I have a special treat for you today. Raquel Byrnes is stopping by on her blog tour to discuss why you should enter a writing contest. Raquel is celebrating the June 3rd release of her book, Purple Knot.
Why You Should Enter a Writing Contest
If you aren’t an active part of a critique group or have some Beta readers giving you feedback on your manuscript, assessing how you’re growing as a writer can be difficult. One of the best ways to do this is by entering a writing contest. Now, it may seem intimidating, but here are three reasons why you should go ahead and fill out that entry form.
• It will help you learn to follow directions. This may seem like a little thing, but it is surprising how many people burn an opportunity with an agent or editor simply because they didn’t check the submission requirements. Check them. Follow them to the letter. To. The. Letter. A contest, much like submitting a query, is a winnowing process and you don’t want to end up on the threshing floor before they even read your story.
• You learn to work with a deadline. All contests have a date at which submissions are no longer accepted. Writing to deadline is something that you will eventually have to do and learning how you deal with this during a contest is a lot better than freaking out when an agent gives you one. Do you need to get more organized? Do you need specific writing times to be productive? A contest deadline will reveal how you work under pressure.
• You learn how to take critique. Even if you blow them out of the water and final on your first try, you will get back suggestions for improvement. Taking criticism graciously is an essential part of being a writer. Learn how you handle it from a contest and you can be sure you won’t break down later on when dealing with a publishing editor. Do you argue? Do you get hurt? Do you throw up your hands and walk away or buckle down and improve? Contests can help you see how you deal with this.
There are a lot of inexpensive contests out there with wonderful professionals willing to look over your first 50 pages and give you honest feedback. The types of contests available span the genres, from romance to flash fiction, there’s something out there for your style and story.
Many writers’ guilds offer contests as well as their local chapters. Romance Writers of America and Writer’s Digest Magazine both have excellent opportunities to get your work in front of professionals. Take care to enter contests that only charge a nominal fee. Around thirty-five dollars is the norm. Anything that charges a hefty entrants price may not be reputable.
Contests can be exciting and helpful if you enter them with the right attitude. Who knows, you might take the trophy.
Thanks, Raquel! I'm not one to enter contests usually, but Raquel's certainly given me some good reasons to start! Do you enter writing contests? Why or why not?
And be sure to stop by Raquel's blog and tell her congratulations on Purple Knot's release!