Contests, contests, contests.
When she visited STAR, my local RWA chapter , Random House editor-at-large Sue Grimshaw reminded everyone that writing contests serve a vital place. Quite often, she said, she looks over the author's bio before selecting an item to read from the slush pile. The submissions that include one or more contest finals or wins are the ones that will snag her attention.
For unpublished writers, the contest "season" runs year round. Pick a month. Any month. Look in the back of the Romance Writers Report. You'll find one or two, sometimes more, contest deadlines.
For published authors, the contest season is much shorter. Most of those contests open in November and close in December or January because they use the copyright date as an entrance criteria. For instance, the 2013 contest season is underway for books published in 2012.
I had two books hit store shelves in 2012, Rodeo Daughter and Rancher's Son. Which meant I had twice as many contest entries to prepare this year. For the last few days I've been busy filling out entry forms, autographing books and packing envelopes to mail.
Here's the result, all ready to take to the Post Office.
Don't they all look like winners?