Writing Contests…

So Long Suburbia...

The very first slot machine I ever played did not win anything. Even in that disappointing moment I felt the universal sagacity in this.   As everyone knows, if you win the first time you’re hooked.

This is why I see all writing contests through a filter of rosy glass, because I won second place in the first one I ever entered. In all fairness the contest was made for me.  The Young Adult category only asked for the first chapter to be submitted.  And I am excellent at first chapters.  I’ve been writing stellar first chapters since middle school.  I have more first chapters than stains on my white couch, and I have three kids.

I won a cash prize, one hundred dollars, and a letter that offered congratulations. The letter, which I still have somewhere, says something like, “This contest was formed to encourage unpublished writers to continue in…

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Submissions: The mechanics

Cockburn's Eclectics

Lars O. (CC/Flickr)

Submission has got a lot easier since most markets moved from hardcopy to electronic submissions. Their guidelines can be relied on to explain the process, but there are still a few points of mechanics worth being aware of.

Formatting the manuscript

Editors will expect their manuscripts to arrive in a particular format. The default is standard manuscript format, best explained by William Shunn. I find it helpful to summarise this document into a set of bullet points, which I work through when a manuscript is ready to go. If a publication wants it in a different format, they will say so in the submission guidelines. If they say nothing at all, they won’t object to standard format.

Some markets request a cover letter and some don’t seem to care. I always include one, as it won’t do any harm. I keep it brief because whether the…

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Submitting our Writing to Literary Magazines

Writers' Ink at Caledon Public Library

Would you like to start publishing your short stories or poems but don’t quite know how to even begin? This article from the editor’s at Neon on how to submit your writing literary magazines is a great step-by-step guide.

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How To Improve Your Chances of Querying Success

Aussie Writers


I’ve been at this game for a while now, so I thought I’d give some advice on what I’ve noticed helps people progress through the querying process. So, here’s my advice….

1. Social Media

As an acquiring editor, this is something I know is a big deal. An author needs to show they are capable of promoting their work and building a fan base before even signing a contract. So, while preparing the query, set up an author page on Facebook, get involved in Twitter, and set up a blog. Any other social media is also great. If you prefer Tumblr, Pinterest, etc, go ahead and set up a profile on those too. But Twitter is probably a must, since the writing community is strong there, along with twitter pitching and notifications of upcoming pitching competitions and other events.

2. Critique Groups/Partners and Beta Readers

Feedback is the best…

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Submissions stats…

Trish Hopkinson

Submitting writing to markets is a LOT of work… and truthfully, regardless of the amount of research you do to make sure the work you’re sending is a good fit for the market you are submitting to, you may or may not get accepted. I spend more time submitting than I do writing these days.

My Stats for 2013/2014:

Submissions:            251

Rejections:                156

Acceptances:              24

No Response:             16

Withdrawal:                 3

Pending:                     52


I track my submissions on Duotrope… It’s worth every penny and lists the majority of journals, contests, etc. I submit to.

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How I choose where to submit

Tantra Bensko's Genre Fiction

I’m not a publications snob. Many people say they start at the top and work their way down, the top being famous journals with clout that sometimes pay pro rates, and sometimes don’t pay much or pay anything. That’s fine, and can make them more money, and is good for career and recognition, gain more readers. I’m not saying they are snobs. But they also say other people should do that too, and I’d like to give another viewpoint to consider. There are very few of these magazines that have the Ohhh! factor name recognition, and they are always the ones people list first in their bios. They’re fine, and I like some of them, but I don’t give them any more weight than obscure ones when I’m considering where to submit, or in judging a writer’s fiction quality.

Yes, they raise status and possibly reach a large readership. But…

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Hearing The Dreaded No

Rejection letters via askwriterchick



All writers face it at some point, it is part of the trade. With so many writers out there no is a more common answer than yes.

It comes in many forms, and sometimes it never officially comes at all. Bigger publishers these days simply feel as if they do not have the time to officially reject everything that comes in. Which is a valid point for them to be making considering how many people want “The Big Six” to publish their books.

Sometimes, it’s a magazine rejecting your story pitch, or an anthology declining your proposal.

And most people say that you take rejection and you put it in a desk drawer (hypothetical or literally – I’ve heard it both ways) and then move on.

To an extent, I agree. But I’m going to add to that.

It is okay to feel sorry for yourself. Give yourself a…

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