Funnily enough, I wrote this blog before reading Andi’s blog from yesterday, but it just makes it all the more appropriate.

Contests provide writers with several opportunities:

1. It’s a chance to get published.

2. It’s an opportunity to be validated.

3. It’s offers a chance to write something that is off their usual track.

4. It gives them a push to get something written (in response to a looming deadline).

5. If nothing else, it’s a good writing exercise.

Oh, and then there’s the matter of the prize. Sometimes it’s money, sometimes it’s books or other tangible items, sometimes it’s just for the honor of winning and getting the publicity.

So, I wanted to share a few contests I came across recently. Give it a shot—you just may win. Good luck!

THE ANNUAL FUNDSFORWRITERS CONTEST

The 10th Annual FundsforWriters Essay Contest seeks nonfiction
submissions. First prize $400. Five additional cash prizes.
Zero entry fee and $5 entry fee categories. Theme: Diligence.
Limit 750 words. Email submissions only.

Contest Guidelines:

What to Put In/On your Email Submission:
The title of the essay (do NOT use the theme as your title)
Your name.
Your email address.
Note Entry Fee or No Entry Fee category.
The word count.
The essay itself in the body.

Guidelines:

Not to exceed 750 words.

Essay/nonfiction only. Includes memoir, creative nonfiction, journalistic nonfiction…nonfiction period. NO fiction, poetry or children’s writing.

Receipt deadline Midnight (Eastern Time), October 31, 2011.

Email entry to hope@fundsforwriters.com. (No fax or hard copy submissions.)

No attachments to emails. Embed in the email itself. (Viruses are nasty creatures.)

Entry fee $5 or ZERO dollars. Payable via PayPal or check. Put name, email address and essay title with check if you send via mail. Make checks payable to C. Hope Clark or FundsforWriters.

Note ENTRY FEE or NO ENTRY FEE on your submission.

Same piece cannot be submitted in both ENTRY FEE and NO ENTRY FEE categories.

No changes/alterations to an already submitted piece. The second edit will be deleted.

Must be original and unpublished.

Must be in English but entries accepted internationally. Entry fees must be in US dollars.

No limit to the number of submissions.

All writers must be 18 or older.

Do not bother with SASE for winners lists. Winners posted on website and in newsletters.

Single or double-spaced accepted.

Winners and public notified by December 1, 2011.

Winners published in December 2, 2011 FundsforWriters newsletters.

Winners paid via check or PayPal. If you are from a country where that is a problem, please do not enter.

Other submissions will be considered for publication but will be paid the standard rate of $45 if selected.

Judges are selected from Hope’s peer group of writers, authors and journalists, still pending, but the finalists are chosen by C. Hope Clark.

Final determination of winners is not negotiable.

You do NOT have to be a FundsforWriters reader to enter the contest.

You will not be added to any sort of mailing list.

The Prize Money

ENTRY FEE CATEGORY – First place – $400. Second place – $100. Third place – $50.

NO ENTRY FEE CATEGORY – First place – $50. Second place – $25. Third place – $15.

WritersWeekly.com’s 24-Hour Short Story Contest!

Please note: You must be entered in the contest before the topic is posted in order to submit your story. You cannot write your story first, then enter the contest.

24-Hour Short Story Contest! – $5.00

Select this to register for the Fall 2011 24-Hour Short Story Contest. Start time is September 10th, 2011 at 12:00 p.m. (noon) central time. Held quarterly and limited to 500 entrants. Don’t miss out on the ultimate source for creative stress…and tons of fun! More than 85 prizes! (When you purchase this, you’ll download a PDF file of the guidelines. There is also a link to them in the email receipt.)

I want to enter the Fall 2011 contest.

85 PRIZES FOR THE NEXT CONTEST!

1st Place

$300 Cash Prize
Publication of winning story on the WritersWeekly.com website.
1 – Freelance Income Kit

Includes:
1-year subscription to the Write Markets Report
How to Write, Publish and $ell Ebooks
How to Publish a Profitable Emag
How to Be a Syndicated Newspaper Columnist Special (includes the book; database of 6000+ newspapers; and database of 100+ syndicates)

2nd Place

$250 Cash Prize
Publication of winning story on the WritersWeekly.com website.
1 – Freelance Income Kit

Includes:
1-year subscription to the Write Markets Report
How to Write, Publish and $ell Ebooks
How to Publish a Profitable Emag
How to Be a Syndicated Newspaper Columnist Special (includes database of 6000+ newspapers and database of 100+ syndicates)

3rd Place

$200 Cash Prize
Publication of winning story on the WritersWeekly.com website.
1 – Freelance Income Kit

Includes:
1-year subscription to the Write Markets Report
How to Write, Publish and $ell Ebooks
How to Publish a Profitable Emag
How to Be a Syndicated Newspaper Columnist Special (includes the book; database of 6000+ newspapers; and database of 100+ syndicates)

20 – Honorable Mentions

Honorable mention winners receive a one-year subscription to The Write Markets Report AND one ebook of their choice.


