The $5,550 Tom Howard Short Stort, Essay and Prose Contest for 2010 is now open. Prize money has been increased (the First Prize is now a whopping $3,000!) but entry fees remain pegged at $15 for stories, essays, etc., with a maximum length of 5,000 words. There is no limit to the number of entries you may submit and no barriers to previously published work, or even works that have won prizes or commendations in other contests, except that you must be in a position to allow Winning Writers to publish your entry on their website should your work win a cash prize.
The Annual Tom Howard Contests for both Poetry and Prose are two of the very few open-to-all competitions which consistently award cash prizes to stories and poems in all categories, subjects and genres. Most contests do not. True, they will accept entries across the board, but, as I discussed in my last Newsletter, prizes in other contests are often awarded within a very limited range of subjects and themes. If you missed this discussion, you'll find it in Chapter 12 of my book, Write Ways to WIN WRITING CONTESTS: How To Join the Winners' Circle for Prose and Poetry Awards, NEW EXPANDED EDITION
Now let's discuss styles. If I'm planning to enter a prose or poetry contest, surely the first thing I need to know before submitting my entry and sending off my money, is exactly what sort of a prose or poetry contest it is. I discuss this at length in Chapter 8 of my book, Write Ways to WIN WRITING CONTESTS. Briefly, if it's a prose contest, I need to know if Saturday Evening Post-type fiction, university journal prose, or avant-garde writing is required, or indeed if anything goes.
On the other hand, for a Poetry event is the Contest seeking University Poetry, American Poetry Foundation verse, traditional verse, free verse, prose poems, avant-garde or whatever? So what sort of poetry is all this? You can find out quickly if it's the type of verse YOU write by glancing at the contest's previous winning entries.
The Tom Howard Contests will accept submissions across a very large range of themes, subjects and styles. Most other contests will not.
So which contests are worth YOUR time and money? One way to ascertain if the contest judge will look kindly on your submissions is to explore the sort of prose or poetry he writes himself. My own modest book of poetry is titled ANYONE FOR LOVE? and this link will take you straight to an Amazon page where you can learn more about it.
For my prose writing, I have a number of books in print but one I would recommend as a guide to my diversity is A Mountain of Many Treasures: Prose Pieces by John Howard Reid
Another sure way to discover if your stories or verses are suitable for a particular competition is simply, as said above, to read that contest's past winning and commended entries. Contests rarely break with tradition. If they have never commended a humorous or descriptive poem in the past, for instance, they are unlikely to do so in the future, let alone award such entries a cash prize.
Tom Howard Poetry Contest's winning and commended entries are represented in four printed anthologies. The most recent is SAILING IN THE MIST OF TIME and this link will take you to Amazon.
The previous anthology was published in both hardcover and paperback editions. This Amazon link will take you to the hardcover page, from which you can link to the softcover if desired: ACROSS THE LONG BRIDGE: An Anthology of Award-Winning Poetry
Anthology number two, published back in 2005, is fortunately still in print. This book contains some of my favorite poems, including "The Dark Room" by Elaine Winer, "Weather Report" by Guy Kettelhack, and "Mason City Ladies' Sewing Circle" by Mary Ann Wehler; plus the title poem by Tina Richardson: TRAVELING: An Anthology of Award-Winning Poetry
Finally, the very first Tom Howard Poetry Contest Anthology has recently been reprinted. Unlike the previous books, however, it is not on sale everywhere, but good old Amazon have it in stock. Here's the link: End of Season: Award-Winning Poems
That's the lot. Don't forget my own book of helpful advice: Write Ways to WIN WRITING CONTESTS
And the sites for the Tom Howard Poetry Contest itself: http://tomhowardpoetry.bravepages.com and http://www.winningwriters.com . Don't forget you have only one month left to submit entries. The contest will close on September 30.
And for the prose contest, you can also click on Winning Writers (the contests are top left of the page) or http://shortstorycontest.0catch.com (that "0" is a zero if you are typing the address yourself).