Recently, I’ve received questions about the submission process for short stories and articles. I’d like to do some posts about the chances I’ve taken, some of the missteps I’ve made and the successes I’ve had.
There are some writers who have more experience and I may point you to some of them. But there isn’t anyone who has had my experiences; unless they’re in some weird parallel universe. If so, they’re probably more organized and have already posted on this topic.
I will not cover book submissions since I haven’t done those. Perhaps I could interview someone on this subject for a future post.
Here are the questions I’ve been asked. If yours isn’t here, please leave me a comment below.
What’s the best source for legitimate writing contests?
Can I submit a piece to more than one contest? What’s the limit?
What’s a reasonable entry fee? Are contests that charge an entry fee better than those that don’t?
How do you know if your work is good enough to submit?
Should you write something specifically for a contest, or write a piece and find the contest for it?
What are some good entry-level contests? Which are better suited for more advanced writing?
If your piece doesn’t win, what’s the best way to learn why and how to improve it?
Besides the prize, what’s the biggest benefit of winning a writing contest?
Submitting and Guidelines
1) What are some sources I can use to help me create an effective cover letter for my pitch? I’ve heard that this is very important, but is it possible to be overly concerned about this? Are editors as critical of the cover letter’s contents, or are they more interested in your actual story idea?
2) Should you pitch “over your head”? For example, if I have a super-duper idea that I think is perfect for Forbes magazine, is it possible that they’d accept my story idea, or do they generally use only their regular writers, those with experience at that level?
3) Is it politically correct to submit the same idea to different publications? I’ve done one magazine at a time, and have heard conflicting reports about the correctness of dual submissions.
4) How can I protect my work?
Again, if you have comments or your question isn’t listed, please email me on my “Connect” page, or leave a comment below. If you know someone who’d have a question, share this page. Thanks for your feedback. I look forward to fielding your questions and, if necessary, learning together.