You polish your writing, imagining your audience. You read it over. Out loud. Does it say exactly what you want it to say? You have a friend read it to you. Impressed, she says, “You should submit this to contests. Put yourself out there. Get some recognition for your work.”
Maybe you leap at the idea. Maybe you hesitate. After all, it’s more work. Besides, it makes you feel vulnerable. There’s almost always a fee and you’re guaranteed nothing. Why bother with contests when the judge isn’t an agent or editor who could take you on as a client?
I’ve run contests for Writer Advice, www.writeradvice.com since 2006 and for the Women’s National Book Association since 2019. I’ve been a judge for Story Circle Network and a NorCal organization seeking local books. I’ve seen a huge range, and this organization gets polished submissions. Their award will carry prestige.
Placing in a writing contest is a huge boost to your work. You all know that acceptances mater. No need to elaborate on that. Here are some other perks you might get:
- It gives you a chance to see how your work fares in the world.
- It gives you exposure. Contest judges know people. Maybe they’ll make a referral to an agent.
- Contest winners usually get published. Published online? Share the link with agents, editors, and anyone who might be interested.
- Winners get paid. That’s usually the reason that contests charge fees. Those who run the contests need to cover expenses.
- The biggest payment, though, is the boost to your self-esteem. Who couldn’t use a little of that?
- There’s also the matter of name recognition. Wouldn’t you like to be Caitlin Contestant, winner of WNBA-SF’s Effie Lee Morris Contest?
Wouldn’t you like to share your story with the world? Contests can help you do that. This year’s judges are eager to read your work. Learn more at https://wnba-sfchapter.org/2021-effie-lee-morris-contest-get-ready/. We’ll be accepting submissions until April 1, 2021.
Lynn Goodwin owns Writer Advice,www.writeradvice.com. Her YA novel, Talent, republished on November 1, 2020 by Koehler Books, won some awards. She’s editing the sequel, Ground Rules. Her memoir, Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62 also won awards. Visit https://writeradvice.com/books-by-lynn/.
Her flash fiction has been published in Flashquake, Nebo, Cabinet of Heed, Murmur of Words,100-Word Stories, and Ariel’s Dream. Other works have appeared in Hip Mama, The Sun, GoodHousekeeping.com, PurpleClover.com, and elsewhere. She is an editor as well as a writer. She lives her energizer-bunny husband and their exceptional terrier.