Tag Archives: Writing Contests

Submitting – British Style

I love a good old home-country writing competition. The deadline for this one is 30th September (Midnight UK time, so watch out North and South American readers!) but it’s only 500 words, so you can rustle that up in an hour or two, right?

The contest comes from Flash 500, a British site with the winner being published in online and print magazine Words With JAM*  The top prize is £300, with money prizes for second and third, and a free book for highly commended entries. The entry fee is £5 for one, £8 for two stories and you can add £10 per story if you would like a critique to be returned to you.

There is no geographical limit on entrants, and entries must be previously unpublished (including online). Check out the website for detailed entry conditions.

Impressively, this contest promises to announce winners within just 6 weeks of the closing date. It runs quarterly, so if you’re not ready this month, you could stop by again in the future.

 

 

* Note that the magazine is also running its own short story comps, with categories for 250, 1000 and 2500 word stories.

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Ladies’ Night in Submissionville

Sorry, boys, but this week’s place-to-submit is Women Only. It’s the Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize, an award run by one of the women-only colleges at Cambridge University in the UK and open to entrants worldwide provided they are a previously unpublished female writer over the age of 21. Entries should consist of the first 30 pages of a novel, submitted with a <10 page synopsis of the rest of the book.

You can find full details here: http://www.lucy-cav.cam.ac.uk/whats-on/latest-news/post/128-lucy-cavendish-college-2013-fiction-prize

The entry fee is just £10 per entry (you can submit up to 3 entries).

Closing date isn’t till 27 March 2013, so you’ve got lots of time to polish those opening chapters.

The top 5 entires will be shortlisted (max one per entrant) and those five writers invited (with a guest each) to attend a prizegiving dinner where the winner will be announced. The prize is £1000, and all shortlisted entrants have the opportunity to meet and approach agents and publishers at the dinner. Publication isn’t part of the prize, but there certainly seems to be a history of success over the time the prize has been running.

As if that’s not enough, the event (although sadly not the judging of the competition!) is run by my best friend, so you will get to meet her if you’re shortlisted. Frankly, that’s a better prize than £1000, if you ask me.

 

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Submissions – Ploughshares

One of the places I have submitted in the past, but now decided may not be the best for my work, is Ploughshares. It’s a serious literary magazine, with a strong pedigree in bringing newcomers to American literature and is guest-edited for each edition by some pretty big names. The magazine (really more like a paperback book) is published three times a year, and mailed out in hard copy to subscribers, who pay $30 per year for the privilege.

There are three ways to submit to Ploughshares.

Open Submissions

Fiction, poetry and certain types of non-fiction manuscripts are accepted unsolicited between 1 June and 15 January. Up to five poems can be submitted together, prose pieces should be submitted individually and be no more than 6,000 words long (5,000 is prefered).

There are no submissions fees for mail-in submissions, but a $3 charge is levied to submit online. Payment is $25 per page (Min $50, Max $250) together with two copies of the title published and a year’s subscription to the magazine.

Pshares Singles

The magazine has recently launched a new series, publishing one longer fiction piece (6,000-25,000 words) in electronic format once a month. The submission criteria are the same as above, and I believe so is the payment scheme.

Emerging Writers’ Contest

Finally, Ploughshares runs an annual contest for up-and-coming writers. This is defined as anyone who has yet to publish a book, including chapbooks and self-published works, in any genre. The contest is currently CLOSED and runs from February to April each year, with the winning entry published in their “Fall Edition”.

Entries should be no more than 5,000 words (or 3-5 poems) and the entry fee of $20 includes a year’s subscription to the magazine. Winners in each genre (fiction, non-fiction and poetry) are awarded $1,000 prize.

 

So, why won’t I be submitting any more?

Last year, I entered the Emerging Writers’ Contest. I didn’t win, or indeed receive any response to my entry, but this decision is not sour grapes on my part. It is proof of the lesson which is drilled into us time and again by books and articles and anything else giving advice on writing and publishing, and that is to know your market and choose wisely when submitting. My entry into the EWC gave me a year’s subscription to the magazine (for less than a year’s subscription would have cost, I hasten to add!). I’ve now read a couple of their publications in a lot more detail than the free excerpts online allowed me to do and I’ve come to the conclusion that it isn’t the place for my writing.

I write mainstream, some might even call it “literary”, fiction. I don’t write genre pieces, so Ploughshares ought to be a decent fit in that regard. However, what I don’t write is Literary Fiction in the sense that Ploughshares publishes it. Poems are usually incomprehensible to me, and even the short stories in their publications have a hint of poetry to them. I like a story to have a beginning, a middle and an end – a satisfying balance and a reason behind the words. I like likeable characters, or at least ones that I can be moved by, and I can’t handle even 6,000 words inside the head of a character who is clearly weird.

All of which is a poor attempt at describing the pieces I find in my latest copy of Ploughshares. The writing is good, by some definitions, but if a friend sent it to me and asked for critique, I’d rip it apart. I think most of my critiqueing friends would too.

So the truth is, I won’t be submitting to Ploughshares again unless my writing style changes. But if you think Literary suits the way you write (and for some people it really does), then it’s a fantastic place to try your work. The rates are decent, the lack of submission fees is a bonus and it’s definitely a publication with kudos behind the name. And if you’re not sure, enter next year’s EWC and try a year’s subscription for yourself. It might just be the springboard to great things.

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Submissions Options – Glimmer Train

Glimmer Train is one of the most famous and respected of online writing magazines I’ve found. They publish a range of fiction, promise to read everything that’s submitted, and pay for publication. They also run contests and publish a companion “Writers Ask” magazine, which includes interviews and reviews and some articles about writing and publication.

