When I stumbled on a Facebook page announcing a Next Best Fiction Author Contest, I was intrigued.
Even more so when I realized it was sponsored by Hampton Roads, the publisher of my first book, Back in Time Tarot.
In addition to my Tarot writing, I'm also working on the first book of a cozy mystery series called Scry Me a River. I'm almost done with Chapter 5 with 11,000+ words written
Hmm. I thought. Might be interesting to enter my mystery novel in this contest. After all, I had a great experience with Hampton Roads for my first book.
So after I signed up for the free contest, I asked a question on the Next Best Author Facebook page. Radio silence. Weeks later, still no response.
According to NextBestAuthorContest.com, contestants will download the first two chapters on April 15th. We were to watch for "important details" via email. Well, here it is, April 10...and no details.
I just visited the Next Best Author Facebook page to check for updates and what do I find? Several individuals asking for specific information on the contest and downloading files...with no replies to them, either.
So, I've decided to not enter the Next Best Fiction Author Contest for the following reasons:
1. Hampton Roads publishes Mind/Body/Spirit titles...not fiction. Whether they're trying to enter the fiction market is unknown, but why should I risk my fiction book on a company with no fiction traction?
2. The website appears to be secondary to an "Author Training Course" taught by Randy Davila...for a price. It appears he's modeling himself after Reid Tracy and Hay House in terms of reaching out to authors.
3. The contest hinges on "public voting", so it will probably be easy to game the system. The website doesn't disclose if popular vote snags the contract, or a combination of total votes and editorial approval.
4. Hampton Roads doesn't have a social media presence for their titles. At all. Sure, Randy Davila does--as president of Insight Events, Hierophant Publishing and Hampton Roads. But, again, these are all "how we can help you get published" campaigns that cost authors money. How is the promise of giving the winning author a "social media presence" an incentive, if the founder of Hampton Roads doesn't even have a dedicated FB page, Twitter account or blog specifically featuring--and about--Hampton Roads titles? Since Hampton Roads is now distributed by Red Wheel/Weiser/Conari--now the Red Wheel Group--it appears that Mr. Davila has allowed his titles to become folded in with the RWG's social media efforts. But, again, you'd be hard pressed to find dedicated posts or tweets about actual Hampton Roads books or authors.
Thus, why would I want to enter my novel-in-progress for the Next Best Fiction Author Contest if:
- I have a larger social media presence than Hampton Roads
- Hampton Roads doesn't have dedicated social media for their titles
- Hampton Roads doesn't even publish fiction
- They (or Mr. Davila) doesn't care enough to answer queries on the Facebook page
- No further details have been forthcoming since advertising the contest in March 2013
What do you think, dear reader? Does this look like an attractive contest to you? Or just a clever way to promote their "Author Training Course", hoping that authors desperate for publication (and increasing their odds for the contest) will fork over $100 or more for such "training"?