Wednesday, July 15, 2015


The weekly Anne R. Allen Blog is the background for my own blog this week. Anne writes about the Library Journal “Self-E” contest which is what it sounds like: a contest for self-published digital e-books.

There’s no entry fee, but there are prizes for the winners in each of the four categories: Romance, Mystery, Science Fiction and Fantasy. Aside from the generous prizes, the reason for entering is to make libraries aware of your book so patrons may borrow it and then “discover” you as an author whose other books they might want to read. Google “Library Journal” for details.

During my many years of writing and submitting fiction, I’ve entered many contests, but won (or finaled in) very few. Which, therefore, makes them easy for me to remember.

GOLDEN FIRE. My first published book was the result of a writing contest. Contest submissions were to be the first three chapters or the entire novel, and, since I had only written three chapters, that’s what I submitted. Imagine my surprise when I received a letter stating I was one of the finalists and asking for the rest of the book.

I was ready and willing to finish it, but decided if I didn’t win, it would be a lot of work for nothing. So I asked how many finalists there were and was told, “five.” That didn’t seem like too much competition, and I never started a book - even in those days - without knowing the ending, so I promised to send the entire manuscript. However, I pleaded needing time for “final polish,” and this was the early days of computers, and I was given thirty days. I met the deadline, won first place and publication. The bad news? The prize was a Windjammer cruise which I couldn’t take, and, although the book was published, the company went out of business before paying me royalties. Much later, I rewrote the book, gave it a different title and published it again as a mass-market paperback which, alas, soon disappeared from bookstores.

Years passed and I sold other romance novels. Fortunately, I have forgotten all the other contests I entered without winning, but I felt - still do - that it was a good idea to enter them.

NORTH BY NORTHEAST. Then my husband and I took a trip on a train called The American Orient Express. We started in New Orleans, traveled East to Florida and then up the east coast to Savannah, Charleston and Richmond, ending in Washington D.C. in time for the Cherry Blossom Festival. It was such a fine trip, and I met a fellow writer on board who urged me to write about it, so I did. On a two-week vacation to Hawaii later that year, I took my laptop and every morning I wrote ten pages before we hit the beach. I was living in San Diego county at the time and knew there was a contest there, so I asked my husband to self-publish it for me (a new method at the time) and entered it. It won first prize and I got to put stickers, “Winner of San Diego Book Award” on my print copies. And I can now put “Award Winning Author” on all my books.
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I’ll continue my list next time, but meanwhile would like to hear stories about your foray into the contest world. So, fellow writers, have you entered contests? Won a prize or two? Tell me.


  1. I'm inspired to enter more contests.
    Thanks Phyllis,

  2. Bob: Thanks. Your finaling in the San Diego Book Awards shows you should enter more.


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