Friday, January 18, 2008

Red Sage "Contest" with commentary--veinglory

I like Red Sage, I do, but I can't help myself...

Red Sage has a reputation for finding the next big stars in romance writing. Our author roster reads like a bestseller list. We’re also known for being a tough market to crack, but now we’re giving writers an opportunity to see their names added to the list of Red Sage stars!

...vainglory much?

To celebrate the growth of the Secrets line of anthologies and the launch of Red Sage Presents, our e-books line, we’re holding a writing contest. This is a great opportunity for two lucky winners to grow along with us!

Here at Red Sage, we admit to a certain fondness for the alpha male. He’s powerful. He takes what he wants. And he makes that one special woman want what he takes.

Does that last line make any sense?

Whether he’s charming or ruthless, passionate or stoic, the alpha male makes a great romantic partner for today’s strong, modern woman. And we want to see erotic romance novellas that explore the complex relationship between the alpha male and the modern woman.

The strong modern women who wants to be "taken" that as. As opposed to us throwback archiac weak dominatrices.

There will be two prizes awarded for the best stories. First prize will be publication in the Secrets anthology! Second prize will be publication as an e-book!

Epublication is second best, huh? It may be just me but I would tend to see epublication as a strategic decision made by the author at the point of manuscript submission.

And being published is a prize? because as that is the only prize I am not quite sure how this contest differs from just submitting a manuscript--other than the abstract notion of being declared a winner....

Here are the basic rules:

1. All entries must be original, unpublished erotic romance novellas of 25,000 to 35,000 words in English featuring an alpha male hero.
2. To enter, send a completed manuscript as an rtf file to Submissions@ eredsage. com with “Alpha Male Contest” in the subject line.
Only rtf formats will be accepted. All other formats will be automatically disqualified and deleted unopened. Include your full name, contact information, and credentials (if any) in your cover e-mail.
3. Entries must be received by March 31, 2008, at midnight eastern time. You may enter as many times as you wish. By entering, you are certifying that your entry is your original unplagiarized work, that you own all rights in this work, that this work has never been published, and that you are willing and able to publish it with Red Sage. Any entry not meeting these requirements will be automatically
4. In the event that none of the contest entries are deemed publishable, no winners will be declared. All entries will be reviewed by Red Sage editorial staff. All decisions are final. Non-winning manuscripts will be deleted at the conclusion of the contest.
5. For further tips on what Red Sage looks for in a manuscript, check our submissions guidelines at
http://www.eredsage .com/Writers_ Guidelines- sp8.html and our blog at
http://redsagerevea led.blogspot. com/
6. There is no fee for entering. Winners will receive a standard Red Sage publishing contract offer with standard Red Sage advance, royalties, and other terms.
7. This contest is void where prohibited by law.

Theresa Stevens
Managing Editor
Red Sage Publishing

For the best erotic romance everybody loves Secrets, and now they also love!

Everybody? (...not including perhaps the gays and 'non-modern' women).



Anonymous said...

You know, this is getting ridiculous. If a contest doesn't give you anything other than what you'd get through the standard submission process, it isn't really a contest. If they want alpha male/modern woman based stories, they should just announce that they're looking particularly for that. No need to couch it in this amount of hype.

It isn't even like Samhain's first line contest (which I entered but didn't win) where submissions were closed and this was the only way to get a foot in the door. It makes me wonder if maybe red sage isn't getting as many decent submissions as they'd like, and need to rustle up some business.

Jules Jones said...

Oh dear lord. It's a slushpile dressed up as a contest, isn't it? Except that if you send your manuscript to *this* slushpile, you've agreed to accept their standard contract, with no negotiating on the terms, and no turning it down if you win.

And you know what the Absolute Write crowd have to say about that...

Anonymous said...

I think it would help to look at this from the viewpoint of a writer just starting out. I entered my third book into a contest at *cringe* Twilight Fantasies. It won first place and was published. And even though I ended up pulling my rights for breach of contract and turning down the prize--when it was finally offered--it gave me another publishing credit to include in my bio and query letters. Telling people, especially potential publishers, your writing won first place in a contest is never a bad thing. Is it?

