I've just had an email telling me that the first 30 pages of my WIP (Witch Vampire?) won the "Romance Junkies" contest. Ten days ago, I received word that the same chapter finaled in the RWA "Where the Magic Begins" contest. The winner of that contest won't be announced for another month.
I'm still feeling my way on this contest thing. My thinking is that, since there are about a jillion contests out there, a win by itself means nothing. The only value I can see to the entire process is the possibility of getting your work in front of an agent or editor in whom you're interested. For this reason, I look to see who the finalist judges are. If one of them is someone I'd like to work with, I consider entering.
"Where the Magic Begins" was being judged by Chris Keeslar of Dorchester which was the reason I entered that one. "Romance Junkies" was being judged by Tova Sacks of Berkley, giving me a reason to enter it as well. Earlier this year, I entered the "Just Erotic Romance Reviews" contest because the winner got a contract with Ellora's Cave, the erotic e-publisher. I didn't win that one, but did come in second and got a request to send in the whole manuscript. Still waiting to hear.
As a writer, I know there's still a lot of prejudice against eroromance. I was careful when I entered my very first contest to be certain that they had a erotic romance category. Imagine my surprise to get a comment from a judge that she found my work "offensive." And this was from someone who had agreed to judge eroromance! That manuscript (You've Been a Bad Girl) was the one that went on to place second in the JERR contest which was judged by eroromance authors.
Of the four contests I've entered that have been judged, I've placed or won in three of them. Not too shabby.