Book writing contests have been a popular way to draw attention to work for some time. In the past, major publishing houses were able to hold such contests, and people could submit manuscripts to possibly be published. But with the increasing number of self-published authors, book writing contests have become a popular way for writers to promote their works, and they don’t even need to be published.
Book writing contests are typically not judged on the quality of the work submitted but more so on the concept. In other words, the book writing contest is not judged on whether or not a person can write, but more so on whether or not the author has a good idea for a story that will sell well.
Why Host a Book Writing Contest?
The idea of holding a book writing contest may spark something inside you. You’ll find a sense of gratification and a sense of fulfillment in your life as you attempt to accomplish this goal. You can also see results that might not happen if you publish a book and sit back and wait for sales.
Part of the reward in holding a book writing contest is it gives you deadlines and goals to achieve before your book can be published. You also get to see how other entrants do, and you can connect with them and share ideas.
Here are four reasons why you should consider hosting a book writing competition:
- You can motivate yourself and others (especially if there’s a prize involved) because it’s like the Olympics of Writing
- It provides an end goal and gives your writing a deadline
- You can get a ton of feedback on your book idea from others, which is an invaluable way to make your story better
- It’s a great networking opportunity because you’ll meet fellow writers who want to help you get to the next level.
Things To Consider Before You Host a Book Writing Contest
Before you decide to hold a book writing contest, there are a few practical things to consider. First, if you have a specific topic in mind, you may want to think about what issues or stories are already in the book universe. You don’t want to create an account that’s been written before.
You also want to think about the period of your contest and how you’ll judge entries. You can’t judge them on just written content, but you might want to share the story of your contest and judge with entrants.
Another thing to think about is how you’ll handle entry fees and how many words are needed in your story. Setting a word count for entrants might be beneficial, but you also want to ensure you have enough content for a book.
Your contest may last a week or months, but it’s your decision. You also have to consider what you want out of the contest and whether you want it to be a one-time event or if you’d rather do it every year.
Book Writing Contests: What You’ll Need
If you’re hosting your own book writing contest, there are certain things you should have in place. The first is a prize. This doesn’t necessarily have to be money, but it could be an autographed copy of your book, a gift card, or something else.
How to Host a Book Writing Contest On Your Own: Step-By-Step Guide
But, let’s be realistic: Writing contests aren’t for everyone or every goal. In fact, hosting a writing contest might not be helpful if your goal is to change careers or focus on other things, like building an online business.
That said, if you’re ready to harness the power of a book writing contest, then here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way that will help you get started:
Decide what kind of book writing competition you want to host.
There are hundreds of different types of book contests out there, from those that only accept nonfiction books to those that accept children’s chapter books. Make sure that whatever type of competition you choose is one that will motivate both yourself as well as others who may want to participate in your writing challenge.
Set a word goal with a deadline
There’s something magical that happens when you set a word goal and then give your book writing an actual deadline: you get the words out of your head and onto paper (or digital screen). And, since everyone loves deadlines, others will be likely to join in on the fun because they’ll want to make sure their entry is submitted before the deadline.
Determine how many contestants you want or what type of prize you want to offer.
Note, if you are offering a large cash prize, it will be much harder to find participants.
It would be best if you thought of how many contestants would genuinely be interested in winning the prize, but also how much interest the other viewers would have. For example, if you were giving away tickets to Burning Man, it might not make sense to give 70 different people tickets because there are few people who would want them. It might make more sense to offer one ticket to the person who sends in the most interesting photo of themselves in a costume or something else along those lines.
Set up a website and create promotional materials for your contest.
Most people who enter book writing contests like to see where they can find more information about it (such as the rules, requirements, and entry forms). So, make sure you set up your contest website before you begin promoting it so that interested participants can easily find out how to participate. The last thing you want is for people to feel confused or overwhelmed because they don’t know what’s going on or where to go next! Here’s a useful tip: If you need help setting up a website, use Weebly or Wix. It makes creating your site quick and – even if you’re not technologically savvy – easy.
Promote your Contest
There’s no such thing as bad press, so be sure to tell everyone you know about your book writing competition and how it can help them fulfill their dreams of becoming a published author. You never know who might be interested in participating or helping you out by sharing the news about your writing challenge with others on social media and elsewhere online.
Here are some places I recommend promoting:
- Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr, Vimeo, Reddit, StumbleUpon, etc.
- Other book blogging websites that accept guest posts.
- Your current email list (whether it consists of contacts from school, work, or other personal connections) If you’re using any type of advertising (such as Google Ads), be sure to use the keywords “book writing contest” or another relevant phrase that will help your ad get in front of interested participants.
Promote Your Contest Even More
Yes, I did just say you should promote your content even more than what was listed above. That’s how important it is to go above and beyond when sharing the news about your book writing competition. You want to do whatever you can think of so that people really understand why they should participate and what they’ll get – not only entering but also promoting it for you (either by sharing on social media or submitting guest posts onto websites like this one).
Here are some ideas:
- Hold a Twitter chat Tweet about ways contestants can promote on their own.
- Ask participants to submit guest posts about their experiences sharing the news about your book writing contest
- Send out a press release (if you have access to one or know someone who does)
- Get media coverage through websites such as Booktrib and GalleyCat.
Decide how many people you want to win, what type of prize they will receive, and which criteria you’ll be using so that all of your contestants can see exactly what it takes for them to earn a spot as a winner and runner up.
Here are some ideas:
- Top five highest word counts submitted.
- The overall best writing is based on creativity, storyline, etc.
- The winner who receives the most votes from readers
- The winner who writes the best chapter in the shortest amount of time
- Other criteria (be creative and choose whatever best suits your contest). The key here is to make it clear how you’ll be choosing winners and stick to that plan so that everyone knows what they’re up against.
Yes, this is said quite a bit when it comes to contests, but it’s true: Having fun while giving other people the opportunity of a lifetime really makes you feel good inside too. So remember to find joy in what you’re doing and share positive vibes with friends, family members, and other writers who might be interested in entering your writing competition.
Well, that’s it! I hope you’ve found this article to be helpful and wish you the best of luck with your very own book writing competition. If you’d like to learn more about my contest (or any other opportunities for writers), please sign up for my newsletter. Thank you so much for reading and until next time.