There are many contests available for writers, both published and unpublished. For the unpublished, it is a good way to get your work in front of editors and agents in a competitive market. Contest wins also look good when submitting to an agent or editor. For the published, contest wins and finaling are ways to show your readers that others have enjoyed the book. They will attract a new audience that might not have tried you without those badges of honor.
Because there are so many contests, you can easily lose track of which contests you've submitted which works to. Here are some tips for keeping track of your contest submissions.
1. Decide the best vehicle for keeping track of your submissions. This might be a spread sheet, a database file, or a notebook. Everyone is different. Some may prefer electronic records, while others prefer a hard copy that is portable and easily accessed.
2. For each contest entered, record the name of the contest, the material submitted, the contest fee, the contest contact name, the date submissions are due, the date you submitted, the dates the finalists and winners are announced, and how you fared in each contest.
3. Pre-print SAS postcards with "Your submission, (Title of Book), was received by (Name of Contest)on (Blank line for date). Then place a label with your name and address on the stamped side.
4. Give yourself a reminder in your calendar for every finalist/winner announcement date. Check with the contest coordinator if you haven't heard anything by this date.