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How to Win Money in a Writing Contest and Which One to Enter





You know everything about making money writing, but what about winning some cash for the same activity? There are dozens of literary contests waiting for you to apply. In this article, we will give you the condensed information about such competitions and offer contests to enter right now. We believe there is no need to motivate you on winning up to $1500, so only useful hints, no aside talks.

Types of Literary Competitions Online


Blog articles

It is good to start with such contests because participation takes not too much time and efforts and you can see it as a great practice accompanied by an opportunity to win some cash. It is a common practice to publish top-10 articles, not only a winning one. Even if you don't receive money, you have good chances to level up your portfolio. Just remember that mostly submitting your blog post to be considered within a contest you automatically sign away your rights for it, and can't use it further.


Prizes: $50 - $350 for a post.



Short stories, small collections of essays. The topic might be predetermined or free. In most cases, you don’t sign away rights when sending your stories, so if they don’t publish you as a winner, rights are all yours. If you have something written, don’t be afraid to take part and send, later you will be able to use it for other competitions. It is even possible you will receive a professional review regarding your pieces of writing.


Prizes: Up to $15 000 for books over 100 pages, up to $4000 for short stories.



The most popular type of modern writing competitions. It can be about anything - education, a particular city, political events, popular science, psychology. Non-fiction contests are often organized to find writers to work on Kindle books for Amazon. So you have a chance not only to win money but find an interesting side job.


Prizes: $50 - $2500


How to Increase Your Chances to Win

1. Read instructions carefully. If you don’t match word count, deadline, topic or any other point, you will not be considered as a contestant. Don’t hope to compensate it with an incredible story or sophisticated writing - they just won’t read you.

2. Go through the previously posted materials. If it is a blog, get to know what types of articles they post, which tone of voice they prefer and which topics gather the most feedback from readers.

3. Get to know who is paying. If a contest has a sponsor, learn more about him. It doesn't mean you should write a novel about how Procter & Gamble saved your life, but it won’t be wise to doom big corporations in your piece of writing. Win money now, save the world later.

4. Put efforts into your title. It should intrigue and make a jury member willing to read it. Yes, they are obligated to read everything… But in reality, we bet, they don’t. Write a bright title and an impressive entry to have a fair shot in this battle.

5. Use your personal experience. You lived through it, so you can describe it bright. Even if the topic is not related to your personal story, try to find an opportunity to use it. Real people like to read about real people.

6. Follow the classic drama structure. If you write fiction it is just a must, if you submit a blog entry or a nonfiction piece, drama might become your ticket to the top. The classic structure is as follows:


  • there is a hero and he wants something;
  • he can’t get something before he doesn’t change;
  • he changes, it is hard;
  • he tries again and gets what he wanted.


There might be more stages, but these you just can’t skip. Even if you write a non-fiction entry, create drama, state a problem, and solve it. Remember, people don’t like to read about total winners, so don’t forget to show some failures in your way or in your hero’s way.


7. Read your text aloud. It is a must. If you lack air in the middle of the sentence - cut it. If you find a word or expression you need to read twice to do it right - delete it or change it.

8. Repeat. Hardly anyone wins a writing contest from the first try, so don’t judge yourself too harshly if you don’t get the first prize immediately.


7 Intriguing Upcoming Writing Contests with No Entrance Fee

1. Brooklyn Non-Fiction Prize


Even if you don’t live in Brooklyn, you can submit your ideas on how a life goes there and how it should.


Due: Nov 23, 2017

Pages: from 4 to 10

Prize: up to $500


2. Prose Challenges


You can find a number of writing challenges there. They are rather simple, don’t require much work. Great place to start!


Due: 3-6 weeks from now

Pages: 3-10

Prize: $50 - $400


3. Reedsy Friday Contest


Every Friday send prompts and you can write a short story using one of them.


Due: weekly

Pages: blog post entry

Prize: $50


4. “Everything Change” Climate Fiction Contest


Choose one out of three topics: imagining climate futures, scientific accuracy and understanding, climate changes and human responses.


Due: Feb 28, 2018

Pages: up to 5000 words, any genre

Prize: $50 - $1000


5. Scholarship Essay Competition


Academic writers, you know what to do :)


Due: Nov 30, 2017

Pages: up to 1000 words

Prize: $400 - $1000


6. Readers Choice Awards by TCK Publishing


If you followed and advice and wrote a book for Amazon, it’s your chance.


Due: Dec 10, 2017

Pages: Not limited

Prize: A Kindle Reader and a book review


7. Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest


The legendary contest for poets with humor.


Due: Apr 1, 2018

Pages: up to 250 lines in length

Prize: $100 - $2500

Good luck!




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