Kudos to You!

Posted by Judy | 7:54 AM | 24 comments »

This year, I was “in training” to take over the Launching a Star Contest for 2010 for the RWA STAR group in the Space Coast of Florida. I also entered several contests. So I received a lot of first-hand experience at both ends of the process. It got me thinking about the uniqueness of our RWA writing groups.
1. Volunteers run the contests. If they are as large and successful as the LAS and other contests, it takes several volunteers many, many hours of work to see it through.
2.Writers agree to judge the entries, which takes a big commitment on their parts. Not only do they have to read the entries, they have to judge them fairly, sometimes reviewing them two or three times.
3. Editors and agents take time out of their busy schedules to review finalists. They do this, in part, because they respect the talent of the participants and those that judge them.
4. We all celebrate the success of winners with electronic applause and personal congratulations.
Where else do people support each other like this? The journey to publication is difficult. We all agree. How much worse would it be without support?
I’m dedicating this blog to all CPs, bloggers, volunteers and writers, both unpubbed and pubbed, who support other writers in any way they can. THANKS!
BTW - MM won a $25 gift certificate in the drawing for LAS judges. How great is that?

What has been your experience in volunteering for any spot in your RWA group


  1. Autumn Jordon // December 3, 2009 at 8:19 AM  

    Judy, I've been with RWA for a number of years and I've held every position with my local chapter. I've entered and judged contests and I can't agree with you more. Being on both sides has been a rewarding experience for me. I think 99.9% of the judges truly try to help the entry become a better writer. Kudos to all involve.


  2. Judy // December 3, 2009 at 9:18 AM  

    Thanks, Autumn...Sometimes we forget to thank others or forget to give ourselves a pat on the back when we help others. It's a great group!

  3. Jianne Carlo // December 3, 2009 at 9:47 AM  

    I agree wholeheartedly Judy. Contests helped me in my early days of writing, so every year I do at least two. This year was a whopper, five.

    I do try to make myself available to all the entrants afterward - if they want to discuss my comments.

    Great post,


  4. Judy // December 3, 2009 at 10:39 AM  

    Thanks, Jianne! I'd written a post on the good, the bad, the ugly of contests but if you respond well to the comments, they're worth a whole lot!!

  5. magolla // December 3, 2009 at 11:04 AM  

    I've been chapterless this last year since I switched to writing middle grade, BUT I still love to judge RWA contests. I think I judged eight this year.
    I gain so much out of judging it isn't even funny. I learned a lot about writing, and writing well, but now I just want to be swept away by an unforgettable story.
    I totally understand how agents and editors feel when they come across a 'diamond in the rough'. And, yes, when I get one of those I write a personal note requesting the author notify me when they publish as I would be first in line to buy it!

  6. Judy // December 3, 2009 at 11:35 AM  

    Magolla, so nice of you to keep judging. BTW I write middle-grade too, along with women's fiction. Great fun!

  7. Mary Marvella // December 3, 2009 at 12:00 PM  

    Judy, the gift certificate was a wonderful surprise. I judge contests because I love to read, and I love to teach.

    I include some contest suggestions and my email address. Score sheets help.

  8. Barbara Monajem // December 3, 2009 at 12:01 PM  

    I've judged many contests and also acted as a Daphne contest coordinator for a couple of years. It's a lot of work, but well worth it. As a writer, I got a HUGE amount of benefit from entering contests.

  9. Donnell // December 3, 2009 at 12:22 PM  

    Can I come in and play? Judy, what a nice blog and well said? I love helping out. I love seeing an organization I'm fond of thrive and grow, because if it thrives and grows, I have a place that will help me advice my career. Does that at all make sense?

    I coordinate contests because I'm one crazy, two, I love people, and let's face it...sitting behind this keyboard can be darn lonely.

    Coordinating (particularly on line) gives me the fabulous opportunity to work with people I would never meet in my life time. Can you imagine? I can't imagine my life without ya'll in my life? I think, I know, I would be a different person.

    Judging contests, not only teaches me something, lets me see my mistakes on the pages in my own work -- kind of like a duh, why didn't I see that? -- but it also lets me see where the market is heading. Amazing what we see that is similar in these entries, and it's amazing to see the ones that rise to the top that the editors and agents love.

    As a coordinator and a judge, I have an opportunity. Certainly not to steal anyone's idea, but to pretty much iron out that my idea will be different and at least as high concept as I can make it.

    Sorry to write a book, but this is a topic near and dear to me. Waving hi, to everyone. Thanks for coming into my life!

