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

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Nearing the Finish Line

The first phase of the Dorchester Publishing Co. America’s Next Best Celler contest will end at midnight tomorrow at The contest, aimed at discovering “the next New Voice in Romance,” challenges aspiring authors “to pair their social networking skills with their literary ambitions” and comes with a whopper of a prize – a guaranteed Dorchester publishing contract.

There were growing pains when the contest started on June 1, as a horde of contestants eager for a shot at the holy grail of a contract with a New York publisher joined the existing community. Or maybe invaded that community, depending on your point of view. Some of the newbies settled in and decided to make the place home. Others made it clear they were only there on vacation, but worked hard at being good guests. Still others left a trail of resentment when they were perceived as too demanding and too shrill in complaining about technical problems at the site, which is still in Beta version.

The contest encouraged us to use our “social networking skills” – in other words, to troll for votes. However, the emphasis on votes didn’t entirely sit well with some of the old crowd, who were used to a less competitive approach. The Divas and others were accused by some of going too far. But you can’t have a contest without competition. And aspiring authors shouldn’t kid themselves – today’s publishing world is insanely competitive.

Now, after five months, the pimping-for-votes phase of the contest is nearly over. The rest of the decisions will be made by the team at Dorchester. I posted Confessions of the World’s Oldest Shotgun Bride on the Textnovel site on June 25, so I’ve been at this contesting gig for four months. It’s been an exciting ride. I've written an author bio that captures the voice of my novel. I’ve learned to blog and tweet. I’ve gotten less shy about self-promotion, a skill that doesn’t come naturally to me. And I’ve become friends and “business partners” with the Divas, a fabulous group of women who believe in me, sometimes more than I believe in myself. Thanks, Liane, Robin, Saranna and Shannon!

The Divas aren’t going anywhere. We’ll still be a presence here, on Twitter, and at the site. So thanks to our readers for your support, and stick with us – the best is yet to come!


Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

I am so glad I found out about the contest and Textnovel because it gave me the courage to post my writing for others to see. I can't wait to see who wins because there is so much talent there and so many deserve to be published.

Jennifer L Hart said...

Since I didn't hear about the contest until Sept 2, I really can't relate with the growing pains. The weenies who had an issue with the way the contest went because it should be "about the writing" don't have the first clue as to how cutthroat the publishing world is anymore.

Don't hate the players, hate the game ;-)

Really wanted to lose my cool in the forum over all that crappola, but I don't want to come off as a loose cannon. Image matters and none of us should forget that. You Diva's handled yourselves with grace and dignity. So major Kudos. I would have just called a few posters ignorant tools (or worse)and left it at that.

Writing an outstanding story isn't nearly enough; an author needs platform, productivity, saleablity and a plethora of other factors.

This contest gives us all a great oportunity, the semi finalists will bypass the slush pile and get a real shot at being read. The Divas stories speak for themselves, as does mine and several other enteries. We need the chance to be seen and that's what all the whoring for votes is about, at least for me.

Thank the gods it's almost over, my back was getting sore ;-)

Good news is, there are more people at Textnovel worth knowing; quality writers AND decent human beings, so overall the contest has been a positive experience. And those who seriously suck eggs, I have blocked on every social network out there. It may not be the loud, flashy public humiliation I crave, but it'll have to do until my stuff hits print, one way or another.

Best of luck to all of you!

SarannaDeWylde said...

Gail, I'm so happy that I met you and all of the Divas. I know I've already gushed sugary goodness, but I don't feel like I can say enough. *hugs you tight*

On a side note, look there! I really can give hugs and I don't bite. *grin*

Overall, the TN experience has been great. I didn't post until the end of August, and I'm amazed at how far I've come. The first chapter of Demon was just sitting around waiting for something and this contest was it. I can honestly say it's the best thing that I've ever written.

Jennifer- I think we may have more in common than what may have been readily obvious. *laughs* When being called "the mean girl" that pokes a certain part of me that takes that as a challenge. Oh, you thought that was mean? I work with felons and you have to whip out the big guns to get respect. Of course, working with the public, your behavior changes. I do value my professional reputation. Yeah, I have a mouth and sometimes, we do have to wash out my keyboard with a strong soap, but for all of that, I still have a certain reputation. So do these ladies, and yeah, they are every inch of classy.

When you're in the public eye, the hardest thing to do might not be getting there, but learning to close your mouth before you can cram both feet into it.

Thanks for all of your support, Jennifer.

And KB- I agree completely. There is so much talent in this contest that I really hope there are contracts offered to more than just the contest winner.

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