Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Contests & more: getting the most for our writing bucks


Sometimes it seems as if I spend as much time studying the writing craft as I do actually writing. And although I try to attend at least one writing conference, workshop, or class yearly, I’m always on the lookout for what’s free. Still, I sometimes barely bother opening emails from writing organizations. A class sounds great but – not in my budget. (I have dogs to support!) Or it’s in another city. Or, it’s not at a good time.

But I’ve got to mention one email I finally clicked on, from the Writer’s Digest Shop: “Expert Tips and Tricks to Revise Your Manuscript.” It’s free! It’s online (no transportation required)! It’s got a great list of experts on tap. And it’s – today – Tuesday, July 25, 2017, from noon till 1 p.m. EDT, at the Writer’s Digest site.

image: Wikimedia commons
Try it, see what you think, and tell me if it’s worth an hour of your time.

OK, that’s not exactly a contest. But to show you this isn’t a bait and switch post, here are some more of the writing contests filling up my inbox, listed in order of urgency.

Now – July 31: Narrative magazine’s short story contest. Big cash prizes, exposure to worldwide audiences. See the site for details. 

Now – August 1: (Early Bird Deadline): Writer’s Digest Self-Published E-Book Awards. Winner receives $5000, magazine publicity, and entry to the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference. See the site for details.

Now - August 15: Dallas Areas Writers Group (DAWG) 2017 Short Story Contest. Cash prizes and recognition in DAWG publications. Open to all genres, original unpublished stories only, with word counts between 800 – 3,000 words. See the DAWG site for details.

September 25 – October 24: Writers Guild of Texas Flash Fiction Contest. Cash prizes and publication for winners in the WGT newsletter. $25 for nonmembers (which will also entitle contestants to a year’s membership); free for members. See the site for details.

October 16, 2017: (Early Bird Deadline): Finally, again from Writer’s Digest, the ever-popular Popular Fiction Awards. See the site for genres, fees, extended deadlines.

Ongoing: The Trident Media Group's challenge at Prose.com threatens to close, but then keeps going, and going, and going. Try it at the site and see if you become one of the week’s fabulous four who gets recommended to Trident, a leading U.S. literary agency

Which reminds me. . . I signed up for Prose challenges after noticing that an agency I was interested in was sponsoring one. Most of them are free, good to check out and see what others are writing.

Which also reminds me – are we getting the most out of all the contests, workshops, and classes we signed up for?

Just as I receive emails about contests and workshops from Writer’s Digest after a comparatively brief paid subscription period, I also continue to reap benefits from other contacts. A relatively inexpensive online course taught by mega-bestselling author James Patterson from MasterClass and found a new community of fellow writers. Once taken, the class material stays online forever, and students have the right to submit questions to Patterson in perpetuity. The online community has also sponsored its own writing contest.

Similar benefits accrue to anyone who has ever signed up for NaNoWriMo. What started as a once a year writing challenge now offers year-round support, online seminars and webinars for writers. Check your own contacts and see what unused benefits may lurk within!