Few people know how my writing journey started. I actually did not start from fan fictions although that was what eventually took off in 2010. I actually started off as a youth competition writer. Some competitions I won and others I did not.
In this blog, I'm going to give you some insights into how to pick the right competition for your debut based on your needs and requirements.
Spoilers: Most of these competitions you would not be winning the grand prize but you'd be gaining a lot of invaluable experience that will help you become a better writer for your next book.
Patreons to credit: -This could be you. Join now.-
To kick start this project, I prefer if you'd watch the stream I previously did about this topic.
Too lazy to watch it all? I knew it. Here are some of the key points summarised for your lazy ass.
#1: Identify Your Reader Market
There are 3 Ls in the e-fiction reading world. ML, FL & BL. If you don't know that, it means Male-Lead, Female-Lead and Boys Love.
Different platforms attract different readers. Knowing what kind of book you're writing will help you decide which competitions to participate in. Find your people to increase your chances of getting ahead in the competition.
#2: Pick a Genre and Choose a Project Length
This isn't rocket science. Pick one main genre from the list provided in the platform's competition terms and stick to writing it. You don't want to buy a coffee only to drink cola, it is the same with readers. If what you want to write isn't the genre you chose, consider skipping out on this round and finding a new competition instead. Opportunities are everywhere!
I always tell this to any new writer eager to start a book. Always write the book with an end in mind. It is no different for competition books. Most competitions have minimum length requirements eg: 50,000 words in 180 days etc. However, you need to know if your story has enough plot and momentum to meet that basic criteria of you'd be panicking about how to fill in that last 2,345 words you need for qualification.
#3: Stockpile & Get Beta Reader Feedback
Most major writing competitions usually post their participating requirements about a month early. You can even refer to the previous year's criteria, it usually doesn't differ very much. It is best to start preparing for it early before the competition starts so write a lot and gather beta readers to check on their reactions so that you're one step ahead when you launch your books.
Don't forget to notify your beta readers about the published live book when the competition begins!
#4: Cross Promote and Leverage with Other Competitors
This is the oldest trick in the book. Most e-fiction platforms only make rating public after a certain number of reviews that will be up on the recommending features etc. Many writers joining the same competition do review swaps and cross-promote in their existing running series to get readers to support both sides.
You can do the same. It's not illegal but it does take a lot of shamelessness.
#5: Don't Stop Writing
I think most of us want to collapse at the finishing line. However, don't. Even if the competition is finished, your dreams have just begun. Don't rest on your laurels! Continue writing the next book and let your readers know what you're creating next.
Readers are hard to retain so don't waste your competition haul by not updating and making them forget you. Continue updating even if it is at a slower pace than before.
Competitions are just social gatherings of writers from all backgrounds. It's a buffet for readers so don't be upset about a writer with poorer techniques becoming more popular than you are. You shouldn't judge a reader's preference as that's not productive. Instead, you should be focussing on where you can improve from the readers who followed you and the writing community you gained by participating.
Learn from what went wrong in this competition and make a timeline to try again next year. After all, these competitions are held regularly. For more tips about writing for a competition, check out my Free E-course!