Jon Gibbs (jongibbs) wrote,
Jon Gibbs
jongibbs

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What’s your take on writing contests?

During the course of this year, you’ll see notices about dozens, perhaps hundreds, of writing contests. Organizations like Writers of the Future (now in its twenty-fifth year), offer their winners big prize money and prestige. 
 
Smaller competitions like last year’s 15th annual Graversen Award, run by the GSHW, can’t hope to compete financially, but although they offer far less money, they provide three, brief critiques to all entrants – invaluable to newer writers [not sure if they plan to do that this year, but I hope they will].
 
Magazines like Writer’s Digest and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine run monthly flash fiction contests, usually with a set theme or picture prompt.
 
Online, sites like Every Day Fiction hold regular micro fiction competitions too (I believe their next one takes place in February), offering contestants the chance of online publication and (I believe) a token payment. 
 
There’s no doubt that writing competitions are popular, but which, if any, should we enter? 
 
I’d love to know hear your thoughts on the subject: 

Poll #1515477 What’s your take on writing contests?

Do you ever enter writing contests?

Sometimes.
15(39.5%)
Sure, but only if there’s no fee involved.
18(47.4%)
Contests shmontests. They don’t interest me at all.
5(13.2%)

What do you hope to get out of a writing contest? Please select one or more answers from the list below:

Money
2(5.4%)
Validation
1(2.7%)
Recognition
2(5.4%)
Bragging rights
1(2.7%)
Useful feedback
2(5.4%)
Seeing my work in print or posted online
1(2.7%)
Something else, which I’ll comment on below.
3(8.1%)

What, if anything, would entice you pay an entry fee? Please select one or more answers from the list below:

If it was for a prestigious organization/magazine.
3(8.1%)
If I was guaranteed to get something useful out of it, even if I didn’t win.
3(8.1%)
If it wasn’t too expensive.
1(2.7%)
If I could submit my story and pay the entrance fee online.
0(0.0%)
I would never pay an entry fee.
11(29.7%)
Something else, which I’ll comment on below.
6(16.2%)

Aside from an entry fee, what might put you off submitting a story to a writing contest? Please select one or more answers from the list below:

Confusing/ grammatically incorrect rules.
2(5.9%)
Unfriendly sounding rules eg: “If you ‘X’ your entry will be disqualified”, as opposed to “Remember, if you do ‘X’, we won’t be able to accept your entry.”
0(0.0%)
I had a bad experience with a previous entry to that organization.
1(2.9%)
I don’t trust the people running it.
4(11.8%)
Something else, which I’ll comment on below.
3(8.8%)

If you received an individual email, inviting you to take part in a the latest version of a contest you’d entered before, would you be:

Offended that you were directly approached.
3(9.1%)
More inclined to check out the details of the latest competition.
24(72.7%)
Less inclined to check out the details of the latest competition.
6(18.2%)

As for me, I already plan to enter two writing contests this year. I’m expecting the GSHW to announce entry details for this year ’s Graversen Award soon, but in the meantime, I’ll have to get to work on my drabble fu if I’m to retain the first place I won for my 100-word short fiction, Snake Eyes, at last year’s Write Stuff conference.   
 
How about you?
 
Which writing contests do you plan to enter in 2010?



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