Prizes, Publication, and Prestige

This seems to be the time of year for authors to enter writing contests. And, while it might be exciting to receive recognition and/or monetary compensation for exceptional writing, is the cost and/or the time involved worth the effort?

The Positives:

1- Money: cash prizes can be lucrative.

2- Prestige: Winning a contest may help you get noticed by literary agents.

3- Publication: Whether in a magazine, anthology, or website, publication may be an important benefit.

4– Deadlines may actually help you finish a story more quickly.

The Negatives:

1) You may lose the price of your entry fee. (Note: Be sure the contest doesn’t keep you from entering other contests at the same time.)

2) Entering may eat up your writing time.  Don’t write on a specific topic that you might not be able to use in another contest in the future. 

4) If the contest you enter isn’t well known, then even a small monetary prize won’t be worth it. For the most part, only enter contests that get a lot of publicity and can further your writing career.

5) Enter contests that offer feedback. After all, one of the main reasons for entering contests is to get your writing reviewed by others who can help you improve.

A word of advice: Don’t enter every contest you find. You will find yourself writing dozens of junk submissions.  Focus on writing a few quality pieces and only entering a few contests.