I'm a fiction writer -- a yet to be published fiction writer -- so my expertise in regards to writing contests is about submitting and judging in the unpublished categories. I have entered a few but have judged many. Judging can be a wonderful way to improve our own writing!
As a member of the Romance Writers of America I have access to a variety of information to do with the craft of writing, the art of self-publishing, small press publishing, e-pubs, agents, editors, and how to get our work in front of the traditional publishers.
One option available is through contests. Contests are a great way to get our work critiqued and judged by our fellow writers (anonymously) with the hope of making it to the final judges. The final judges are most always agents and editors in the industry. If one submits a polished piece of work (usually the first few pages to the first couple of chapters of their manuscript) they may have a chance of catching the eye of an agent or editor.
Although having a critique partner and perhaps a plotting partner is important to the writing process, a fresh perspective from an unknown writer can definitely be illuminating.
We writers need to learn to take the criticism along with the accolades. It's the name of the game.
Stay tuned for more information and options in regards to entering and judging fiction writing contests.
Check out the TARA contest: www.tararwa.org
Also the Cape Cod Writers Center: www.capecodwriterscenter.org
Both are offering contests with a deadline of May 1st!
Sunday is blog posting day. Sorry to be late this week. Keep on writing... :)