Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Authors and Contests

 I just got done checking out the rules for a writing contest that I am considering entering. It is being sponsored by a high end fashion house, so to win would be a very nice mention in any writer's resume. But do I really want to enter? I thought the submission date was further away - it turns out it has to be in by the middle of June. And the legalese ... you would not believe it! There is quite a nice compensation for the winner(s), but is it worth it? All rights are signed away, they can use the work in any manner they wish to (including promoting their own line of products), and the author may be called upon to help with the promotions (no further compensation). If I do enter, it will be because they have thrown down what looks like a gauntlet to me. Good thing I do not see this as part of my writing career!

So why, as authors, do we enter writing contests? To me, each author has his or her own reason for entering a contest. As long as we are consciously aware of our reasons for entering a contest, we are still maintaining a presence in the land of reality. Here are a few reasons that an author might consider entering a contest:

1. For the money.
2. To get their name known.
3. To get their work seen.
4. To see how their work compares to that of their fellow authors.
5. The possibility of receiving feedback.
6. The possibility of connecting with an agent.
7. The prestige factor (who is sponsoring the contest).
8. Categories that fit the genre that the author generally writes in. (You will not see me entering a contest for romance writing!)
9. How easy it is to enter (are printed copies required, or can the entries be electronically submitted).
10. Is there a fee to enter? I will enter if the fee is small, but not if it seems out of tone with teh compensation to the winner(s). 
11. Contests can be used to help us "one up" our writing skills, as they are by nature competitions.

With the exception of the contest I am currently considering entering, the only venue that I will consider is mystery. Preferably if cozy mystery is one of the acceptable categories. I plan to do one or more a year, more for the fun of it, than to focus on winning.

How do you look at entering writing contests? Where do they fit into your professional agenda? What are you looking to get out of them?

Happy writing!

(c) 2000-2013 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.  

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