Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Writing Contests

For nine years now, I’ve searched out contests for writers. Every week a new contest. I don’t even want to do the math on that.

I do it because each week in my newsletter, Doing It Write, I include a contest. That means I have to find those contests. Sometimes someone will email to tell me about a contest they know of or perhaps sponsor. Most of the time, I search the internet.

I rarely know more about the contest than what I gather and tell my subscribers. My disclaimer is always:
Although I try to find contests, conferences, workshops, and other events that are legit and beneficial to writers, I can't guarantee anything. I always try to include a URL or other contact information so you can check them out and make your own decisions.
Last night, as usual, I was searching for a new contest. I came upon one that I know about. Hell, I started it. Years ago, when I was on the Board of Directors for the Writers’ League of Texas, I came up with the idea of a writing contest. The next year I organized and ran the contest.

But that was several years ago. I don’t really know for sure how it’s run now, who the judges are, or what the entry categories are. I could have searched the League’s site and found out, of course, but I couldn’t get past the entry fee.

Fifty dollars. And there’s no monetary prize.

The winner of each category gets a free consult with an agent or editor at the League’s conference.

Fifty dollars.

Back when we started the contest, the entry fee was $10 and all entries received a critique and the winners received a consult. Now the entrants receive a score sheet on their one page synopsis and the first ten double-spaced pages of their manuscript.

If you’re interested, click the embedded link because I don’t plan to put this one in Doing It Write.


  1. Yeah, $50 seems a little high. Especially for a contest I've never heard of. You're newsletter sounds great though. Sign me up! :)

  2. I think I'd rather just send my manuscript out to an editor or agent. At least that's only the cost of postage, sometimes not even that.

    If I want a critique, I have my writing group, Chicago-North RWA.
    See my blog today about the group at http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

    Morgan Mandel

  3. Hi Madison -- I'll send you an email on signing up. Gotta love a fellow writer from Atlanta -- I lived in Smyrna until I was ten.

  4. Thanks for stopping by Morgan. I like your idea of just sending your manuscript off to an editor or agent. Smart. Especially when you've already had it critiqued and scored and discussed by your writing group.

    I am on my way to your blog as soon as I sign off here!

  5. I gave up on fee-based contests long ago. I once placed third in a script writing contest with 5000 entrants and still couldn't sell the screenplay. The only writing contests I enter now are those held by major publishers. They don't charge a fee, and the prize (a publishing contract) is worth the cost of the postage.

  6. Amen LJ. A publishing contract is a prize worth going for.

  7. Helen and all,

    What do you think about contests for published writers? Does finaling or winning in a contest improve book sales?

  8. I think it depends, webmaster. Some awards certainly look good on the book cover, like the Edgar Award for mystery, or the Pulitzer, or other well-known awards. Some local awards are good too, but are only valuable if people know about them.

    Smaller awards probably don't help sales, except that the author can now legitimately say their book is an award winner.

    It's rather like querying an agent and saying you have been published in such and such magazine. That means nothing to the agent if he's never heard of it. It means even less if he googles it and can't find it anywhere.


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