Increase Your Author Platform with Contests

You can increase your author platform with contests, and not only by entering them but by judging them.

For years, I've enjoyed the platform-boosting qualities of entering, placing, and winning writing contests. Writing contests are a great way to add exposure to your books. They can make you an instant bestseller. For instance, my novel Drowning (now re-titled THE LAST MAHARAJAN), had recently released around the end of 2011. With it, I had entered the 2011 Forward National Literature Award. Drowning won the category of family drama and within hours soared to #1 Amazon bestseller after the eBook sold nearly 25,000 copies.So, I want to offer up some resources where you might find these contests to help you achieve a greater author platform.


WritersMarket.comThere are several tried-and-true online sources to find writing contests and book awards. I like when I'm searching for a contest in the near future, one with a website, and one that offers winnings of $1,000 or more. allows a search of their database plus the site is stocked full of great resources, such as a PDF entitled, "How Much Should I Charge?" The PDF shows going rates for editing services, ghostwriting, as well as what investigative reporters should charge, and a plethora of other publishing services. Several publishing organizations were surveyed to build this PDF and you can click HERE to see a listing those organizations.Chanticleer Book Reviews ( website is pretty cool. They have several different contests for several fiction genres and organize them with thumbnail images of each contest.  They have recently opened two nonfiction book contests as well.FundsForWriters.comThis site offers a listing of different awards through different organizations. The contest listing is organized by the award being offered soonest and working out into the future. I like this date feature.  Chanticleer Book Reviews does the same thing.The Deer Effect by Susan Wingate, winner of five book awards during 2015/16!Poets & Writers ( is a long-standing writer-oriented organization. Founded in 1970, PW states they are the largest nonprofit organization that serves creative writers and their needs. Their database includes details about the creative writing contests—including poetry contests, short story competitions, essay contests, awards for novels, and more—that we’ve published in Poets & Writers Magazine during the past year. Their site offers a searchable database that you can narrow to your needs.TheWriteLife.comI love this site. They offer tons of different services and products for writers but they also have a listing of several large book awards, like the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest, and the Pen/Faulkner Award for Fiction. The Write Life is a one-stop writer's haven. You can spend an entire day just rummaging through this site.The Writer Magazine ( magazine is similar to Writer's Digest but, IMHO, with fewer commercial ads. They focus mostly on publishing, craft, and business within the industry. I've been published by The Writer Mag and often think of them fondly as one of my first publications. They are a great resource for everything publishing and a great resource for contests. They have a listing that shows upcoming contests from fiction to nonfiction.WritersDigest.comWriter's Digest is the 500-pound gorilla of writerly magazines. If you can get through all of the advertisements, you'll find a listing of internal publishing awards offered by Writer's Digest. Their contests have become some of the most sought after contests by writers. Not only do they offer a listing of their own awards but they publish several how-to's on writing and publishing, webinars on writing, and opportunities to be published by them. Writer's Digest is a for-profit organization and, arguably, the largest for-profit writing organization around.

Okay, so you're a writer, right? And because you understand the value of being a member of writing associations, you want to give back to your writing community, right? Of course you do. You'd better because we're a community in and of ourselves and we must nurture our professional contacts and help others along the road of publication.Professional writing organizations include national and international writing organizations such as, the Writers Guild, Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers. Regional organizations like Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and the West Coast Writers--there are many more all of the U.S. and abroad. And there are local associations within each State and Provice. Then there are the mini-locals like libraries, bookstores, and writing groups.Why do you care about writing associations, you ask? Because, as the wise and knowledgeable writer you have become, you have value to these associations and can give back by judging writing competitions. Not only does this help the association and the writers hoping to win an award, but it also puts your name out there as an expert in your field. I find judging writing competitions a great way to expand my name but also to read some great work by upcoming authors. What fun to help pull someone up. What an honor to read their work.So, that's all I have today. I hope you consider both entering your work and judging other peoples' works by getting involved in a writing competition or seven. :)Peace. Out.
Today's free eBook is one of my award-winning mystery novels, BOBBY'S DINER! You can get your copy by clicking HERE.