Lots of contests for both published and unpublished writers abound. Should a writer enter these contests?
The short answer? Yes!
- Goal: The contest sets a goal. For instance, a contest needing the first ten pages, fifty pages, or the first chapter and a summary all give the writer a deadline. The writer must prepare these materials to enter the contest.
- Statement: For the unpublished writer, the act of entering the contest makes a statement to yourself and to the world: “I am a writer.”
- Feedback: Some contests ask judges for specific feedback. When that happens, the author can use that advice. Comments from busy publishing professionals are otherwise hard to come by. Rarely does a rejection letter offer pointers.
- Connections: Regardless of the outcome, judges will see your work. Sometimes agents and editors ask to see more. This is an opportunity writers otherwise wouldn’t have.
- Recognition: When the author is a finalist or winner, that author’s name is posted for all to see. What great publicity!
The next time you see an opportunity to submit to a contest for your favorite genre, consider entering. You have very little to lose, but much to gain!
(The Christian Writers Market Guide has a section of contests to enter.)