Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

What are the odds?

copyright: reading interrupted.comHow do you feel about fiction contests?

As the years go by, I’ve shied away from them, mainly because I’ve rarely won one but also because, more and more, they cost a pretty penny to enter these days.

Now I get the come-on from BookLife, which is the Publishers Weekly reach-out to the indie world: enter the BookLife Prize in Fiction and win $5000! The fee is $99, though they provided a promo code that would get me in for $75.

I was all hot to enter Yesterday Road, which might stand a better chance of winning the whole enchilada IMHO, but when I read the eligibility terms I realized it doesn’t qualify. Why? Because it mentions the name of at least one actual person.

Who might that be?

Leonardo DiCaprio, of course!

Moving on to Occasional Soulmates, it hit me I can’t enter that one either. Who disqualifies me this time?

Jude Law.


How can it be that two of my three indie novels are ineligible for a major contest? Did I shoot myself in the foot on purpose, subconsciously? What does it say about me that I keep inserting popular actors into my novels? Should I get some kind of aversion therapy? Who’s up next, Ryan Gosling?!

Luckily I do have a novel that doesn’t mention any real persons. Town Father. Everyone in it is completely made up, including all three hundred women in Hestia. If I decide to enter the contest, Town Father is my long-odds pony.

Yet again, the categories hint at the likely results: Romance/Erotica; Mystery/Thriller; Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror; General Fiction; YA Fiction; and Middle Grade Fiction.

Where’s the Literary Fiction? Where’s Historical Fiction? If Town Father gets lumped in with the General Fiction crowd, it’ll get lost in the hodgepodge of miscellaneous. Oh joy.

Anyway, anyone else out there tempted to enter this one?

Don’t forget to steal a copy of Occasional Soulmates today or tomorrow for just 99 cents. Featured on Bargain Booksy today!

3D cover

13 comments on “What are the odds?

  1. 1WriteWay
    July 15, 2016

    Really? No literary or historical fiction categories? And what’s the problem with naming actual people? Who cares about that and why? I guess if it were me, I wouldn’t bother, especially since they don’t have category for historical fiction … that’s just weird.

    • Kevin Brennan
      July 15, 2016

      Yeah, you can tell they’re gearing this toward the usual audience. As for the naming of people, I ran into the same thing with the Amazon fiction contest and guessed that it had to do with potential libel lawsuits from the DiCaprios and Laws and Goslings of the world. As if.

      • 1WriteWay
        July 15, 2016

        They should pay us to put their names in our books 😉

      • Kevin Brennan
        July 15, 2016

        Hey, now that’s a great idea! I’m callin’ DiCaprio tomorrow!

      • 1WriteWay
        July 15, 2016

        Good luck with that 😅

  2. islandeditions
    July 15, 2016

    I read of a contest recently in which entrants were asked to submit an unpublished manuscript for judging … but the authors had to have been previously published in print in the UK. I guess that’s their way of politely saying, “Indie and ePublished authors need not apply”.

    I looked at the contest you mention – briefly – and thought it wasn’t worth it. Aside from the hefty entrance fee.

    • Kevin Brennan
      July 15, 2016

      I do get the feeling that Pub. Weekly has a strategy of “exploiting” indie authors without giving much in the way of support. They offer, for sale, design and marketing packages that line their pockets, but it feels like a ripoff. This is probably in the same vein …

      • islandeditions
        July 15, 2016

        As I’ve said before, the only people on the indie side of the business who are actually making money are those offering services to indie authors. Certainly none of the indie authors I know are making much at all from their own writing.

  3. kingmidget
    July 15, 2016

    After a couple of years in the wilderness, I decided to try submitting to a couple of contests. A short story here. A novella there. Last week I learned that neither was selected — neither made even the finalist group. Which is fine. But it bothers me that we have to pay to submit to these contests. There are some that are free, but the vast majority of them charge for the honor of submitting and there’s something about that that just seems wrong to me. I’m submitting the sweat of my effort, why must I pay for your consideration.

    As for the contest you cite, I’ve got no idea. You know I’m entirely pessimistic about the whole thing. 😉

  4. ericjbaker
    July 18, 2016

    Writing contests are just another way to exploit people for money. There are too many writers and not enough readers to support them, so someone already in a position of authority pounces on those writers’ need for recognition by collecting their money and throwing a meager portion of it back at one of them. “See, somebody won! You should keep entering contests. It could be YOU next time.” Transparency is almost nonexistent. Screw it all.

    This cheerful message brought to you by the soulless cynic called me. 🙂

    • Kevin Brennan
      July 18, 2016

      We count on our soulless cynics to keep an eye on the ball. And to keep from throwing money at hopeless pursuits.

      I’m off to the nearest casino now …

    • boundrose
      October 17, 2016

      Exploitation is a very real problem, but the only way to counter that is to pick venues you trust, research, and are at peace with if they just get your money and you hear nothing back. The difficulty is finding those contests and that can be near impossible with the sheer amount of ones out there which are often listed near or alongside legitimate magazines, contests, and writers.

      • Kevin Brennan
        October 18, 2016

        Very true. The writer has to be good at due diligence. Now, I’d have thought Publishers Weekly would be a trustworthy organization, but the hefty fee they charge to enter their contest makes me wonder … 😉

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This entry was posted on July 15, 2016 by in Writing and tagged , .
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