Author friend Jessa Slade was kind enough to take time out from her uber-busy schedule (I have my doubts she sleeps. . ..) to guest post for me this week, ’cause, you know, she’s really cool that way. 🙂
There is an element of luck to getting published. While talent, endurance, connections, and business savvy can also play a role, luck matters too. Writers talk about “the lightning strike”—an out-of-nowhere energy that boosts your story electrons to the next level.
Thinking you might have to rely on a random act of nature to get noticed is depressing, but you CAN increase your chances of getting struck by lightning. In real life, you might run around on a beach in the middle of a thunderstorm, clutching a lightning rod in both hands and belting out “Singing in the Rain.” (Cuz, really, who doesn’t want to throw lightning bolts at someone singing “Singing in the Rain” in the rain?) To court the lightning in storyworld, a writer might consider entering a writing contest.
Entering your story in a writing contest takes you out of the safe world of your writing desk and exposes you to the elements. Comfortable? Maybe not. Guaranteed success? Definitely not. But what is writing if not taking chances?
I always had bad luck with writing contests. I tended to split judges: For every judge that liked my story, another judged loathed me, virulently and vociferously. (Probably because I used words like virulent and vociferous waaaaaay too much.) Being loathed sucks, but still, I entered the Rose City Romance Writers’ Golden Rose writing contest because I found the feedback more useful than not. Also, I knew if you want to get struck by lightning, you gotta be willing to run out into the wind and rain.
In 2007, lightning struck. I finaled in the Golden Rose! Me, who couldn’t get past first-round judges! (Full disclosure: Technically, I didn’t get past the first-round judges this time either. My entry had to go to a discrepancy judge because my low-end score was so low.) And then I won! Not only did I get a real-life shiny gold-dipped rose, the final-round judge asked for the complete.
I’d been struck by lightning AND I was on fire! Oh sure, I had to do another seven or so rounds of revisions (urg) before SEDUCED BY SHADOWS hit the bookstores in 2009 and sometimes the fire burned low, but that initial jolt ignited my writing life. And it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t thrown myself out there.
The Golden Rose is one of my favorite contests, not just because I’m a member of Rose City Romance Writers, but because of the quality of the feedback and of the final-round judges. And the shiny golden rose is pretty fabulous too 😉 But just as important is learning to open yourself to the lightning.
So what are you waiting for? A sunny day? Here’s the link to the contest http://rosecityromancewriters.com/contest-home/ There’s an early-bird discount through the end of June. Submit an entry, take your chances, and maybe get struck!
Jessa Slade writes urban fantasy romance (the Marked Souls series with NAL Signet Eclipse), paranormal romance (the Steel Born series with Harlequin Nocturne Cravings) and science fiction romance (the Sheerways novellas in the “Hotter on the Edge” anthologies). Her third Steel Born book—and her first werewolf book!—MATED BY MOONLIGHT, comes out in July.
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