noodle’s (excuse me B&N.com) new blog “Heart to Heart.” Buonfiglio’s post includes some very thoughtful remarks about the current skirmish within RWA over ePub authors being excluded from competing in the RITAs.

Kind of funny to think that the RITAs don’t accept submissions of books published solely in digital format, especially when one considers that the, oh, what are those thingies called again? Oh, yeah, the Pulitzer Prizes and Edward R. Murrow Awards both accept submissions of digital content.

True, with the changes to the RITA rules instituted during Nationals, the above is technically out-of-date. ePubs will be allowed in for 2010, but only if the ePublisher can: 1) be approved by September, 2) provide six perfect bound copies of each eBook on paper, and 3) the big publishers haven’t already nabbed all the available spots by the time 1) and 2) have been accomplished.

Don’t forget to scroll down to the comments section of Buonfiglio’s post, where the discussion continues with updates about the RWA hot sheet.

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Round up of Bloggers Blogging and Tweeters Tweeting about Nationals

Sarah Wendell over at Smart Bitches posted an entertaining RWA Mini Recap with details on too much beer at their Bootleg Booksigning, the standing-room-only success of the Digital Rogue Conference, and the healthy turnout for RWA’s last minute bone thrown to eBook authors and publishers, the “Digital Initiatives” seminar.

Barbara Vey has a quick post at Publisher’s Weekly about Janet Evanovich’s inspiring Q&A at breakfast this morning. Apparently Evanovich made her first sale only after buring a crate filled with 10 years of rejections letters.[warmth = better use for rejections than papering bathroom walls, IMHO]

I loved this Evanovich quote from the breakfast, found not on Vey’s blog, but posted by Susan Gable on the Absolute Write Water Cooler forums.

Don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself. Life is long.
—Janet Evanovich

Meanwhile, the tweetosphere is on fire for the RWA Nationals:

  • Elle Drake, RWA attendee and writer of dark paranormal romance, broke the news on the winners of the Prism Awards for futuristic novel and novella
  • Quartet Press is currently engaged in an interesting twitterfest  at hashtag #rwa09, answering questions about copyrights. Hint: if you’re writing under a pseudonym, it’s still better to copyright a book under your real name. Lots of great info about how to protect your work.
  • Looking for photos from Nationals? So far, I’ve struck out on Flickr, but Twitter has photos posted by various tweeters.
  • One of the best blogs I’ve found, Blogging Nationals, is featuring a compilation of notable tweets from D.C. The tweeters themselves are quoting romance authors. Though these are recycled quotes, my favorite is:

Every time I hear writers talk about ‘the muse,’ I just want to bitch-slap them. It’s a job. Do your job.
–Nora Roberts

  • Finally, for all of us who aren’t at the conference, and are feeling sorry for ourselves, join the twitter chatter at #rwaenvy.

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With RWA Nationals underway in Washington, D.C., a good deal of contentious talk has circulated over discrimination against eBook romance authors, notably the lack of official programming for the format at the conference, and the difficulties eBooks face in qualifying for the RITA Awards. Romance Writers for Change, would like to see this change, and is playing a vocal role at the conference, advocating for better recognition, rights and opportunities for electronic romance fiction within RWA.

What’s your opinion? Are current RWA policies keeping you from joining the organization?

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Fresh from Romancing the Blog and the ongoing #rwachange hashtag conversation on Twitter, comes news of an RWA Hot Sheet circulating at the Nationals concerning changes to the eligibility rules for the Golden Heart and RITA Awards. At first the news sounded positive, as if RWA was willing to move closer to acknowledging the rights of eBook authors, but enough people have weighed in on the downside, that progress could be measured not in inches or centimeters, but at the subatomic level.

Take a look at the changes from the Hot Sheet quoted below:


Rules for the Golden Heart and RITA contests will be removed from the Policy and Procedures Manual, approved annually by the Board of Directors at the Board meeting preceding the RWA annual conference, and published in their entirety in the RWR and online to eliminate the possibility of discrepancies between policy and the published rules.

· Anyone who has accepted a publishing offer for a work of original fictional narrative prose of 20,000 words or more in any genre by November 16, 2009, is not eligible to enter the 2010 Golden Heart Contest.
· Entrants must retain all rights to the entry and must not have granted any of them to a publisher or any other party prior to or by November 16, 2009.
· The definition of a novel for the purposes of the Golden Heart Contest is “a work of fictional narrative prose in the romance genre of at least 40,000 words, as determined by computer word count.” Entries with word counts less than 40,000 will be disqualified.

· Beginning with the 2010 RITA Contest year, books published by any non-Vanity/non-Subsidy publisher may be entered in the RITA.
· Books published by RWA-Eligible publishers may be entered in the RITA Contest beginning September 21, 2009.
· Books published by any non-Vanity/non-Subsidy publisher may be entered in the RITA Contest beginning October 12, 2009.
· Any publisher applying to be an RWA-Eligible publisher or an RWA non-Vanity/non-Subsidy publisher for the purposes of the RITA Contest must be approved by September 15, 2009, for its books to qualify for the upcoming contest.
· Beginning with the 2010 RITA Contest, entries must have an original copyright date of the year preceding the contest year. However, during the 2010 transitional contest year only, those books with BOTH a 2008 original copyright date AND a 2009 North American printing date OR a 2009 first printing date may be entered so that members who had waited to enter in this contest year are not penalized by the change in policy.
· All entries must be submitted in print book format, produced by the publisher, complete with copyright page, with perfect or case binding and printing on both sides of the page. Text and formatting must be identical to the published version. This includes those books commercially available in electronic format only.

Some of the problems with the new version of the rules:

  • An unfortunate loophole still disqualifies a number of eBook authors from entering the Golden Hearts. If a writer has been published under contract for any work longer than 20,000 words, they can’t enter. So a limbo remains for eBook-only authors whose ePublished works are between 20K and 40K words.
  • As has been suggested in numerous posts across the web, the new rules for the RITA Awards present problems for ePublishers and authors due to A) a lack of leftover spaces for books once the traditional pubs have submitted their books, B) the length of time it may take to have an ePublisher “approved” could well overshoot the September 15, 2009 deadline for the 2010 awards, C) a question remains whether the $1 advance against royalties clause remains in effect which negates any of the changes above anyway, since ePubs don’t pay advances, and D) authors, ePublished or not, still have to provide six perfect-bound copies of their books for judging.

In the end, it’s debatable if the changes result in any significant progress for eBook authors and publishers, but at least the dialogue between the two camps is still open.

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