Recently I seem to have been hearing the same advice everywhere, blogs, podcasts, magazines they all say the same thing enter competitions.
I do have writer friends who do enter lots of contests, partly in the hope of getting a little financial remuneration for the hours at the keyboard but most of the time I think for the sheer fun of it, but there is a more serious side to contest entry.
This is where the advice comes in, it is suggested that if you do enter and win or if it is one of the bigger more prestigious contests are short-listed that this achievement on your writing CV or cover letter could seriously enhance your chances of an agent or publisher actually taking the time to read your work.
Now no way am I going to be entering anything this side of Christmas life is far too hectic but I have taken the time to actually look though a couple of my Writers Forum magazines at some of the contests in there. It is eye opening to see not only the range of contests out there but also the range of prizes from dictionaries and a smile to publishing deals.
The other thing which also varies is the cost of entering, while there are free ones there are also a range of contests who charge for entry, I think the thing to do is actually consider very carefully whether you really want to enter these and what they offer in return. Some offer detailed critiques of your entries for an extra fee of course and the cost-prize ratio also is something to take into account is is worth entering a competition which charges you £10 to possibly win a hundred when if you had researched better you could have won a thousand. It can also be worth keeping an eye out for who judges which competitions, it costs £15 to enter the Ruth Rendall competition which she judges herself but if you write in that genre being able to add her vote to a cover letter by winning or being short-listed in her competition cannot do you any harm.
I really don’t have the time to do this this year but as one of my writing resolutions for next year I am going to enter at least one competition per month fingers crossed if I could win one or get a couple of places it would cover the cost of the rest lol