Ten Tips For Entering Writing Contests Online (With Links)

Tips for writing contests


Have a look at our tips for entering writing contests online from SPR editor Cate Baum, with links to some of the best websites offering information on competitions.




    1. Make sure you follow the rules carefully. When we run competitions, there is a 5% hit rate of entrants who are disqualified because they haven’t read the conditions of entry properly. Rules such as ” do not send a hard copy” and writing length, “unpublished/published only” have to be adhered to.
    2. Is your book ready to compete? Be honest with yourself about your writing, and ensure you have edited and proofread your writing thoroughly before entering.
    3. Don’t try to squeeze your book in! If your writing does not fit into any of the categories properly bear in mind judges will want a winner that represents their contest’s theme fully.
    4. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Book covers count in competitions! Why? Because who wants an amateur book cover on their winner’s page? So ask for feedback on your cover from friends and family, and have a look at it at different sizes such as very large and thumbnail size onscreen before sending it in.
    5. One amazing fact of running a competition for writing is the amount of writers who pay to enter and then forget to attach their book! While we are nice and make sure to contact anyone who forgets their actual entry, many contests won’t, due to the volume of entries.
    6. Make sure that the contest can keep track of you! If paying to enter, make sure your payment email on PayPal, or the name on the check match your book entry submission, or send a note with the book so that administrators can trace you.
    7. Don’t write in to see if you are “doing alright”! Wait until the deadline and read the winning names as advertised. If you can’t find the winners advertised, then you may email for the list afterwards. Any good contest administrator will ensure you have an email or receipt for entry.
    8. Only send in what is required for entry. Sending in press releases, author photos and other bumpf does not increase your chances of winning, as writing is judged on its merits alone, not on the quality of press relations!
    9. Compelling opening pages will always grab attention. While we ensure every single entry is read in full here at SPR, many competitions will read the opening chapters to pass on to the next reading level. Of course, all books should have this quality, but like a good TV drama compared to a movie, a great opening will set your book apart, especially in a large competition with many entries.
    10. Enter smaller contests with niche markets. This will increase your profile online and get you links to your work in places where specialist readers will look. If your book is horror, fantasy or sci-fi, we have just the contest right now. You can browse contests at the following links to find short story contests, film script contests, children’s book competitions, travel writing contests and more. Now see below for competitions you can enter now: