Sunday, November 29, 2009

Seven Tips for Contest Entries

*Unless it’s edited, perfected, and the best you can offer, don’t hand in something half done and not up to your standards.

*Research the contest. Make sure no warnings are out there before you fork over any entry fees.

*Check and see what rights they are asking you for and if you agree with them. Unless they pay you a nice sum for ALL RIGHTS, I wouldn’t hand over my stuff.

*Define your entry to suit the best genre category if the contest offers several. Handing a juvenile mystery to an adult mystery judge may eliminate you if there’s a children’s judge waiting for your manuscript to come to them.

*Please follow the guidelines. Such an easy task yet many believe their “great” story will more than make up for it. Wrong! It may never be read if you went over the allotted word count, if you formatted the way they asked you NOT to, or if you send an attachment where they stated NO ATTACHMENTS WILL BE OPENED.

*If they request a payment entry make sure to include it with your submission. And follow tip #2. Also make sure the entry fee is justified compared to the winning prize.

*Before your tongue approaches the seal to close the envelope, go over your manuscript just one more time. Make sure all the guidelines were followed. Check and see if the word count is within their limits. And make sure you have the right mailing address. How sad if it ends up anywhere but its projected destination.

Lea Schizas - award-winning author & editor
Pen Perfect Associates


  1. Great tips, Donna!
    I've always been cautious about forking over rights. Even as a professional photographer, I've entered few contests because most require you give up all rights if you win. Gotta watch those!

  2. Hi Lea:

    Thanks for stopping by and offering such VALUABLE tips. I appreciate your visit and wisdom.


  3. Great tips. I have to confess, the first word I look for in any contest is "free."

  4. Like Sheila, if I see the word free, my guard is up and I see red flafs. Thanks for the tips.

    Stephen Tremp


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