After reading through so many literary agencies' submission guidelines, I have decided it is time to enter some writing contests.
See, agents want to back someone with credentials. They want someone who already has something to show for their writing (i.e. an award, or publication in a lit mag or even previous novel publication) and/or someone who already has an audience (e.g. people who have read your work in a lit mag or dedicated followers to your super awesome blog! which is why if you haven't, you should sign up to become an official follower so I can wow agents with my popularity =D) So it's time to enter some contests and build up some street cred. (n.b. I have no idea what these types of initials stand for, but my professors used to use them all the time and they make me feel scholarly.)
So, unaware of what contests were out there and unsure where to begin, I turned to that ancient purveyor of wisdom and Googled it.
I must say I was completely overwhelmed with the results. 3,160,000 results in .12 seconds. I've only gone through the first 2 pages, but I'm going to have to do a bit of research on the contests I've found so far, because some of them sound a bit questionable. But maybe that's just my suspicious mind.
Almost all of these contests have big cash prizes in addition to publication in a lit mag, or lit review or even full-on-bound-and-covered-official publication. All of that is really cool, but at this point I could really care less about the money. I just want the bragging rights. All I'm looking for is a sentence to add in my bio that goes something like "My short story (blank) won the (blank writing contest) award in 2011."
I'm going to try and enter as many contests as possible, which means I need two things:
1.) A story/stories
All of these contests require entry fees ranging from $15 to $50, plus the price of postage for the contests that require hard copies. And who even know how much postage costs anymore? I just used my last Forever stamp that I bought like 3 years ago, so I'm totally clueless.
I have a couple short stories I can dust off and submit, but I feel like I need more ammo. I need to churn out some hot, fresh new stories to win me some competitions. To get the wheels of inspiration turning, I want to get your thoughts, dear reader. What do you want to read about? What kinds of stories do you like best? What is your favorite book?
Lastly, I put together a list of a few of the writing contests I have found and will post it below in case you want to enter some as well. Don't say I never did nothing for ya...
Creative Writing Contests:
Glimmer Train Fiction Open
Red Hen Press Contest
Writers of the Future
Hunger Mountain Contest
Adirondack Review Fulton Prize
Snake Nation Press
Narrative Magazine Contest
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award
Moonlight Mesa Associates Western Fiction Contest
Writer's Digest Annual Contest
Freelance Writing Contests