Archive for category Competitions

Competitions!

Back to normal now all the excitement of the book contract is over. I have two competitions for you:

Wolverhampton Literature Festival Poetry Competition 2023
“Send us poems on whatever subject you like. Surprise us, enthrall us, astound us, but make sure you send your entries in before December 31st 2022!”
Entry fee is £4 and first prize is £400 plus there is a special, extra, prize available for those living in the WV postcode area.
Full entry details are on the Pandemonialists’ website.

Skylark Soaring Stories Competition
This one is for children’s writers and is run by the Skylark Literary Agency.
The competition is for new stories aimed at either middle-grade (8-12-years) or YA readers (ages 13+) by un-agented and unpublished writers. The judges are from Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins.
First prize will be a one-hour one-to-one editorial critique of your finished manuscript. There are second- and third-place prizes of a half-hour one-to-one on your submitted chapters and synopsis.
Entrants must submit a one-page synopsis and the first three chapters or 4,000 words of a novel (whichever is shorter) by 24th December 2022. See the Skylark website for further details.

womens short storiesHit or Miss?
If short stories for adults are more your thing, you might fancy dipping into my new coffee break story collection: Hit or Miss? 33 Coffee Break Stories. Can you spot which stories were successful in securing magazine publication or competition success and which failed to land on the right desk at the right time?

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Calling Rejected Poets!

Have you ever had a poem rejected by a magazine? Do you have the rejection letter to prove it?

If so, here’s the perfect competition for you:

The Onwords website is running a free-to-enter competition for rejected poems with a first prize of $100, second prize of $50 and three honourable mentions winning $25 each.

The competition is open to submissions for two weeks only: 16 – 30 September 2022 and each poem must be accompanied by a screenshot of its rejection letter.

Full details of the competition are on the Onwords website.

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What I Did on My Holidays

You don’t have the slightest interest in what I, or anyone else, did on their holidays but please bear with me – there is a literary slant to what I have to say, plus it saves me having to write a book, which I did in 2013 and 2021.

Big Water of Fleet Viaduct

Big Water of Fleet Viaduct

This year we drove from the Midlands to Kirkcudbright in Dumfries and Galloway. En route we stopped for coffee in Sedbergh: England’s Official Book Town. Sedbergh is a small place where many of the independent shops have added the sale of secondhand books to their wares. The big attraction for me was Westwood Books which has a stock of over 70,000 titles – antiquarian, secondhand, and some new books. I was tempted by a copy of The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley which has been strongly recommended by my sister-in-law. But it’s a very thick book and I have a long TBR list, so I resisted the urge.

On arrival in Kirkcudbright we discovered that Dumfries and Galloway has its own literary connections. It was the setting for The 39 Steps by John Buchan and the viaduct in the photo was used in one of the film versions of the story. And Five Red Herrings, a murder mystery by Dorothy L Sayers, is set in Kirkcudbright itself and the 4-part serial is available on YouTube.

What did we actually do on holiday? Walking, a guided tour plus afternoon tea at Buittle Castle (both were excellent), walking, Raymond Briggs retrospective exhibition at Kirkcudbright Art Galleries, walking, Kirkcudbright Annual Tattoo (marching bands and a stunt motor cyclist!), walking and Kirkcudbright Art Tour.

Kirkcudbright Tattoo

Kirkcudbright Tattoo

Well done – you made it to the end of my holiday essay!

Finally, you might be interested in this crime writing short story competition. It closes 23rd January 2023 but there’s a reduced early bird entrance fee of only £3 if you enter before 1st December 2022.

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Two Free Writing Competitions

Thank goodness the heatwave in the UK is diminishing. It seemed to sap all my energy and brain power. As I cool down, my thoughts are getting back into some sort of order and I’ve found two free competitions with generous cash prizes. They might be worth a try if you’re feeling creative.

The inaugural Patricia Eschen Prize for Poetry 2022 is open for entries.
Poems can be on any subject, up to a maximum length of 40 lines. Entry is free and limited to one entry per person. First prize is a massive £1,000, second prize is £500 and third prize is £300.
Closing date is Friday 30th September 2022.

The Secret Life of Data Short Story Competition is being run by Bristol University. The website says, “this secret life of data – the traces, bits, and fragments of personal information that we leave behind us online – is the focus of this short story competition.”
Maximum word count is 4,000 and any style or genre is acceptable. Prizes are: 1st – £1000, 2nd – £500, 3rd – £250. The ten shortlisted stories will be published in the Secret Life of Data Anthology in both print and ebook formats plus there will be an Awards Ceremony in Bristol.
Closing date 9am (BST) Monday 12th September 2022 and entry is free.

