Part of the Great Marketing Strategy is getting my name out there: having other people/websites/blogs/social media mention me and my work, feature or interview me, and provide links to my website, Amazon Author page and the like. One method of achieving this is to explore how helpful submitting my work to other publications, call-outs and blogs can be, with this being a good example. However, for this post I’m going to concentrate on submitting work to competitions.
The appeal of competitions is obvious: booty. I’ve won some great things in my time: a cheque for £25 and a gift card for £30 being high on the list (the only things on the list, to be honest). Add that to the exposure that being a winner affords then it’s a winning strategy.
Unless you don’t win, of course. The vast majority of people who enter writing competitions win hee-haw. Factor in fees that a lot of competitions demand then it begins to look like a bit of a gamble. The Bridport Prize, for example, charges (for 2016) £10 per short story, gets tens of thousands of entries from all over the world, and hands out only few shiny trinkets (or 5 grand to the short story winner).
To make entering competitions less of a risk you could go for those that don’t charge writers to take part. There might be a lot more people entering and the prizes not quite so glamorous as a £30 gift card, but then you’re not having to cough up entry fees. Personally I’ll never pay to take part in a competition; pay-to-enter competitions exist to make the organisers money, which to me isn’t in the spirit of competition.
There are a lot of online resources where you can find competitions. ShortStops is one I’ve been looking at recently, the FWS has plenty of members who regularly post notices of competitions, and Almond Press have posted this handy list for 2016.
The booty is, of course, always secondary. I’m after the mugshot and the link that will drive people to my books. That – for the time being – is part of the marketing strategy.