We’re big fans of writing competitions; it’s why we maintain a calendar list of them in our Winner Circle. Contests offer prizes, prestige, publicity, and sometimes even publishing deals. Here are five advantages that entering writing competitions can offer your book marketing efforts:
Improve Your Attention to Detail
The simple act of entering writing competitions –win or lose– will get you focused on your work. Many require including a synopsis, an incredibly difficult task (most authors find it easier to pen an entire novel than a one-page synopsis). But being able to drill down those descriptions of your work will prove valuable when it comes to creating your marketing messages.
You’ll also need to pay close attention to every single word of the submission and making it perfect, knowing it will be judged by others. Authors who enter contests are quick to note that this extra attention to detail strengthens their work.
Writing Awards Establish Credibility
Entering a competition lets others know you’re serious about your craft. Placing highly in a recognized competition earns you street cred. And of course winning a competition is the holy grail.
But this isn’t just an ego boost. Having awards or even being singled out as a finalist or short-listed for a prestigious writing competition isn’t just useful to you; it’s useful to the booksellers who will be selling your books, and to book clubs and reviewers contemplating your work.
There’s a reason you see those awards plastered across front covers and mentioned on back covers. With a million new books out there each year, it’s one more way you, as an author, can stand out from the crowd.
Expand Your Reading Universe
In addition, most who host competitions are keen to brag on their winners. This can mean anything from awards ceremonies to press releases to website links and mentions, to lots of social sharing. Plenty of our award-winning authors have been featured in interviews and had their news shared by the awarding organization, offering each author an audience they might not have otherwise found through their own channels.
Land a Publishing Deal
Some contests are sponsored by publishers; others have strong relationships with publishers. Still others are judged by literary agents looking for their next debut client. When doing your contest research, if you’re keen on a traditional publishing deal, seek competitions that offer a publishing deal as part of their prize package.
Note however that not all deals are created equally and make sure the publishing co. associated with the contest is one you’d actually be willing to publish your work with before you enter.
Finance Your Marketing Budget
And of course there’s the almighty dollar, which surely doesn’t hurt! Many contests offer cash prizes. While not enough to keep you gainfully employed, lots of authors have smartly parlayed prizes into their marketing efforts!
Have you used writing competitions to further your writing and/or marketing goals? Share your success with your comment below!