Entering writing contests can be iffy. More and more contests charge entry fees, and if you’re not careful, you can let a lot of money slip through your fingers with very little hope of return. I hate to sound negative. After all, you might just win, right? Of course, that’s true, but competition is tough and even if you win some contests here and there, you’re likely to spend more on entry fees than you actually win.
One approach is to enter contests that are related to established and well-known entities, such as writing magazines or organizations that you are familiar with. For example, one of the best places to find a range of contests to enter is at Writer’s Digest, a respected magazine that has been supporting and advising writers since 1920.
Here is a listing of writing contests on the Writer’s Digest web site:
• Writer’s Digest 81st Annual Writing Competition
• The Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards
• Writer’s Digest Science Fiction Competition
• Writer’s Digest Thriller Competition
• Writer’s Digest Young Adult Fiction Competition
• Writer’s Digest Romance Competition
• Writer’s Digest Crime Competition
• Writer’s Digest Horror Competition
• Short Short Story Writing Competition
• Your Story Competition
The average entry fee is $20 and the first prize for each category is $500. Entries are also eligible for the Popular Fiction Awards Grand Prize of $2,500.
When you enter a contest, be sure that you read the submission guidelines very carefully and follow them to the letter.
There’s no need to be afraid of contests if you enter them with careful discrimination. Enter only the contests that you have experience with and well-developed work for. This increases your chances of winning or placing.
With that in mind, entering contests can be fun and it can give you motivation to hone your skills and improve specific works. Give it a try, and good luck!