This isn’t news to many of you; I’ve posted more than once about this terrific resource for writers. For a very reasonable subscription price of $20 per year, you receive a semi-monthly email report that includes a short and powerful note from the owner/editor, C. Hope Clark, and then many, many, writing related opportunities, from grants and fellowships, to job openings, agents and publishers looking for stories, and a variety of contest offerings. And believe me, this woman knows all about funds for writers – it has been her career for many years.
Well, earlier this month, Hope sent out an inspiring letter with the report, extolling the virtues of entering contests with your best work; again, not a new concept and one that I’ve written to you about often. My finalist entry in the Writers Digest competition in 2010 resulted in the sale of a manuscript to a publisher who requested it. My other contest wins have not always resulted in publication (though several have) but have often resulted in terrific and useful feedback by people who actually know what they are talking about, or a cash prize that came in handy, or a read by a hard-to-reach editor or agent that I was interested in.
But, Hope said it so well, I wrote and asked her permission to reprint it here–and she said yes–so below, is her column of encouragement and useful information. To get your subscription, go to the FundsForWriters.com website and sign up! No kidding – to be ready for that train called “publication” we have to make the most of all opportunities! Keep writing, keep reading, keep learning! Nancy Q.
I’m going to give you some new reasons for entering contests. FundsforWriters adores the opportunities that contests offer to writers, and all too often writers think their only route to publication, money and notoriety is through editors and publishers.
Of course contests offer you the chance for prize money, but let’s take contests further than that. Look at the positives of entering a contest, and see if they don’t appear to be a better fit in your writing plan.
1) No cost other than entry fee. You’ll spend a lot of money in your effort to get published, and an entry fee is actually a small price to pay.
2) No query letter. Everyone hates those things, but a contest just wants your entry, without the pitch.
3) You know when it’s rejected or accepted. Contests have deadlines, and they usually post the date when they’ll announce the winners. It’s nice to be able to close the door on one submission and move on to others.
4) Someone has to read it. When pitching, all too often the query letter is the judgment factor, and your writing is never read.
5) Feedback. In many contests, you receive a judging sheet, or can pay extra for editing/judges comments. When you pitch a publisher, you do not.
6) Better marketing. Sponsors want to promote winners. Most publishers these days simply produce the book.
7) Award-winning proclamation. From that point on, you can pronounce your work award-winning, no matter who eventually publishes you.
8) Let’s face it: the money. And while I said the money doesn’t matter, the truth is a contest usually throw money at you. Many publishers don’t, or the advance is lame.
Do not disregard contests. They are career makers, and never career breakers. In other words, they can’t hurt you, so why aren’t you entering them?
Speaking of contests, Palmetto Poison and Murder on Edisto are entered in the Silver Falchion Awards affiliated with the glorious Killer Nashville Mystery Conference. One of the awards is the Reader’s Choice, and I’d be honored if you’d consider voting for either or both of these books. You’ll find one under Cozy/Traditional Mystery and the other under Private Detective/Procedural Mystery. Bless you if you do! (And bless you if you don’t.)