I think I am done with writing contests for now. Maybe forever.
When I first started entering contests years ago, I wanted to see if my writing was on par with what others were doing and if I had enough skills to win one. I entered a number of them, some of them were free, some cost money (hello, Writer’s Digest!) but I submitted my work, and then waited for the results.
Looking back now, I think my reasoning was, “If I can win enough contests, surely someone’s going to notice.”
Not so much.
Well, to be honest, I didn’t win any in the beginning. So I kept at it. I got a few second places in some (with publication prizes!) and an honorable mention in the WD annual short story contest. Good times!! Woohoo!
As time went on, I started adding my “credentials” to my query letters. Hey! Look at me! I won the Gun Barrel City Mid-20s Science Fiction Writers Contest! yipee. Hey! Look over here! I got published in this tiny press anthology!
A few years back, I took all those off my query letters. They didn’t matter. The writing, the hook, the story are what matters.
Literary agents don’t care how many contests you’ve won. They just care if they can sell your story.
Am I missing something? Should I still be entering contests? What do I get out of it? What’s the benefit of entering contests? Tell me!