Unlocking The Benefits of Writing Contests for Publishers

Writing contests can be a great way for publishers to gain publicity, expand their social media reach, demonstrate their commitment to diversity, connect with other industry professionals, and generate revenue. They also create an opportunity to discover new talent while also providing benefits to writers

Starting a writing contest can be a powerful tool for publishers to increase goodwill, brand recognition, publicity and find new, fresh talent. There are several reasons that a contest might benefit your publishing program far more than simply opening your submission process.


A writing contest can also generate valuable publicity for publishers. If the contest is well-designed and well-executed, it can attract the attention of media outlets and literary organizations.

Contests can be newsworthy in ways that simple open submissions are not.

"Publisher seeking submissions from authors"

is not a headline likely to get much traction in media outlets. Nearly all publishers actively look for new titles to publish. There's nothing newsworthy about it.

"New award for unpublished writers of urban fantasy fiction"

is far more likely to find its way into print and online publications. A prize, a deadline, and the excitement of competition make for a good story. Additionally, more publicity can be garnered from announcing the shortlist and the winner, with a high probability of print coverage in newspapers covering the winner's region.

Social Media and Brand Recognition:

Starting a writing contest can help publishers expand their social media following and build goodwill with their existing audience.

By allowing writers to showcase their work and receive recognition, publishers can show their support for the writing community. This can increase loyalty from readers who appreciate the publisher's efforts to foster and promote new talent.

Contests can also help publishers to engage their existing authors by inviting them to participate as judges or mentors. This can create a sense of community and solidarity within the publishing industry. It also gives established authors a chance to give back and support emerging writers.

Diversity and Inclusion:

Contests have the potential to attract a diverse field of writers, including those from underrepresented backgrounds. By highlighting diverse winners and finalists, publishers can demonstrate their commitment to inclusivity and attract a broader range of readers.

Building Industry Connections:

Contests can help publishers connect with other industry professionals, from agents and editors to booksellers and librarians. This can help establish the publisher's presence in the publishing community and lead to more collaborative opportunities.

Generating Revenue:

Contests can generate revenue through entry fees and sponsorships. This can help offset the costs of organizing and promoting the competition while also providing a new source of income for the publisher.

New talent:

Perhaps the most significant benefit of a writing contest for publishers is the opportunity to discover new talent. By soliciting entries from a wide range of writers, publishers can identify promising authors who may not have been on their radar otherwise. This can lead to new book deals, collaborations, and other opportunities that can benefit both the publisher and the writer.

In addition to these benefits, organizing a writing contest can be a fun and rewarding experience for publishers. It provides an opportunity to engage with the writing community, build relationships with writers, and gain insights into emerging trends in literature.

Of course, there are some challenges to organizing a writing contest. Designing, promoting, and judging the competition requires significant time and resources. It also requires careful planning and execution to ensure that the contest is fair, transparent, and well-regarded by writers and readers alike. However, with careful planning and execution, the benefits of a writing contest can far outweigh the costs.

If you're a publisher looking to reap the benefits of hosting a writing contest, start planning today! With the right strategy and promotion, a contest can help you discover new talent, build industry connections, and establish your presence in the publishing community. Consider what type of contest will best suit your goals and target audience, whether a genre-specific competition or open to all writers. Set clear guidelines and deadlines, and don't forget to promote the contest through your website, social media channels, and partnerships with industry organizations. By unlocking new talent through writing contests, you can create a win-win situation for both your business and the writing community.

Wendy Woudstra

Wendy Woudstra is the driving force behind PublishersArchive.com, an ad-supported informational website featuring a comprehensive database of book publishing companies, literary festivals, and literary awards.

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