Why writing contests matter for self-published authors
Book Marketing Tips

Why Writing Contests Matter for Self-Published Authors

Why writing contests matter for self-published authors

Writing contests are one of those hit or miss spots for authors. People either love and trust them fully or they question everything about them. Generally speaking, most require a fee. If not, you should probably be a bit skeptical of where the funds are coming from and how much said contest will actually benefit you. What is often overlooked is the value they hold for self-published authors. Even more so, if the writing contest is hosted by a decently sized self or traditional style publisher.

The benefits

Depending on the particular writing contest, prizes vary and can include a cash reward, promotional or marketing services, or even a free publishing deal. For new authors and writers, this can be a make it or break it type of situation. Many writing contests now offer networking opportunities as well. This could be anything from Facebook groups where you can interact with other contestants to shout-outs on social media where they tag you and feature your book.

Outside of the direct benefits for winners, there are a few other reasons why you should consider writing contests. Submitting your work for a “grade” or the possibility of winning or losing, opens you up to a new form of suggestion and constructive criticism. It is not always easy to find out your prized possession “lost” a competition. However, it could help you grow and become a better writer. Just like your mama used to say, you’re always a winner. The moment you published your book you became a winner.

We’ve outlined a list of a few writing contests we think you should keep your eye out for, including one of our own!

  1. Christian Writer Awards Writing Contest and the Christian Author Awards

    Hosted by our experts here at Xulon Press, the Christian Writer Awards Writing Contest is one for the books (pun intended). This contest offers writers the chance to win a free publishing package valued at up to $8,780. It is especially enticing as we specialize in all things Christian self-publishing, and also offer a traditional style of distribution that no other self-publisher offers. Already published your Christian book? Check out the Christian Author Awards instead.

  2. Cabell First Novelist Award

    The Cabell First Novelist Award is an interesting competition as it applies to authors who have published their first book in the last year. The winner gets an all-expense paid trip to Richmond for three people for promotion, book signings, and to receive the $5,000 grand prize.

  3. American Christian Fiction Writers Contest

    The American Christian Fiction Writers organization hosts an annual Genesis contest highlighting unpublished Christian fiction writers. As a rather specific contest that doesn’t offer any sort of incredible prize, the purpose here is that the judges reading your work all work for publishing companies of some variety, which lends your book to serious exposure for potential publishing.

  4. Next Generation Indie Book Awards

    The Next Generation Indie Book Awards is one of the most notable writing contests on the market. This non-profit competition offers cash prizes in every category. Most importantly, it exposes each author to a number of big names in the publishing industry through the judging process. This one is really a no-brainer.

  5. Eric Hoffer Book Award

    The Eric Hoffer Book Award highlights small, academic, and independently published books. It’s perhaps one of the largest grand prizes we’ve seen in the world of writing contests, offering $2,500 to first place. Featuring a variety of prizes across all 18 of their submission categories, this is a great option for independently published books for sure.

Well, there you have it. These are five very different contests, to which hopefully one or two will suit you and your book. Writing contests often seem far-fetched. As someone who assists with multiple writing contests per year, I assure you they are worth the effort!


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