by My Web Writers
Prize money. Recognition. Just knowing your work was superior. Whatever the reason, people who love to write are thrilled to win contests. Are you a content writer looking to get noticed? Perhaps you’re a stay-at-home mom with a story to tell, or an engineer with a great idea . No matter whom you are or what you do, you should enter an annual essay contest at least once in your life!
Whatever the contest, do your research and make sure the contest is legit and that the entry fee isn’t too high. Most essay contests are either free to enter or around $20 per entry.
Writer’s Digest Writing Competition
Writer’s Digest currently offers 11 writing contests, one of which being the Annual Writing Competition. While most of the other writing contests for the magazine are based on fiction, this is a contest that accepts essays. The first entry you submit has a $25 fee, but the prize money may be worth the entry fee. With a grand prize of $3,000 cash, a trip to New York City and individual attention from editors and agents, who would want to pass this one up? The early bird submission deadline is May 12.
Real Simple Life Lessons Essay Contest
Since the year 2000, the magazine Real Simple has reached millions of readers, and for the past four years, the magazine has held an essay contest based on a theme. For example, the theme for 2011 was “When did you first understand the meaning of love?” The winning essay (no more than 1,500 words) is published in the magazine, and the writer receives $3,000 and a trip for two to New York City. Competition is fierce, as there were more than 7,000 entries in last year’s contest.
Fourth Genre Michael Steinberg Essay Contest
Fourth Genre, a journal showcasing works of nonfiction published by Michigan State University Press, holds an annual essay/memoir contest with a $1,000 prize and publication in an issue of the journal. Judges are looking for creativity and encourage unpublished authors to enter. There is a $20 entry fee for each submission. Essays are limited to 6,000 words. Last year’s contest had more than 300 submissions.
Wag’s Revue Summer/Winter Writers Contest
Wag’s Revue is an online-only publication filled with essays, stories, poems and interviews. Twice a year the publication holds an essay contest, offering a first prize amount of $1,000. Second place is awarded $500, and third place receives $100. Essays are to be no longer than 10,000 words and cost $20 per entry. Looking through past contest winners, you will see that length varies greatly. You need not write 10,000 words to win this contest.
My Real-Life Story Essay Contest
Believe it or not, this Glamour magazine essay contest isn’t just for the ladies. Anyone over the age of 18 can enter. While there is no entry fee, you can only enter one essay. The winner receives $5,000, the possibility of his or her essay being published in an issue of Glamour, and the opportunity to meet with a literary agent. Winners in the past have written essays about topics like cancer and alcoholism.
Do you know of a reputable writing contest? Share it with us!
Writing contests have always been extremely popular (at least as long as I’ve been around the writing community), but entry fees can really add up if you’re frequently or widely entering competitions.
But there ARE a handful of national writing competitions—totally free to enter—that can make a huge impact on your writing career. Here are seven.
Amazon Novel Breakthrough Award
There are two categories: general fiction and young adult. Unpublished OR self-published work is allowed. Entrants must provide a full manuscript, an excerpt from the beginning of the novel, and a novel pitch (plus some other info). The winner receives a publishing contract with Penguin.
Delacorte Press Contest for a First Young Adult Novel
Manuscripts must be between 100-224 typewritten pages. Manuscripts entered in this contest may not be under consideration with another publisher or an agent. The winner gets a publishing contract with Delacorte.
Real Simple Life Lessons Essay Contest
This popular newsstand magazine runs a contest every year looking for a personal essay by a new voice. Max of 1,500 words. The winning piece appears in Real Simple.
First Crime Novel Competition (Minotaur)
Open to any author who has not published a novel (plus self-published authors, though you may not submit your self-published work). Length should be about 60,000 words or at least 220 typewritten pages. The winner gets a publishing contract with Minotaur.
Writers of the Future Contest
All types of fantasy and science fiction work are eligible for this contest founded by L. Ron Hubbard. To be eligible, entries must be works of prose, up to 17,000 words in
length. The contest is open only to those who have not professionally
published a novel or more
than three short stories, in any medium. Winners receive cash prizes.
Harlequin New Voices
Harlequin occasionally runs competitions; the deadline for their next competition is tomorrow! Entries are accepted across 6 different romance subgenres. The first stage of submission requires your first chapter only; subsequent stages require more material.
Iowa Short Fiction Award
The manuscript must be a collection of short stories, at least 150 typewritten pages in length. Any unpublished fiction writer is
eligible to enter. Previously entered manuscripts that
have been revised may be resubmitted. Writers are still eligible if they
have published poetry or self-published a work in a small print run. The winner is published by the University of Iowa Press.
So, there you have 7 excellent contests I know about that don’t require your cash to enter. Are there any other contests you know about and recommend?
Photo credit: mbgrigby