Tools for Tuesday – What Good is Winning a Writing Contest?

We all love winning awards. In my son’s soccer league they don’t keep score and everyone gets a trophy at the end of the season. Each of those little boys’ faces lights up when they wrap their little hands around that trophy. Then, it’s up on the dresser or, as many parents I know have had to do, up on the custom built trophy shelf that rings their child’s room. But, once it’s up there, that’s it. The trophy does nothing else for them. All it’s doing is taking up space. And don’t even get me started on having to dust the darn thing…

As writers, we don’t get awards as soon as we type ‘The End’ on our novels. We may pop open the cap on a particularly good beer or cork a great bottle of wine as thanks to ourselves for a job well done, but that’s about it. However, once that novel is finished, we can enter it into a contest to see what the world, or at least a few literary-types acting as judges, thinks of it. The reason? Beyond the “I just want to know if it’s good enough” sentiment, there could be gold at the end of the writing contest rainbow.

Winners, the top three who place, or even honorable mentions in certain contests could and do get publishing contracts. Or they may get agent representation. Or, at the very least, they can use that award in their marketing efforts. I’ve won two awards from my publisher and I use them all the time. As someone who has yet to hit the best seller list, mentioning that I’ve won awards does lend credibility to my work.

I recently came across a press release for an IndieReader contest. IndieReader touts itself as, “the essential consumer guide to self-published books and the people who write them. From professional book reviews and their “Where Indies Count” bestselling list to publishing services and IR Selects (which gets indie books onto the shelves of indie bookstores), IR’s goal is to introduce book-lovers to great indie books, while creating opportunity and exposure for indie authors.” If you’ve self-published a novel, I suggest you cough up the $150 entry fee and send them a copy of your Great American Novel. Don’t think IndieReader’s contest is right for you? Google “writing contests 2011” and you’ll get over 6 million hits. I’m sure you’ll find one of those that tickles your fancy.


Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author whose latest, award-winning suspense thriller, The Brink, is now available as an eBook for Kindle and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

The Brink is a hell of a read.” – Bestselling author Sandra Brown

“Mark Fadden is a masterful storyteller.” – Writer’s Digest

“Mark Fadden is the next Dan Brown.” – Triple C Ranch Book Club, Southlake, Texas

Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at

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