Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Book Review: Writing to Win

“Award-winning writer.”

What writer doesn’t want that attached to their name? We all dream of winning some grand contests, and even experienced writers will often enter one or more contests a year.

But with the multitude of contests out there, where does one start their search? Moira Allen of Writing World has an answer with her book Writing to Win: The Colossal Guide to Writing Contests. Weighing in at 350 pages, this book provides hundreds of contests for every style and level of writing imaginable, from short story competitions for unpublished science fiction writers to literary awards for experienced novelists. Screenplays, poetry, flash fiction, and just about anything else is covered too. Romance writers will like the extensive list of RWA-sponsored contests. Apparently a lot of people win at love! Prizes range from miniscule to staggering, and sometimes include a publishing deal to sweeten the pot. Nor does Moira limit herself to only North American contests. While they make up the bulk of the listings, there are contests from Europe too.

The book starts out with a helpful essay on how to enter contests, picking what contest is best for you, and how to spot scams. She certainly doesn’t pull any punches with the notorious Poetry.com! She also gives another word of warning—contests come and go with frightening rapidity. Despite this being the 2009 edition, two contests I checked out—SpecFicWorld’s Annual Speculative Fiction Contest and the Aeon Award—have both been cancelled or have gone on hiatus. No book of lists stays current for long. (Which is why you should get the online edition of Writers Market and not the book) but Moira thankfully gives an extensive list of contest websites that will keep you up to speed.

But don’t think those websites mean this book is superfluous. The advice at the beginning is alone worth the price of entry, and the listings are user friendly and browseable, allowing the reader to discover contests they might not find if they were actively searching for what they thought they wanted.

Writing to Win: The Colossal Guide to Writing Contests is available here. Moira has several other books available through her Writing World store and Lulu store that are worth checking out. I've already reveiwed an interesting book on medieval warfare.

1 comment:

irishoma said...

Hi Sean,
The book sounds like a winner!
Thanks for the advice.

Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

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