A popular way to get started.
Where to find them.
Follow the rules.
Do your homework on the background.
Beware of scams.
A popular way to get started
Short story competitions are another way to get your short stories published. Most writing competitions take place annually and are usually followed by anthologies that feature the winning stories along with a few of the year’s best entrants. Even though the prize money for winning one of these short story contests is often minimal, it be a great help to say that you have won a writing contest in a cover letter. If you feel entering a writing contest might be a good route for you then here are some tips on how to go about it.
Where to find them
Check out what short story contest are available by reading The Complete Guide to Literary Contests complied by Literary Foundation (Prometheus Books). The annual Writer’s Market Book (Writer’s Digest) also lists many reputable literary contests. Alternatively, you can simply google writing contest or check out www.writersmarket.com or www.firstwriter.com. Bear in mind though that these online resources do charge a membership fee.
Follow the rules
Follow the rules of the contest without deviation. If they ask for fantasy do not send them science fiction. Also check whether they are any geographical limitations to the contest. It is useless to send your story to a far-flung contest that only accepts entrances from their area. Remember to read the rules of the contest carefully to make sure you are eligible to enter. Many contests have specific requirements that might exclude you from taking part. Therefore, read the rules of the contest carefully to make sure you are eligible to enter. For example, check whether they are any geographical limitations to the contest. It is useless to send your story to a far-flung contest that only accepts entrances from their area.
Do your homework
If the contest released an anthology of the previous year’s winners, read it. This will give you a better idea of what kind of story they are likely to favour.
Beware of scams
It is common for most contests to ask for a small entrance fee, be weary of contest that want to charge you to publish your short story. These are at best just pushing mediocre publications (Vanity Press), but quite often outright frauds and should be avoided on either count.