Friday, December 20, 2013

REALIZING THE DREAM CONTEST - Open to registered conference attendees only

The Phoenix Desert Rose Chapter of RWA® offers the Realizing the Dream Contest prior to our biannual Desert Dreams Conference. This is the perfect opportunity to avoid the slush pile, get your work critiqued by an editor or agent, and talk to them about your work in a face-to-face meeting at the conference. Winners are announced and receive their awards at the conference.

Who Can Submit? The contest is open to both published and unpublished authors who are registered for the 2014 Desert Dreams Conference.

What Can You Submit? Your entry must be a non-published, non-contracted work. This includes self-publishing. If the entry becomes contracted on or before January 31, 2014, you must notify the Realizing the Dream Contest Coordinator. Your entry will then be returned and you will receive a refund of the entry fee.

Who Are the Judges? The judges are agents and editors attending the Desert Dreams Conference. All entrants will receive a score sheet from the judging agent or editor. All submissions will remain anonymous to the judges and only the finalists will be announced prior to the conference.

What If I Win? The five highest scoring entries (regardless of the category entered) will receive a face-to-face meeting with the agent or editor of his/her choice during the agent/editor meeting time at the conference. The overall winner will be announced at the conference.

Submit your entry between November 1, 2013 – January 31, 2014.

The contest is limited to the first 50 entries. Both published and unpublished authors who are registered for the 2014 Desert Dreams Writer’s Conference can submit using our online registration form. One entry per attendee. Entry Fee: Desert Rose members $25.00. All others $30.00. Failure to meet any of the Entry Guidelines below will result in disqualification and a refund of your entry fee.

Entry Guidelines:
Submit the first ten manuscript pages and a 3-page synopsis. Manuscripts must be in standard manuscript format (Courier 12 point font or similar with 1 inch margins). List the genre and category on the first page of the entry. Manuscripts must be rich text format (.rtf) or Word format (.doc) Headers on all pages should specify only the title of the book, category entered, and page number. The author’s name may not appear anywhere on the manuscript or synopsis pages. Entries that do not meet this requirement will be disqualified. Include a cover page for your manuscript with the following information: Title First line of manuscript Author’s name Address Phone number E-mail Category for submission Approximate word count for the completed book Register To register your entry, please use the Online Realizing the Dream Entry Form, then e-mail your entry package to the Realizing the Dream Contest Coordinator with “REALIZING THE DREAM” in the subject line. By signing the entry form, entrants acknowledge acceptance of these rules.

Scoring and Results The judges are instructed to destroy all entries they judge. Score sheets will be available at the conference Friday evening after the Winner is announced.
Please note that wide variations in scores are possible. One of the purposes of this contest is to get the candid opinions of the judges (editors and agents), whether those opinions are good or bad. If wide variations in scoring occur, there will be no additional judging.

Need More Info? For additional information, please contact the Realizing the Dream Contest Coordinator:

Monday, December 9, 2013

Pitching at the conference - Part Three of Three

Since this is not your "first rodeo", what is the one thing an author can do to "wow" you?

KATE RICHARDS:   I’m always fascinated by a new take on a popular idea. Our readers are, too. Or a brand new concept. And a lot of heart. I hope to care almost as deeply as you do about your characters, to love them and hate their troubles and cheer for their triumphs.

LATOYA SMITH: Be yourself. 

NATALIE LAKOSIL:  Bring a kitten? Actually, someone did bring me pictures of their cat once, which was quite wonderful. I don't recommend it as a general practice, I just happen to really enjoy cats. I suppose, really, being personable and making me laugh. Being professional and respectful...being human. :) 

SARAH YOUNGER: The best thing an author can do to "wow" me is to come with a great book idea with the writing to back it up. 

SUE GRIMSHAW: Have a social media presence – very important for digital first books. I am also impressed when an author knows what readers want, what the bestselling books are and generally what readers are reading.  If an author is versatile as a writer that is very appealing  in today’s digital market.

MACKENZIE FRASER-BUB: Be prepared with a really great short pitch –give me a very brief summary, avoid clich├ęs, have two or three solid, good comps, and be prepared to discuss why you think your book is special.  I’m always wowed by authors who are personable and yet professional in their presentation; I’m attracted to people who are interested not only in the craft of writing, but in the business of publishing as well.  

Now you are armed and ready to pitch and wow the right editor or agent for your book.

Registration fee goes up after December 31st.


Terri Molina
Conference co-coordinator

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Pitching at the Conference - Part Two of Three

What advice do you have for authors planning to pitch to you at the Desert Dreams Conference?

KATE RICHARDS: If you pitch a story that meets our needs, and gets me excited, I will ask you to submit. So if you’re just thinking an idea through, chat with me informally, anytime during the conference, but if you pitch, be ready!

