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4 Annual Writing Contests for International Writers

4 Annual Writing Contests for International Writers

Are you an international writer looking for recognition? Entering a writing contest could be the catalyst your writing career needs to blast off into the stratosphere. Every year, hundreds of prestigious writing competitions offer aspiring authors the opportunity to achieve international acclaim.

Look through this list of 5 opportunities for annual or biennial writing contests, even if the deadline has passed, you can prepare for next years’ submission. Enter the contest that suits your writing style and submit your piece before the deadline. Win one of these contests, and you could feature as the next rising international star of the writing community.

1. Hektoen Grand Prix Essay Contest

Hektoen International, an online journal specializing in writing relate to medical humanities, present this competition. The award offers two prizes, announced annually for submissions of no more than 1,600 words in two different categories.

The best essay suited to their Famous Hospitals section receives a cash prize of $1,200. The best piece adapted to the sections of Literary Vignettes, Art Flashes, Physicians of Note, or Moments in History, receives a secondary prize with the winner earning $1,000. Their 2019 deadline for 2018 submissions is still pending.

2. Stowe Prize

This contest features a colossal cash prize of $10,000 for the winner. The Stowe prize is a biennial award that honors the work of Harriet Beecher Stowe and seeks to find the best submission that reflects the fight for social justice, similar to her groundbreaking work, in Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Upon submitting your manuscript, you must complete a 250-word motivation on how your work has made a tangible impact on social dynamics. The deadline for this contest is still pending.

3. FutureScapes Writing Contest

Inspired by social dynamics, economics, geopolitics, and culture? Then this is the writing contest you’ve been looking for online. FutureScapes are seeking the best essay covering futurist concepts that can lay a foundation for new ideas that can progress humanity.

The winner receives a cash prize of $2,000, with the runner-up earning a tidy $1,000. Along with a handsome financial reward, the winners will receive the chance to be published in an anthology read by leaders that include members of Congress, judges, governors, and majors. Be the change you want to see in the world with your submission for this contest, the annual deadline for 2018 is still pending.

4. The Diana Woods Memorial Award in Creative Non-Fiction

Win this competition and earn publication of your submission in Lunch Ticket, the literary and art journal produced by the MFA community of Antioch University Los Angeles. Lunch Ticket has a base of thousands of readers, and thousands of influential writers and journalists will have the opportunity to read your piece.

Submissions are limited to 5,000-words of unpublished, creative nonfiction, and the winner also receives a cash prize of $250. Deadlines for biannual reading periods are the month of August for the Winter/Spring issue and the month of February for the Summer/Fall issue.

5. The Reedsy Short Story Contest

For those that can’t wait a full year for their contest submission, try out Reedsy’s weekly writing contests. Reedsy publishes the winners work on their Medium blog, which has thousands of daily views, and they also offer a $50 cash prize. The entry is free; all you need to do is sign up for the weekly newsletter at

How to Get Reviews on Self-Published Books

How to Get Reviews on Self-Published Books

If you are going to be successful at self-publishing, you’re going to have to get good reviews on your books. This is not referring to critical reviews, although if you can get these and they are positive then you definitely should, but instead is referring to actual customer reviews from people who bought the book and want to tell others what they thought about it. If the book was good, the majority of them will tell others that they recommend it. If the book is bad, then the reviews are probably going to hurt your sales. But let’s assume that you have a good book and you are going to get good reviews. How do you get them in the first place?


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The Value of Amazon Reviews

First, understand that publishing on Amazon and getting Amazon reviews is going to be one of the most useful things you can do for book sales. That’s not only because Amazon is the largest retailer of digital and physical books on the planet, it is also because when someone types in the title of your book, it’s going to be those Amazon reviews that likely get listed at the top of the search results. Getting positive Amazon reviews for your book is going to drive sales more than just about anything else you can do.

Things not to do to Get Reviews

there are some things that you want to be aware of when it comes to getting Amazon reviews, as well as reviews from other retailers. There are lots of services out there that claim to be foolproof five-star review services that will get your book in the public eye and make people want to purchase it. While it is true that these people can leave five-star reviews on your book if you pay them, the odds are really good that Amazon will figure out quickly that they are posting reviews for money and remove all of their reviews from the entire site. Plus, this is against Amazon’s terms of service, so you may even have your books removed from the Amazon site. This goes for several other retailers as well.

Asking Readers to Leave Reviews

One of the best ways to get reviews is to simply ask readers to leave one at the end or beginning of your book. Most readers that love your book will leave a review if you asked them to. In fact, one of the main reasons that people don’t leave reviews simply because they forget or decide they’re going to do it later in the never do.

Getting Involved on the Kindle Boards

Finally, you definitely want to get involved in the Kindle boards, which is a forum for Kindle readers and authors. The benefit of this is that if you can get other authors to buy your books, or even offer free promotions such as through the Kindle Select program, these authors will likely leave a review because they know the value of having them.

A good place to hunt for book reviewers is Reedsy’s directory of blogs

Starting Your Story at the Right Place

Starting Your Story at the Right Place

One of the things that will make it easier for you to grab a reader’s attention and keep it is starting your story in the right place. Many writers are innately aware of this due to the books that they have read, while others have to learn the right place to start a story. There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to choosing the place to start. Get some legalized bud lit, then let’s look at each of them below.

Avoid Exposition Right Away

You don’t want to start your story off with a bunch of exposition. Exposition in the first few paragraphs your story is going to turn off readers and editors alike. Starting your story in the right place means you start with something that people are going to want to keep reading about. Sometimes this can be a good bit of dialogue, but more often it is something that is happening within the story that make someone want to find out more.

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Use “Need to Know” for Beginnings

When it comes to the beginning, think about what people need to know and only give them that information at first. Remember, you only have a certain number of paragraphs – or possibly even sentences – to get someone hooked within your story. Make sure that you are leaving out extraneous information that you can give them later on.

Avoid Character Descriptions

Avoid describing characters in the beginning. This is something that new writers do quite often. They think that they have to describe the character in great detail before they can get into the story. Not only is it a bad idea to do at the beginning, but often you don’t need to do it at all because the reader can fill in information about the character from their imagination. Remember that you want to show and not tell. A reader should be able to infer certain details based upon what is going on within the story, dialogue that is happening or other parts of the narrative.

Talking about Action is Not Action

You should get right to the action when you are starting a story. But you need to remember that talking about action is not the same thing as action. Some writers, especially if they are writing in first person point of view, tend to tell the readers about the action that has happened up to that point or is about to happen. This is a bad idea. Instead of talking about the action, actually create a narrative where the action happens in real time.

Don’t Forget the Hook

The hook is the most important part of the story. The hook is usually the first sentence of your novel or short story. The hook is something that people read and immediately makes them want to find out more. A hook is intriguing and mysterious. Writing something like ‘John poured a cup of coffee’ is not going to make readers want to keep going.

If you want more writing tips on how to start a story, check out Reedsy