Should you enter writing contests?


It’s a personal decision, but there are a few good reasons writers enter contests.

First, the prize money! That’s always nice.

But what if you don’t win? Was your time spent entering the contest wasted?

Entering the right contests can be helpful for writers of both fiction and non-fiction. The feedback is often invaluable. Most contests include a critique of your work from one or more contest judges. It can be just the boost you need to keep going, or it might give you the feedback you’ve been needing to take your writing to the next level.

Winning awards can influence readers and future publishers.
If you win, you become an “Award-winning Author” and can post it everywhere you promote your writing.

If you don’t win, you may feel your money was wasted and that your time could have been spent in a better way, or worse—the rejection could discourage you from writing. But if you look at contests and the resulting critiques as learning experiences, then you’re a winner even if you don’t get the prize.

You can find a list of writers’ contests at


If you should decide to invest in some personalized counsel, I offer coaching for unpublished authors here: My Coaching Services


Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!