Writing contests – especially those with cash prizes, are exciting to aspiring writers. Contests provide a level of prestige of a new writer when judges deem their work as better than their competitors. Use the suggestions below to create and promote a new writing contest of your own.
Recruit judges from within the publishing or education communities. Find men and women who have experience and degrees specializing in the written word and narrative writing -
. Such individuals will lend credibility to your contest and should be well-suited to select a winner based on skill and criteria.Be sure to research and follow any state or local laws regulating contests in your area.
Post information about the contest on sites such as www.freelancewriting.com
for a start. Locate any writer’s groups in your area and inform them of your contest. The members will appreciate this information and may enter the contest themselves, along with spreading the word. Taking out an ad in the newspaper of a nearby metropolis is also a good way gain attention for the contest.
A new contest may have very few applicants the first time, so if possible have the contest occur annually or biannually. The more people hear about the contest and its credibility the more writers are likely to enter.For contest that occur annually, consider submitting to the Writer’s Market or Writer’s Handbook. Both publications list a separate section for legitimate contests and are widely read in the writing world.
Create a website dedicated to the contest and include a page for people to submit their work. Provide details about fees and a page for payment, or direct participant submissions of both the written piece and a check or money order to a central address.
Provide clear guidelines for the contest so that writers will know what is expected of submitted pieces. Tell what type of writing is accepted (for example: poetry, non-fiction articles, short fiction stories, etc.) and list any restrictions, such as racist or profane writing. Also provide information and photos of the contest judges. Contestants appreciate knowing who will judge entries and what their qualifications are.
Once the contest entry period and the judging period have ended, be sure to post the results and notify the winners promptly. Contestants will be eager to know the results. If cash prizes have been promised to the winners make the payments promptly also. Writers tend to communicate with one another through websites and writing groups, and they will likely pass such information along to the other writers they encounter.