She’s here today to talk about entering contests and how they can help an author promote themselves and establish a platform.
Contests as an Author’s Promotional Tool
Although most people are drawn to contests to win prizes, authors win much more than cash or vacations when they enter writing contests. The fame and notoriety of winning a national contest surrounds you for years. A contest sponsor’s embrace of your brand will credential you at a higher level and can lift you into the national or even international spotlight. Winning a contest can attract prestigious back cover endorsements and even influence reviews.
Indeed, merely entering a contest has its benefits. Once your work and name are online in a competition, you are noticed and heard. You see how other writers express themselves and how you are similar or different in your own presentation.
One of the best reasons to enter a contest is to evoke creativity. It is by exploring the unknown that we find our answers, not by having the answers before we explore. There’s nothing like serving yourself a problem to jar your synapses loose and bend your brain in ways it doesn’t normally move.
Somewhere along this discovery process, you will tend to find fresh ways of describing your writing and promoting your topic to its audience.
If you are subscribed to this feed, you are already receiving notifications of writing contests. Finding the right contest to enter is a little like deciding which book award to apply for—you want the most publicity on the back end for your considerable effort at the front end. Here are a few steps to get you started.
1. Choose a contest backed by reputable sponsors that promise media attention to the winners and runners-up. Look for multiple opportunities to gain high level exposure and make strong contacts.
2. Instead of next considering what to submit, read through contest rules and regulations to learn what the sponsors are actually looking for. The fine print may reveal that a combination of writing and another skill is being sought. Either dig deep to find a way to deliver both or move on to the next contest.
3. Create your biographical information in a manner that reveals your personality, highlights your accolades and if possible, flatters the sponsor. Be expository but not dull. Find a way to relate to the sponsor’s interests.
4. Enter the contest as close to the start date as possible. Sometimes the more time you have in a contest, the more likely you are to win.
This is especially true when the sponsor is looking for anything quantitative, like blog comments, poll numbers, and other metrics.
The hardest part of entering a contest is at the beginning, when you can see or at least imagine your competition. Your mind will tell you how powerful they are, how much more clout they have, and what better skills they possess. What you need to remember, though, is that as long as it is legitimate, a contest is a level playing field. Every contestant has to get through the same exercise on the same software and deliver a composition on the same subject.
In the end, you will find that it's all in your mind whether you win or not. You win if you believe you can. And even if you don't win the contest, the attitude you develop to win it will spill over to the next contest and into your writing and into your attitude about life in general. You will be a different writer when the contest ends.
Thank you, Stephanie.
One of the reasons I asked Stephanie to post about authors entering contests is because she’s currently a finalist for More Magazine’s Reinvention Story Contest. I found out about her entry when I read her story and voted for her. You can read her story and others online. If you’d like to vote for her, you can read her entry at: https://www.more.com/11079/11489-life-after-semiconductors. Voting ends this Friday, February 26th. Stephanie’s giving a prize to one reader who votes for her, so if you vote, note what number voter you are and send her that number. Her email address is: steffercatATaustin.rr.com - change the “AT” to “@” of course.
You can visit Stephaine at http://www.authorsassistant.com/Barko.htm and view her client list at http://www.theauthorsassistant.blogspot.com