Nancy's Books

Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Contest for You, So Hurry!

I had planned to write about ways to trim excess words from manuscripts in today’s blog; instead, I’m trimming every word from that blog post and writing about a time-sensitive subject—free contests. I stumbled upon one this week that I want to bring to your attention. It’s a contest to win a free critique for a manuscript of any genre. Nice!

Contests are valuable ways to determine if your work has merit. If you win first, second, third, or honorable mention, your work has been validated by a professional. Woohoo! Even if you don’t win, you might get objective feedback. Not winning a contest does not mean your work has no merit. What does not work for one critiquer may work for another.
Judges are often agents and editors. Entering a contest gets your work in front of editors and agents in closed houses, publishers that are not open to unsolicited manuscripts.
Winning a writing contest gives you immediate credibility that can spruce up a resume. Some offer prizes—cash, classes, or critiques. Not bad.
Many contests are free. All that I post on this blog are no-fee. Most can be submitted online so the writer doesn’t even have to pay postage. Even better.
Before you enter a manuscript into competition, gather feedback from different people. Revise your work several times to make it sparkle before you submit it. Give your work the best opportunity to win.
Check out today’s Call for Submissions for Adult Writers for your chance to win a free critique. Good luck!

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
Canvas. We are seeking writers ages 13-18 to submit: 
Fiction – Please limit submissions to 5,000 words.
Novel Excerpts - Novel and memoir excerpts are acceptable if self-contained (work as a complete narrative).
Poetry – You may submit more than one poem, but please do not exceed 5 pages worth of poetry.
Plays - Please follow standard play format. Limit to 10 pages.
Nonfiction – Essays, memoir, creative nonfiction. Please limit submissions to 5,000 words.  
New Media – Video, images, etc fine for website. But must be accompanied by written version to be considered for print and eBook.
Cross-genre - Experimental work (prose poems, art and writing, fiction and nonfiction hybrids) are highly encouraged, but please keep to the word limit for fiction.
Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
Barbara Kyle Critique. Want expert feedback about your manuscript? Then this contest is for you. It’s open to anyone with a work of fiction or narrative non-fiction. All genres are welcome. There is no fee to enter.
And here’s the great thing. If you win, you have up to a year to send your manuscript. If it’s ready now, that’s fine; send it as soon as you hear you’ve won. But if you need more time to complete it, that’s fine too. Winners will have up to a year to send their manuscript. Through Kyle’s mentoring she has launched many writers to published success, including bestselling mystery author Robert Rotenberg, historical novelists Ann Birch, Tom Taylor, and Barbara Wade Rose, award-winner Steven T. Wax, and debut novelist Marissa Campbell.
Now it’s your turn! Enter now for a chance to win an in-depth analysis of your work.
♦ Grand Prize: Kyle's evaluation of a full manuscript – a $1,200 value
♦ Second Prize: Kyle's evaluation of a manuscript’s first 50 pages
♦ Third Prize: Kyle's evaluation of a manuscript’s first 25 pages
The manuscript evaluation will be conducted in a discussion with Barbara Kyle by Skype or by phone. The Grand Prize winner will get a full 2-hour discussion with me. The Second Prize winner and Third Prize winner will each get a half-hour discussion with me.
The evaluation will consist of an in-depth analysis of the manuscript in which Barbara Kyle will pinpoint the story’s strengths and weaknesses with regard to premise, structure, character development, voice, dialogue, setting, prose style, pacing, POV (point of view) and marketability. She’ll also offer suggestions on how any weaknesses might be improved.
1. Send a sample of your writing to Kyle at
2. Maximum length of the sample: 1,500 words. Format: double-spaced, 12-point font.
3. The sample can be from your work-in-progress or a previous work.
4. Send the sample either in the body of your email or as an attachment in Word or PDF.
5. Include in your email your contact info:
  • your full name
  • your address
  • your preferred email address
  • your phone number (optional)
  • where did you hear about the contest?
  • Enter now! Email your sample at
Deadline: April 30, 2015


  1. Thanks for the tip on this contest, Nancy. I have sent and entry.

  2. I did too. I was fun and gives us something to look forward to. Good luck!