I located this contest when I was stalking... ah, I mean researching agents. Several of the agents that I have queried/will query are among the judges. The entry fee did at first give me pause, but I thought what the heck. I've never entered a contest for my work before, and I'm all about trying something new.
While doing my homework on contests, I found some conflicting info (isn't that always the case?). The Preditors and Editors website has a contests link. They state that you should never enter a contest that charges a fee for entry. They also don't have many contests for novelists that were currently open (lots of them are for short stories and poetry, or the deadline has passed).
So, I mozied on over to Writer Beware, where I was comforted by the statement that charging a fee isn't necessarily an indicator of a bad contest. Since the New Jersey contest is hosted by a reputable organization and features guest judges that include agents, editors, and published authors, it's legit.
I did have trouble finding a reliable source of contests specifically for novelists. There is a link to a contest list at Writer Beware, which I haven't had a chance to check out (I plan to do so and update inthe comments section, so check back). Other than that, does anyone have some recommendations or experiences they would like to share?
(I have no experience being a winner... but if I did, it would look something like this!)