So far they haven’t had the taste and good sense to accept anything I’ve submitted, but I don’t hold that against them!

CONTESTS

Entry page: http://www.glimmertrain.com/writguid1.html

Glimmer Train runs a different contest each month, each with an entry fee and a prize or series of prizes:

STANDARD SUBMISSIONS

Entry page: http://glimmertrain.com/standard.html

In addition to the contests, there are four periods for Standard Submissions. These are a lot more open and have no reading fees. Payment is $700 for any story published, together with 10 copies of the issue.

  • January.Results by April 30.
  • April.Results by July 31.
  • July.Results by October 31.
  • October. Results by January 31

OTHER POINTS

A Glimmer Train publication looks great on your writing CV. They focus entirely on unsolicited submissions and most of their work comes direct from writers, rather than through agents.

Contest entries include a free subscription to the Writers Ask magazine, although my personal view of that publication is it’s not incredibly useful. I have learned a lot more from proper writing mags and certainly wouldn’t pay for this one in its own right. The entry fee can also get your story submitted into the relevant “standard submissions” period, so you get extra cover. To begin with, though, I would consider just a standard submission – the rewards aren’t as great, but entry is free and it’s a good way to get a feel for whether you can produce what they are after.

To check it out in more detail, you need to log into the Glimmer Train site with a username and password. It’s free and easy and they don’t produce a lot of spam emails – just a few reminders about contest deadlines etc, so if any of this interests you, sign up and see what you can find.

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Great Scott!

This week I thought I’d share with you a contest I’m strongly considering entering this year, if I can get Booker’s Seven up to scratch in time. The Scott Prize is awarded to a debut collection of short fiction and is a prestigious prize in the otherwise quiet short-fiction scene.

The requirements are for a book-length collection of short stories, between 30,000 and 75,000 in total. The prize is £1,000 plus a publishing contract and the entry fee just £20.

Submission window is open now, and closes on 31 October.

This is a pretty small fee and prize fund for such a body of work, which probably will put some people off, but there’s a definite opportunity for more money and also for a real published copy of your short stories to be on the shelves in bookstores. In my experience, that’s quite a coup in itself, especially at a time when short stories are still struggling to get the respect they arguably deserve. So if you’ve got a collection of short stories you’ve been wondering what to do with, I’d definitely recommend you take a look.

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Submitting to WD

This week’s submission spotlight falls on Writer’s Digest. WD is one of those online magazines which makes no bones about its intended readership – writers. There are pros and cons to this – if you want help or inspiration, hints and tips on writing or publishing, or just to know that there are others out there like you, then WD is the place to be. Their blog and advice pages are full of all of the above, and if you subscribe to the forums, you’ll find a community out there dying to discuss whatever aspect of writing comes to hand that day! On the other hand, it’s kind of scary to think how many “amateur” writers there are out there feeding magazines like WD and never really getting anywhere. One wonders if the great writing success stories of our time subscribed to writing magazines.

Still, a contest is a contest, and a win is a win (complete with prizes, publication, reassurance, kudos etc). And WD can offer a fair number of options for both contests and wins.

Short Short Story Competition <1,500 words of fiction, deadline 15 November, entry fee $20. 25 top entries published with a top prize of $3,000, a trip to the annual WD Writers’ Conference and a couple of useful textbooks.

Popular Fiction Awards <4,000 words of genre fiction (6 categories to choose from), deadline 15 September, entry fee isn’t clear from the site. Top entry in each genre wins $500, top overall gets $2,500 and a trip to the WD Conference.

Write It Your Way <1,500 words of fiction or non-fiction based on the theme of summer. This is a monthly contest, where the theme or prompt changes each month. Deadline is 15 July. Entry fee $5. Top 5 are exhibited online with the winner awarded $25 to spend in the WD shop and promotion of their story.

Screenwriting I’m not even going to try to summarise this one, but if you’re interested in Screenwriting, Films or getting into that industry, click on the link to find out more.

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Tales of Submission #1

No, this isn’t some sort of kinky sideline to my otherwise PG rated blog! I am simply struggling to come up with a sensible title for my (intended to be) fortnightly piece on where to submit stories and enter contests.

This week, The Writer magazine, and their Travel Writing Contest.

http://writermag.com/travelcontest

I haven’t quite worked out whether I’m going to submit to this one myself yet, because it’s some way outside my normal scope. But in a way that’s what makes it tempting.

THE BASICS

What? An essay on the writer’s travel experience, whether that is far afield, or close to home.

How many words? Up to 1,200

When? Deadline is 15 June 2012

Fees? Sadly, yes. $10 US.

Prizes / Rewards? Yes indeed. On top of publication in the magazine, monetary prizes for 1st ($1000), 2nd and 3rd place, together with subscription and enrolment in a writing course.

SUMMARY

For a piece of this length and a prize of this magnitude, that’s not a bad entry fee and even if you haven’t got anything started, it’s short enough to draft in a week. The Writer is pretty popular, so I imagine there will be lots of entries, but you don’t know if you don’t try, and for someone like me who mostly sticks to fiction, it might be a good exercise to try something completely different.

OVER TO YOU

I’d love to hear from anyone who goes ahead and enters, and certainly let us know if you win. The support network starts right here.

In addition, if you have any suggestions of things I could include on these posts to make them more helpful to you, please do let me know. It’s a new feature and you should know by now that I love feedback!

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