If you are a romance writer, you’ve been seeing #SYTYCW hashtag everywhere on social media.
For my non-writer readers, it is the yearly contest held by Harlequin/Mills Boon in search of new talent. Unpublished romance writers submit their work in the hopes of winning a coveted book contract with Harlequin.
I’ve entered twice. In 2012, I made the top ten, but went no further. In 2014, I entered again, made the top ten again, and did not win. But, I did catch the interest of Harlequin and was offered a book contract.
I want to urge any aspiring romance writers out there to enter this contest. I know, it’s scary. Many of us scribble away in the wee hours, just us and the dim glow of our monitors. To send your baby out into the harsh glare of the internet?
Once your baby is out there, something magical happens. People read your chapters. They like them. Little by little you get to know your fellow competitors.
They don’t feel like competitors. You are picking up new followers on Twitter, on Facebook. Interacting on the Wattpad site. Everyone is so…. friendly. And supportive.
And you are getting feedback. Compliments on what you did right. Suggestions for how to improve. You begin to sharpen your writing skills. You learn, yes, indeed, you can write!
Whether you win or not, whether you grab an editor’s attention or not, what you gain in friendship and knowledge is where the true prize is at. In that sense, everyone who enters wins.
I was so excited to meet with fellow SYTYCW alumni and current participants at RWA in NYC. Here’s a link with a cool video. Watch close and you may spot me wandering around.