SERIOUS BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE ON SELF-FLAGELLATION
I am of two minds on this blog. I was asked for my opinions about the published author contest circuit for romance authors. On the one hand, contests are a business choice. They cost money and time, and can be ego crushing, but also can have excellent results. Therefore, SERIOUS BUSINESS. On the other hand, they're just one tiny, infinitesimal, rather bizarre piece of the larger career plan. Ergo, SELF-FLAGELLATION could be more fun. So...do I blog serious or reality-check? Being more schizophrenic than usual, I have decided to do both--side by side.
SB: Contests cost money and time. The contest itself costs, the books that you send cost, the postage to send them costs, and God-forbid you have TWO books out in a year. Double the price for everything. Then add the time you spend getting all that stuff together, writing checks, going to the post office, generally tracking the business of the contest. Would you have been more productive writing your next WIP? Making your heroine sparkle and your hero gorgeous? Time is money, and contests eat both.
SF: Puuulllleese! The whole point of entering a contest is so that I am busy working and NOT writing! If I didn't have to enter contests, I would have to be writing. Like I really want to do that! And my hero is already gorgeous enough! I mean, come on, he is the vampire god of the SexCapades. What more could you want? If you want to talk costs, then mention the week long depression you fall into when that stupid b**** wins. The one who stole your vampire sex god idea, then slept with the publicity department of every known media outlet to get the win
AND the sales when I didn't even final, thank you very much!
SB: Publicity. That's the short and the long of it. At a minimum, you're paying three judges to read your book. That's three more people who may be awed by your brilliance. And if you final or win, that's more publicity. That's why contests that give winners ads and bookstore posters are better than cash awards or simple website announcements. Plus, you get the added benefit of attaching "award winner!" to your name.
SF: Money is ALWAYS better than publicity for a no-name contest that no reader really cares about. Readers don't really even know what a Rita is, and she's the best publicized contest in our industry. Show me who I need to sleep with at the New York Times Book Review, then we'll talk publicity. Although, strutting my knew sparkly red pumps at the awards banquet does make up for a wealth of humiliation in other areas of my life.
SB: Can you accept that a win/final/loss in any of these contests does not necessarily reflect your writing ability? Can you believe that it means little regarding your creativity or marketability in the larger scheme? If so, then I recommend the following contests: RITA because NY tends to pay close attention to this one. And as previously stated, it's the best publicized.
Next comes the Readers Choice which gets huge play in RomanticTimes Book Review magazine. Other strong smaller
contests: Holt, Maggies, Book Sellers Best, Book Buyers Best, and the sub-genre contests. The ones I am familiar with are Daphne De Maurie (mystery/suspense), Prisms (sf/f), Passionate Plume (erotica). There are also sub-genre contests for epublishing, inspirational, and literary. That last one (literary) can be a huge boon if you can get your genre book in as a finalist. A new group of readers may pick up your book simply because of your finalist status. Unfortunately...that's a pretty big "if".
SF: Um...hello, these are contests to JUDGE the quality of a book. Ergo, my self-esteem is absolutely tied to the results. If I win, I'm going to lord it over everyone in my sparkly red shoes. If I lose, I'm going to fall into the writer PIT O' DISPAIR and never come out until someone offers me an award for something. Hint: Most gorgeous PJs when living in the PIT O' DISPAIR only works once. Then you're going to have to go for jewelry and chocolate.
Jade Lee (both the SB and SF sides) is an award winning author and a Rita finalist for TEMPTED TIGRESS. Since she has lost her sparkly red shoes somewhere in the PIT O' DISPAIR, please help her out by sending her cyber jewelry, chocolates, or an award for something. Comment here or email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org She can also be found at www.jadeleeauthor.com
USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR
RITA FINALIST for TEMPTED TIGRESS
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