More than a place--it's a writer's muse.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Showing It Off: Textnovel, Dorchester, and Other Contests That Can Get You Hot.

Contest. The very idea of allowing people read my writing so that they can judge it freaks me out. Not as bad as before I entered my first contest, the Dorchester "Next Best Celler" contest on Textnovel, but I still get a little light-headed at the thought.

I am as inexperienced an author as you can get. I have never won anything. I had never entered anything. In fact, I had been living vicariously through my writer's group, made up of two other authors. Both are published, but for the record, Deborah had been previously been ensconced in non-fiction and Shannon's first book doesn't come out until June of 2010.

In the group, I was the "brain stormer". We would outline plots and toy around with twists. I brought FAE NIGHTS to work on, read aloud a few parts of it, but never shared the manuscript the way my fellow authors did. Why? It felt like I was standing naked in front of them and asking them to paint me with latex.

That is when it began. We were bitten by the contest bug. First Shannon won last year's Textnovel contest, and you can see what happened to her. She obtained the writer's dream of 3 book deal. Deborah enters many RWA contests and recently won the 2009 RWA "Best of the Best" : Contemporary Romantic Suspense award.

How freakin' cool is that?

In June, a few days before my birthday, Shannon called to tell me that I had to enter the Textnovel/Dorchester. No ifs. No ands. And certainly no buts.

What she didn't know was that I had just spent 5 hours sitting in front of my computer, first chapter of FAE NIGHTS loaded, my finger poised over the "Save this chapter" button.

5 hours of wondering, of worrying, of heart palpitations. Remember, Shannon and Deborah had only been allowed glimpses of my work, and I trusted them. Here I was about to strip totally naked online.

By the time she called, I had already been breathing into a paper bag for a few minutes.

I can tell you, it isn't that bad. In fact, I still have the giddy feeling when people vote for me. It's inspiring, and I am so grateful. I wonder now why hadn't I done this before?

I also wonder if entering contests will help me in the long run. I am toying with the idea of doing more after Textnovel/Dorchester is over. I also think about writing for anthologies and actually getting paid for the time I put in. What I would like to know, well, need to know, is what everyone else has done? What are your newbie author stories? What was your big break?

For those who are on the aspiring writer boat with me, here are some websites that will may get your work on the path to awardom. I wish you luck!

Lists of contests:
The Open Directory List powered by AOL of writer's contests, including the Writer's Digest Competitions.

Erotica Readers and Writers Association Along with contest listings, there are also lists of publishers looking for specific submissions, ranging from light romance to erotica.

Romance Writer's of America In addition to the Golden Heart and RITA awards, many of the local chapters have their own they sponsor, such as The West Houston Chapter's EMILY Award, which Deborah won in 2009! See Chapter Contests and Awards

Textnovel You have until November 1st to enter the Dorchester Romance Contest and get 20 chapters up, but Textnovel also has a yearly contest with a $1000 award.

For my future submissions to anthologies, magazines, e-zines, etc, I have to say that Duotrope is the best site hands down. I know, I know, I mentioned them last blog too, but this site totally deserves all the kudos I can give.

By the way, Deborah's award winning novel, WITCH EVER WAY YOU CAN can be read on Textnovel, as can Shannon's 13 TO LIFE, which you will also find on a bookseller's shelf near you in 2010.

Read, Vote, Subscribe!

Brightest Blessings!


Kelly Daniels said...

Harper Collins has its own site like textnovel to find new talent at You have to upload at least 10,000 words for others to review and vote for. At the end of each month the editors read the top five.

Robin said...

Thank you so much for that heads up. I am going over to check it out now.!

Saranna DeWylde said...

Robin, you always post the best resources for authors. You rule!

Oh, and did I mention that I LOVE Fae Nights? If that's you nekkid, (yeah, I said nekkid) then you better be sending in your pics to Playboy, because you're amazing.

I love it when people vote for me too, and comments are like when the monkey keeps hitting the pleasure button instead of the food button. Endorphins are rampant. :)

And Kelly, thanks! That's very cool.

C.J. Ellisson said...

Great piece, thanks for sharing all those links! Your story is truly inspiring.

You asked what our "moment" was. I think for me it was when I started my facebook business page (fan page) and got real readers to read my work.

I hadn't joined any guilds yet and had only had writers from review my work. I had no crit group for support yet and my applications for RWA and Sisters in Crime hadn't officially gone through yet.

Having those "real" people on FB read and comment on my work helped immensely when I finally joined some crit loops and started to hear less than stellar responses from my peers (but, their comments helped to really improve the piece) about my style and voice.

Wishing you the best with Fae Nights and any future contests you enter with it as well.

Kudos to you!

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