Creative writing is a vast niche that offers plenty of opportunities for up-and-coming writers to get their stories in front of readers. While writing a manuscript and getting a book published may be the end goal for many creative writers, there are other options for publicity to be found along the way. Creative writing classes or contests are some of the best methods of getting your stories in front of the public and potential editors while winning prizes at the same time. You may be wondering how to go about finding such opportunities, well, thankfully we have a few suggestions to help you get started.
What To Avoid
Before we get into writing contests that are worth your time, we want to cover a few important signs that indicate a contest scam. While many contests may have a nominal entry fee per submission, contests that charge excessive fees or reading fees are likely just out to make a quick buck. There are plenty of no-cost creative writing contests out there to choose from, so avoid paying out of pocket if you don’t have to. Make sure that any content that you enter doesn’t ask you to sign over the rights to your work if you win, or even simply by entering the contest. These types of scams seek to gather work products from various sources without actually choosing the winner at the end. Now, on to the good stuff, here are some great creative writing contests that are actually legit.
Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest
Of all of the creative writing contests out there, Ron Hubbard’s writing contests are among the best. They host a contest every quarter, or three months, and offer a cash prize for the top three submissions. The contest is open for novelettes and short stories that are a maximum of 17,00 words. It does not matter how long you have been writing, only that your stories are in the fantasy or science fiction genre.
Drue Heinz Literature Prize
For this contest, you are allowed to enter any of your manuscripts that have never been published. The entries can be a selection of short stories or novellas, or, it can be a combination of both. The winner will have their submission published in the University of Pittsburgh Press in addition to receiving a cash prize. The main caveat with this particular contest is that you must already be a published author with at least three novellas or short stories in print.
Young Lions Fiction Award
If you are a writer under the age of 35 and looking for a legitimate creative writing contest, this one is sure to pique your interest. There is a cash award for what is classified as young authors if your submissions are chosen. The maximum age for submission is 35 years old and you are able to submit short stories and novellas that were published or will be published in the same year you enter the contest. The genre you can submit is broad, but kids’ books and YA stories are prohibited.
New Voices Award
Kids’ books are a great genre that gets far less recognition than it should. This contest targets authors who have submissions written for children and who are either Indigenous people or writers of color. The maximum length is 1500 words for each submission with pictures and the stories must not have been published previously. In addition to the cash award, the first-place winner will also receive a publishing contract.
Getting Your Stories In Front Of Readers That Matter
Creative writing contests are a great way to break into the world of publication without the hassle of chasing down a literary agent. There are many contests to be found, just make sure that you check the history of the contest before you pay a fee or submit your manuscript for consideration.