Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Racy Reads Competition on 'Lorraine' - Shoudl I? Or shouldn't I...?

I've realised a couple of things this week:

1)  I'm actually enjoying 'Celebrity Big Brother' and I'm not ashamed to admit that, although Heidi and Spencer Pratt are starting to grate on me a bit now,

2)  I need to lose a few pounds but I'm far too lazy to start exercising again just yet,


3)  I'm in the middle of a bit of a dilemma.  And it's this particular one I want to talk about today, if only to get things off my chest, really.

Now, those of you living in the UK may or may not have seen the competition that was launched on 'Lorraine' this week - Racy Reads.  With the help of Jackie Collins they're trying to find the "next big thing in writing", so, when I heard about this I tuned in out of pure curiosity, just to see what was required.  With the winner obtaining a contract to have their novel published with Mills & Boon, and being flown out to LA to have lunch with the wonderful Ms. Collins herself, I'd have been stupid not to see what all the fuss was about. And, after all, my writing does somewhat lean towards the racier side of romance. 

Would I love to have lunch in Hollywood with this lady? Of course I would!
However, after watching the show over the past few days, and taking a look through all the terms and conditions, rules, etc., I'm beginning to think that this maybe isn't for me.  Why?  Well, quite a few reasons, really.

First and foremost, one of the terms and conditions is that you have to be able to have a completed novel (50,000 words minimum) ready by 3rd June 2013 at the latest.  Okay.  That means that, should I be inclined to enter, I have no time whatsoever in which to create a brand-new body of work so that would leave me with no other option but to submit 'Striker'.  And I'm unsure whether this would be accepted as, although the whole book hasn't yet been published (it's not even bloody finished, never mind published!), any work which has previously been published in any shape or form is not eligible for submission.  Mind you, I'm not sure that posting the first chapter on my humble little blog could actually count as published. 

Anyway, before I start waffling on again, 'Striker' is the only thing I could possibly submit - first and foremost they want the first 1,000 words.  Which isn't a lot.  So those first 1,000 words have to really sell the story in order for anyone to be picked to go through to the next stage.  And I'm not sure I'd even stand a chance.

But, let's say the impossible happened and I did somehow get through to the next stage - that could mean TV appearances on 'Lorraine', and I think this stage also involves having to "sell" your story to the panel of judges.  This is where I'd fall flat on me arse, you see.  Oh, it's not that I'm not confident about my story - I love my story, and I'm very proud of 'Striker'.  I'm just not confident - full stop.  I'm painfully shy, and I'm just not sure if I could actually do what's required without falling to pieces.  Me?  On TV?  Nah.  Mind you, the huge positive in all of this is that, should all of these pipe dreams happen then it could mean a little extra exposure for my name, as an author, which in turn could mean a boost in sales for my other books, which is never a bad thing when you're a struggling indie author like me.  But, as none of this is going to happen...  You see what I mean?  How could I possibly enter a competition like this when I'm not only bereft of any kind of self-confidence, but I'm also extremely cynical about these kind of things.  I can't help myself.

Which brings me onto the next worry I have.  This competition does not exclude previously published authors or those with agents, etc. from entering.  In fact, in reality, unless you already have a practically completed novel ready to go I doubt it's even worth thinking about going for this.  No way can that ordinary person sitting at home, desperate to knock out their very own 'Fifty Shades of Grey' have a completed novel ready to be published in just over 4 months!  Surely that just isn't realistic? Of course, the finished book will go through a professional editing process and all that that entails, but still.  I'm sure that the panel of judges are looking for something more than just a rough-around-the-edges first draft by June.

I just think that this competition will be entered by a lot of professional authors - their agents could have put them forward, or they already have that perfect book all written and ready to go.  I don't know.  I do think it will attract a lot of indie authors too, though.  And why not?  We need all the help we can get with publicity and promotion, so why not have a crack at this?  I just don't know whether I should bother or not. 

Oh, and and another thing, they want a novel of 50,000 words, minimum - 'Striker' is knocking on for 160,000 and it's still not finished yet!  It's going to be too long.  Could it be edited down?  Yeah, I'm sure it could.  Do I want it to be edited down?  Not really.  Not all of it, anyway.  I haven't actually completed a first edit yet, so I don't know what I'm taking out/leaving in myself right now.  I'm also unsure as to how "racy" they want this novel to be as, judging by some of the authors they've had on the sofa with Lorraine so far this week, their books have been anything but racy!  And I should know - I've read most of them!  And if that's what they're looking for then 'Striker' is going to leave them blushing like they've never blushed before.  'Striker' is racy with a capital 'R'!  Believe me...

Anyway, this has been one long and rambling post but I've tried to use it as a way of talking myself into either giving this a go, or forgetting all about it and getting on with my writing.  I still don't think I stand a cat's chance in hell of even getting past the first round, and I'm still not entirely sure I want Mills & Boon getting their hands on 'Striker' anyway.  But, then again, shouldn't I just send off the first 1,000 words and see what happens?  I've not got anything to lose, really, have I?

I really, really cannot decide what to do about this, and I've only got until 28th January to decide.  If it was a longer time-frame I would certainly create a whole new novel, but there just isn't the time.  Not if I want to do it properly.  So, what should I do?  I mean, lunch with Jackie Collins?  That's a dream come true for me that is - after the one where Bradley Cooper turns up on my doorstep with a tin of chocolate body paint and... Well, maybe that's something that's just got to go in another one of my very own racy reads... ;)


  1. I fully understand where you are coming from. I too have debated over submitting. What I am most unsure about is exactly how racy they want the novel to be. I have trawled through their terms and conditions but no where does it state how explicit or not, the story should be. They keep talking about the next Fifty Shades, so that suggests expicit, but are Mills and Boon really looking for that.

    1. I know Mills and Boon do a lot of different kinds of books now, and they DO have an edgier category, which is where I assume the winner of this competition's book would be placed. Whether mine is right for them or not, I have no idea. It's pretty explicit, in parts, but it's not quite erotica and I haven't read 'Fifty Shades of Grey' so I can't compare it to that. But, I'm going to submit it anyway and see what happens, which I suspect will be absolutely nothing! It'll still be published though - by me, and soon! :) Good luck if you decide to submit too. :)

  2. Iam a new writer should i bother as i will write the 1000 words then have to write 50.00 a lot for a new writer. no time to think just have to do it .

  3. Hi Michelle - loved your post! I'm a new writer - just started writing the toga-teasers series. I did actually enter racy reads - a friend told me about it and I just went to the tv site and did it from there. How stupid do you think I feel now after subsequently going to the M&B site and seeing they want erotica aka 50 shades style - I sent 1000 words opening on a tale set in ancient Rome about a noblewoman being sold as a slave by her dispicable husband as she can't give him an heir! Oops! Well at least it got me started on what's promising to be a good story regardless!

  4. Hi Suzanne! :) I did finally enter the Racy Reads comp too, although I kind of knew from the start that I wouldn't really get anywhere. Not sure my book is what they're really looking for, although I have dubbed it "Fifty Shades of Football", and it is nudging slightly into erotica in parts. Still, the book was finished before I entered the competition and seeing as I've been unsuccessful in that quest, I'll stick to my original plan of publishing it myself, hopefully at the end of this month. Busy editing it now.

    And I'm glad that the comp got you started on your own story. Keep at it! I've been writing seriously for almost four years now, with six books under my belt and a seventh on the way. And I love it! And if you want any questions answered, or you just want to keep in touch, please do. I'd love to know how you get on. :) Wishing you lots of luck with your writing! :)