The WisRWA Fab Five Contest deadline is a week away (March 1). If you've ever considered entering your work in progress in a contest, this is an excellent one to try. The Fab Five requires just the opening 2,500 words of your novel, and is open to aspiring writers who are not yet published as well as those who are solely self-published. Plus, entrants do not have to be members of Romance Writers of America or WisRWA to enter.
I am living proof of the value of entering contests. THE PRINCE OF VAL-FEYRIDGE, my first novel, placed 3rd in the FFPT category, and BLOODSTONE placed 2nd in the same category. Thanks to valuable feedback I received on both of these manuscripts, both went on to final and win additional contests and eventually be contracted and published.
The judging emphasis is on positive feedback, so even if you don't win or place, you'll receive advice on what's working as well as what's not working in those all-important first pages. Complete details, rules, and entry form can be found at www.wisrwa.org/contests.
Putting your work before the judgment of strangers is incredibly hard, but it's the only way to get objective feedback from industry professionals. Be daring. Give it a try. And good luck if you do.