America’s next top author?

With the popularity of shows like American Idol and Project Runway, reality competitions are now springing up on the web. Keswick writer Jenny Gardiner is a finalist in the American Title III contest to receive a publishing contract for her "chick lit" novel Sleeping with Ward Cleaver.

The competition began with ten finalists competing for online votes for the best first line, best heroine, and best summary. With two rounds left, Gardiner, who pens slice-of-life humor essays for the Daily Progress, appears to have a one-in-four chance of getting published. You can vote in round four for the best dialogue scene until February 4.

"In this climate for authors, writing is only half the battle, and publicizing your manuscript is the other half," says Gardiner. "Most published novels receive no publicity from their publisher, you have to publicize yourself."

Will the publishing industry turn to online competitions to find the next John Grisham?

"On one level it's a very unconventional way to get published," Gardiner says. "However, this is the third year for this competition, and Simon & Schuster just announced that they are having one, so it's catching on."

The winner's name will be posted online by Romantic Times Book Reviews on April 30.

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1 comment

Have you taken the time to read some of her "literature?" Trash, and terribly written. Probably a good outlet for someone trapped in an unsatisfying mid-life crisis.