Random House UK and ASDA (a UK supermarket) have announced a prize for saga writers. What they are looking for is 'a writer who combines superb storytelling, unforgettable characters and a vivid sense of time and place.'
All you have to do is submit 4000 words, or roughly 2 chapters, along with a synopsis for the rest of the book and ideas for other novels. The closing date is December 2005 and submissions will be judged by a panel including the editorial team at RH's Arrow imprint, author Rosie Harris, and Toby Bourne of ASDA (he stacks shelves in the Leighton Buzzard branch). The winner will be announced in January 2006 and the book will then be published in 2007 by Arrow; it will be available in ASDA stores nationwide. ASDA have promised to support the book with major space in-store and a feature in ASDA magazine. (God, there's fame for you.)
So, all you have to do is plan a series of books, plot one in detail, write the first couple of chapters, and send it in. Next weekend should do it, with time out to go to the pub and the church as well. For this competition you don't even have to pay an entry fee (well the press release doesn't mention one, anyway) and the last time a major competition for wannabe novelists was held there were only 46,000 entries.
Who says writers have a tough time? There are opportunities all over the place if you look for them.