Just For Fun

Western novelist Brett Cogburn is sponsoring a “Western Mini” contest. He’s asking for a 4-sentence story according to this model:

“The horse died.  My saddle rotted and my stirrups fell into the creek.  The Indians shot my partner through the hat.  The End.” – Wallace Johnston, Amarillo, TX

The contest closes at midnight on September 23, 2012. The prize will be a choice of one of Cogburn’s novels.

Visit his colorful and amusing blog site at http://www.brettcogburn.com/blog/ for further details.

(I’m hoping that the misspelling of its in the contest directions on his site is a typo and that he really knows better. After all, he IS a published writer.)

Deadline for OWL Contest September 1, 2012

Last reminder: OWL Contests for 2012
General Category Contests
Entries must be postmarked no later than September 1. Decisions are final and judges’ names are confidential. Make $10.00 check payable to Ozarks Writers League and mail it along with 2 copies of each entry to Pam Jones at this address:
Pam Jones
226 Wedgeview Drive
Farmington, AR 72730

Contest for Self-published Books

Shelf Unbound book review magazine announces the Shelf Unbound Writing Competition for Best Self-Published Book. Any self-published book in any genre is eligible for entry. Entry fee is $10 per book. The winning entry will be selected by the editors of Shelf Unbound magazine.

To submit an entry, email a PDF of your entire book, including the cover, to Margaret@shelfmediagroup.com, subject line Contest Entry, and send a check for $10 made out to Shelf Media Group to Margaret Brown, Shelf Media Group, 3322 Greenview Drive, Garland, TX 75044. All entries received (and entry fee paid) will be considered.

The top five books, as determined by the editors of Shelf Unbound, will receive editorial coverage in the December/January 2013 issue of Shelf Unbound. The author of the book named as the Best Self-Published book will receive editorial coverage as well as a year’s worth of full-page ads in Shelf Unbound (rate card value $6,000).

The deadline for entry is midnight on October 1, 2012. The winners will be notified by October 15, 2012. Additional information and rules can be found on our contest rules page at www.shelfmediagroup.com.

For further information, please feel free to contact Margaret Brown, Publisher, via email: Margaret@shelfmediagroup.com.

Shelf Unbound book review magazine, a 2012 Maggie Award finalist for Best Digital-Only Publication, reaches more than 125,000 readers in the U.S. and in 42 other countries around the globe. Subscriptions to Shelf Unbound are free at www.shelfmediagroup.com.

Plan Ahead for Fall Conferences and Contests 2012

The WordWeavers writing group of Bartlesville, Oklahoma will be teaming up with the Bartlesville Library in September to offer an authors’ event on September 15 from 10:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.

The targeted audience is the reading public, but writers will have the opportunity to sell books. Owing to limited space, organizers will give first choice to local writers, but writers from further afield will be welcome as table space permits.

For more information, contact WordWeavers president Jennifer McMurrain.


Annual Art Affair Writing Contests 2012 – Shade Tree Creations has announced the 2012 call for entries in the three categories of the Art Affair contest: Poetry, Western Short Story, and Short Story.

Entries must be postmarked by October 1, 2012. Entry fees are required. Details at the Shade Tree site.

The Southern Sin Essay Contest

Creative Nonfiction (CNF) and the Oxford Creative Nonfiction Writers Conference & Workshop are looking for essays that capture the South in all its steamy sinfulness. For example: skipping church to watch football, coveting your neighbor’s Real Housewife of Atlanta, or just drinking an unholy amount of sweet tea.

Contest sponsors invite writers to confess their own wrongdoings, gossip about their neighbor’s depravity, or tell them about the writer’s personal connection to a famous Southerner headed down the broad road to Hell:

Whether the sin you discuss is deadly or just something that would make your mama blush, we want to hear about it in an essay that is at least partially narrative–employing scenes, descriptions, etc. Your essay can channel William Faulkner or Flannery O’Connor, Alice Walker or Rick Bragg; it can be serious, humorous, or somewhere in between, but all essays must tell true stories, and must incorporate both sin and the South in some way.

The submission deadline is July 31, 2012. The selected essays will be published in Creative Nonfiction #47, and CNF and Oxford will award $5000 for Best Essay.

Creative Nonfiction #47 will be launched at the 2013 Oxford Creative Nonfiction Writers Conference & Workshop (March 2013).

