Contests can lead to publishing contracts

Each year, as we get closer to our Writers-Editors Network Writing Competition Deadline, we hear more good news from current and prior entrants. And this year is no different! Take a look at these two books — then read how they got jump-started from earlier contests:

Even Third Place Can Be the Charm

In 2013, the first chapter of Patricia Cox’s second novel, Hellgate, received third place honors from our WEN Competition. What happened next? “I signed a contract in 2016 and Hellgate is launching on April 18, 2018, published by Five Star Publishing/Cengage.” It is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.

Other good news:  In the 2017 contest, Trish’s short story, “Next Year,” was designated as “Most Promising” and she received a free critique. “I reworked that story in accordance with the advice I received, and in November 2017 won First Place – Short Story from the Society of Southwest Authors in Tucson.” (Editor’s note: To clarify, the “Most Promising” prizes are not being awarded this year.)

Entering Contests Might = Multi-book Contracts

It Takes a Coven did not emanate directly from a contest submission, but its predecessor did. Back in 2013, Carol Perry entered the first chapter of her Nightshades novel — and won First Place! Fast forward a bit, and Kensington Publishing bought the book to publish as Caught Dead HandedBut that’s only part of the story. That contract was initially for THREE books and a “Witch City Mystery” series . . . which has grown to six titles with another already in the hopper for this fall. You can read an interview with Carol about her “contest to book series” success here on our blog.

And when you visit your local Barnes & Noble store this month, be sure to look for their special month-long promotion with an end cap display of Kensington cozy mysteries (through April 8). They are featuring three of Carol’s titles: Caught Dead Handed, Grave Errors, and It Takes a Coven. Carol says, “That first place award really was the beginning of this new career!. ”

A review of It Takes a Coven and an interview with Carol also appear in this month’s King’s River Life.

First time Entering Contest was a Winner

The very first time Patricia Cox sent in an entry to the Writers-Editors International Writing Competition was back in 2011. That resulted in a First Place win and a First Honorable Mention for chapters from her first novel, Chasm Creek. That book went on to be published by a small press in 2013. You can read our post about it here.

Then a second edition — along with this new cover — was brought out in October 2017. It’s available on Amazon.

To quote from our earlier posts —

These authors illustrate the value of entering literary contests — so don’t miss the deadline: March 15

Your name could appear on a certificate, too

The Writers-Editors Network annual literary competition is in its 35th year and this year has four categories:

  • Nonfiction (may be Essay, Blog Post, Article, Book Chapter)
  • Fiction (may be Short Story, Novel Chapter)
  • Children’s Literature (may be Story, Book Chapter, Article, Poem)
  • Poetry (may be Traditional or Free Verse)

Entries are judged blind (judges have no idea who the writers are or where they are located). Deadline for entries to be postmarked is March 15, 2018 (online entries also allowed until midnight on March 15).

Guidelines and entry form are posted at Winners are posted by May 31.

What about you? Have you any successes as the result of winning writing contests? Please do share with us below.


About Dana K Cassell

Hi, and welcome to our Network. I'm Dana Cassell and am the one writing most of the posts on this blog. I've been in this writing/editing business for way longer than I care to admit. My goal here is to provide you with useful insights from our professional members and from my own experience - to help you achieve your own success, grow your editorial business, and publish successful and worthy books,


  1. I’ve been a member for a couple of years. My friend Carol Perry recommended you. I have a self-published novel on Amazon and a new one I just finished. I want to submit part of it. Does it matter what part I send (beginning, middle, ending)? Can I get my bio on your author page?
    Linda Tincu Peno

    • Linda, our Fiction category permits entering one novel chapter per entry. You can choose any chapter in your novel. Please refer to the Guidelines. I’m not sure what “author page” you are referring to; if you could email the URL to me at, I can let you know. Be sure to include information about your novel on Amazon so we can list it on our Book Bag page.

  2. Looking for good contests, USA & UK, for a novel published last April by Balboa Press. This life story, set in the 1100s AD in England and the Middle East, and which includes the 2nd Crusade, is told with researched historical accuracy in the voice of Jophiel Balerais, an older Englishman now in his sixties and recalling his life. I will be entering it into contests (would appreciate suggestions) and looking for film producers and companies who would be interested in a gripping life story that is historically researched and accurate lived in times whose ramifications still disrupt relations between East and West. I am a retired writing teacher from Columbia College, Chicago. I feel that this story, which has been carefully researched, has wide usefulness in understanding the international relations of our own times, as well as the cultures from which our current times have devolved. The book was published last April by Balboa Press. I am looking for “the next step” terms of a t.v. series and/or movie production. The historical facts help a great deal in understanding the international relations of our own times. As well, it is a beautifully inspiring and courageous tale told to me by a man who thought he had lived it as a “past life”. Thanks for any help you can give me.

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