This timid little fellow belonging to one of our neighbours didn’t like the heat either and flaked out in any shade he could find. Free Writing Competitions 2022

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How to Make Money as a Writer – plus A Giveaway!

In my previous post I mentioned doing a Zoom Novel Writing course in the hope of reigniting my enthusiasm for writing. The course did make me write a chapter of a brand new story (hurray!) and I got to know Jacci Turner, the lovely course tutor from Northern Nevada. She has some wise advice to share with us plus an exciting giveaway, over to Jacci:

I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Sally through an online writing class and she is delightful, plus a very strong writer. We decided to collaborate on a fun project. My latest book, Tree Singer, which is a Young Adult Fantasy, is now out on Audible and I’ve been given fifty free coupons to give to people to listen and hopefully write reviews.Tree Singer by Jacci Turner

The thing is half of these people need to live in the UK. So, we decided to offer 20 free copies of the audio to the first 20 people to write a comment on this post on Sally’s blog. Sally also invited me to share a bit about writing with you, so here goes:

How to Make Money as a Writer

  1. Don’t quit your day job. I say this in the kindest possible way. To put financial pressure on your creativity is a creativity killer. I’ve worked an extra job just to afford my writing habit. It takes time, energy, and a great deal of hard work to become a successful writer but adding the pressure of paying the bills could stop you cold. So, allow yourself the luxury of working until you’re bringing in a livable wage from your writing. Full disclosure, this has not happened for me yet.
  2. Network with other writers. Belonging to a writing group is a huge support for writers emotionally and a way to better your craft. But a bonus is the marketing. As you build relationships you can share activities like tabling (i.e. sharing a table to sell books at fairs and other events), book launches, conferences, and speaking engagements with your friends. You support them and they will support you. It’s synergy to move your writing to the next level.
  3. Diversify your craft. Look into places you can teach what you know. Local community colleges are a great place to start. Libraries often host writers and sometimes allow them to sell books. Local bookstores might also allow you in for a book signing, or to read to children, or teach a writing class. All of this builds your author brand and gets your name out.
  4. Use social media to your advantage. You don’t have to use all of it, just find one that works for you and stick with it. Each one is different, Facebook is for older people, LinkedIn for business, Twitter uses hashtags to find likeminded topics, Instagram is for pictures and short videos, TikTok is all video and you can use #booktok and #authortok to connect. These are extended networks to help you find others who might invite you to write on their blogs or do an author interview with you. I’ve been invited to do several of these through social media. headshot
  5. Don’t forget to look for grants or enter contests. Where I live, we have the Nevada Arts Council and the Sierra Nevada Arts foundation. I’ve applied for grants with both of them and have received several. Contests are fun and give you bragging rights you can use in your marketing.

In other words, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, keep writing, exploring, connecting, and doing what you love. Hopefully the income will follow.

Many thanks, Jacci! I particularly agree with the networking advice – it helps so much to know that you are not alone!

If you would like a coupon for an Audible audiobook of Tree Singer and are based in the UK, please leave a comment below. The first 20 people to comment will receive the coupons. 
This opportunity closes at midnight BST on Saturday 30th July 2022. Comments left after this date will not be eligible for a coupon. Leaving a comment on this post means that you are happy for your email address to be passed to Jacci for the purpose of sending out the Audible coupon. It will not be used for anything else.

 

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‘Clean vs Green’ – Free Short Story Competition

Green Stories Writing Competitions want your stories on the theme ‘Clean versus Green’. Environmental Short Story Competition

The competition is looking for an engaging fictional story which will help readers understand how over-cleaning and misinformation about bacteria can mean that we can end up killing our bodies’ ‘good’ bacteria through over-use of harsh cleaning products.

To help you get started there are story ideas on the website plus a free virtual writing workshop on June 6th, to which you can take your draft stories for early feedback. Attendance at the workshop is not a prerequisite of entry.

First prize is £500.

Entry is FREE. Stories must be between 1000 and 3000 words and the story can be in any genre. Closing date is 21st July 2022.

As always, please make sure you read all the rules before entering.

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The Poetry Pharmacy, Bishop’s Castle

Poetry Pharmacy Bishop's CastleOn holiday in Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire, I discovered the Poetry Pharmacy run by Deborah Alma. It’s part cafe, part poetry bookshop, part events space and part therapy; the latter via an appointment with the Poetry Pharmacist.

