Writing Competitions

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Writing Competitions

Postby litenup_rach » 07 Dec 2009, 16:44

Hi Nathan,
Love the new look... easy to navigate and extremely helpful with the new forums... you just keep gettin better and better ;)
Now for my question:
I'm considering submitting a couple of short story and poetry pieces to a competition - mostly to begin feeling more confident about other writers reading my work.
However, the requirements of this particular competition are as follow:
"Regarding all entries: do not include your name on the manuscript. Instead, include a separate cover letter that includes the story/poem title, your name, address, phone, and e-mail (if applicable) and an entry fee of $15 per entry."
The "do not include your name on the manuscript" feels a bit fishy to me... and I have also read blogs that question the legitimacy of competitions that charge for entries.
What's your opinion and are there other issues that I should be aware of if submitting to this and other contests?
Thanks for all you do to help me become a great and informed writer... you're so awesome ;)
Rachael
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Re: Writing Competitions

Postby Nathan Bransford » 07 Dec 2009, 16:51

First, read the fine print and make sure you know what happens if/when you win. Does the journal get all rights? Is it a one-off? Make sure you understand and are comfortable with the arrangement. If, say, the journal retains all rights you might not be able to include in a collection down the line.

Also, it's up to you to decide whether you want to pay to enter a competition. Some competitions are better than others, and make sure to do your research. I will say there are lots of great journals out there that you don't have to pay to submit to.

Basically it all comes down to making sure you know what you're getting into. Good luck!
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Re: Writing Competitions

Postby Chazz » 07 Dec 2009, 17:09

I prefer it when there is blind judging. Theoretically, well-known authors don't get a bump over unknowns that way.

I have entered a contest where I won two honorable mentions (at the 25th and 26th spot, I think) and I noticed someone else in the top 100 got two consecutive honorable mentions, as well. In that case, it's obvious that for some reason the judging panel grouped the submitted short stories because of a common author. That didn't strike me as altogether kosher, though I also can't fathom the reasoning involved.
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Re: Writing Competitions

Postby Anna Walls » 07 Dec 2009, 18:07

Regarding contests; one good thing to do is check with Predators and Editors http://www.anotherealm.com/prededitors/ They have an extensive list of the good, bad and ugly things to do with writing. Two good contests I am entered in - YouWriteOn.com and Authonomy.com Both have no time limit, but both give great feedback for your writing.
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Re: Writing Competitions

Postby casnow » 08 Dec 2009, 01:50

Anna Walls wrote:Regarding contests; one good thing to do is check with Predators and Editors http://www.anotherealm.com/prededitors/ They have an extensive list of the good, bad and ugly things to do with writing. Two good contests I am entered in - YouWriteOn.com and Authonomy.com Both have no time limit, but both give great feedback for your writing.


Anna, what has your experience on Authonomy been like? I just signed up for it yesterday and haven't made it around to uploading text yet. Have you gotten good feedback?

Cam
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Re: Writing Competitions

Postby ScoRho » 08 Dec 2009, 08:09

It's been a while since I've entered contests, but when I used to enter frequently, the leave-your-name-off rule was pretty standard. They do that so judges won't be biased towards writers they know.

And to the person asking about Authonomy. I've been on a couple months and have been very encouraged by the feedback I've received. My book is climbing slowly (#568 in the rankings now) because I don't do as much promotional stuff as some people, but I've enjoyed it. It's also given me a valuable look into my competition in the slush pile. There's a lot of good stuff out there, but a lot of people submit too early, a lot of people love adjectives before every noun, some people have real trouble with dialogue so they just don't use it much, and, horror of horrors, an awful lot of people begin their pitches with rhetorical questions. That's probably been my favorite thing, the chance to get a glimpse into the kinds of books I'm competing with when I submit. By the way, look me up. I'm ScoRho there too. I always return reads.
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Re: Writing Competitions

Postby roger239 » 09 Dec 2009, 12:05

Anna, what has your experience on Authonomy been like? I just signed up for it yesterday and haven't made it around to uploading text yet. Have you gotten good feedback?

Cam


I've been using Authonomy for some time. There's some good and some bad to be said. The comments I get on my work are glorious to say the least, but most are from users that praise everything. On occasion I get a comment that rings worth while. Equally, there is a lot of politics to get to what they call the "editor's desk". Most of it has absolutely nothing to do with writing. Rather it's a trade, good word for good word. My book is so out of the main stream, I don't really have to worry about the "editor's desk" much (or the attention of an agent for that matter). I just hang in there for those worth while comments. I've also meet a few authors that I communicate with via email. Maybe that's the most rewarding in the long run.
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Re: Writing Competitions

Postby Ermo » 11 Dec 2009, 13:01

Hey Nathan -

I'd love to see a short list of competitions that you recommend in terms of both their weight in terms of winning them and their legitimacy. If you have time....


Mike
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Re: Writing Competitions

Postby Nathan Bransford » 11 Dec 2009, 13:13

Ermo wrote:Hey Nathan -

I'd love to see a short list of competitions that you recommend in terms of both their weight in terms of winning them and their legitimacy. If you have time....


Mike


I honestly am not familiar enough with them to offer any suggestions.
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Re: Writing Competitions

Postby Joel Q » 11 Dec 2009, 21:47

Pikes Peak Writer Conference has a pretty good competition.
Quality judging and I think a pretty good track record for winners getting published, (but you'd have to check on that.)
You get a pretty detailed scoresheet and can request a written critique.
The deadline is past for the 2010 conference.

But here's the site incase you are interested for next year. http://www.ppwc.net/

Also, the manuscript you submit can't have your name on it. You get a number, to keep the judge from possibly figuring out who you are. Keeps the bias out.

JQ
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Re: Writing Competitions

Postby John Ross Harvey » 15 Dec 2009, 13:25

I have entered Stephen Leacock Humour Award this year and last (Canadians)
I have entered for the IPPY Independant Publishers Awards (many many categories)
I have also entered for Toronto Book Awards

Current book is a humourous driver's manual, I have a traffic twittering cop following me on Twitter because I make sense to him.
Author: Three Forces Of Evil - Comedy Shorts, Snowball's Chance In Hell, Acronymville - Your One Stop Destination In The World Of Acronyms, World Peace - A Novel, Harvey The Happy Helmet's Illustrated How To Drive Handbook - A Drive By Education
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Re: Writing Competitions

Postby mrswritebrain » 25 Dec 2009, 16:56

I agree with Joel Q about the PPW Contest. The critiques I received last year were very helpful and thorough. This year's VIP judge for MG is from Scholastic--contests like this can be very beneficial. PPW requires an in-depth synopsis as well, so the entire premise of your book is critiqued, not just the first 4,000 words.

Thanks for this forum, Nathan.
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