ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing

Writing Contests

Updated on July 31, 2013

As indie authors or small press authors responsible for our own marketing, awards are one way to get attention and also prestige. With accusations of self published books not being up to snuff, winning an award for the book can show that the writing has been approved by someone with authority.

Also, short story contests and contests for pieces of books can get us some attention and keep us going forward.

Some are still interested in getting the attention of an agent or a traditional publisher, and winning short story contests is a time-honored way to do that.

You will find all those things on this page.

Contests for published novels, for unpublished novels, and for short stories.

Image from Solana at Flickr

November

  • Briar Cliff Review / Deadline= November 1st / Short Story, 6,000 word max / Entry fee: $20
  • John Steinbeck Award / Deadline= November 1st / Short Story, 6,000 word max / Entry fee: $15
  • MVP Competition / Deadline= November 1st / Book length, unpublished, up to 400 pages / Entry fee: $20
  • Roanoke Review Deadline= November 8th / Short story, 5,000 word max / Entry fee: $15
  • Winter Anthology / Deadline= November 15 / Up to 50 pages to be included in anthology / Entry fee: $11

December

  • Labda Literary LGBT Awards / Deadline= December 1st / Debut books of fiction by gay and lesbian writers published in the current year / Entry fee: $35
  • Black Caucus of the American Library Association / Deadline= December 16 / A prize for a first novel and a prize for a book of fiction written by an African American and published in the United States during the current year (self-pubbed accepted is unclear) / Entry fee: none?
  • H.E. Bates / Deadline: December 1 / Short story contest (UK based) 2,000 word max / Entry fee: 4 pounds (sorry, I'm an American author and don't know how to put in the pound symbol!)

January

Books about Contests

Advice for winning, and other places to find contests...

Contests for Published Novels

"Award Winning" - That's what we want to be able to say about our novels

These are contests for already published books. Unfortunately a lot of the prestigious awards don't accept indie books (and POD service used to create the book makes it ineligible). Awards are cropping up specifically for self published books, but to me it's unfortunate that we can't play with the regular books! The next section will have the contests that are not specifically for self published books.

I won an honorable mention at the 17th Writer's Digest Self Published Book Award in 2009. However, I'm not sure that I really want to brag about an award that has "self published" in the title. I'm not sure about announcing to the reading public that my book was self published.

On the other hand, if you win then it shows that even though your book was self published, it has been approved by professionals.

IMPORTANT: MANY TIMES YOUR BOOK WILL ONLY BE ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE YEAR IT WAS PUBLISHED, SO YOU NEED TO READ UP AND PREP AHEAD OF TIME FOR THESE. ALSO, MOST REQUIRE A PHYSICAL COPY OF THE BOOK TO BE SENT IN (SOMETIMES MORE THAN ONE), SO YOU MUST HAVE A PRINTER OF SOME TYPE TO ENTER

Genre specific

Most of the awards have a number of different genres and you pick which one your book will compete in. Some contests are geared towards only one particular genre.

Contests for Unpublished Novels

Contests for Unpublished Short Stories

Someone Might Take Notice - These awards are extremely prestigious

Awards for short fiction that will most likely get the attention of agents and editors. These tend to focus on literary genre pieces.

Other Information

Awards for Pieces of Books

These contests allow you to submit outlines, synopses, first chapters, etc. It can get you some confidence in your work, and sometimes the prizes include publication or consultations with agents.

(The one contest that I knew that did awards for a synopsis has closed)

Fellowships and Grants - Money to allow you to write

These are lists of grants and fellowships that you can apply for. Generally they give money or space at a writer's retreat and the requirement is that you work on a particular project.

What advice do you have about entering contests?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      bskcom 5 years ago

      Thanks for compiling all of these diverse writing contests.

    • profile image

      melmenant 5 years ago

      Very informative!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hi Friends,

      Technical support may be delivered by different technologies depending on the situation. Remote PC repair or Remote Computer Repair is a method for troubleshooting software related problems via remote desktop connections. Thanks

    • RuthMadison profile image
      Author

      RuthMadison 5 years ago

      @oxfordian: Very true! The idea of indie and self-pubbed is changing rapidly. A few contests are still behind the times, of course, and refuse to accept POD books! But you're right, I shouldn't be too concerned about the label of the contest if I win it!

    • oxfordian profile image

      oxfordian 5 years ago

      Very helpful. thanks. I've bookmarked your lens because there's so much information here. I wouldn't worry about the "self-published" label now-a-days. The industry is really changing. Self-publishing isn't just for those who can't get published the conventional way anymore.

    • profile image

      anilsaini 5 years ago

      nice lens