Times are tough, I know. Markets to submit your lovely writing to are dropping like flies, and many of the markets left standing don’t want to pay. What’s a poor writer to do?
Try a contest. I know I might have mentioned (okay, harped about) this idea before, but I really feel like it’s a way to improve your writing (because you’re sending something out there, oftentimes, with a fee. It behooves you to put utmost effort into the submission you send). Also, I’m rather fond of financial remuneration for my utmost efforts. Aren’t you?
Time and time again, I see writers giving away perfectly wonderful stories. And, occasionally, this is a practice that can pay off. But you don’t want to make a habit of it. Kinda reminds me of something my mother used to say: “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”
She probably wasn’t talking about writing. But, still. You get the point. There are plenty of contests out there, with nominal fees, and generally, the sponsors don’t publish the winning stories. You can still sell your story somewhere else!
Now, winning a small contest is not going to add anything special when you’re trying to sell your novel. But your wonderful novel should sell itself. Meanwhile, you can make a little money on your wonderful stories. And give your writing ego a little boost in the bargain.
I won First Place (the Pen Point Group Award) in the mystery fiction category for the White County Creative Writers. (Wheee!) The story, “Like a Pirate,” is one of my favorite stories. I wrote it three years ago. The original was a diamond in the rough (not that I realized that fact three years ago). It needed polishing details, but the plot was good. And every time that story got rejected, I worked on it just a little bit more.
Here’s a contest for you to try: The Saturday Writers 8th Annual Short Story Contest. There’s a small fee, and it’s open genre. Oh, and it’s sponsored by an organization packed with gifted writers! So, poor writer, pick your best story, polish it up, and put it an envelope.
And may the best writer win.