DOOR PRIZES (randomly drawn from all participants):

15 – One-year subscriptions to The Write Markets Report

5 – Freelance Income Kits ($49.95 value)

5 – copies How to Publish A Profitable E-mag

5 - copies of Query Letters That Worked
Features real query letters that landed these contracts: Woman’s Day – $2,800; Redbook – $3,500; Ladies Home Journal – $3,000; DiscoveryHealth.com – $2,000; Lifetime Magazine – $3,000; Life Extension magazine – $6,480; Natural Remedies $11,300; and many more!

30 – Grab Bag!

CONTEST GUIDELINES AND RULES – PLEASE READ!

The contest topic will be emailed to all entrants at start-time. In the event of e-mail difficulties, the topic will also be posted online at start time right here.

If, on the date of the contest, you’re checking the website for the contest topic and word count, don’t forget to to click “REFRESH” on your browser so it’ll pop up after we upload it.

Some ISPs filter out list mailings (which is what the contest mailing is) as sp*m. Therefore, you may not get the contest email. If that happens, pull the topic and word count (and rules!) from the web page above and start writing.

Rules:

1. Your story does NOT need to include the exact topic dialogue. It must only touch on the topic in some way to qualify. Lots of writers ask this question during each contest. so we want this to be perfectly clear. You don’t have to quote the topic word-for-word, but you may if you like. It’s your decision.

2. Don’t forget to name your story!

3. The word count for each contest is distributed with the topic. Short stories exceeding the word count will be disqualified.

4. Type your name, email address, mailing address, phone number and word count at the END of the story. (Lots of people break this rule. Breaking this rule is grounds for disqualification.) We never use phone numbers unless there is an emergency regarding your entry or if, heaven forbid, your winning check is returned undeliverable. And, we never, ever share emails, phone numbers, addresses, names or anything with any other person or company. We do publish the email addresses of the winners on the WritersWeekly site so our readers can compliment their stories and send congratulations.

5. Send your story in the text of an e-mail message. Do not send e-mail attachments unless it is an emergency (your email starts cutting off parts of the story). If you must send an attachment, it must be a text-only file. All other attachments will be deleted. No fancy formatting, please, even in the body of the email. Text-only emails and attachments. Italics may be indicated by using underscores around the italicized area _like this_.

6. Submit your story to angela at writersweekly.com by the deadline, which is 24 hours after the designated start-time.

7. Very Important. Please don’t submit your story early and then continue to make corrections and submit your story again… and again…and again. Do not send your story more than once. We will use the first version of the story you send in. The occasional typo will be overlooked, so don’t get stressed if you find one in your story later. We’re looking for good writers, not editors. Everybooty makes typos, especialley under presshure, and we understann dis. However, if a few stories are finalists and we’re having a hard time making a decision, a story with few or no typos will come out ahead of one with multiple typos.

8. For easy reference, guidelines (and hints) are online at: http://www.writersweekly.com/misc/contest.html#guide

9. Sometimes writers submit their stories and find they are missing vast chunks at the ends of paragraphs because they have cut and pasted to their mail program from their word processor. Please make sure your entire story appears in your email before clicking “send.” When we email you to confirm that we have received your story, the story will be included in that confirmation email. Please make sure the entire story is there…because that will show you what we received on our end. We can’t be held responsible for partial entries. If you find part of your story missing, try sending us a text-only attachment.

10. Late stories are disqualified. During every contest, a dozen or so entrants submit their story late with an excuse (I had to go skiing, my dog slobbered on my keyboard, my mother in law made me go to the mall, I got my time zones confused, I forgot today was contest day, etc.) and ask us to accept it anyway or ask if they can get a refund or be moved to the next contest. We can’t do that. To be completely fair, everyone must follow the rules. Stories are due here by the deadline. Many contestants simply send in their stories late with no explanation. We assume they think we won’t notice the story is late. Those stories are also disqualified because they are late. All late stories are disqualified. No exceptions.

If your email to us bounces back to you and does not arrive on time, we still can’t accept it. Computers can be manipulated to make it appear something was sent before it actually was. Therefore, stories must be IN our in-box prior to the deadline. If your email program tends to send items out late, you should send your story early to accomodate for this possibility.

If the deadline passes, please do not email asking us to accept it late, and please don’t send in late stories. We can’t include them anyway. In fairness to everyone entered, we can’t break the rules for one. All stories ~arriving~ after the deadline will be disqualified.

11. And, finally…please, if you love us, give us a good ending! 95% of the stories we receive fall flat at the end. It’s very depressing for us when this happens. The ending can make or break a story. :)

More rules:

Entrants may be located anywhere on the globe. Only single-author stories permitted. No co-authored stories or teams, please. Reprints are not permitted. All entries must be composed within the contest time frame. By entering the contest, you certify that you have read these guidelines in their entirety and that you agree, on winning the contest, to allow WriterWeekly.com to publish your winning entry on the WritersWeekly.com and WritersMarkets.com websites for an unlimited period of time on a non-exclusive basis. Winning authors retain reprint rights to their work. All other authors retain all rights to their work. Booklocker.com, Inc., Deep South Publishing Company, The Write Markets Report, WritersWeekly.com and WritersMarkets.com, their employees, officers and directors can not be held responsible for any electronic transmission problems. The company’s liability will never exceed the cost of the entry fee. Refunds will not be issued. Decisions of the judges are final.

Here’s a website that focuses solely on writing competitions:

WinningWriters.com

And check out the list of the numerous competitions run by Writer’s Digest.