I wrote this article for my local Romance Writers of America chapter to encourage people to enter our contest for unpublished writers. I really enjoyed writing it, and I'm told a couple people laughed out loud when they read it, so I thought it'd be fun to share it with you. Enjoy!
Imagine… You’re sitting by the ocean on the coast of France, sipping a little wine, nibbling on a platter of fresh breads, cheeses, and luscious fruits. Your latest book is coming easily and you’re ahead of deadline.
This could be you. Perhaps it will happen because of Scenario A. You’ve heard the call for entries for the Orange Rose Contest for Unpublished Writers. You went through your usual list of excuses – my first 35 pages aren’t ready, I’ve entered contests before and only gotten helpful feedback but no book contract, my pet giraffe ate the cloud where my files were backed up.
And yet…something whispers in the back of your mind, “This could be your year. This could be the year that all the other entries suck rocks and yours could rise to the top by default.”
You remember buying a book by some smart aleck writer who signs “Listen to your voices” before her autograph. You decide to listen to yours, you enter the contest, and you win! Both your favorite agent and the editor who would be the perfect fit for your book judge your entry and offer you representation and a multi-book contract.
You become the next thirteen-year-overnight-success. Everyone wants to read the book you’ve been ranting about for years as being the next Twilight for senior citizens who love dogs. Turns out you were right and there was a market there.
You buy a house, travel abroad, and buy another house. You come up with a smart aleck signature line, too. Sink your dentures into this one, Grandma! You sell even more copies.
And that’s when it hits you – this all started when you entered the 2013 Orange Rose Contest. Wow. Good thing so many people encouraged you to enter. You owe them a lot!
You may also come by fame, fortune, and a Ferrari via Scenario B. You are a brilliant published writer. You have deadlines and commitments and a cat who refuses treatment from the cat shrink you hired. But you have a heart of gold.
You remember how difficult it was to get your start in this business. You hope helping unpublished writers will take your mind off the fact that you can’t seem to help your cat. You sign up to be a judge in the Orange Rose Contest.
The quality of the writing is better than you expected. You enjoy reading most of the entries, though a few of them suck rocks. You give each of your entrants valuable feedback that will surely help those writers become almost as good as you.
Years go by. You’re heralded as the most significant writer in your age group – and not just because you’ve outlived your peers. Then one day, a year before you lose your driver’s license due to failed eyesight from old age, you get a delivery.
A red Ferrari is in your driveway, and the keys are in your hand. You maneuver your walker so that you can fall into the driver’s seat. There’s a note.
“Thank you for helping me achieve such astounding success. I’ve tracked you down because I know now that I couldn’t have gotten here if you hadn’t been willing to judge the Orange Rose Contest for Unpublished Writers way back in 2013. I already have four cars I don’t drive, so I thought you’d enjoy this one. Best regards, 2013 Orange Rose Winner.”
You drive the car for a couple weeks until your kids find out. They make you sell the car. On the way home, you notice a bumper sticker that reads, “I’m spending my kids’ inheritance.”
You suddenly act all sweet to your kids and thank them for thinking of your safety rather than your happiness. You shoo them out the door with more kisses and hugs than usual, then run (as fast as your walker will go) to your room and start packing.
So you see, whether you enter the Orange Rose contest or volunteer to judge it, you have a shot at fame, fortune, and a Ferrari. All you have to do is sign up before April 13 at http://www.occrwa.org/orangerosecontest/.
The voices in your head are telling you the time is now. Listen to them.