Legitimate Poetry and Writing Contests

Legitimate Poetry and Writing Contests

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  1. You have written a poem or a story and you believe it can compete with poets and novelists of our society. The question now is, what next? One way to prove yourself as a writer is to submit your poem or story into a contest. Winning a contest can help you gain prestige and recognition as a writer. The trick with writing contests is to tell which ones are legitimate and which ones are merely scams trying to con novice writers out of money. Here are five legitimate contests (both yearly and monthly contests are included) with an entry fee under $25.

    1) Narrative Magazine 

    Narrative Magazine sponsors an annual poetry contest, a story contest and a novel-length book contest. The 2010 spring story contest is open to all fiction and nonfiction writers. They are accepting entries for this contest until July 31st, but they accept submissions all year round. The poetry contest runs from May 26 to July 18. 

    Entries for both the poetry and story contest must be previously unpublished. Five poems can be selected to enter the poetry contest. Stories cannot be longer than 15,000 words for the story contest. According to their website, they are looking for work with a strong narrative drive with relatable characters and a full understanding of the English language. They accept submissions only through their electronic submission system, which can be found at their website http://www.narrativemagazine.com under submission guidelines. 

    2) Writers Digest

    The Writers Digest offers poetry and story competitions periodically throughout the year. They are no longer accepting submissions for their annual poetry and story contests. However, they have a monthly short competition where they offer a story promt in which they challenge you to come up with a creative story in 750 words or less. The competition information can be found at http://www.writersdigest.com under the competitions link at the top of the site. 

    3) Camber Press

    Camber Press is a small literary publication dedicated to American poetry and fiction. The deadline for their fiction contest has already passed for this year but it is an annual contest. The deadline for the poetry contest is September 15. There is a $15 dollar submission fee and the poems cannot exceed 24 pages. More information can be found at http://www.camberpress.com under submissions.

    4) Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference

    The Bread Loaf Writers Conference sponsors an annual book series competition in poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. This contest is for the more ambitious writers because it requires that poetry manuscripts be at least 50 pages and fiction, nonfiction and short story collections have a minimum of 150 pages. More information can be found about this contest at http://www.middlebury.com/blwc. 

    5) Art Affair Writing Contest

    The art affair sponsors writing contests in three categories: poetry, short stories and western short stories. The entry fee for poetry is $3 per poem. The entry fee is $5 for a short story and a western short story. The other requirements are that poems may not exceed 60 lines in length and the short stories cannot exceed 5,000 words. All entries must be postmarked by October 1st. More information can be found at http://www.shadetreecreation.com under the contest links on the lefthand side of the page. 

    More Contests

    This list only includes places where you can enter both a poem and a story in one stop. There are many other legitimate contests that can be found if you are willing to take a few minutes to look. Contests can be found in many magazines in the writing section of the magazine rack at Barnes and Nobles or any chain bookstore. There are many publications that accept only stories or only poetry. There is a also a large list of writing contests that can be found in The Writers Market. Some contests decide to close their contests periodically due to insufficient funds or contestants. Make sure to double check the website provided for the deadline(s) and to ensure the contest is still running. Best of luck to you future authors. 

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