Writer contests can be an invaluable learning tool for writers and there are a slew of benefits to you, the aspiring writer. (or published author) Here are my top 5 reasons why you should enter a writing contest. Of course, there are plenty more than just my five personal reasons… but baby steps.
Writing contests can provide very valuable feedback directly to you
If you enter an unpublished manuscript, you may be able to receive scores and written feedback from professional judges (authors, editors, agents, etc). This is valuable feedback you can use to improve your skill as a writer.
A contest can give you a kick in the pants to meet a specific deadline
Speaking from experience here – In 2010 I had yet to finish any manuscript completely because I lacked the dedication/time/motivation to do so and… a deadline! Deadlines motivate you.
So I ran across this Adventure Writer’s contest and busted my romp for a month to finish up a half-written YA action adventure Manuscript. I made the final top 10! Alas, I did not make the top 3, but I received valuable written feedback and scores, and have used that to improve my writing
Entering that contest literally kicked me into gear and since 2010, I’ve completed 4 manuscripts total, and 3 others are halfway done. I’m due to have one published, and am revising the other 3. This is why I made this list.
If you win, you can use that to your advantage whenever you publish.
Look at your favorite author, that amazing author you wish you could even remotely relate to someday? Chances are, they might just have an award splashed across their book cover, or on their website.
Nicole Deese: Carol Award Winner
Becky Wade: Christy Award Winner
Candee Fick – Genesis Award winning author
I’m sure there are a hundred other examples. But when authors win an award, even an award for an unpublished manuscript, they can use the prestige of that award to boost their name and thus, their sales? Maybe?
Even if you are a finalist, and not a winner, you can use that to your advantage when you publish.
Same reasoning applies. Tons of authors will splash RITA finalist Or Carol Award Finalist on their cover or on their websites.
Connilynn Cossette: Christy Award Finalist, INSPY award finalist,
Kara Isaac: Rita Award Double Finalist
Taking that very first step of allowing professional judges, authors, agents, editors to view your work, is extremely important if you aspire to become a published author.
Maybe you’ve never let anyone except close family review your work. Maybe not even an editor or another author. Maybe you’re frightened it won’t measure up. You, yes YOU, need to enter a contest, my friend. There are several unpublished manuscript contests which are anonymous, which allows you the opportunity to never tell a soul you even entered, in case you don’t win. But if you do land in the finalist column, or even win, think of all that you’ve just accomplished!
There are also a handful of contests which give out awards in every single category, so you have a much higher success rate. There are other contests which give out prizes to finalists, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or runners up etc. Take that leap of faith. Step out of your comfort zone. Let a professional read your work – once you take that first step, then you can take another, and another, until you’re more confident in yourself and in your writing ability.
So, my aspiring writer / new novelist friends, I write to you, to encourage you to be brave, fork over the money (sigh) and enter at least one contest this year. That goes for me as well… lol
What contest are you thinking of entering? Did I miss a reason why you think writers should enter a contest?