Enter a Writing Contest: a Way to Share your Work and Make Some Money


One way to share your work and get it noticed is to enter a writing contest. You may think that the odds of winning are about the same as winning the lottery, but keep in mind that many people may read and ad for a contest and decide the same thing. That fact will eliminate a certain amount of the potential competition.

Factors that Cut Down on Pool of Contestants to Writing Contests

1. Contestant may Not Write in Requested Genre

Contests may request that potential contestants submit works in a specific genre or on a certain topic only. A writer may not feel comfortable working on those parameters or have something ready to submit.

2. Deadline for Submissions is Too Short

Depending on when a writer learns about the contest, he or she may feel that the deadline for submissions is not long enough to prepare a draft, go through a first round of editing, make changes, re-edit the work, and review/re-polish it before submitting it for consideration.

3. Contestant may Not Fit the Contest Profile

Some writing contests are specifically directed toward new writers, never-published writers, female writers, or writers who live in a country. In other cases, the sponsor specifies that the winner must be available to attend a conference to accept the prize in person. If these conditions cannot be met, the potential contestant cannot enter the contest.

4. Not Everyone is Prepared to pay Entry Fee

Some writers are only willing to enter free writing contests, while for others choosing not to pay to enter is more a matter of principle or simply due to budget restrictions. Whatever the reason, if you don’t limit yourself to free contests only, you will have more choices in the number of writing contests you can enter.

5. Failure to Read and Follow Instructions

This is a big one: If you are going to take the time to enter a writing contest, go over the submission guidelines and due dates carefully. They are not suggestions. If you do not follow them to the letter, your submission will not be considered. End of. It doesn’t matter how brilliantly you write or how long you slaved away over it, all of your hard work will be for naught. Other people have difficulty with this idea, too, and they get eliminated from contests, which makes it easier for your entry to be chosen as the winner.

Good luck with entering writing contests and if you don’t win the first one you enter, keep trying! You never know who is going to see (and like) your work.


Enter a Writing Contest: Examples of Competitions Accepting Submissions Now

Essay Contests

Real Simple Life Lessons Essay Contest

Real Simple Magazine is looking for entries for its annual Life Lessons Essay Contest. This year’s theme is sharing a “Eureka!” moment where a thought made you realize that a person or thing contributed to happiness or success in your life. First prize is $3,000.00 and there is no entry fee. Deadline: September 18, 2014.

Lee & Low Books New Voices Award

U.S.-based authors of colour are invited to submit manuscripts of up to 1,500 words for the chance to win a cash prize of $1,000.00 and publishing contract with the company. The second-place winner will receive $500.00. Contestants can submit up to two entries. Deadline: September 30, 2014

Winning Writers Tom Howard/John H. Reid Fiction & Essay Contest

All themes are accepted to this essay contest and you are invited to submit either published or unpublished work of up to 6,000 words for consideration. An entry fee of $16.00 per entry is charged and you can submit multiple entries if you wish. First prize is $1,000.00, Five awards of $100.00 each will be given for Honorable Mentions.


Short Stories

Boston Review Aura Estrada Short Story Contest

The winner of the Boston Review Aura Estrada short story contest will have his or her work published in the July/August 2015 issue of Boston Review. The story should not be exceed 5,000 words and must be previously unpublished. The winner will receive $1,500.00. Submissions must be postmarked no later than October 1, 2014 and the winner will be notified in the spring of 2015. Online entries are also accepted. Non-refundable entry fee of $20.00 applies.

Bartleby Snopes Writing Contest – Dialogue Only

Contest entrants are for this most interesting writing exercise are required to submit a short story (under 2,000 words) made up entirely of dialogue. There can be multiple characters but no narration, such as “he said” or “she said.” The prize structure for the Bartleby Snopes contest is as follows:

First Prize: $300.00 minimum + $3.00 for every entry over 50
Second Prize: $100.00 minimum + $1.00 for every entry over 50
Third Prize: $50 minimum + $1.00 for every two entries over 50
Fourth Prize: $30 minimum + $1.00 for every four entries over 50
Fifth Prize: $20.00 minimum + $1.00 for every four entries over 50

Initial submissions are due by September 15th and the winners will be announced by October 19th.

Tethered by Letters Spring Literary Contests

Tethered by Letters has three submission categories for its second annual Spring Literary Competition: short stories, any genre (1,000-7,500 words); flash fiction with a word count of 55, 250 or 500 words; and poetry (up to three pages in length). Submission deadline is September 30, 2014.



Boston Review 18th Annual Poetry Contest

Submit up to five unpublished poems (no more than 10 pages in total) for consideration. The winner will receive $1,500.00 and have his or her work published in the November/December issue of the Boston Review. Submissions are accepted online or by mail postmarked by June 1, 2015. The winner will be announced in the fall on the Boston Review web site. Non-refundable entry fee of $20.00 applies.

Palettes & Quills 4th Annual Poetry Chapbook Competition

Here is your chance to get your poetry published in print. The prize is $200.00 cash plus 50 copies of the published book. Additional copies may be ordered at an author’s discount. Deadline is September 30, 2014. Entry fee is $20.00. (Non-refundable)

Winning Writers Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest

Can your verses or rhymes make readers titter, chuckle, cackle, snicker, or guffaw? Send them in to this contest and you could be $1,000.00 richer. The contest opens August 14, 2014 and the deadline is April 1, 2015. Poems may be of any length and there is no entry fee. Full guidelines are published on the website.

Image Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net







One response
  1. Ankita Chauhan Avatar

    Thanks for the great list of contests 🙂

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