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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How to Final in the Golden Heart (or any contest)

Please welcome guest blogger Ann Roth

What’s all the fuss about finaling in a contest, anyway?

That depends on the contest, of course. Aside from providing useful feedback on your work, some contests offer the chance for finalists to be read and judged by prospective agents and/or editors. This is a great way to get your work in front of those folks.

Golden Heart finalist entries are not critiqued. (At one time they were, but that ended after one disgruntled entrant filed a lawsuit years ago.) They are read and judged by editors, who choose the winning entries for each category.

Even if you don’t win a Golden Heart, finaling in this contest is huge. Why, you may ask? Clout, baby. This contest packs a lot of it, and those who final are noticed by the professionals. (Which doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tell everyone yourself.)

I finaled twice in the Golden Heart. The first time, I failed to take advantage of my status. I didn’t realize that notifying agents that I was a finalist would get me a “yes, please send the proposal” until after the contest. Not that finaling didn’t still pack clout.

The second time came way back in 1999. As soon as I hung up from the call, I shared the good news with everyone I could think of–agents and editors I’d queried, published author friends, writers’ loops, you name it. That year I won the Golden Heart for best long contemporary series romance.

Winning was a wonderful experience I’ll never forget. The following year I presented the Golden Heart to the next winner in best long contemporary series romance, which was also unforgettable. By then, my first romance was published by Silhouette Special Edition.

Trust me, if it happened to me, it can happen to you.

How exactly does one final in the Golden Heart?

Judging is, of course, a subjective process. But why not help your chances by making your entry shine?

It’s all about craft, and I’ve put together a week-long, nuts and bolts crash course on the ten things you need to do in order to make your entry and your entire story the best it can be. Stuff that will definitely help you to final in the Golden Heart, or any writing contest.

How to Final in the Golden Heart (or Any Contest), presented by Ann Roth, runs from June 13-19.

Award-winning author Ann Roth lives in the greater Seattle area with her husband. After earning an MBA, she worked as a banker and corporate trainer. She gave up the corporate life to write, and if they awarded PhDs in writing happily ever after stories, she'd have one. In 1999 Ann won the prestigious Golden Heart award for unpublished writers for best long contemporary series. Since then she has sold eighteen novels, both romance and women's fiction, a novella and a serialized online romance, as well as numerous short stories. For a list of published novels and other information, visit www.annroth.net


Nickie Asher said...

I'm all signed up for this class...and I can't wait.

Ann Roth said...

Great, Nickie. See you there!