Business of Freelance

Writing Contest Woes

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Entering a writing contest can cause a conundrum.

To fee or not to fee – that is the question. Whether it is nobler to the writer to suffer the cost for the chance at a title and fortune or to take up the search against the sea of listings and find those few that give title risk free.”

My BIG DREAM goal for my writing requires a weekly task of entering contests or submitting freelance stories. I determined that if I was going to dig into the subject then I was going to share my results with you.

Thirty minutes into the search and I had found two contests that didn’t charge an entry fee. I know there are more. I have seen them come along. But the search criteria that I used flooded my engine with so many options that it was a nightmare slugging through.

I began to wonder if the fees might be worth it just to get a larger pool of opportunities. I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t the fee that matters as much as the benefits of the contest, and of the contest submission.

Getting the Most from a Writing Contest

    How much is the entry fee? If your budget plan includes marketing costs then you could view the entry fee as just that. Winning the contest would not only add to your platform and give you exposure to a new audience, but it will also provide you with bragging rights. Who doesn’t like to say that they are an award winning author?

    Do you write in the genre the contest features? If you do then it might be worth paying the fee (depending on the cost) if you already focus on that niche. If you win it will build your expertise in the area. If you don’t win then you can repurpose the submission for another project.

    What do you get for your fee? Some contests offer critiques. Some offer discounts on memberships. Some even provide a subscription to the magazine hosting the contest. If the benefits are something you would consider without the contest then the fee can become a value worth considering.

    Are you itemizing your taxes? I’m not an accountant – nor do I play one on the internet – but if you are treating your writing like a business then the entry fees to contests could be considered a marketing expense. Do check with your accountant before running with this idea.

Writing contests can be a boost to the writing platform, but they should only be one tool in the tool box. Contests can give a little increase to the pocketbook, some exposure to new readers, and maybe future connections to publications. Review the rules. Weight the costs. Then make the decision.

More Tips for Writing Contests

    1. Know what rights you are giving up to your content. If you are going to repurpose your words in any way then you need to be certain that you maintain your rights to the content you create for the contest.

    2. Keep a record. Record how much time you invest in finding the contest, the costs, and the returns. This will allow you to determine the value of future contests for your journey.

    3. Continue on the path. Remember that contests are not the answer to building a successful writing career. Keep finding new opportunities and continue to build a diverse and solid platform for your success.

What are your thoughts? Should you pay for the chance to enter a writing contest? If so, what is the limit you should invest?

Share your thoughts in the comments below or share a link to your own journey through the writing contest maze.

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