People think writing is a boring profession not until I showed him the list of richest writers in the world, they’re worth billions of dollars.
So if you want to pursue your dream of being a writer, I’ll advice your go after it real quick because with dedication and hard work, you’ll create an amazing career for yourself.
One way to begin is through writing contest. Submitting a writing contest can be a great opportunity. With prizes often in the thousands plus publication, there’s the chance for big money and big exposure.
Of course, the odds aren’t in your favor. Any writing contest with a big prize purse is getting hundreds, if not thousands of submissions. If you want to win, your entry is going to have to be incredible, and you probably also need to be a little lucky.
Unfortunately, there are also some bad writing contests out there. Given that most writing contests require an entry fee (usually between $10 and $25), you need to be sure you are only submitting to reputable contests that actually give every entrant a fair chance to win based purely on the merit of the writing.
What You Should Do Before Entering any Writing Contest
What Do They Use the Entry Fee For
I know people consider this less important but trust me, it is very important. If you’re paying to enter the contest, you should know where your money goes.
Here are some you should ask …Does it fund the prize money? Does it pay for contest advertising? Does it go to support other projects? Is it a payment for a guest judge of some significant esteem? Does it line the pockets of some rich editor who is only out to make a buck at your expense?.
If you don’t know where the money is going, there’s a good chance the contest is a scam, especially if there are thousands of $20 entrants for a $500 prize! A good contest will explain why there is an entry fee and where that money goes.
You should especially be cautious if one publication is holding a bunch of contests at once or in quick succession. This is a good sign that they’re more interested in making money off writers than in supporting writers.
The Contest Timeline
Now this very important, you should know when the contest will start and when it will end. When winners will be informed, when non-winners will be notified, and when winners will be announced.
That’s at the very least. It’s also good to know when your entry will be read. You should also know basic information like Will they read entries as they come in, or will they wait until all entries are received and the submission window has closed?.
Not that one is essentially better than the other, but that information should be made clear to you because you deserve to know how your entry will be handled.
It’s also important to know how many rounds of judging there are and exactly what the judging process is like. If there’s no timeline, don’t submit. If the timeline is very long, then submit cautiously, keeping in mind that this particular piece of writing is going to be tied up for a long time.
Whether or Not Your Entries will be Read Blind
I always have a principle when it comes to writing and that is if names will be read before they read, I don’t enter the contest , my reasons are simple, a contest with that kind of bias isn’t going to end well for you except you know someone at the contest or you have a name they want to publish.
Make 100% sure that all entries are read blind before you submit to any writing contest.
And then endeavor you follow their guidelines and don’t put your name in the body of your entry. This will often disqualify you from the contest (and you probably won’t get your entry fee back).
How and When The Prizes will be Awarded
You have to cautious about the payment method, if maybe they only pay with PayPal and you have some type of moral opposition to PayPal, you probably shouldn’t enter.
If they only pay via check in the United States, then don’t enter if you live in another country. Be certain that prizes will be paid out in a timely manner.
If they don’t plan to pay you for twelve months after the winners are announced, then there’s a good chance you’ll never get paid at all. We always sent out prizes within a week of notifying the winners (often the same day).
If it’s more than a month, you should have some doubts.
The Bad Writing Contest Warning Signs
To sum it all, If you see any of this sign when writing a contest, you should probably pause because it might not end well
- You can’t read past winners for free (obviously ignore this for a first-year contest)
- You don’t know who is judging the contest
- You can’t find any judging criteria
- Contest entries aren’t read blind
- The cost of entry doesn’t align with the prize money (example: $25 entry fee + 500 submissions with a $500 prize)
- The contest has no clear timeline or a very lengthy timeline
Entering a writing contest often requires a significant time commitment (writing, editing, submitting) along with a financial commitment. Don’t submit unless you’re sure you have a chance to win and that the contest is legit.