The Annual $5.550 Tom Howard Short Story, Essay and Prose Contest Is Now Open! The Margaret Reid Poetry Contest will re-open on November 15!
There is no limit on the number of entries you may submit for our Contests. I'm often asked if lodging multiple entries gives the entrant an advantage? Most assuredly. When I was writing my guidebook, Write Ways to WIN WRITING CONTESTS: How To Join the Winners' Circle for Prose and Poetry Awards, I always lodged multiple entries if possible. If the rules allowed three entries, I lodged three. If five, five. When there was no limit, I judged the number according to the amount of prize money. I had a simple formula. I divided the total prize purse by 500. If I were to enter this contest, for example, I divide $5,550 by 500. Ignoring fractions, this gives me ten.
The next question is, will I lodge the entries all together, or will I split them up? Personally, I don't think it's a good idea in a prose contest to lodge more than three entries at the same time. In a poetry contest, it doesn't matter a hoot, but in a prose contest, three entries at a time is fine. Perhaps even four. But more than four at once could weary the judge. Your best story may well be the last, but there's a chance the judge could miss its quality by being tempted to skim through your work instead of reading it carefully word by word.
So my personal advice is to submit no more than three or four stories/essays at the same time, and then wait a few weeks or even a month to submit another batch.
As headlined above, the Tom Howard Short Story, Essay & Prose Contest is currently open. 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.
In our contests, the judges read entries almost as soon as they are submitted. Unlike most other literary competitions, we don't wait until the contest closes. So early entries enjoy the obvious advantage of allowing the judges more time to read and evaluate your work. It also stands to reason that a prose entry, written and revised whilst not under any pressure, will possibly have a greater chance of success than one written in haste close to the deadline.
Another factor, of course, is that at this time of the year, the judges are actually looking forward to and really enjoying your entries. Closer to the deadline, it becomes more of a chore.
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
Now, this is important. One of the key recommendations in my Write Ways to WIN WRITING CONTESTS is that you take 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. This applies to ALL contests. For instance, it's no use sending a scholarly essay on "The Influence of Metaphysics on Sunbeams" to a Contest that has never awarded a prize or commendation to an entry in any scholarly field at all.
For this Contest, 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 did win a big cash prize in a recent contest, but we actually receive very few such entries.
So here are our previous anthologies of winning and highly commended entries. WATCHING TIME, our latest short story and essay anthology, has been reprinted, but, alas, only in a limited quantity. However, it 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 finally don't forget my own previously mentioned book of tips, hints and other essentials. Amazon are selling the new, expanded edition for only $11.25 (which is considerably less than the original edition, even though the new edition has more pages and lots more valuable information): Write Ways to WIN WRITING CONTESTS: How To Join the Winners' Circle for Prose and Poetry Awards, NEW EXPANDED EDITION
With all my very best wishes for your writing success!