In my case, it doesn't seem to have hurt me any, since I've managed to get contracts on four more books and with every submission, I include the fact that my writing won a contest in the query letter. So even though I got royally screwed by Twilight, I look at it as a lesson learned and tell myself I came out ahead in that little fiasco.

Sometimes it not about the prize, so much as it is about experience gained.


Anonymous said...

A "standard contract OFFER" is not the same as a standard contract with no negotiation. And prizewinners get different PR and exposure than slushpile submissions.

Thank you for the opportunity to clarify.

Tess MacKall said...

I see your point here. Doesn't look like much of a contest if it is only offering a contract. And if it is more, I wish they would state it.

Right now Dark Eden Press is running a contest and their prizes include advertising. Now that is something authors can use. I just saw another contest the other day that offered cash too.

I'm not so worried about cash, but it would be nice to have some incentive other than a contract. Sweeten the pot so to speak.

Also....I'd love a bit of clarification on the alpha male they want to see. Can he be a bad boy? How far is too far? I tend to write my Alphas bad.

Katrina Strauss said...

I love casting alpha males in my stories. What can I say, I grew up on bodice rippers and think they're just good fun, and this aesthetic has carried over into my m/m romance even. However, this contest smacks too much of American Idol for me. And yes, I'm also perplexed as to how our fair heroine is supposed to enjoy what her alpha boy "takes"??? Rather it seems she would enjoy the act of the taking of, or what she gets in return (like some hot hairpulling, up against the wall, ass-banging sex...) So erm, yes, I think I'll pass!

Teddy Pig said...

SCAM! Red Sage has become yet another fly by night SCAM! Good work!

Jules Jones said...

Theresa, the phrase "and that you are willing and able to publish it with Red Sage" as one of the conditions of entry means that Red Sage could insist that any offered contract has already been accepted in advance by the act of entering. That may not be the intent, and I don't actually think that Red Sage would insist on an unhappy author fulfilling that entry condition, but it is not unknown for contest organisers to do such things. I personally would think hard about entering a contest with such terms even when it's a contest run by a reputable publisher.

Teddy, this doesn't mean that Red Sage has become a scam. It just means they're being silly, and they're not even the first otherwise sane publisher to do so. If they were charging a submission fee, or claiming publication rights over all entries, or offering poorer terms than their standard ones, then you can bet that there'd have been more than mild snark from the authors who post here.

Teddy Pig said...

I was actually joking a bit there.

Nah, not really, with this obvious desperate ploy to get MS entries and the silliness of not checking the wording of their own contest for what it implies.

I mean think about it what does this say to anyone who actually wins this?

They could not have been accepted by just entering their manuscript the usual route?

And prizewinners get different PR and exposure than slushpile submissions.

HUH? So if you win you get better PR than if you simply entered your manuscript professionally? What about people who are not the winner but did a great job will their just as interesting and good MS be ignored in the clamor around the one who wins?

There are all sorts of WTF?s around this type of contest.

Teddy Pig said...

I guess it makes me itchy when I see publishers treat their business like some prize to be won or some type of popularity contest instead of a business where professional writers are treated with hopefully proper respect to their manuscripts and judged fairly based on the merits of that manuscript alone.

But I'm a pig, what do I know?

Anonymous said...

TP - Have you considered putting something down paper--er...keyboard? screen? The snark throughout would be worth paying for.

Anonymous said...

I don't know, I don't see it as anything all that bad.

Just because you are willing and able to publish it with red sage doesn't mean you'd be required. Unless they actually make you sign a contract before entering, all they can do is offer a contract. They can't force an author to sign.

It wouldn't work for me and probably not a lot of currently published authors, but one trying to get their foot in the door, it might work for them.

But that's just my take on it.

Teddy Pig said...

Ann, I just figure if I was foolish enough to tout my stuff as THE BEST then you should expect it to be THE BEST. Not tired and halfassed, but topshelf all the way THE BEST.

