This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at

Monday, January 03, 2011

Thoughts on Entering Published Contests

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

As a debut author, I'm now eligible to enter a few published contests for the first time. I'd like to offer a few thoughts on my experience so far and how it compares to unpublished contests. 

1) It's more expensive. Not only do you have to pay the entry fee for each book you enter, but you also have to pay the postage for mailing as many as 3-6 books per contest entry. Most likely, you also have to buy your own books to send into the contests. For those contests that accept e-books, you are only allowed to send in an e-book version IF you don't have a print version available. Personally, I feel this is unfair. If an author's book is available in both formats, it should be accepted in either format. An e-book submission would certainly be less expensive.

2) Anonymity no longer exists. In unpublished contests, the author's name isn't shown anywhere on the actual manuscript to prevent it from being a popularity contest for those writers who may be more well known in certain writing circles than others. When your book is published, everyone knows the author's name. Debut and mid-list authors are out there competing in the same venues as the big name authors who sell tons of copies and are more popular. 

3) No Constructive Feedback. Most published contests do not offer a feedback form from the judges to help the author improve his/her craft. Published authors only receive feedback from editors, reader comments and book reviewers, unless they are still in a critique group or rely on beta readers. 

4) Contest Wins are Publicized More. When a published book wins a contest, the fact is promoted with everything that goes out promoting that book. The win will be included in new editions of the book, on the author and publisher's websites, blogs, social media networks, in bios, reviews, book descriptions, and video book trailers, etc. 

These are just a few thoughts I've noticed since my debut novel was published. Do you have any others to add? Any questions I could try to answer?