While I was cleaning out some file cabinets I haven’t looked in for ages I found two Daphne entries. May ’04 the postmark. A year before I sold my first book. As I skimmed through the comments for my favorite entry of the two, WM, a book that I am certain will be rewritten and published, I discovered I missed finaling by 2 points. I had two perfect 128 scores, one 126 score and the kiss of death score, a 76.
Now, I am going to gloat a bit, and I probably shouldn’t but, well, I am. And here’s why. The two judges who gave me the perfect scores were published in both romance and non fiction. The 126 score was by an unpublished author and the 76? A published in romance only author.
Let me give you a bit of a blurb on this story. Dark alpha detective goes under cover to nab a suspected black widow. This is a dark, single title, romantic suspense. It’s evident from page one.
So this judge who gave me the 76? She made comments like “Your hero comes across harsh.” Well duh he’s pissed he has to go undercover and he has zero respect for the black widow. “Your hero seems a bit caustic.” Double duh, he’s a homicide detective. “If you fixed the hero I would recommend this book.” Yada yada yada. She obviously is not familiar with the ‘hot alpha cop’. (her loss) I found out why.
She signed her name.
I hadn’t noticed that before. Soooo, I googled this published romance author. Hmm, she has a nice site. She writes category. Now before anyone jumps on me and says category authors do write red hot alphas, I am not implying they don’t, I just haven’t read many…hardly any…none. Hell, maybe I’m just not reading the right ones. But in my defense every time I was rejected by HQ/Sil the problem was always my hero. Too dark. But, I digress. Anyhoo this judge hasn’t had a release since 2004.
Here’s the real weird thing. The other entry? It just missed finaling as well, and that story will never see a bookstore shelf, no matter how many times I revise. My top scores, one a perfect 128 and one 2 minus perfect were judged by published in romance authors. None left their names, and they were stingy with the comments. Nary a mark on the submitted pages. I’m scratching my head. I don’t get it. The first entry rocked the house!!!! The second? It was admittedly a dud. Why did they score almost identical?
I will say the judge who hated my hero in the rockin’ entry did give me this tidbit to chew on. “You have potential. Never give up!” I appreciate that. I’ve written those words myself on entries I’ve shredded only to see them go on and sell. So what the hell do I know?
Hmm, when I started to write this I felt kind of smug, now, I feel kind of dumb. I feel bad for the judge who hated my entry and prevented me from finaling. She hasn’t released in 3 years, and from the content on her site it doesn’t look like she has anything on the horizon. And that my friends I would never wish on any author. Ok, well there is this one…but, well, you know what I mean.
Now with all of the above said, I have had other judges decimate my entries. I’ve had some who have said the entry was so bad they could not judge it. I had one judge say (I’m paraphrasing here) “It is obvious English is not your first language. To better reach your American audience I suggest you take English classes.” 🙂 I’m serious. It didn’t bother me in the least that she didn’t get that English was not the heroes’ first language. But it didn’t matter, the entry sucked the big one anyway. But have you ever had such nasty comments from a contest judge that if you knew voodoo you’d use it?
And please share the bloodletting. I love hearing snarky judge comments. I’ll give a signed copy of GOOD GIRL GONE BAD to the commenter with the meanest judge comment.