How to win our 2016 writing contest and claim the $100 grand prize

A few tips and techniques to catch our attention and get your piece in the final round of judging

So you want to win the 2016 Stuff Writers Like Writing Contest and take home the $100 Grand Prize, huh?

We’re thrilled to have you participate.

The first thing you need to do is register to receive your official invitation and instructions. It takes only a few seconds to register; it’s 100% free, and we will send you everything you need to know instantly, including the deadline for entry as well as all of the rules and guidelines.

Haven’t registered yet?

Please follow this link to register now:

You don’t even have to submit a writing sample to win; simply registering for more information enters you in the $25 prize drawing, and we’ll send you a “lucky URL” so you can share with your writer pals and get 3 extra entries for each person you refer.

Already registered but need the info resent?

Never received the confirmation email with instructions on submitting your writing entry to compete for the $100 Grand Prize? Can’t remember your “lucky URL” to +++ your odds of winning the $25 drawing? Use the form below to have the info resent to you:

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Now for some tips …

The fact of the matter is, there is no guaranteed formula to win our writing contest, but there are a few things that can help you write a piece that catches our attention and improves your chances of getting into the final round of judging.

First, you need to know how the judging works: Our founding contributors are the ultimate judge of the Grand Prize winner. (NOTE: All registrants—even those who do not submit a writing entry—are eligible for the $25 drawing.) As the contest administrator, I am tasked with the difficult job of choosing the top five or so pieces up for judging. I will then send those pieces to SWL’s founding contributors, who will rank them. The writer with the top-ranking piece will become the Grand Prize Winner. If there happens to be a tie, I will cast my one and only vote to break it. Otherwise, I will not vote.

So, as you have already surmised, your first goal is to get your piece in the top five or so up for judging.

And since I hold the unwelcome honor of being the person who decides which pieces make it into the final round, I want to give you a short list of some of the things I’m looking for—more-less in order of importance:

  1.  The piece is instructional in nature and written for a writer audience.

  2.  The subject matter is about a unique writing discipline with which you are clearly comfortable.

  3.  It includes a killer headline that will capture readers’ attention with an overt or implied promise of a useful benefit to writers like you.

  4.  Whether it’s 300 words (the minimum) or 1,000 (the maximum), it wastes not one. Every word serves a purpose. It keeps readers’ attention from the first word to the last.

  5.  It carries an interesting and creative theme from beginning to end without significant loose ends.

  6.  Many of SWL’s founding contributors are ex-journalists and content marketers, which means we like facts and performance metrics, such as the numbers, sources and/or case studies that back up your advice, e.g., how much time it saves us, how few steps it takes to accomplish the big benefit, how hard yet worthwhile it is, etc.

  7.  We love creativity, but not for it’s own sake. Please be sure it serves a purpose.

Now, more than one person has asked about the second guideline above: “a unique writing discipline with which you are clearly comfortable.”

What does that mean?

It simply means write what you know.

A few examples …

If you are a self-published young adult book author, for example, maybe a good story to tell is something along the lines of, “Five cliché scenes to avoid in your next young adult novel” or “How I found the right book cover illustrator to capture my characters and maximize views on Amazon.”

If you do content marketing for an author, for example, maybe something like, “How to grow your blog subscribers by 250 readers every month” or “How to leverage Twitter to boost your public profile and increase your book sales” or “How to front-load your Amazon book page with 5-star reviews before your next big book launch” might make for a winning entry.

If you are a poet, for example, something along the lines of “The marketing plan I used to sell 1,000 full-price units of my poetry compilation book in its first week” would no-doubt catch our attention. Meanwhile, a screenwriter might submit a piece titled something like, “5 Steps to a Winning Screenwriter Pitch.”

Again, these are only examples. Using them verbatim will negativity impact your creativity score.  Moreover, as an expert in your niche, you’re bound to come up with far better ideas than ours. See tip 2—the keyword is “unique.”

The bottom line is …

The keys to getting noticed are to write what you know; make it useful to writers like you; make it interesting, informative and easy to read; and make it something you can envision reading on

Most important of all, write something you like!

Follow these steps, and you will greatly improve your odds.

That pretty much sums it up. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments below, and I’ll do my best to respond promptly so you can get back to your winning writing entry.

We look forward to reading your stuff. You may submit as many entries as you like. That’s another way to increase your chances. And don’t forget; even if you don’t have time to submit a writing entry, once you register for more information, you can share your “lucky URL” as much as you like to +++ your odds of winning the $25 drawing. You get three extra entries for each person you refer.

Thank you for reading, writing and liking Stuff Writers Like. Without you, we wouldn’t exist.

All the best and happy writing!

If you have not already registered for the contest and a chance to win our $100 Amazon gift card (actual picture above) and other prizes, please click here to learn more.

April 6, 2016
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