I received this picture and a lovely thank you this week from the reader who won one of my contests last year. The prize was a short story for which she chose specifications. In this case she wanted a scandal caused by a cat. That took some thought! She also wanted a gruff alpha hero, and I managed that but I fudged a bit and made him a bastard instead of a duke. She didn’t seem to mind.
When I use this prize, the deal is that the winner gets mention in the acknowledgments, the first print copy, and exclusive use for two months. After that, I can sell it or give it away as I do any of my books. This is the second time I’ve given this prize. The first resulted in The Whaler’s Treasure, which many of you got as a Christmas gift.
The Bluestocking Belles have used prizes of this type for a while. In 2017 winners of a February contest specified four story elements (an older heroine, a wise man, a Bible, and a compromising situation that isn’t) that all eight Belles used in writing their eight very different stories set across eight centuries. The Anthology that resulted was Never Too Late. The results tickled us and pleased our readers. We liked it so much, we’re going to do it again. To find out more, attend our Valentine Party, Heartfelt Happy Endings. To enter, check out the Raffllecopter at the bottom of this post.
Made-to-order stories encourage creativity and make for fun. I wonder if they aren’t preferable to small gift cards or free ebooks—though readers certainly like those too. Should I do another made-to-order story contest? Perhaps I will do that when The Unexpected Wife comes out in May. For now, I am editing the draft and hope to have it off to my publisher the end of the week. But first, coffee!