To submit, visit: www.creativenonfiction.org

May 14 Deadline for Fiction500 Contest

Contest Writing Prompt

The entry fee is $12, the window for submission is May 1-14, and the first prize is $500.

The Fiction500 contest is sponsored by the not-for-profit Fiction500 Foundation (status pending) in San Diego, California. According to its website, the contest was inspired by the Three-Minute Fiction Writing Contest that National Public Radio began in 2009.

Here’s the basic information about the contest as outlined by Executive Director Mark Drozda:

• Writers submit an original work of fiction no longer than 500 words, based on our prompt.
• We accept only 500 entries.
• Faculty from the country’s top MFA Creative Writing Programs judge the contest
• The winning author receives $500 cash.
• Second-place author receives $200, and third-place author receives $100.
• We publish winning stories (and honorable mentions) on our website.
• At the end of the year, we e-publish an anthology of the year’s winners for the Kindle, Nook and iPad.

For complete details, visit their website.

Lorian Hemingway Release Good Example of How Not to Ask for Publicity

I just got a lengthy email asking me to announce a short story contest. Naturally I wanted to pass the information on to Arkansas writers, but when I started reading the announcement, I found myself wandering in a morass of irrelevant material, looking for information that should have been presented in the first 300 words.

Even fiction writers need to know how to craft a press release.

When it comes to an emailed announcement, brief is good. Most contests, publishing companies, and authors have websites where anyone interested can go for details. All that needs to go into an emailed press release are the 5 Ws and a web address for the How.

The email that prompted this post announces the 2012 Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition. The email is presented in a two-column colored layout. The narrow column on the left is a deep burgundy on which the blue link to the contest website barely shows up. The text of the announcement is in the column at the right. This column has a bright turquoise background and is wider than the left column, but not by much. The word count is an incredible 1,035 words.

The only relevant information in the first 536 words is that the first prize is $1,500 and the second and third prizes are $500 each. Another 244 words are spent in enumerating some of the entry requirements before getting to the fact that contestants are required to pay to enter.

Editors are busy people. If you want them to help you publicize your writing activities, you need to help them by making it easy.

Using the referenced short story announcement as an example, here is all you need to include in a press release for an online publication.

Who: Lorian Hemingway, granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway
What: the 32nd Annual Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition
When: in progress; deadline May 1, 2012
Why: to encourage writers whose fiction has not appeared in a nationally distributed publication with a circulation of 5,000 or more.
How: Submission requirements can be found at the contest website:  http://www.shortstorycompetition.com/Guidelines.php

NOTE: Colored backgrounds, colored ink, and cutesy illustrations are distracting and unprofessional. Take the Dragnet approach: just the facts, Ma’am or Sir.

Deadline for Sandy Writing Contest

Vicki Law of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers sends this announcement:

The entry deadline for the Sandy Writing Contest sponsored by Crested Butte Writers is
February 12, 2012.

The 2012 Sandy Final Judges are:

Romance – Sue Grimshaw, Editor at Large & Category Specialist for Ballantine & Bantam Dell
Mainstream Adult Fiction – Kevan Lyon, Agent at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
Suspense / Thriller / Mystery – Kat Brzozowski, Assistant Editor at Thomas Dunne Books
Fantasy / Science Fiction – James Frenkel, Editor at Tor / Forge
Children’s & YA – Mary Kole, Agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency

This writers’ organization is in Colorado, but the contest seems to be open to anyone. There is an entry fee and the prizes are not significant, but entrants whose MSS reach the final judges will benefit from professional comments on their entries.

For more information and rules for entering, please see their website:  crestedbuttewriters.org

Gemini Link Now Active

Thanks to Laura for bringing a broken link to my attention.

The link to the Gemini Magazine short story contest is now working.

Sign up now for 2012 MWG Conference

Registration for the Missouri Writers’ Guild’s 2012 Write Time! Write Place! Write Now! Conference in Chesterfield, Missouri is open. Conference dates: April 20—22, 2012. If you’re planning to go, you can save money by registering before the end of December.

Early Bird registration ends on December 31. After that, rates will go up $25.

Early Bird Rates
Missouri Writers’ Guild Members: $135
Chapter Members: $145
Non-Members: $165

You’ll find all the details about the writing contest, registration, and hotel rates at the conference site.

MWG publicity chair Sarah Whitney has been interviewing the speakers who will be featured at the conference. You can read the interviews at the MWG blog.

Address any questions not answered on the website to Tricia Sanders at .