Yes, there was a winner along with a number of authors who signed with us while we debated long and hard (see what I did there with innuendo) about who would take home the prizes along with a publishing contract from Ardent Books. It was a tough choice as there were many submissions that came through. Much like a previous post where I elaborated on the stories that will stand out from the slush pile, I’m going to reiterate a few key points along with some newer ones.
Initially mentioned in the referenced post above, good grammar was the first key to us looking through stories. If an author has a story but cannot get the words on paper or in a word document using proper grammar, we cannot be bothered to read it. Adhere to our guidelines when we ask for a clean, well written story. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it needs to resemble your highest quality of writing. I, or one of my editors will handle the finer details once we acquire your manuscript.
I briefly talk about being a fervent reader in this genre, but our authors also tend to read outside erotica in order to make their own writing more well rounded. It’s not necessary to stray too far out of the ballpark if you’re not inclined, but variety is the spice of life. While I’ve written BDSM and menage erotica for much of my career, I have a romantic suspense in the works. My release at Ardent is pure erotic romance, towing the line completely with an HEA.
While I opined that writers vary their reading stimulation, they should also divagate from their normal viewing pleasures. Yes, ideas come from everywhere, and as you can see on our Sizzling Authors Facebook group Ardent Books created, our questions run the gamut from mundane to totally out there. Authors answers deviate from the norm and everyone provides input from their different backgrounds. Their writing reflects this and excites us!
Something that’s a little more difficult to define on paper because it’s not concrete, is the passion displayed by the authors when they submitted to us. Eager to win, hopeful for a contract, they showed a dedication and passion to their craft and a strong belief in their stories. That’s important because if the author can get excited about their story, it makes it that much easier for us to do the same. This is important when it comes time to market, simply because sometimes the process may take more time than either of us wish for, but that strong enthusiasm for their stories keeps us both going.
Our winner had all of these things in common with the other authors we contracted, but her story stood out as having not just great marketing potential, but a solid start to a series with a unique voice in erotica and romance. Not only did she have passion behind her marketing plan and story, but she had an openness that is hard to match, to us helping her career grow through the Assent Academy.
Many authors forget that it’s not just a book they’re selling to a publishing house, but a brand. Author S. Blue Remy realized this from the day we first talked about her story and continued to show her enthusiasm while beating a deadline she initially told me she couldn’t make. Her novel Twisted Asphalt is one we are highly anticipating as a huge release in early 2015 and has us excited to announce her as the winner of the First Annual Scorching Stories contest from Ardent Books! Congratulations to Blue Remy! We know your’e going to make us very proud while your career helps you soar!
We hope to bring this to authors again next year, leaving us with only one question: How will you bring the erotic to us?
We are currently accepting submissions for Ardent Books See our submission guidelines here