There are no sweeter words to me than those of my 11 year old daughter telling me, “Mommy, I like that story in your book.” That with the emotions and passion that I feel when I write are priceless. That’s the best award I can ever receive. But having your work recognized among peers and writing contest sponsors add icing to the chocolate cake.
As most writers are already aware, getting recognition as a writer is difficult. With the advent of ebooks and self-publishing, the marketplace is more cluttered than ever, making it harder and harder to stand out from the crowd.
Writing contests are, therefore, highly relevant to the writer looking to make a splash in his or her niche; while the compensation for many of these contests tends to be moderate in nature, they are an invaluable means of getting one’s name out there and adding a feather to one’s cap when it comes to self-promotion.
Likewise, contests provide the chance for recognition not just among other writers and potential readers, but also among family. Placing well in a contest often draws the attention of these people; once you have such credentials to your name, they take a whole new interest in what you do, which can be incredibly validating.
There is one caveat however: Many writing contests charge an entry fee, and while these fees may look small at first glance, if one plans on entering many contests, these fees will quickly add up. To help writers avoid this pitfall, the following list of no-fee writing contests for 2015 is being provided:
• FreelanceWriting.com (http://www.freelancewriting.com/creative-writing-contests.php) provides an extensive list of upcoming contests, some of which offer substantial rewards (the The Danuta Gleed Literary Award, for instance, awards $10,000 to its winner, and the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize offers $7500). One can easily filter results by date and genre, making finding the right contest for one’s specialty a snap.
• Writerviews.com (http://writersviews.com/writing-contests.php) also offers several contests with excellent compensation, including a rather unique Sitcom Writing Contest which awards $10,000 to the winning script, plus the possibility of it actually being picked up for use on television. There are also plentiful poetry contests, which makes this an ideal place to look for no-fee contests if you’re a poet. Plus, humor writers with a bit of bite in their style will be delighted by the Satirist Comedy Writing Contest, which seeks “the next George Carlin”.
• Chanticleer Book Reviews (http://chantireviews.com/) features a list of “Blue Ribbon” writing contests for 2014-15, spanning several different genres and promising international exposure.
• Poets and Writers lists a number of contests which are hosted by very prestigious faculties, such as Yale. Many of these contests focus on themes, such as the impact of music, and there are quite a few options on the list specific to poetry.
Also take a look at http://chantireviews.com/contests/ and http://www.pw.org/writing_contest_updates for information on additional contest.
So get involved and give it a shot. You have nothing to lose, especially when it’s free to enter. Good luck and Keep Writing!