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And the Winner is …?

I don’t know how other writers feel about contests, but I have participated in a fair number. There are advantages to participating in contests. Some of them are:

  1.       You have a deadline that you have to meet. It teaches you the importance to meeting those deadlines. If you miss a contest deadline, then you are out of luck. They don’t give you a chance to fudge on the date. I think it was Jerry Jenkins in his book, Writing for the Soul, that he said only 3% of writers meet their deadline. Wouldn’t you like to be in that 3%? I’m sure that would make you stand out in the publishing world.
  2.       You can receive some great feedback from experienced writers and editors who are the judges on your work. They make comments on your work whether you are a winner or not. Take it and learn from it. Take what you can use and discard the rest.
  3.        Contests are usually for short pieces of work, but not always. Learn to write tight and only the best work wins. Likewise you only send your best work to an agent or publisher, not the first draft or the “good enough” draft.
  4.        Contests have specific guidelines that you must follow or be disqualified. That is the way it is in the publishing world. Publishers and agents have guidelines for a reason and expect writers to follow them.
  5.        When you win contests, that makes you “An award winning author” when you are writing up your vita/resume.

My only caution is don’t forget to keep writing and submitting with a focus on your career as a published author in mind. There are so many contests that it could easily eat up your writing time. Make your writing do double duty. Some places to find contests are Winning Writers (both poetry and prose), Writers Market, Poets & Writers, and Creative Writing Contests. (These are sources that I have found or used in my own research, but always thoroughly research the contest source and sponsors yourself to be sure that they are legitimate before sending your work or participating in a contest.)


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October Writing Contests

The following contests are worth checking into.


WritersMarket.com lists hundreds of writing contests for writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, writing for children, journalism, and more. Here are four with October deadlines:


The Sherwood Anderson Fiction Contest is offered by Mid-American Review for a short story (up to 6,000 words). First place wins $1,000, plus publication. Deadline: October 1.


Fall Chapbook Contest offered by White Eagle Coffee Store Press is offered for a chapbook manuscript of 20-24 pages. Winner receives $500, publication and 25 copies. Deadline: October 31.


Hybrid Essay Contest searches out the best unpublished essay of up to 10,000 words. Prize is $1,000, plus publication in DIAGRAM. Deadline: October 31.


Mid-American Review also offers the James Wright Poetry Award for best unpublished poem. First place wins $1,000, plus publication. Deadline: October 1.

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Predators & Editors

Most of you probably already know that Predators & Editors provides a wonderful resource to writers. P&E gives lists of attorneys, publishers, agents and contests, as well as other publishing industry concerns. They do not represent or support any entity but share warnings and information about many of those you come in contact with on your writer’s journey. I keep the site bookmarked in my “Tools” bookmark folder. Before using a service you can look them up on P&E. I also recommend that you Google search the name of the person or organization plus “complaints.”

I recommend adding this link to your tool box and using it frequently. P&E also provides a place for you to post warnings from your own experiences.

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September Writing Contests

WritersMarket.com lists hundreds of writing contests for writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, writing for children, journalism, and more. Here are three with September deadlines:

Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest is offered to high school seniors, college undergraduates or grad students who write an 800-1,600-word essay on Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged. First place wins $10,000, but there are more than 40 other prizes as well. Deadline: September 17.

L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest is a contest offered for the best science fiction or fantasy short story written by a new writer. The deadline is September 30, and the contest offers a $1,000 quarterly first prize and $5,000 annual grand prize.

Pudding House Chapbook Competition is an annual contest for poetry chapbooks of 10-36 pages. The deadline for submissions is September 30, and the grand prize is publication and $1,000.


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More Writers Contests for Summer 2011

July 2011 brings more contest  deadlines for you writers. Check these out and enter. It helps build your writer’s resume.

  1. DEADLINE JULY 1, 2011:
    Goldenberg Prize for Fiction
     Prize: $1000
  2. DEADLINE JULY 4, 2011:
    This Magazine Short Story Competition for New and Emerging Writers
     Prize: $750
  3. DEADLINE JULY 8, 2011:
    On the Same Page Literary Festival Writer’s Competition
     Prize: $250
        4.  DEADLINE JULY 31, 2011:
              Fulton Prize for Short Fiction Prize: $400
         5.  DEADLINE JULY 15, 2011:
                Room Magazine’s Annual Fiction Contest Prize: $500
          6.  DEADLINE JULY 31, 2011:
                 Glimmer Train Standard Fiction Award Prize: $700
Have fun with your writing. Whether you receive an award or not, you can get great feedback on your entries from most contest judges. I recommend you go to the links and see which ones you want to participate in. Best of Luck!

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Writing Contests 2011

Looking for writing contests? The following is a partial list that I think are worth your time. Always check into the organizations who host contests. As far as I know, these are good resources. today the list is for contests in May. Come back on Thursday for June contests. Saturday’s list is for July.

May 2011 Contests:

    • DEADLINE MAY 20, 2011:

The Writer’s Digest Annual Competition

       Prize: $3000

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Tips on Entering Contests

This post is from the OWFI online group, but I wanted to share it with you all. Writers Conferences provide many benefits, including contests. Some of these contests require you to attend the event, but others do not. Check on the guidelines and pick the categories that you want to enter your work. Here are some tips:

On Wed Jan 19, Maria Veres said:

Here are a few things to watch for when you’re cranking out those
last-minute contest entries….

Be sure your name doesn’t appear in headers or anywhere else. Nonfiction
writers, also check the text of your manuscript to make sure you haven’t
referenced a blog or Web site that includes your name.

Include the proper information in the header–category name and number,
plus word/line/page count. Check each specific category for exact

Double space all manuscripts except poetry and book synopses/outlines.

Include a self-addressed envelope, 9×12 (preferred) or larger. For
unpublished manuscripts, the envelope can’t be any smaller than 9×12.
The manuscript has to fit without folding.

Double-check that you’re sending your entry to the right category chair.