We’d been walking as part of the Bishop’s Castle Walking Festival and needed coffee and cake when we found the Pharmacy. It doesn’t do the usual lattes, cappuccinos etc. Instead the waitress recommended one of the different coffee blends and then delivered a glass flask of black coffee plus a jug of warm, frothy milk on the side. Similarly, she recommended a tea blend for my husband. We sat for a long time in the quiet, peaceful space, leafing through poetry books and magazines which centred around the calmer side of life. Afterwards, I treated myself to a copy of The Emergency Poet edited by Deborah – and, unusually, the book was cheaper in the Pharmacy than on Amazon. It’s a volume full of poems designed to destress and improve the reader’s state of mind. I will be sharing some of the poems with my Shared Reading Group soon.

Still on the subject of poetry, I’ve come across three competitions open for entries:

The Winchester Poetry Prize for poems on any subject and in any form or style. First prize is £1,000. Entry fee is £5. Closing date is 31 July 2022. The judge is Jo Bell, whom I recently had the pleasure of interviewing about her role in compiling the book On this Day She: Putting Women Back into History One Day at a Time for an article in The People’s Friend magazine.

The Writers Bureau Platinum Jubilee Poetry Competition. This is FREE to enter but you need to be quick: closing date is 31st May 2022. The prize is publication on The Writers Bureau’s website and a course or place on a Zoom workshop of the winner’s choice.

Ironbridge Poetry Competition 2022. This competition welcomes poems on any and every subject. First prize is £300 and the closing date is 31 July 2022. The judge is Simon Fletcher, who is widely-published as a poet and lives in Shropshire. He’s also the manager of Offa’s Press.

Poetry Pharmacy Menu

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Librarian Stories Wanted

This is a bit of an unusual call for stories but it caught my eye because I’ve been working as a library assistant since last October.

Stack of chocolate chip cookies on isolated background

16211412 © Grahamtaylor | Dreamstime.com

Air and Nothingness Press want short stories about a librarian for their upcoming anthology which will have the title ‘The Librarian’. However, the stories must be about a very specific librarian who, “… travels the multiverse (along the timeline – past through the future – and across planetary systems and universes) helping out people, societies, and those in need, with their questions, problems, and research (as librarians do).” The stories should be positive and hopeful and have narratives that celebrate librarians.

There’s lots more information about the requirements on the Air and Nothingness Press website.

The closing date for submissions is June 30 2022. Selected stories will be paid for at the rate of 8 cents per word and authors will also receive one print copy of the anthology.

The cookie picture was just to get your attention. Sorry.

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Free: Concrete Short Story Competition

Outsideleft is running a free to enter short story competition in conjunction with The Bear Bookshop.cement-mixer

The theme is ‘concrete’. ‘Concrete’ might not immediately grab you but the story doesn’t have to be about physical concrete. It could be about solid ideas or anything unmovable and difficult to get around.

First prize is £100. Maximum of 1,000 words and the closing date is 31st May 2022.

Any genre is acceptable and entry is by email only. As always, make sure you read all the rules before submitting.

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The Magic Faraway Tree and Two Free Writing Opportunities

I heard on the news today that Jacqueline Wilson is to write new stories in The Magic Faraway Tree series, originally created by Enid Blyton. On the Today program she said, “I’m being very very faithful to the whole situation that Enid Blyton set up with this wonderfully original idea about a tree that reaches up to different lands. I have three modern children going into the Enchanted wood, up the tree, meeting Silky, Moon-Face etc. and then going up and finding the different lands. So the magic world stays the same and if anybody reads this new book when it comes out I very much hope that they will go back to the others.”
I’ve mentioned before that I loved The Magic Faraway Tree books as a child so I’m in two minds about the new, modern stories being written. I don’t see how they can contain the same magic if the children are eating pizza rather than pink blancmange. But if the new books are a hit with today’s youngsters and get them reading (as they did me, way back when) then they have to be a good thing.
What do you think?

If you’re scratching your head and wondering what writing project to tackle next, a couple of free competitions have come to my notice:

The Fusilli Writing Flash Fiction Competition is looking for Fusillistories up to 200 words with a twist.
There is no closing date but the winner and short-listed entrants will be announced once 100 entries have been received (website shows details of how many entries have been received so far). No prize except publication on the Fusilli website and promotion on social media. Plus there is the opportunity to purchase feedback for £3.

The Kenneth Branagh Award for New Drama Writing 2022 is looking for one-act plays of 25 to 35 minutes from amateur playwrights. The plays should use a maximum of six actors and be suitable for a studio theatre. Three winning scripts will be performed during the Windsor Fringe Festival in October and the overall winner will receive a £500 prize. Entry is £10 BUT if “BBC Writers Room” is written on the top right hand corner of the contact sheet accompanying the play, no submission fee is required. More details about the waiving of the fee can be found on the BBC Writers Room website.

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