HSC Contest Reviews – Duel on the Delta Contest

Duel on the Delta Contest

http://www.rivercityromancewriters.org/duel.html

Presented by:

River City Romance Writers

Fees: $25

Entry: Opening 20 pages

Closed for entries:  April 15th

Winners will be notified on or around June 30th

OVERVIEW:

Pros:

Top prize is cash

Finalists have time to make changes to their manuscript before final round judging

Synopsis is not judged

Three first round judges

Final round judges are industry professionals

Cons:

No classes offered for judges

There will be a limited number of entries admitted

No mention of how many finalists

Review:

The Good –

The top prize is $25 cash and a Duel on the Delta pin.  Who can’t use cash in this economy?

Finalists have one week to make changes before submitting for the final round judging.  Excellent!  Anything to improve a manuscript can only be a good thing.

You can send in an optional one page synopsis, but it is not judged.  The work stands on its own merits.

There are 3 first round judges.  This eliminates the chance of discrepancy scores.  Excellent!

Final round judges are all industry professionals.  They are:

Contemporary judged by Aubrey Pope of Sourcebooks

Erotic judged by Angela James of Carina Press

Historical judged by Deborah Nemeth of Carina Press

Inspirational judged by Sarah Long of Bethany House

Paranormal/Urban Fantasy judged by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literacy Agency

Romantic Suspense judged by Liz Bass of Carina Press

Young Adult judged by Liz Pelletier of Entangled Publishing

The Bad –

The River City Romance Writers holds no classes for their judges.  I can’t stress how important it is for contests to realize the importance of having their judges trained. 

On the website it states “There will be a limited number of entries admitted”.  It does not tell what the cap is.  It states “The Duel on the Delta Contest Chair will determine the maximum number of entries based upon category volume”.  Seems logical, but how many and what is the determining factor? 

There is no indication on the website of how many finalists there are.  On the page of past winners, it looks to be anywhere from 3 to 5 finalists per category.  Very confusing.

 

As far as the Duel on the Delta Contest is concerned, it’s pretty average.  With a fee of $25, you get three first round judges and the chance at cash prizes!  However, the lack of training classes for the judges and the unknown amount of finalists puts a real element of concern on this writing contest. 

 

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HSC Contest Review – Southern Heat Contest

Southern Heat Contest

http://easttexasrwa.com/html/southern_heat.php

Presented by:

East Texas Chapter of Romance Writers of America

Opens for entries:  February 14th

Fees: $20 for members of RWA-ETC, $25 for members of RWA, $30 non-members

Entry: Opening 15 pages plus 5 page max synopsis

Closed for entries:  March 31st

Contest winners announced July 15, 2012

 

OVERVIEW:

Pros:

Judges are encouraged to give feedback if they give a score of 3 or below

Final round judges are industry professionals

 

Cons:

Only two first round judges

Synopsis is judged

Entries may be limited to the first 30 entries in each category

Doesn’t say how many finalists

No training for the judges

 

Review:

The Good –

Judges are encouraged to comment on the manuscript as well as the score sheet.  They are also encouraged to provide feedback, especially in the areas scored 3 or less.  This is great so the entrants know why a score of 3 or lower was given.

The final round judges are industry professionals.  They are: Paranormal judged by Ethan Ellenberg from Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency and Ann Leslie Tuttle from Harlequin, Historical judged by Courtney Miller-Callihan from Sanford J. Greenburger Associates and Laura Bradford from Bradford Literary Agency, Contemporary Single Title judged by Rebecca Strause from McIntosh & Otis, Inc. and Rhonda Penders from the Wild Rose Press, Inspirational judged by Mary Sue Seymour from the Seymour Agency and Melissa Endlich from Harlequin Inspirational, Contemporary Series judged by Nicole Resciniti from the Seymour Agency and Alicia Condon from Kensington Books, Romantic Suspense judged by Aubrey Poole from Sourcebooks and Maria Carvainis from Maria Carvainis Agency, Inc., and Young Adult judged by Elaine Spencer from the Knight Agency and Leticia Gomez from Sawy Literary Services.

The Bad –

There are only two judges, unless there’s a point spread of more then 25 points when one of those scores is at least 85 percent of the total points possible.  Then, a discrepancy judge will be used.  Two judges leave too much room for discrepancies.  Why not just have three judges from the beginning?

Synopsis is judged.  This does not let the work stand on its own merits.

Entries may be limited to the first 30 entries in each category.  This restricts the competition when a limit is imposed.

No indication on the website how many finalists there would be per category.  Under past finalists there was always 3 listed per category.  Uncertainty in this area is cause for hesitation.

There is no training for the judges in the Southern Heat Contest.  It is extremely important that there is training for the judges.  A class or instructions is vital to a great contest.

 

 

As far as the Southern Heat Contest is concerned, don’t expect too much.  With a $20 to $30 entry fee, you get encouraged feedback from the judges on scores of 3 or less on the score sheet.  However, with no training for the judges and no mention of how many finalists per category, the entrant really has no idea what they’re in for. 

