***Entries are now closed for the contest. Thanks to everyone who entered!
Let’s try something different.
I’ve been thinking about all you amazing readers here at Write it Sideways, and wondering how I can involve you more in what happens on the blog. How can I show my appreciation for those of you who take time to read, post comments, critique other writers’ work, subscribe to newsletters, share my blog via Twitter and Facebook, and give me a constant source of encouragement?
The First Ever Write It Sideways Blogging Contest
What I propose is a contest in which you’re invited to submit an article to be posted on Write It Sideways.
Some of you have blogs of your own, and some don’t. Some of you are well-known online or in print media (magazines, newspapers, journals, anthologies, book-length fiction/nonfiction), and some of you have little writing experience at all.
So, we’ll have two categories:
- Experienced Bloggers/Writers: You’ll be considered ‘experienced’ if you have a blog of your own with greater than 500 subscribers, or if you’ve published more than three guest articles on other blogs, or if you’re traditionally published in print media.
- New Bloggers/Writers: You’ll be placed in this category if you don’t have a blog of your own, or if your blog has an audience of fewer than 500 subscribers, or if you’ve published fewer than three guest articles online and are not traditionally published in print media.
Categorizing posts in this way will ensure a level playing field for those who enter.
*Note: By ‘guest article,’ I mean an article you have written for a blog which does not belong to you in whole or in part. It has been published on that blog with credit given to you, and you may or may not have been paid for your work.
What You Could Win
I’ll choose the finalists from each category to appear on Write It Sideways, then I’ll put together a post with links to each article, and the rest of us will cast our votes for our favourites.
As a grand prize winner, you’ll receive:
- A $20 gift card from Amazon.com
- A free blog or website critique from both me and Peter of Web Services for Business, if you already have a blog. If you don’t yet have a self-hosted blog, Peter will set you up with your very own – at no cost to you! (Some minor conditions apply, but not to the cost.)
- An interview on Write it Sideways
There will be one grand prize winner per category.
As a finalist, you will:
- Have your article published on Write It Sideways, with a byline including links to any personal blogs/websites, online fiction, Twitter accounts, etc.
- Increase your visibility in the blogosphere. For new bloggers, this means increasing the likelihood of having your guest posts accepted elsewhere.
And hey, if you’re not a finalist, you can always pitch your completed guest post to any number of other writing blogs.
Conditions of Contest
- You may only enter the contest once
- Entries must be original material, not published anywhere else online (including your own blog) or in print
- The number of finalists per category is to be determined by the total number of entries received
- I retain the right to change the contest rules at any time (which, of course, I wouldn’t do unless absolutely necessary)
- I retain the right to place your entry in the most appropriate contest category, based on your writing and blogging experience
- Articles must relate to writing (fiction, nonfiction, blogging, inspiration, productivity, editing, publishing, language, the writing life, etc.)
- Articles must not contain any profanity
- Submissions that don’t follow the submission guidelines below will be deleted, so please read carefully
- Entries should be between 450 and 1100 words long
- Give your email the subject line: “Blogging Contest Entry”
- At the top of your email, please: (a) write your full name; (b) link to your own blog, if you have one, and state the total number of subscribers to your blog; (c) clearly state your previous experience writing for the web or print media. Here are some examples of what you might write:
Example 1: “I do not have a personal blog or website, and I have never written a guest article for the web or been published in print media.”
Example 2: “I have a blog with 250 subscribers, and I have written two guest posts for Blog A and Blog B.”
Example 3: “I have a blog with over 1800 subscribers, and I’ve written more than 30 guest posts for blogs such as Write to Done, Storyfix, Men with Pens, Zen Family Habits, and Women on Writing.”
Example 4: “I don’t have a personal blog or website, and have never written an article for the web, but my fiction/creative non-fiction/article has appeared in Magazine A, Newspaper B, and Journal C.”
- Please DO NOT SEND ATTACHMENTS of any kind. I won’t open them. Copy and paste your completed article into the body of your email and send to suzannah [at] writeitsideways [dot] com before Friday, April 8th, 2011 at 12:00 pm EST
- Once all entries have been received and read, I’ll send you a form notice letting you know whether (a) your entry has been chosen as a finalist; (b) your entry has not been chosen as a finalist, but you’re free to submit the article elsewhere; (c) your article has been disqualified for failing to follow submission guidelines. Finalists may be asked to submit further material such as bylines.
Criteria to Determine Finalists
How will I decide which articles will be finalists and be published on Write It Sideways?
- Content: How helpful is the article to writers? Is it original content or something we’ve all seen a thousand times before?
- Style: Does the writing hook me and make me want to continue reading? Does it include a catchy title? Is the writing clear, concise, and generally free of errors?
- Structure: Does it include an introduction and conclusion? Is there plenty of white space? Are subtitles used when appropriate?
Remember, after all the finalists have been published, you—the readers of Write It Sideways—will determine the grand prize winners.
Tips to Help You Write a Winning Blog Post
Wonder what makes a great blog post that’s sure to catch readers’ attention? Check out some of these articles for inspiration:
- 11 Reasons Your Blog Post Flopped (and how to fix it)
- How and When to Use White Space in Your Writing
- Who Are You Writing For? Define Your Audience First
- 9 Editing Tips That Make Your Writing Sparkle
- How to Get Your Readers to Keep Reading
- Cut Your Words: 5 Articles on Concise Writing
Questions about the contest?
Please feel free to ask in the comments section below, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!