Some of these require certain residency, such as state residency, country and some even require residency for a specific time period. Others may require that the writer be of a certain age or gender. The 2011 Writer’s Market lists several categories of contests such as Art Councils and Fellowships, Fiction, Non Fiction, General, Non Fiction, Play-writing and Screenwriting, Poetry, etc. The awards for the winners of the contest vary from a small amount of cash, a copy of the magazine, to living stipends and residency lodging at a college or university, plus a chance to teach or get a book contract.
A good example of a smaller contest is that of Toasted Cheese, a literary journal, which hosts several contests a year, does not charge an entry fee, and awards small awards.They also offer publication for the writers in their journal.The Kay Snow Writers Contest also looks like a good contest, with many categories for writers to enter due to their low entry fee. From the website: The purpose of this annual contest, named in honor of Willamette Writer’s founder, Kay Snow, is to help writers reach professional goals in writing in a broad array of categories.
Some contests are very easy to enter such as the 2011 Writers-Editors Network 28th Annual International Writing Competition. Guidelines below:
Who Can Enter: The contest is open to all writers. You do not have to be a member of Writers-Editors Network. However, members do save up to 50% on entry fees.(Membership information)
Deadline: Entries must be postmarked no later than March 15, 2011.
Divisions & Categories:
(A) Previously Published Article/Essay/Column/Nonfiction Book Chapter —
(B) Unpublished or self-published Article/Essay/Column/Nonfiction Book Chapter
(C) Unpublished or self-published Short Story —
(D) Unpublished or self-published Novel Chapter
Children’s Literature Division:
(E) Unpublished or self-published Short Story/Nonfiction Article/Book Chapter/Poem (judged together as one category)
(F) Unpublished or self-published Free Verse/Traditional (judged together as one category)
Awards & Prizes
First Place in each Category – $100 plus certificate
Second Place in each Category – $75 plus certificate
Third Place in each Category – $50 plus certificate
Honorable Mention certificates will be awarded in each category as warranted
Some contests require that the author not be previously published, such as this contest sponsored by the University of New Orleans.
Amazon also seems to be entering the field of encouraging writers via contests with this recent initiative: http://www.amazon.com/b?node=332264011
So, check out some contests, whether they be with your local writer’s group or on a larger scale such as the one with Amazon. It is a good way to get motivated and stay motivated as you consider the possibilities.