LATOYA SMITH: I’m really nice, so no need to panic (joking!) I have learned from past conferences that it’s sometimes helpful to have notes with you to help keep you on track. It’s very easy to get nervous or sidetracked.

NATALIE LAKOSIL:  Don't freak out. Don't vomit or burst into tears - though I won't hold it against you if you do. Come prepared with questions; this is a chance to get to know the agent, too - you can always send a letter with a pitch, but how often can you pick an agent's brain? 

SARAH YOUNGER: I would say to author's planning to pitch: 
A) Don't be nervous. (Or at least try your best not to be... :) 
B) Come prepared. By that I mean 1) have something that I can sell, as in a finished or almost finished manuscript. & 2) Know my list, if you bring something to the table that I don't rep then we're both wasting time. 
C) If you just want to chat about stories ideas etc. that is fine too, but preface your intentions at the beginning. 
D) Also know that we might not just chat about books. I think some of the best pitch meetings I've had we've not only talk about an author's work and their plans for the future, but also about football, pets, and bad dates. 

SUE GRIMSHAW: Bring notes if it helps, be relaxed – I am J And just have fun.  I like to know who you like to read and who you think you write like &/or what authors readers your book will appeal to.

MACKENZIE FRASER-BUD: Don’t be nervous! I totally understand that pitching is a very nerve-wracking process and that’s enormously difficult to sit in front of someone you’ve never met and try to sell them on a project that you’ve poured yourself in to; it’s humbling to me that you want to share it with me.  Practice what you most want to tell me about your project and then we’ll talk about – there’s no need to be nervous.  I’m nice.  

Registration fee goes up after December 31st.

Terri Molina
Conference co-coordinator

Monday, December 2, 2013

Pitching our agents and editors - Part One of Three

Pitching to an agent or editor is much like speed dating. You're ushered into a room, seated at a small table, introduce yourself and then proceed to make a great first impression in eight minutes.  If you're like me, you go in hands shaking and knees weak worried if you have something stuck in your teeth....okay, you're probably not as neurotic, but, if you're even a little bit worried, or just wondering if you'd be a good fit with the agent or editor you plan to chat with, then let me ease your mind. The first thing to remember is: They're just people! 
Okay, maybe I'm stating the obvious, but at least it broke the ice, right? I'll even go a step further. I recently 'sat down' with our publishing professionals to ask the burning questions you're dying to know before you sign up to pitch. 
So, I introduce to you our Editors and Agents!
*Chris Kesslar was unavailable to comment.

What type of books are you actively seeking? What stories make you the most excited?

KATE RICHARDS: Decadent Publish has a wide variety of releases in all the sub-genres of romance and beyond. I am, of course, particularly involved with our 1Night Stand and Challenge series stories and am actively seeking submissions for those. Romantic suspense and paranormal stories are also particular interests of mine.

LATOYA SMITH: I am currently looking for romance and erotic romance in most sub-genres with the exception of historical, as well as African American general fiction and romance.  In regards to what I would be most excited to see, I would like more romantic suspense submissions.  Damaged heroes also do it for me.

NATALIE LAKOSIL: I’m drawn to talented, hard-working new authors with a fresh, unique voice and hook. My specialties are children’s literature (from picture book through teen and New Adult), romance (contemporary and historical), cozy mystery/crime, up market women’s/general fiction and select children’s nonfiction. My interests include historical, multicultural, magical realism, sci-fi/fantasy, gritty, thrilling and darker contemporary novels, middle grade with heart, and short, quirky or character-driven picture books. I’m always drawn to an open and positive attitude in an author, professionalism, good grammar, and fantastical, beautifully written, engaging and sexy plots. What I am not looking for: Inspirational novels, memoir, romantic suspense, adult thrillers, poetry, screenplays

SARAH YOUNGER: I am actively seeking all varieties of genre romance and NA, really all varieties, and very select YA, Women's fiction, and pet or sports focused Non-Fiction. As to the stories that make me the most excited are those with unique voices and stand out characters. Also, it doesn't hurt to have a great hook and thoughts to the future in terms of next works. 

SUE GRIMSHAW: Erotic, new adult, contemporary very sexy and everything really – but must be character focused, their journey, not the plot telling the story.  I personally love everything

MACKENZIE FRASER-BUD: I am seeking women’s fiction and romance primarily.  I get excited about dynamic, interesting characters that I can immediately connect with; a distinctive voice will always draw me in!  Strong, complex heroines, well-paced narratives, and innovative plot lines are a must.  And having a dreamy guy in the picture definitely doesn’t hurt. 

Check this blog regularly for updates.
Part Two and Three coming in a few days.
HURRY TO REGISTER for the conference, even if you haven't decided about your agent/editor appointment yet. The price goes up after December 31st.

Terri Molina
Conference Co-coordinator.