Fiction Contests: Worth Your While?

As a general rule, I don’t write a lot about fiction around here. It’s not that a successful business can’t focus on fiction, but it is difficult. The pay scale for short stories and even novels is significantly smaller than non-fiction options.

But, if you enjoy writing fiction, I think it’s a reasonable idea to incorporate it into your overall game plan. Personally, I go for a lot of fiction and creative non-fiction writing contests. I like writing responses to specific prompts. I generally will enter any short story contests with a specific prompt and no entry fee. I feel these prompts can really help me stretch my writing wings — expand my horizons and my abilities without having to pay for a creative writing class.

And while the occasional win is nice, I make a point to make the time that goes into ‘losing’ stories worth my while. I may have to do a little editing, but that story gets sent out to various paying markets as soon as the contest results come back.

One benefit I’ve found from having a few fiction stories in your archives is that you can sell reprint rights to fiction with a little more ease than an article. With an article, you might need to update it or tweak it to meet a new market’s focus. Not necessary with a short story. The closest I’ve come is an editor wanting me to pull a few swear words from a story.

Fiction writing isn’t for everyone, but it can be a good way to introduce a little variety into your writing schedule.


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