Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Entering Writing Contests…worth the effort or not?

You see a writing contest advertised. You have the perfect entry, so should you go for it?

From a personal viewpoint, I’d have to say, yes.

Writing contests have been good to me. In fact, the first money I ever made as a writer was from a contest. And here are some other reasons why I think entering a contest is worth the effort.

You Learn to Meet Deadlines
If you’re new to writing (yes, some well established writers struggle with this too), one thing you have to do is work to an editor’s deadline. By entering a contest, you get firsthand experience in turning in work on a certain date. Plus, if you need some extra motivation to finish a story or even get something started, a contest deadline might be the extra kick in the butt you need.

Free Critiques
Well, if the contest has an entry fee it’s not entirely free but either way if you’re a new writer or changing genres, entering a contest can give you some valuable feedback. Sometimes the critique will even come from an editor or agent. They might tell you what you’re doing wrong, what you need to work on. Who knows their advice might even lead to a contract.

Your Work Gets Read
More publishers are going the agent only route when it comes to submissions, even some agents are getting picking about who can and who can’t send them work. Enter a contest and just the right editor or agent might see your work. It might be someone who’s looking for a particular story, a particular voice and that story or voice might be yours.

You Can Earn Some Money
Just like me, winning a contest might even garner you your first paycheck as a writer.

If You Win
If you win the contest or even just the runner up, it’s proof that you have talent; that you stand out from the crowd. You know you’re on the right track so keep writing.

You Get to Say…
You’re an award winning writer. It gets attention…it has a nice sound to it!

Susan Palmquist won the Loft Children’s Literature Award with her book for children called The One and Only that was later published by Hearts on Fire Books. She has also been the runner up in more short story contests than she can remember. Last year she was one of the 12 finalists in the Harry Bowling Prize for When the Devil Comes to Call, one of her many WIPs. Look for her next novel Sleeping with Fairies this December from Lyrical Press. For sneak peek at the cover, visit her Web site at


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