But you see I am just lowly Gay Romance reader. So what do I know?

Liane Gentry Skye said...

I wonder how many of the commenters here entered the Brava novella contest, where the only prize is having a 750 word excerpt read by a well known editor? How about any of the RWA contests? Do any of those offer publication as a prize?

Many authors whine that they just can't get out of the slushpile and in front of an editor. Let's face it...query writing skills and synopsis writing skills have killed more than one fabulous story before it's ever been so much as glanced at.

Well,it seems to me that contests such as these narrow those phenomenal odds of getting read.

And in this case, two authors will get contracts who might not have before---on the assumption those entries are publishable.

BTW, I am a Red Sage author, and proud of it. All publishers have a standard contract, and like most publishers I have found RS amenable to reasonable negotiations. IN fact, they granted all the changes in terms I asked for.

And certainly nobody is going to chain the winners to a wall and force them to sign their first born child away.

Looks like a another formerly objective site where TMZ syndrome has struck...

And least this contest is free. Free to enter, and free to not enter.

Liane Gentry Skye said...

For those of you wanting to know what RS means in by "alpha hero"....some market research might be in order.

The best way to know what might be published is to be aware of what has already been published by the house in question.

veinglory said...

Liane, what gave you the impression that I or the commentors are unaware of what an alpha hero is?

My take on it is quite the converse, submitting during a contest period would probably reduce odds of acceptance due to increased "competition".

Allow me to express again that I am very familiar with, and admire, the fiction produced by red sage. But I still simply do not see a prizeless contest as a contest, it is a slush pile. I am a money-paying reader of red sage, not an acokyte convinced or their infallibility. I often consider that they 'big note' it a bit much now that there are larger and arguably more prestiguous presses in the genre--and besides I am a Kiwi and we are more atrracted to humility than bravado.

Being read by a well known editor would be a prize to the extent that the editor really was well known and really was reading with attention and interest. but I would be somewhat ammazed if anyone who commented here entered that contest either.

Most of us just write, submit, repeat.

Liane Gentry Skye said...

Hi Emily...

I copied this from one of the comments above: Also....I'd love a bit of clarification on the alpha male they want to see. Can he be a bad boy? How far is too far? I tend to write my Alphas bad.

I was simply answering her question. The best way for the writer to figure out what RS means by "alpha hero" is to know the market she's (or he's) submitting to.

Actually, I've noticed two authors commenting here who entered the Brava contest. One of them is a finalist, if I'm not mistaken...and turned in a might fine entry.

So your readership is much broader than you might suspect.

I came very close to *not* submitting to Redsage due to one of your posts earlier in the summer citing rumors of an e-redsage contract rights grab.

With that said, I'm bowing out of the discussion as I'm trying to get another story ready to go out to....yeah, you guessed it...Red Sage.

veinglory said...

Best of luck. You could certainly do worse than red sage. their contract does need some scrutiny, something they share with ellora's cave. I imagine presses that delivery more are in a position to ask for more.

As for who reads this blog. Sometimes I think it's gotten away from me a little. I am forced to wonder where y'all came from!

As usual my opinions will be a little hit and miss--the risk of having a lot fo opinions are that some are bound to be idiosyncratic (i.e. probably not right). ;)

Teddy Pig said...

The Brava Novella Contest is simply the entry of a 750 word excerpt. It actually sounds like fun.

That is way different than tying up a whole manuscript in someone slush pile/beauty pagent in my opinion.

veinglory said...

I wasn't aware of that. Indeed, entering 750 for a giggle isn't risking much.

Teddy Pig said...

Plus Brava is judged by other authors which gives it a different feel too.

More of an introductory because we think you have some talent there.

Now my idea of a fun contest would simply be to host previously unpublished short stories (set a nice limit) maybe by some of the established authors and let the fans judge which should end up in a Red Sage anthology.

Sorta giving away some free reads online but allowing people to participate in the process of putting an actual book together.