Thursday, February 14, 2008

Our Valentine to You

Happy Valentine’s Day! We have a surprise for you! So if your significant other drops the ball and doesn’t come home with a dozen roses or a bottle of expensive aftershave, you can’t say you didn’t get anything this year. (But you can still lay on that guilt trip pretty thick. . . .)

We’re launching a new contest today, and this one is going to be something a little different. We’ll actually be judging a whole series of contests. We decided to try several genre-specific competitions of the first 100 words of the work. We’ll be limiting the types of books to the areas that we represent. Honestly, do you want someone judging your YA who hasn’t read anything in the genre since Judy Blume’s Forever first hit shelves? Probably not. And we’re not going to presume to call ourselves experts in genres we just don’t read on a regular basis. Selfishly, it also gives us a very real opportunity to find a potential new client. Seems like a win-win.

Honestly, we also think it can be tough to declare an ultimate winner in a contest that includes a variety of book types. What if the top three are a terrific cozy, an emotional women’s fiction, and a really hot romance? They may all be great in their own ways, but it can be impossible sometimes to decide which is ultimately the best when the three genres rely on very different writing devices to make them work. Frankly, we don’t want to put ourselves through that hair-pulling, so this seemed the best alternative.

In the next few months we’ll be holding contests in the following genres:

Mystery (traditional and cozy)
Paranormal Romance/Romance With Fantasy Elements
Erotic Romance
Women’s Fiction
Romantic Suspense
Contemporary Romance
Historical Romance


The rules are as follows:

1. We’ll only accept entries that are posted in the comments section of this blog article. No e-mailed entries will be considered.

2. Include your title and the first 100 words of your book. Now, we’re not saying to leave us hanging mid-sentence here. Stop wherever the previous sentence ends, but do not exceed 100 words.

3. The same work cannot be entered in more than one genre. If you think your book straddles more than one genre, you’ll have to pick one. We will, however, accept multiple works from the same author in different categories.

4. Once the material is entered, it’s your final entry. We won’t allow revised versions of the same work.

5. The deadline is tomorrow, February 15th, at 9:00 a.m. EST.

The prize, you ask? Accolades from the masses! Oh, and we’ll critique the query letter, synopsis, and first chapter of the winning entry in each genre! The winner will e-mail us the additional material and we’ll provide our notes privately, not on the blog. We will, however, discuss what we liked about each winning 100-word entry on the blog, and will pull out a few honorable mentions to highlight other excerpts that came close and why.

Jessica and I will post the winner within the next couple of days, and at that time we’ll go on to the paranormal romance category. So start whipping those projects into shape!

Let the games begin!