And the winner is... - article

Have you ever thought of entering a writing contest but stopped because the rules were complex, and you didn't want to spend that much time preparing. Is winning a contest worth the time and effort? Yes, winning a contest can be worth the time and effort it takes to enter. But be aware many contest are very competitive. Unless you are willing to follow the rules, meet the deadlines, and put forth your best work, don’t bother. You won't win.

Many feel that contests are just scams. It is true is there are a number of contest scams out there. These contests require that authors pay fees and the winning prize is publication in a poorly edited anthology. The best way to avoid scams is to do your research. Non-profits and established reputable companies are the best bet for contests. Always seek guidance from your network to get a sense if the contest you are entering is legitimate.

Still waffling and are unsure if you should jump in? Here are 4 compelling reasons why you should participate in writing contests:

1. Marketability

A contest win, even a modest local contest, adds a marketability factor to your resume. A contest win communicates to agents and editors that you are committed to your craft and a win can give cache to your personal qualifications.

2. Prizes

Writing contests come with prizes. There is sometimes a monetary prize. This may be a small amount like $15.00 or a significant amount like the $15,000 advance given to the winner of the Amazon Breakout Novel Award Contest. There are non-monetary prizes that are just as valuable to authors. Some contests offer mentoring help from seasoned professionals. Some contests offer reviews from agents and editors.

3. Confidence

Contests are often judged by industry professionals and a win can give a writer a real boost of confidence. Confidence translates into an author's work and helps them create stronger presentation packages for agents and publishers. A contest win may inspire you to take more risks as you move forward with current projects.

4. Springboard

Some contest wins are extremely prestigious and are watched with interest by agents. One of the prizes might not be an agency read, but often times agents will contact contest winners and offer representation on the basis of the win. Some contest wins lead to wide exposure in the publishing industry. An author may find several agents calling after a prestigious contest win.

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  • How would I learn about a writing contest and how would I know which are reliable?

  • I remember in high school I won a essay writing contest for a short story. I was so surprised and elated that it peaked my interest in writing even more, which lead to me entering contest at work. At the Ford Motor Co. learning center I would enter every year into the short story and poem writing contest. It became even more exciting when I would win first or second prize many of those years. When I decided to go back to college my English professor encouraged me to continue on and one day write a book. To me it is like an artist creating a picture in his mind and using his imagination and creative ability to bring it to life. So therefore entering and possibly winning a contest is like grabbing that brass ring. An honor I would truly be grateful for.
  • Hi Riddler, Can I have your email address to connect? Robert
  • Hi Carolyn, Can I have your email address to connect? Robert