 

HSC Contest Reviews – Fool For Love Contest

Fool For Love Contest

http://virginiaromancewriters.com/Contests/ffl.html

Presented by:

Virginia Romance Writers

Fees: $30 for Virginia Romance Writers members, $35 for non members

Entry: First chapters up to 50 pages, optional synopsis

Closed for entries:  March 14th

Contest winners announced on June 6th

OVERVIEW:

Pros:

Winners in each category receive cash prize

Final judges are industry professionals

Cons:

Only 3 finalists in each category

Only 2 first round judges

Manuscript does not have to be finished

Nothing on the website about how or if the first round judges are trained

Review:

The Good –

Cash prizes!  In this economy, cash is always good.  1st place in each category receives $50

The final round judges are industry professionals.  They are – Elizabeth Mazer from Harlequin judging Short Contemporary, Meredith Giordan from Berkley Publishing Group judging Long Contemporary, Lucy Gilmour from Harlequin judging Historical, Amanda Barnett from The Wild Rose Press judging Paranormal/Futuristic/Fantasy/Time Travel, Raela Schoenherr from Bethany House judging Inspirational, Romantic Suspense is TBD, and Pat Van Wie from Bell Bridge Books is judging the Published Author category.

The Bad –

There are only 3 finalists in each category.  This precise number seems limited and unfair, especially if one category could have, say, 5 entries and still have 3 finalists, while another has 30 entries and has 3 finalists.

There are only 2 first round judges for each entry unless the preliminary scores differ by 35 points or more.  Then, a third judge will be added. Two judges leave too much room for inconsistency.  Why not just have three judges from the beginning?

The manuscript does not have to be finished.  But be prepared for a request from an editor!

There was nothing on the website to indicate who exactly was judging the first round.  It only says “qualified” judges.  Did the judges take any classes on judging?  Are they published authors?  PRO members? 

 

As far as the Fool For Love Contest is concerned, don’t expect too much.  With a reasonable entry fee of $30 ($35 for non members), you get the chance to win some cash.  However, the lack of explanation of how and if the first round judges are trained or who they are, should make a potential entrant hesitate to enter this contest.

 

 

 

 

HSC Contest Reviews – Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest

The Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest

http://www.neorwa.com/index.php/Contest/Contest

Presented by:

Northeast Ohio Romance Writers of America

Fees: $15 for NEORWA members, $25 for non members

Entry: First 7000 words

Closed for entries:  Extended to February 29th

Contest winners announced on May 12, 2012 at the annual NEORWA Cleveland Rocks Romance Conference.

OVERVIEW:

Pros:

Winners receive refund of entry fee

Workshop is offered for judging

Final judges are industry professionals

Cons:

Only 3 finalists in each category

Only 2 first round judges

No score sheet sample on website

 

Review:

The Good –

Winners receive a refund of their entry fee.  Awesome!  Everyone can use a little extra cash.

The Northeast Ohio Romance Writers of America encourages all their first round judges to participate in their How to Judge a Rockin’ Contest workshop.  The fact that they offer a workshop for their judges attests to the professionalism of this contest.

The final round judges are industry professionals.  They are – Laura Barth from Harlequin judging Contemporary Series/Category Romance, Alicia Condon from Kensington judging Single Title Contemporary Romance, Rebecca Strauss from McIntosh and Otis judging Historical Romance, Sara Megibow from the Nelson Agency judging Mainstream with Romantic Elements, Whitney Ross from Tor judging Paranormal Romance, Leonore Waldrip from HQN judging Romantic Suspense, and Leah Hultenschmidt from Sourcebooks judging Young Adult.

 

The Bad –

There are only 3 finalists in each category.  This precise number seems limited and unfair, especially if one category could have, say, 6 entries and still have 3 finalists, while another has 29 entries and has 3 finalists.

There are only 2 first round judges for each entry unless there’s a point spread of greater then 25 points and the entry receives a high score of at least 80% of the total possible points.  Then, a discrepancy judge is added and the lowest score is dropped. Two judges leaves too much room for inconsistency.  Why not just have three judges from the beginning?

There was no list of a sample score sheet or what the entries were judged on anywhere on the website.  It would be nice to know what the judges are looking for, or at the very least if there was room for comments on the score sheet.

 

 

As far as the Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest is concerned, don’t expect too much.  With a reasonable entry fee of $15 ($25 for non members), you get the chance to win back your entry fee and a workshop offered to train judges.  However, the lack of a sample score sheet leaves one unsure of what their manuscript will be judged on.

 

2/27/12 ADDENDUM:  After the review was posted, the NEORWA posted sample score sheets on their website, where you can take a look at them.  The score sheets are tailored for several categories.  Also, the class they offered in judging was a week long seminar and every first round judge signed up for it.  Wow!  I look forward to seeing this very promising contest next year!