Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How to Win the Paperback in Your Hand Contest 1

Welcome everyone! Today is the first day of this Event. It's very informal, as you will note. Each day I'll be putting up a tip or trick to help writers make the most of contest writing... not only the Paperback in Your Hand Contest, but other competitions, too.

First up... if you want to enter the contest, check out the rules at .

Now, here comes the first tip. It might be self-evident to some people, but it obviously isn't to others.

Obey the contest rules.

Rules are there for a number of reasons. Some rules make sure there's a level playing field for entrants. Others make life easier for the judge(s). Still others are there to help weed out entries. If you're unsure about the meaning of a rule, you should contact the contest organiser(s) and ask. For example, the Paperback in Your Hand contest asks for manuscripts of 25,000 words or under. As it happens, the contest will accept mss of up to 26,000 words, simply because editing will often remove this many from the finished product. However, this is not always so. Some contests are strict about the word count, and you may be disqualified if you overshoot the mark.

If you have any comments or questions, send us a comment. Then tune in tomorrow for the next tip.


scatterkat said...

This is a great tip Sally. It would seem to be kind of obvious - but so many people don't follow.

Regarding word count. Some competitions work to the 10% rule - allowing that leighway either under or over the word count. But like you said, it's always a good idea to check. (Some won't read anything past the cutoff - which really wrecks your great ending!)

Competitions are a great way to build credibility as a writer - and hone your writing/presentation skills. Because it's not all about what you write - it's how you present it as well. And we're back to those competition guidelines again...

Sally Murphy said...

Good advice, Sally, but it's amazing how often I hear contest organsiers complaining that people do not read (or follow) the guidelines.

My tip for apsiring contestants is to enter writing contests which have some sort of feedback. In this contest's case, the entry fee is well worth it because you are proving feedback to every entrant. For many contests, there is no feedback at all, except perhaps publication of the winners' names. Even just a judges' report of a general nature (ie comments about all entries rather than individual feedback) can be helpful.
So, when entering a contest, have a look at what sort of feedback will be available to entrants.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sally,

What a great site, lots of informative info. I loved the photo, it is always nice to match the face with who you speak to on the phone.

Thanks for the tips! could you re-fresh my memory as to when the competition closes?

Jelli-beanz Book Corner

Sally_Odgers said...

Thanks, folks, for the comments and the input. The closing date for the first Paperback in Your Hand Contest is the last day of March, 2009. If this first contest is successful (ie if we get enough entries of good standard), there will be a second contest running from April 1st to June 30th.