Be careful, though. Some are not worth the cost. But some are free to enter, so what's the harm?
I've had good (mostly) experiences with contests. Many years ago, I entered the Writer's Digest short story contest. My short story, Love Beneath the Huckleberries, placed in the top one hundred. At the time, I was really disappointed, but looking back, I realize I should have been thrilled. Magic is the first thing I ever self-published and I did it mostly to practice. It's still available at Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. (It's free.)
Years ago when my twin babies were 3 years old and starting preschool, I sat down to write my first novel. I didn’t know what to write so I did some research and came across a small, start up company that wanted to publish “wholesome romance.” I ordered a couple of their books, read them and thought piece of cake. Of course, the cake was much more difficult to digest than I had thought, but after many afternoon preschool writing sessions, I completed my first book and sent it off to Ponder Romance. The editor called me. She loved my book, but it wasn’t right for them. We talked for nearly ninety minutes and our conversation provided invaluable feedback. I've since published that book, The Light in the Christmas Cafe. (It's $3.99)
In 2010, I entered my novel Hailey's Comments in the Amazon Breakthrough Novelist contest (I'm pretty sure they don't have these anymore, but they were at the time a big deal.) Here's what I found:
The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) was a contest sponsored by Amazon.com, Penguin Group, Hewlett Packard, CreateSpace and BookSurge to publish and promote a manuscript by an unknown or unpublished author. The first award was given in 2008 and in 2015 Amazon announced that they would not be continuing the award and would instead focus on the Kindle Scout program.
Hailey was a quarter-finalist, which meant that it was in the top one hundred (I believe) and it "won" a review by Publisher's Weekly. I now wish I had kept the review.
(Hailey's Comments, currently $4.99, but will be FREE this weekend.)
My novel The Rhyme's Library was a semi-finalist in the Kindle Book Review Awards in 2013.
Beyond the Fortuneteller's Tent was a semi-finalist in the I Heart Indie's Contest.
And my last foray into contests was my 2015 Kindle Scout winner, Witch Ways.
You can read my previous posts on the Kindle Scout program:
As I said, I haven't entered a contest since, but now looking back, I'm wondering why not?
How about you? Have you found contests valuable?