In 2004, SOLA, the Southern Louisiana Chapter of the RWA, wanted to do something to fulfill its organizational purpose, which is to promote excellence in romantic fiction and other genres, help writers become published and establish careers in their writing field, and provide continuing support for writers within the romance publishing industry. The SOLA Board and membership decided that one of the ways it could help writers become published and establish writing careers was to sponsor annual contests. Eight SOLA members, both published and non published, volunteered to serve as Contest Administrators and met to brainstorm innovative techniques for conducting a contest. The SOLA Contest Administrators developed the rules of the contest and the score sheet that would nurture hopeful writers into published authors and named it The Dixie Kane Memorial Contest in honor of the late Linda Kay West, who wrote as Dixie Kane. A full time attorney and a member of SOLA and RWA for many years, Linda served in numerous board positions. She shared her knowledge of writing, publishing, and law generously as a speaker at SOLA’s meetings and conferences as her way to encourage aspiring writers to hone their craft and submit their work.
THE FIRST ANNUAL DIXIE KANE CONTEST had an extended deadline date of May 16, 2005. Shortly after the contest ended and all entries had been returned and the winners announced, the New Orleans area was devastated by the worst natural disaster ever to occur in the United States. On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck Southern Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, wreaking the most extensive damage of any natural disaster in America.
Due to the devastation and evacuation that lasted a good six to eight weeks for most residents, SOLA was not able to plan its 2ND ANNUAL DIXIE KANE MEMORIAL CONTEST to coincide with what would have been a regular spring event. SOLA, and many of its members, though not all, had recovered from the devastation well enough to begin its second contest aptly named THE KATRINA DELAYED 2ND ANNUAL DIXIE KANE MEMORIAL CONTEST with a deadline date of November 1, 2006.
When the SOLA Contest Administrators first planned the contest in 2004, one of the innovative techniques it had incorporated into its contest was to conduct a survey of the contestants for their reactions to The Dixie Kane Memorial Contest. After all, who can better help design a contest than the contestants themselves?
When the survey responses were tabulated, positive comments outnumbered negative comments 10 to 1. Subsequent annual contests also have received positive comments about the contest. Be sure to click on Survey Results for a sampling of the comments that were given by the contestants over the years.
As a result of the survey responses, the Contest Administrators have changed the Score Sheet to a two page score sheet to allow for more written comments for each of the 10 questions with a notation to use the back of the score sheet if additional space is needed.
New in the 4th Annual Dixie Kane Memorial Contest was the awarding of a cash prize of $50 for the highest overall score in all categories along with a certificate for highest overall score. Two entries tied for the highest overall score and each was awarded a cash prize of $50.
Also new in the 4th Annual Dixie Kane Memorial Contest, a new level of winner was given for honorable mention in addition to the first through third place winners.
New in the 5th Annual Dixie Kane Memorial Contest was a category for erotic romance that obtained a sufficient number of entries. Awards for first, second, third place and honorable mention were issued for the category for the first time.
The 7th Annual Dixie Kane Memorial Contest in 2012 resulted in six first place entries being sent to editors at The Wild Rose Press. Two of the six received an invitation from the editors to submit the first three chapters for further review and four of the six received an invitation from the editors to submit a full manuscript for further review.
The 8th Annual Dixie Kane Memorial Contest in 2013 resulted in nine first place winners being sent to editors of The Wild Rose Press. More than half the first place winners received an invitation from the editors to submit the first three chapters for further review for possible publication.
We’re looking forward to bringing that same opportunity to more of you in this 9th Annual Dixie Kane Memorial Contest.