HARLEQUIN MILLS & BOON
...that’s right, the organisers of this global writing competition.
Now given I entered, it might seem the height of bad manners to fork through what’s on the plate rather than consume gratefully but this post is less criticism and more a reality check .
Key Point: The way the voting works, SYTYCW is less a test of writing ability and more a test of social media use and ownership of devices (you can vote more than once as long as you do so from a different device).
It’s a popularity contest in other words. Got enough family, got enough friends, got enough followers, got BIG ENOUGH BALLS to tout shamelessly your entry across the e-universe and you should go through to the last 25 regardless. (In addition, the organisers choose 3 ‘wild card’ entries which, they believe, merit attention.) Lucky 28 contestants. Well done! That upward streak is your profile on the rise.
To the remaining entrants, don’t worry about not placing. It is not a reflection on your talent but do learn to e-network (even if only with other writers). There are some superb opening chapters buried deep in e-silence, if yours is one of those, don’t give up. Cream rises.
Actually, no-one should give up. Your ability to write, your skill at engaging a reader from the get-set-go, your future potential, has not been tested. Not in a meaningful way. Not under this voting system.
And why is HM&B the overall winner? Free publicity. $$£££$$$ worth of it. They have gifted nothing they would not otherwise have given, albeit by another means and under different circumstances (the slush pile).
Is this wrong? Nah, it’s marketing-smart and integrity often takes a hike when protecting/growing market-share takes to highway.