Writing Contests

I learned about writing contests through Romance Writers of America (RWA).  For those not familiar with them, RWA Chapter contests serve several purposes.

  • Contests serve as a Chapter fundraiser.
  • Qualified judges give feedback on a part of an aspiring author’s work.
  • Chapter members and others who “final” have a chance to get their work in front of an editor or agent.

I’ve entered many contests over the years and have done moderately well.   I’ve received some great feedback, and some okay.   For me, I believe the money spent on entry fees was well-spent.  It’s helped my work get noticed.

There are many RWA chapter level contests offered each year.  Some want one to three chapters and a synopsis.  Those are great if your work is “almost there.”  Others may only want a few pages to make sure your work starts on the right “hook.”  Wisconsin Romance Writers‘ Fabulous Five contest is one of these.

If you’re an aspiring romance author, think about RWA Chapter contests.  Start with WisRWA’s Fab Five (click for details).   The Fab Five asks for the first 10 pages or 2,300 words of your work.  In exchange for your entry fee your pages will be judged by three qualified judges.   The finalists – the top Fabulous Five in each category – will be ranked by agents and editors.  First place winners in each category receive the Silver Quill Award.  Other finalists receive certificates.  But most important, you’ll receive feedback.  And…if you final…you’ll be read by someone with influence.

→What’s your opinion about writing contests? Has a contest helped you become published?  Do you have a favorite RWA Chapter contest that you’ve entered?  (Please show link.)  Finally, if you haven’t entered one, what are you waiting for?