Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Writing Contests – Romance is Dead (Or Not)

Okay, so that title is probably sour grapes. The sourest, in fact.

Like so many other aspiring romance authors (822 in total), I entered last year’s Romance is Not Dead writing contest, part of the New Voices campaign from Mills & Boon. My entry, At the Desert King’s Pleasure, ended up in the middle of the pack, according to the user votes, and wasn’t short listed for the ultimate prize.

Here’s the link: see for yourself:

my contest entry

I was devastated.

In fact, I haven’t posted on the Harlequin/ Mills & Boon forums since, although I was active before and during the contest and received (and gave, I hope) a lot of support from my fellow writers in the community. Not a word. Not even a “J”. I was too upset. And I sincerely thought that I was done with

My problem? Aside from presumably terrible writing (or worse, mediocre writing – blech), I mean. It’s that I have an eternally optimistic disposition. I honestly believe that every query I send out, every contest entry I submit, every step I take in my writing journey, will be accepted, winning, or ultimately successful. I’ve thought about it a lot and I also believe that I have a more realistic view of my own writing. So, no, I don’t think every word I put down on the page is gold. Heaven forbid.

So, end result?

Next contest, you will find me there. Front of the line, clutching my potentially prize-winning entry in hand. I can’t say I won’t be devastated if I lose but I can tell you that I won’t be checking out for half a year afterwards. Next time, it might only take me five months to recover.

Photo courtesy of healingdream at freeditigalphotos.net


  1. Never give up, never surrender, Nan! (Thanks Galaxy Quest) It took me years of being stuck in the middle of the pack before I sold. What matters most is attitude and perseverance. As long as you keep getting in line and trying, you'll succeed.

  2. Thanks for the words of encouragement, Barbara! I know it takes a lot of hard work and perserverance. Don't worry, I am determined to keep trying.

  3. You have the right attitude, Nan - just keep writing and submitting. I got both my agent and editor through contests, so I firmly believe in entering them. Good luck with your next sub!

  4. Thanks, Helen. I will keep at it, whatever it takes. Stories like yours give me hope :)

    And thanks for reading my blog!