Max Nightjar: www.writestuff-writenow.blogspot.com
Greetings fellow writers!
Last year I entered a writing contest for the first time. I submitted my manuscript according to the guidelines. but I must admit, I was reluctant to send it in. I was leery of the motives behind such contests. Especially the ones that charge the writer $50.00 or more to submit their manuscript. Has anyone besides me ever wondered if the judges could possibly be using the contest to get new ideas for their work.
There are a lot of contests out there, and it seems like over kill for just one winner to me. What's your slant on the subject?
Look forward to your comments
I enter Writers of the Future every quarter. It's free to submit and the prizes are huge (1k, 750, 500 for 1st-3rd, plus pro publication in the yearly anthology and a week long workshop). So if you write fantasy or science fiction and don't have more than three professional short story sales or a professional novel sale to your name, definitely consider entering.
Other than that, I avoid contests mostly. They often have high reading fees and not enough of a reward at the end to justify it.
Personally, I find contests that charge a submission fee to be rather sketchy; most exist to make a profit. I'm more interested in contests that are organized by the profession, like Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Awards. Even so, judging is highly subjective. I wouldn't take them too seriously.
I prefer to enter if there is no fee.
Last summer I entered a short fiction contest by NPR. I didn't win, but it was fun.
The prize can be small, but I prefer a contest without a submission fee. :)
I've entered a few, to mixed results. Like Celia, one of the definite benefits was the critiques from the reviewers. Essentially, that's how I viewed the fee, as the cost of getting those critiques. I only entered those offered or supported by the RWA...including the last one.
The first review I opened was horrific, almost a personal attack. If I had been a beginning writer I'd have been devastated, as it was I was shocked by the meanness of it. The second review was almost as bad, and then something struck me - the characters she referred to were not in my book. I don't know what book she was referring to, but I hope the response I should have gotten was encouraging to the person who did get it. The third was definitely helpful, but even though I am a published writer, the first and second critique turned me off contests forever. It took days to recover emotionally, and I couldn't tell then or now if the book she was so cruel about was actually mine...
Wow, Valerie, that really sucks (to put it bluntly!). We have a rule on my review site - if the book truly has serious problems, we point them out "gently." There is no need for meanness or personal attacks. Just shows that those reviewers were not professional. Sorry you had to experience that!