  10. Donnell // December 3, 2009 at 12:25 PM  

    Sorry for all the typos and question marks where there should be periods (groan), running out the door. I owe Mary money, and I don't want her to send an agent to collect! Have ya'll tried her cosmetic line ;)

  11. Mary Marvella // December 3, 2009 at 1:14 PM  

    Donnell is too sweet for me to send someone to collect from her. I am glad she likes my cosmetics, though.

  12. Judy // December 3, 2009 at 1:57 PM  

    Mary, I was so excited when your name was drawn for the certificate!It's great that you put in so much time and effort, even leaving your email address! I haven't tried your cosmetics yet... :(

  13. Judy // December 3, 2009 at 1:58 PM  

    Donnell, I appreciate your book, er, comments as always. LOL Just teasing!! Love what you had to say...Thanks!

  14. Beth Trissel // December 3, 2009 at 2:18 PM  

    Judy, I've entered numerous contests over the years and benefited greatly from the judges expertise. I've also done my share of judging and try my best to be helpful and kind.
    These contests are unique and vital as you so aptly pointed out.

  15. Mary Ricksen // December 3, 2009 at 2:46 PM  

    When I first joined RWA they directed to to my local chapter. Since then my life has been much happier. If I could afford to I'd enter every contest I could. I have judged contests, so I know the heart a good author has to put in judging a contest.
    Yeah!MM You deserve every bit of recognition you get!

  16. Judy // December 3, 2009 at 5:06 PM  

    Thanks for your comments, Beth. It's amazing to me to know how many people succeed in small part because they've participated in contests or have judged them.

  17. Judy // December 3, 2009 at 5:07 PM  

    Hi, Mary! Glad you got directed to a RWA chapter right away. I had no idea what RWA was for quite a while and was thrilled when I finally got to talk to other writers who understood what I was talking about!

  18. Pamela Varnado // December 3, 2009 at 7:52 PM  

    Good luck with the contest. I've been a coordinator for the Maggie contest and enjoyed it immensely. And judging contests is a great way to learn how to improve your skills as a writer. Analyzing what someone else is doing helps to get a better understanding of your own writing.

  19. Mary Marvella // December 3, 2009 at 9:24 PM  

    Thanks, Mary R! You're too good to me.

    And thanks, Judy. I'll put the gift certificate to good use.

  20. Scarlet Pumpernickel // December 3, 2009 at 11:03 PM  

    Being a member of RWA and volunteering for different jobs in GRW has been a very rewarding experience. Judging in the Golden Heart was an interesting experience. My life has been greatly enriched by the friends I've made through my association with RWA. Even the online friends I've made here on the Fuzzies are the result of my RWA/GRW membership. I look at the quality of my work today and compare it to my first efforts and know the improvement is because of RWA/GRW! I can't say enough good things about them. Besides, it was through GRW that I met MM and through MM that I met and became friends with the Fuzzies! Yey, Fuzzies!

  21. Mona Risk // December 4, 2009 at 12:47 AM  

    Judy, what a good post. You are right the whole business of writing is based on volunteering and supporting each other. On one hand, I have coordinated the Golden Palm contest for my local chapter FRW two years in a row and have judged innumerable entries in various contests. On the other hand, I have finaled or won several contests before publication. I als coordinated the editor/agents appointment during a FRW conference. I enjoyed every one of the events and services.

  22. Judy // December 4, 2009 at 8:09 AM  

    Hi, Barbara, Scarlet, Mona,and Pam, thanks for commenting. It's a great group!!!

  23. Alicia Dean // December 4, 2009 at 5:03 PM  

    What a wonderful post, Judy. And, one that is near and dear to my heart. I've coordinated my RWA chapter's contest for about five years now and it is a LOT of work, but it is tremendously rewarding. I am extremely proud of the Finally a Bride contest and I get very close to many of the entrants and judges (first round and editors) and I get highly emotional when someone does well, especially gets published as a result of the FAB. (or through any other method, LOL)

    I have been a judge, a coordinator, and an entrant and ALL of those are tremendous learning experiences.

    The very best thing about all of it is the incredibly wonderful people you meet through contests, and the writing world in general. I am continually amazed at how blessed I am with friends who support and encourage me (and each other) in this business. I've never known another profession where the members build one another up as much as writers.

    Gosh, Donnell, guess you're not the only one who decided to post a book. :-) Sorry!

  24. Judy // December 5, 2009 at 9:49 AM  

    Alicia, loved your comments. Thanks. It's as you described, the friendships and support mean everything in this difficult business where we work alone.