Contests can be a great way to get feedback on your work-in-progress. I say “can be” because not all contests provide feedback. Either you win or you don’t. So, unless you’re alright with that, you need to do a little research first to be certain you’re getting what you want out of your entry fee. It’s why I’m generally picky about which contests I enter.
But I know I’ll get more than my money’s worth out of anything sponsored by RWA (Romance Writers of America) or any of their chapters. I’m currently entered in The Golden Heart for unpublished authors through RWA. I’ll learn mid-March if I’m a finalist in the category for mainstream with romantic elements. I will not receive any comments from the first round judges, but if I do make the final round my book will be read by both a publisher and an agent. That alone makes the entry fee worth it because I could end up with a contract even if I don’t ultimately win.
I have also entered WisRWA’s (Wisconsin chapter of RWA) FabFive competition for unpublished authors for the third year in a row. With that one I will get my score sheets and comments from the first round judges, and, if I make the finalists, as I did in year one, I will again be judged by a publisher and agent. AND I will receive their score sheets with comments.
It’s too late for The Golden Heart. If interested, you’ll have to wait until later this year to enter. However, the deadline for FabFive is one week from today, so there’s still time. Check it out online or see the flyer below. You have until 11:59pm central time on March 1st. So dust off your romance novel and see what the judges, your peers, have to say. Who knows what can happen from there.