We’ve already talked about finding new markets and ideas for your non-fiction work, so it seems only fair that we do the same for fiction this week! Some writers find that writing fiction can be a lot more fun, because it gives you complete freedom to come up with new ideas. The problem is that the market for fiction is much more competitive, with fewer publications regularly printing short stories every year. So we’re going to talk about something a little bit different today.
Rather than looking for traditional markets, try looking for competitions for short stories or even flash fiction. If you know where to find them, these can be quite profitable and there are a number of monthly or annual competitions that come with cash prizes.
If you’re not already subscribing to a writing magazine of some sort then this is worth thinking about, not least because most will run a regular writing competition for their readers - the catch is that you usually have to be a subscriber to enter. To start with, you could look at smaller magazines like Freelance Market News which runs a monthly competition with a cash prize of £50. As an added bonus, magazines like this are also packed with excellent advice, so it’s well worth the cost of your subscription.
If you don’t fancy this, then there are plenty of ways to find upcoming competitions online. A quick search with Google for “short story competitions” brings up thousands of results, and you’re bound to find something that’s right for you. World City Stories has a competition running until the end of August which is open internationally and the Rubery Book Award will be accepting entries until the 31st of October. There is a fee of £7.50 to enter this one, but with a £500 first prize we think it’s a good investment! Similarly, The Writers Bureau Short Story Competition costs £5 to enter, but also offers a top prize of £500.
The list is growing with new opportunities added every day, so make sure you keep searching and make a note of anything that catches your eye.
Perhaps the most important piece of advice is to never throw anything away. If your story doesn’t win, enter it in a different competition. Keep your work organised and file unsuccessful stories away to be entered again in the future. The more entries you have out there, the more likely you are to be a winner! Different judges will be looking for different things, so keep trying until your story finds the right reader.