Mythris couldn’t understand how the stone had become their king in the first place, that is until hearing it decree his banishment. Its voice rumbled forth from somewhere deep inside its craggy surface and there was little room to question its sincerity.
“FOR CRIMES AGAINST THE STONES WE DECLARE YE BANISHED! IF IT IS IN THEE TO RETURN, YE WILL BE CAST INTO THE CHASM! BEGONE YE TRAITOROUS STONE CUTTER!”
The guardsmen cowered under the blast of its voice but Mythris stood tall and said nothing. One of his captors gave a hard pull at the chain around his neck, pulling him down to kneel on the stone outcropping that lead to the Royal Boulder.
“Show some respect, eh? You know It coulda been a lot harder on you,” the guard snarled.
“It’s just a rock,” Mythris hissed under his breath.
Welcome back, my inklings! Today I want to talk about competition. As much as we don’t like to look at it, competition is inherent to the craft of writing. We compete with each other in the market place and on the bookshelf. We vie for space in the imaginations of our readers.
When you put something out there, even something free, you’re engaged in the battle to take some of that limited supply of attention for yourself. At the outset of every story we write, we are asking our readers for the most valuable thing that anyone can give to us. Their time.
To find out where you stand in the marketplace of ideas, to get your name and work out there in front of people and to build an eye catching resume for yourself as an author you’ve got to prove you can win. To yourself and to everyone else.
Contests are a great measuring stick and one of the most exciting challenges you can take on as a writer.
Knowing what competitions to enter can be difficult, most have reading fees which can become pricey if you enter a lot of them. Some restrict your copyright so badly that they reserve the right to use your submission any way they please, edit it themselves without notice and not even credit you when they publish it (I excluded exactly such a contest from this list for its outrageously anti-author terms of service).
So, as a favor to you, my dear inklings, I have decided to share three upcoming free contests with deadlines in the next several weeks.
Full contest rules and submission guidelines are available at the following links
Source: Baen Books Contest: 2016 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award Entry Fee: None Word Limit: 8,000 words Call For: Short Stories in any Fantasy genre variant Deadline: Started Jan 1st, closes April 1st
Prizes: Grand Prize– Exposure! Published as featured story on Baen Books main website and paid “industry-standard rates for professional story submittals” as well as $500 worth of books.
2nd Place- $500 of free books!
3rd Place- $300 of free books!
Source: DemiCon 27 Contest: DemiCon 27 Prose and Poetry Contest Entry Fee: None Word Limit: 7,500 for Short Stories, 100 Lines for Poetry Call For: Short Stories and Poems in Sci-Fi or Fantasy genres, must contain the phrase “like a zombie” and the sentence “They always ring twice.” Deadline: March 29th, 2016
Prizes: 1st Place– Bragging rights, of course!
Also, all entries will be published on the official website after judging is completed and will be available to the attendees in print form at the convention.
Source: City of Ventura, CA Contest: Art Tales 8th Annual Writing Contest Entry Fee: None Word Limit: 500 words or less Call For: Flash Fiction or Poetry inspired by selected artworks (see website for details) Deadline: April 4th, 2016
“All winners receive a bound edition of the judges’ selection”
1st Place– $30
2nd Place– $15
I encourage all of you to enter and compete! I’d love to hear from you if you win, place or even just entered. Even if you don’t come in first you still have a new completed story and that’s a victory in itself.
Join me next week when I’ll give you some tips on writing winning entries to help guide you to the top. Until next time, stay creative!