Skip to main content

Writing Markets and Contests--A Whole 'Scoop'-full

The Newest Scoop is blasting through cyberspace and into your inbox right now if you are subscribed to the Excuse Editor Newsletter (if you are not, sign up here). 

There are some unique opportunities, including a chance to get your photograph taken by a famous photographer, a no-fee novel contest  with a self-publishing package prize, and  a contest with over 50 CATegories (the entires all have a 'cat' theme).

A few ideas on using the Scoop:
  • Determine if you have something already complete that meets the guidelines, or comes close.
    • If it meets all guidelines (genre, word count, etc.) and has no entry fee, SUBMIT! You have nothing to lose.
    • If if meets all guidelines and has an entry fee, SUBMIT ONLY IF you feel confident in your work and you can afford the fee (see this post for more thoughts).
    • If you have a work that is ALMOST PERFECT for one of the markets, spend some time getting it closer (always adhere to word count and genre guidelines). You may be able to cut a few words off the 1500 word piece to make it fit a 1200 word guideline, for example.
    • Do you have already published work (that you own the rights to) that you could submit? Or could something be changed just a bit to fit the market? This is a great way to get more out of the work you have already done.
  • Determine if you have enough time to write to a call for submissions.
    • Some contests are for short pieces. These are not necessarily easier to write (because of the precision shorter pieces require, the editing takes the bulk of the time) but you still may be able to write for something that is only a few days away, if you put in the effort.
    • Some contests use prompts. All the entrants are put on a more level playing field, as they all have limited time to write to what the contest is asking for.
    • If you choose a contest that has a deadline months away, set weekly goals. If you can get it done early, do it! Stand out from the pack that wait for the very last minute to submit (me).  I keep deadlines for contests/markets that are months away in the Scoop Listing until the deadline has passed because I found that I sometimes forgot that I wanted to write to it when new opportunities came up.
Good Luck! And Happy Writing!

What kinds of contests and markets are you drawn to (specific genres, categories, etc)? Do you prefer to write, then search the market, or the other way around? Or, do you find the whole thing a bit confusing? If so, what would help?



Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Experience

The popularity of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books is beyond extraordinary. What started out as a multi- rejected book idea has turned into a multi-million dollar book empire. More than 110 million Chicken Soup for the Soul books have been sold. Many of the books have been translated to 40 different languages. I'm proud that my personal essays have been included in some of these books, and I hope to continue being a Chicken Soup contributor.
My Story
I thought I would share a bit about being published in these collections. I'm very happy with my Chicken Soup experiences, and part of that may be that I went into it with little expectations at first. I started with them because I had a few stories that seemed to fit what they were looking for, and I thought I had nothing to lose. Unlike some of the other markets and contests I was looking at, submitting to Chicken Soup could be done at no cost to me, and I didn't even need to worry about a postage stamp, because they had a…

All the Right Ingredients to Writing Advice

Last time, I talked about people in our lives that are pretty sure they know how to be successful writers, because they spent much of their time reading. Sometimes their advice can be a blessing, sometimes just the opposite. It is the same with the plethora of advice available from other writers. Have you checked out almost every book about the writing process from your local library at one time or another? Are your shelves lined with your own copies of "the-perfect-writing-advice-that-will-get-me-published-once-and-for-all"? Are you a member of multiple online writing communities? Do you hold your breath just a little bit when waiting from the critique from that "certain someone" in your writing group?

Yeah. Me too. And I don't think that gaining knowledge is a bad thing. We just have to be careful.

Don't Let Too Many Cooks Create a Recipe for Disaster
I love great food, I savor the tastes and textures of all kinds of cuisine; but unless I have specific, de…

Why Ghostwriting? Guest Post by Kelly James-Enger

Is it Time to Disappear?  Why I Became a Ghost--and Why you Should, Too
I never intended to become a ghostwriter. After all, why would I spend months of my life toiling away on someone else’s book? No thanks. I only wanted to write my own books, and that’s what I did.
I soon found, however, that the life of a book author wasn’t quite what I’d envisioned. I was working long hours, yet making less money than I had before, when I wrote only articles. The reason was simple—the time I spent promoting my books left me less time to write articles and other books, which cut into my income.
            Fortunately for me, I was approached by a nutrition expert about coauthoring her book. I found I enjoyed collaborating with her, but the real payoff came when we finished the manuscript. As the author, she now had to start promoting it—but I was all done!
That was enough for me. I decided to pursue coauthoring and ghostwriting, and “my” next book was ghostwritten for a client. (Typically a “coau…