One of the most awesome things about being a writer is making lots of friends in fellow writers. While your family and non-writing friends might be supportive of you and your career, your writer friends are the ones who really "get" you and what you do. I'm fortunate in that I have lots of fantastic writer friends around the world, one of whom is the super chick from the Land Down Under, the fabulous Anna Campbell. Anna is our first guest blogger here at Title Magic, so please put your hands together...uh, your fingers to the keyboard and make her feel welcome.
Hi there, Title Magicians!
Huge congratulations on finaling in this most grueling of contests. I’m in awe of all of you! Huge good luck to the girls still battling it out in the competition. Can’t wait to see who wins!
Thanks so much for asking me to be your first guest blogger. I’m enormously touched and flattered that you picked me. Mind you, I’m a newbie myself so perhaps my experiences will resonate with what at least one of you (and hopefully more) will go through VERY soon. Whoo-hooo!
When Trish Milburn, my Bandita Buddy, and I were talking about topics, she suggested contests. This seems like a great idea except I’m sure you girls know much more about contests than I do!
So I thought I’d give you a personal history of my experiences with contests.
As many of you know, I took forever to sell and people often ask what kept me going through all that rejection and disappointment. Well, partly it was love of writing itself – I gave up once because I decided it was a childish dream to want to be a writer, but I couldn’t bear it after about 18 months and I went back to my stories. But something else that really kept me soldiering on was writing contests.
And this was before I discovered the amazing and glorious world of ROMANCE writing contests run through the American chapters.
If I saw a short story contest through a magazine, I’d enter it. Thankfully, I achieved just enough success to encourage me that I wasn’t completely hopeless at this. My favorite contest was a romance one run by Woman’s Day, a very popular magazine over here, and Harlequin Mills & Boon. I came in third one year and won my first computer. Not only that, we had a gala reception in Sydney which meant a flight, a limousine ride, a night in a very swish inner city hotel then a party where the three prize winners were made to feel like princesses for a day. I still have a photo of me in my very embarrassing ’80s navy and white-spotted drop-waisted dress (ouch!), clutching a huge bunch of flowers. The dress may not be so pretty, but the flowers and the big smile on my face tell it all!
Then a competition changed my life.
After I came back to writing, I joined Romance Writers of Australia. I was fiddling with a couple of manuscripts that were fun but completely unpublishable. One was set in 18th century Austria and Hungary. Yes, I know, a hugely commercial setting! But it had this great first kiss with a major plot turning point. So with complete trepidation, I entered it in the 2001 RWAustralia First Kiss competition. To my utter shock, I ended up placing and the comments indicated I was writing publishable material even if the subject matter wasn’t!
This was enormous validation to someone who had worked on her own for so long. And from people who wrote romance for a living which was even more important. So I sat down and had a long hard talk to myself (no wonder the neighbors think I’m slightly cracked!). Perhaps I should try and write something more overtly commercial and have a genuine go at getting published.
I’d always loved books set in the Regency, and I knew quite a lot about the period for various reasons. Perhaps I should write a Regency. My next manuscript was The Magnificent Marriage which finaled in the 2006 Golden Heart, the first and only year I entered. The book I wrote after that was No Ordinary Duchess, also a 2006 GH finalist. That book went to auction and eventually was released by Avon as CLAIMING THE COURTESAN.
So I’ll always be enormously grateful to writing competitions!
And speaking of competitions, my favorite comment today wins a signed copy of UNTOUCHED, my latest Avon historical romance, and the Anna Campbell desk calendar. Tell me your history with writing contests or ANY contests, really! Good luck!