The Annual $5.550 Tom Howard Short Story, Essay and Prose Contest Is Now Open!
A big welcome for the many new entrants who submitted work to the Tom Howard Poetry Contest recently. This Newsletter, which will keep you up to-date on the progress of all three of our literary competitions, is usually published on the 1st and 15th of the month. This issue is late, because of the unusually large number of last-week submissions to the Poetry Contest.
As previously advised, The Tom Howard Short Story, Essay & Prose Contest is now open for entries. Although the Contest does not close until March 31, 2010, it's a good idea to start thinking of your entries right now instead of leaving them to the last month or so, Statistics show that, most particularly in prose contests, early entries do have an advantage.
Last year, I asked our accountant to survey the last seven prose contests and tell me in which month the four major cash-winning entries were lodged. Only 9 of these 28 winning entries were lodged in the closing month of March. Approximately one in three. That might sound like a reasonable equation, but you have to remember the huge number of entries lodged in March. Even if only 200 entries were submitted for each of those 7 months, 9 major cash prizewinning entries from 1,400 is not what I'd regard as encouraging.
So I asked the accountant to survey entries lodged over an earlier period. Only a trickle of entries are received in the month of November. We had to estimate the number of snail mail entries, but the combined total for the month of November for the past seven years would be around 100. Yet those 100 entries yielded no less than 5 major cash prizewinners, including 2 firsts!
In our contests, the judges read entries almost as soon as they are submitted. We don't wait until the contest closes. So early entries not only have the obvious advantage of allowing the judges more time to read and evaluate your work, but, as I've just shown, for our prose contest they seem to have a statistical advantage as well. And it stands to reason that a prose entry, written at leisure and carefully revised, will have a greater chance of success than one written in haste close to the deadline.
This year, the prize pool for the prose contest has been increased to $5,550 (including a First Prize of $3,000). The entry fee will remain at $15 for each short story or essay up to 5,000 words in length. There are ten cash prizes in all, but the judges do reserve the right to award extra cash prizes if they so desire. For the last prose contest, the judges awarded no less than $500 in additional prizes, bringing the total prize pool up to $5,850 instead of the advertised $5,350!
You'll find full details at http://shortstorycontest.0catch.com
An alternative site (click on the contest at the left of the screen) is http://www.winningwriters.com
Although it's certainly not the only way to enter the winners' circle, I recommend taking a look at some of the entries that have won prizes in previous contests. This will give you some idea of the types and varieties of stories and prose pieces that have won prizes in the past. There are are, however, two fields the judges would like to encourage: Humorous and comic stories and essays are very much appreciated; and we would very much like to see more genre entries such as mystery and detective stories, science fiction, romance, etc. A science fiction story won a big cash prize in a recent contest, but we actually receive very few such entries.
WATCHING TIME, our latest short story and essay anthology, has been reprinted and is again on sale at Amazon. The price is $12.95, which is good value for a 207-page trade paperback. The 14 prize-winners include four Firsts, three Seconds, and two Thirds!
WATCHING TIME: Anthology of Prizewinning Essays & Short Stories
Amazon also stock two of our previous collections of winning prose, namely Keep Watching the Skies! An Anthology of Prize-Winning Short Stories and Mr Christian and the Bag Lady: An Anthology of Prize-Winning Stories
And don't forget my own critically acclaimed book of tips, hints and other essentials: Write Ways to WIN WRITING CONTESTS: How To Join the Winners' Circle for Prose and Poetry Awards, NEW EXPANDED EDITION
With all my very wishes for your writing success!