5 Reasons You Should Be Submitting to Short Story Competitions RN

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Whatever your aspirations as a writer and whatever writing form you’re devoted to, there’s room—and necessity—to fit the short story into your repertoire. 

In honour of our new package, The Prizewinner (launching October 1st 2017), made especially for writers seeking to submit to--and win—writing competitions, we are cluing you into why, as a serious writer, you should be amongst the applicant piles this fall.   

So, here are five great reasons why you should be writing and submitting short stories on the reg. 

1. Contests come in all forms

There are all kinds of writing competitions out there, but the short story contest is the most popular of all of them. Why? Well, for starters they apply to a diverse array of forms and genres, including:

Flash fiction (stories between 10 and 1,500 words)

Flash fiction is a great way to write and submit work without putting in months of investment. It’s also a great exercise in boiling down your writing to its most vital elements—a crucial skill for all writers to develop. What’s more, the form is gaining ground—and $$—in critical and literary arenas. Many journals now throw flash fiction competitions throughout the year.

Short fiction

There are themed competitions for specific genres and journals (horror or scifi, for instance); prompt generators that create a title or a story’s premise for you to write on; contests dedicated to the writing style or memory of a particular writer . . . the list goes on, and with so much variety, there’s a short story contest out there for everyone.

Short nonfiction

Short stories can be real stories, and while nonfiction competitions tend to be categorized separately from short fiction, the principles of submission (and the word counts) are very similar. Nonfiction can be subdivided into journalistic nonfiction and literary nonfiction, so there are many overlaps. (For this reason among others it’s important to be clear on a contest’s requirements before you submit—because if you don’t play by every single rule, you’ll be mercilessly cut from the competition. Ouch!)  

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2. It's great writing practice

As writers, it’s drilled into us that less is more. “Good things, when short, are twice as good,” as Baltasar Gracián y Morales so concisely put it! Short stories are an elevated form to many a passionate reader and literary great, and that’s because brevity is hard, especially when there’s so much to achieve. You have to

  • Inspire your readers to feel invested in your character(s)

  • Build a powerful atmosphere

  • Heighten drama to a crescendo—and much more, all in a few thousand words. 

The act of writing and rewriting to obtain this kind of compact final product is just as invaluable for the epic novelist as it is for the journalist. 

 

Ready to submit? Up your chances of publication by, like, a squillion with our Prizewinner Package!

 
Prizewinner Short Story Package
499.00

Get specialized critical feedback and impeccable technical editing for your short story so you can start cutting through the slush piles and winning those literary contests! The package includes: 

  • A comprehensive developmental edit to heighten tension, perfect pacing, ensure tip-top characterization, attain the perfect level of detail, and win those contests! 

  • A second developmental edit to answer any questions you raise during revisions.

  • A final proofread by a second editor, ensuring your story goes out in perfect shape to blow away your judges and would-be publishers. 

  • Each edit is guaranteed to be completed within twenty working days, so that you can submit on deadline easy-peasy. 

Quantity:
Add To Cart
 

3. It can be extremely encouraging

Even a rejection letter can be good news! If a journal sends you an email or a letter with your name on it, or the name of your story, or a line encouraging you to submit again, take heart! This is a bright green light that you’re on the right track! The best writers take criticism, and even rejection and use it as fuel—fuel to develop their craft, to write more often, to submit more regularly and to a greater number of publications and boards. 

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4. It gets your name out there

Literary circles, once entered, aren’t large. The more regularly a journal, a literary agent, or an avid reader comes across your name—whether in a printed magazine or the slush pile—the more likely your work is to garner their attention the next time, and the next. Winning a competition invariably gets you published, whether online or in print. And once you find yourself published in one journal, you’ll find the acceptance letters and prizes come through more readily the next time. 

5. There's money to be won, honey! 

Did we mention that there are dollar bills to be made? Like, a lot of them. For a minor investment—most reputable journals will charge around $15–$25 per entry—you stand to win ten, even a hundred times the amount, many of the prizes amounting to hundreds—and thousands—of dollars. 

So what are you waiting for? Invest in your writing. Invest in your writing career. Invest in publicity—and submit that damn story already. But before you do—do your odds a massive favour by investing in our Prizewinner package.

Got a collection of stories, or a manuscript you don't know what to do with? We gotcha covered! Sign up for our Publishing Guidebook and start plotting your publishing journey today! 

SPINE

Writing about writing.


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  KATE JUNIPER   Editor, Writer & Founder of JEC. Inspired, most often, to write about writing. She has a lot of opinions about it, you know.

KATE JUNIPER

Editor, Writer & Founder of JEC. Inspired, most often, to write about writing. She has a lot of opinions about it, you know.

  HAYLEY EVANS   Hayley is Copy Editor/ Editing Ninja for JEC. She is also an arts journalist for several online publications including Scene 360 and Illusion Magazine.

HAYLEY EVANS

Hayley is Copy Editor/ Editing Ninja for JEC. She is also an arts journalist for several online publications including Scene 360 and Illusion Magazine.

  GEORGIA RUDELOFF   Georgia is a published poet as well as Poetry Editor for  This Side of West,  Modern and Contemporary Genre Editor for  The   Albatross , and Contributing Writer for  The Martlet  and  Saltern Magazine.

GEORGIA RUDELOFF

Georgia is a published poet as well as Poetry Editor for This Side of West, Modern and Contemporary Genre Editor for The Albatross, and Contributing Writer for The Martlet and Saltern Magazine.

  JAIME CLIFTON-ROSS   Jaime is a Research Curator at a university and as such knows a thing or two re: communications. She is JEC's Content Writer and Communications Specialist.

JAIME CLIFTON-ROSS

Jaime is a Research Curator at a university and as such knows a thing or two re: communications. She is JEC's Content Writer and Communications Specialist.