The Annual $5,550 Margaret Reid Poetry Prize for Traditional Verse is now open! The annual $5,550 Tom Howard Short Story, Essay and Prose Contest is also open for entries! And as promised, the full Winning and Commended List for the 2009 Margaret Reid Poetry Prize will be published on December 15 -- in my very next Newsletter, to be precise!
Yes, most winners reject the offer of publication. And I don't blame them! If I was a winner, I'd certainly reject such an offer too. Why? Because once a story or poem appears in print, it loses at least 95% of its value. Most other contests will not accept previously published prose and/or verse. (The Tom Howard and Margaret Reid Contests will accept published work, but these contests are notable exceptions). Worse still, almost all journals and magazines insist on "first publication" rights. Some anthology publishers are not quite so fussy and will sometimes (but not generally) accept previously published material, but, as I say, once a story or poem has achieved print publication, you may as well forget about it so far as income is concerned.
So, unless there is a miracle in the publishing world and a leading print publisher decides to be innovative and accept previously published work, there will be no more printed anthologies. I will only publish a book in which ALL the winning and commended entries are represented.
In lieu of the anthologies, however, I'll continue to publish other helpful books. The latest is Love & City Dreaming: Poems by Margaret Havill Reid
Margaret's range and versatility in this book provide an excellent guide to the verse we are seeking for the Margaret Reid Prize. Margaret was a great champion of humorous verse, for example, illustrated in this book by delightful parodies like "The Wiz of Wizzinzee" and "Muzzacoffalox". She wrote serious poetry too, like "Face of the City", romantic verse such as "Loving You", spiritual verse ("His Light") , descriptive ("Nodding Among Geraniums"), political ("Myopia"), philosophical ("Was There a Silver Sea?"), reflective ("Time"), satirical ("Blinking into Day"), children's ("Mida, the Spider"), playful ("Superstar'), serious ("Raging Planet"), you-name-it ("The Hall of Mirrors").
Another book I recommend of course is my Write Ways to WIN WRITING CONTESTS: How To Join the Winners' Circle for Prose and Poetry Awards,
If you've been wasting your time and money sending great stories or magnificent poems to Contests that immediately place them in the reject basket, you need to read this book.
For instance, contests you need to watch are those on set themes. These are actually very easy to win. What you need to do is to list all the obvious variations, and then avoid them. Make your wrinkle unique. For instance, I won a contest in which the theme was "Addiction". Almost everybody else would have written stories about gamblers, drug addicts, body-builders, romantics, anorexics, TV couch potatoes, sporting followers and amusement enthusiasts. I wrote about people who were addicted to their local Country Club! And when the same theme came up the following year, I wrote about people who volunteer their services to charitable and community welfare organizations. This time, I came fourth because the winning contestant had also thought of that one!
I stress, however, that almost all subjects and themes are prize-winning material for both our Margaret Reid and Tom Howard Contests. If you're not sure, the best way to check on this is to take a look at some of the entries that have won prizes or commendations in previous years. As said above, a previous Anthology of such work for The Margaret Reid Prize is SAILING IN THE MIST OF TIME: Award-Winning Poems
Currently selling for an extremely modest $9.95, this large-format book contains no fewer than 108 poems.
Margaret Havill Reid's previous anthology is also available from Amazon: SONG OF THE WAYWARD WIND and Other Poems
To enter your poems in this contest, you will find full information at http://margaretreid.exactpages.com OR http://poetrycontests.exactpages.com
You will note that although the prize-money has been increased, entry fees remain at $7 for every 25 lines. Unlike almost all other contests, we impose no limits on the number of lines or number of poems you may submit.
You can also visit the home page of http://www.winningwriters.com and click on the contest at the top left of the screen.
As headlined above, the Tom Howard Short Story, Essay & Prose Contest is also currently open. Again, let me make it clear at once that we are seeking entries in ALL categories, including "literary" fiction, but most particularly we would like to award prizes to popular, everyday, mainstream stories, essays and prose, as even a casual glance at our anthologies of winning and commended entries such as Keep Watching the Skies! An Anthology of Prize-Winning Short Stories will soon make plain.
Although the Prose 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 when 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 eagerly anticipating and really enjoying your entries. Closer to the deadline, it becomes more of a chore.
This year, the prize pool for our prose and poetry contests have been increased to $5,550 (including a First Prize of $3,000). The entry fee for the prose contest 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
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.
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 as mentioned above, 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