I’ve heard it said that contest placements can help boost a writer’s credibility with potential agents and publishers. I don’t know if this is true or not, and I’ve in fact discussed this very issue in a prior post.
Setting aside whether having a contest win or even modest placement makes a writer more attractive to agents and publishers, there are some contests with rather lucrative prizes. I’m not just speaking in monetary terms either. While some contests do not offer cash prizes to the winners, some offer publication in their magazine or on their web site or both. In lieu of a cash prize, some offer valuable feedback from an agent or editor, which can be instrumental in improving the writer’s chances of publishing that or even another work in the future. There are those organizations with a bigger budget who offer bigger prizes. They offer not only exposure to a larger audience but publication of novels and the cash advances that go along with that.
The size of the contest or the budget of the organization sponsoring it can often determine the amount of the entry fee. Writer’s Digest has rather reasonable entry fees for all of their contests which isn’t surprising considering how well known and respected they are in the industry. For its annual breakthrough novel award contest, Amazon has yet to charge writers an entry fee. Again, this makes sense as they have more capital than the smaller groups who host contests to support writers and gain exposure for them.
It’s often the amount of the entry fee in conjunction with the timing of the contest that drives my ability and willingness to participate. For instance, I always participate in the annual Amazon contest due to its lack of entry fee. That being said, I’m always on the lookout for contests because I’m of the mind that any exposure is better than none.
Last week, on the Amazon discussion boards, I had the good fortune of stumbling across an upcoming contest for young adult writers. Even better, this contest is geared to female authors in the young adult field. As excited as I was to discover this, I was a little leery of participating when I realized the deadline was December 15, 2011. With a deadline so close to the holidays my knee jerk reaction was to say I wouldn’t be participating. After doing a little more research on this contest, I was pleased to discover the entry fee is nominal. Based on this, along with the fact that the winner will have an excerpt of her novel published on their web site and will also gain feedback from three leading agents in the industry, I’ve decided to go for it.
For those of you who don’t know, competitions like these can be stiff. There are a lot of good writers out there who aren’t getting the recognition they’re due. I like to think I’m one of them, but I won’t know if I don’t try.
So… here we go again! Wish me luck.