Give your writing its best chance of success in competitions
My short story publishing career kicked off with a competition win. So did my novel publishing career. If you’re a subscriber to my newsletter, you’ll already know that I put great store in writing competitions as a springboard for emerging writers* – I publish a monthly run-down of the best competitions I can find – and if you’ve ever been in one of my classes, I’ve probably tried to persuade you to enter the Bridport, the Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair, or the Mairtín Crawford Award, and possibly all three. And more besides. The thing is, writing competitions are much more of a level playing field than subbing to magazines. For one thing, your publication history has zero influence on where you place in a competition, and most are read blind. For another, an overwhelmed editing desk might very well decide that they’ve got enough strong stories in one reading period to carry them over a weaker round of submissions a month later and accept none of the fiction sent to them in July. A competition, on the other hand, will always have a winner, and probably a couple of runners up too. It’s the only submission venue where you can guarantee that someone will be successful in any given round.
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