Writing Contests: Join or Not Join?

When I attended the San Francisco Writers Conference a couple of years ago, one of the things they stressed was how important it is to build a writer’s platform.

Yes, the p-word that I’m sure you’ve all heard about. They said in order to build your platform you need to blog, get facebook and twitter accounts, join writers groups, etcetera. They also mentioned the need to join writing contests. Apparently, the more praise and awards you get and mention in your query letters, the more agents will be attracted to you.

After the conference, I surfed online and searched for writing contests. To my surprise, everything I saw had an entrance fee of at least $10. Some even went as high as $50.

Wow. I better start saving.

Then just a few weeks ago, I attended the Paris Writers Workshop where during a few of the lectures, writing contests were mentioned. They advised that it is not necessary to join because of the fees involved, saying they were mostly scams.

So, should you join or not join? Who do you listen to?

Sure, it is probably not right to charge us fees to join these contests, but in the end, it’s still a business. It’s really up to us whether we are willing to pay for these fees or not in order to take a chance and put our stories out there with the hopes of winning.

I think that if we carefully pick the contests (making sure they’re not scams) we want to join and only send our best work, then I believe our money will be well spent.

How do you feel about writing contests?

0 Replies to “Writing Contests: Join or Not Join?”

    1. I had no idea the contest you joined was free. Which one was it again?

      Yeah, I think it’s a good idea to join contests (especially if they’re free). It definitely pushes us to work harder and check our writing. I joined one contest about a year ago (it wasn’t free) and didn’t win. When I look at what I wrote, I can see that it needed a lot of work.

      I feel more confident now that I’ve learned so much this past year.

  1. I entered dozens of contests in the past. Didn’t win or even place in any of them. However, In the midst of entering contests, I also submitted short stories out to magazines (in my genre) with cover letters. Those were free other than postage. After lots of rejections, I actually got two stories accepted in one magazine and one published in a short story anthology about dogs. From experiencing both, I’ve decided not to enter contests anymore. Even though I got those rejections when submitting, I still think it’s the better way to go. The three stories that ended up being published, were free submits, and I even got paid a little something.

    1. I think submitting to magazines is a better idea too. I’ve been wanting to try it. I just have to write more short stories. 😉

      Thanks for sharing your experience on contests.

  2. I attended the SFWC this year, and found that not just contests, but a lot of the presenters were there just to sell you their ideas, their books, or their services. Some of it is probably worthwhile, and some not, just like contests. I had a friend turn me on to the Poets and Writers website, and they list just about every legitimate contest, with the requirements and the deadlines. While not all contests will benefit all writers, some – like the Writer’s Digest contest – can give you valuable prizes, like trips to conferences, publication, or even prize money. If the contest has an award, then it’s probably not a scam, just hard to win. Here the link, for anyone who is interested in seeing what’s out there.

    http://www.pw.org/grants?page=7&sort=asc&order=Deadline&apage=%2A

  3. Most of those writing contests are scams. I don’t enter them (especially Writer’s Digest) because the chances of winning are astronomical, and you are effectively printing off unnecessary copies of your text for someone else to probably read if it makes it through the slush pile.

    If you want help, join a writer’s group and get real criticism from real writers. This is well worth your time and will help you in the long run.

    1. Thanks, Roger. I totally agree. Unfortunately, I did join a contest with Writer’s Digest a year or so ago and didn’t win. Should’ve just saved my money, but oh well—lesson learned.

      Yes, joining a writer’s group is a much better idea. Getting feedback from other writers is such a helpful exercise. I also think writer’s workshops are great too. It’s a good place to network with other authors and writers from different genres. They also offer classes, which are helpful too.

Leave a Reply

Writing Contests: Join or Not Join?

When I attended the San Francisco Writers Conference a couple of years ago, one of the things they stressed was how important it is to build a writer’s platform.

Yes, the p-word that I’m sure you’ve all heard about. They said in order to build your platform you need to blog, get facebook and twitter accounts, join writers groups, etcetera. They also mentioned the need to join writing contests. Apparently, the more praise and awards you get and mention in your query letters, the more agents will be attracted to you.

After the conference, I surfed online and searched for writing contests. To my surprise, everything I saw had an entrance fee of at least $10. Some even went as high as $50.

Wow. I better start saving.

Then just a few weeks ago, I attended the Paris Writers Workshop where during a few of the lectures, writing contests were mentioned. They advised that it is not necessary to join because of the fees involved, saying they were mostly scams.

So, should you join or not join? Who do you listen to?

Sure, it is probably not right to charge us fees to join these contests, but in the end, it’s still a business. It’s really up to us whether we are willing to pay for these fees or not in order to take a chance and put our stories out there with the hopes of winning.

I think that if we carefully pick the contests (making sure they’re not scams) we want to join and only send our best work, then I believe our money will be well spent.

How do you feel about writing contests?

0 Replies to “Writing Contests: Join or Not Join?”

    1. I had no idea the contest you joined was free. Which one was it again?

      Yeah, I think it’s a good idea to join contests (especially if they’re free). It definitely pushes us to work harder and check our writing. I joined one contest about a year ago (it wasn’t free) and didn’t win. When I look at what I wrote, I can see that it needed a lot of work.

      I feel more confident now that I’ve learned so much this past year.

  1. I entered dozens of contests in the past. Didn’t win or even place in any of them. However, In the midst of entering contests, I also submitted short stories out to magazines (in my genre) with cover letters. Those were free other than postage. After lots of rejections, I actually got two stories accepted in one magazine and one published in a short story anthology about dogs. From experiencing both, I’ve decided not to enter contests anymore. Even though I got those rejections when submitting, I still think it’s the better way to go. The three stories that ended up being published, were free submits, and I even got paid a little something.

    1. I think submitting to magazines is a better idea too. I’ve been wanting to try it. I just have to write more short stories. 😉

      Thanks for sharing your experience on contests.

  2. I attended the SFWC this year, and found that not just contests, but a lot of the presenters were there just to sell you their ideas, their books, or their services. Some of it is probably worthwhile, and some not, just like contests. I had a friend turn me on to the Poets and Writers website, and they list just about every legitimate contest, with the requirements and the deadlines. While not all contests will benefit all writers, some – like the Writer’s Digest contest – can give you valuable prizes, like trips to conferences, publication, or even prize money. If the contest has an award, then it’s probably not a scam, just hard to win. Here the link, for anyone who is interested in seeing what’s out there.

    http://www.pw.org/grants?page=7&sort=asc&order=Deadline&apage=%2A

  3. Most of those writing contests are scams. I don’t enter them (especially Writer’s Digest) because the chances of winning are astronomical, and you are effectively printing off unnecessary copies of your text for someone else to probably read if it makes it through the slush pile.

    If you want help, join a writer’s group and get real criticism from real writers. This is well worth your time and will help you in the long run.

    1. Thanks, Roger. I totally agree. Unfortunately, I did join a contest with Writer’s Digest a year or so ago and didn’t win. Should’ve just saved my money, but oh well—lesson learned.

      Yes, joining a writer’s group is a much better idea. Getting feedback from other writers is such a helpful exercise. I also think writer’s workshops are great too. It’s a good place to network with other authors and writers from different genres. They also offer classes, which are helpful too.

Leave a Reply