Photo credit: sri_grafix from morguefile.comWriting contests benefit the seasoned as well as the beginning writer. To the seasoned writer, it can be a good way to keep your name before agents and judges and, of course, bring you some extra money. For the beginner, it can be a way to bring you some recognition, if you are a winner, as well as money. In addition to that, writing contests give writers the opportunity to practice their skill and to be disciplined. If you want to try your hand at writing contests, here are some things you should know:

Some contests charge a fee:

Fees may range from as little as $5.00 to over $100.00 depending on the contest. Decide what is right for you. If you cannot or don’t want to pay a fee, you can always enter a free contest.

Not all contests pay prize money
Some contests offer winners publication in a magazine or anthology and/or copies of their magazines. If this is okay for you and you’re just looking for a byline or a certificate, then go for it. However, beware of contests that ask you to purchase their anthology as a condition for being published.

Do your best
It goes without saying that if you’re entering a contest, you want to send in your very best work, therefore proofread your work carefully. Better yet, have a few people proofread it for you. If you are mailing your entry, your paper should be spotless. No coffee stains, or dog hairs.

Follow the guidelines to the letter.

Exceeding the word count can disqualify your entry. Mailing your entry when the rules state electronic submission only will send your entry to the trash can. As will submitting after the deadline has passed. Some contests may not accept simultaneous submissions. Some call for you to write your name and contact information on a cover page and not on your entry. Follow the guidelines. You do not want your hard work to go unnoticed.

Want to know more about entering writing contests? Check out the following sites:;
Preditors and Editors
Writer Beware Blogs

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