1) Have you read the contest rules to make sure you’re complying with them? Even if you’ve entered a dozen times in the past, please don’t assume you know the rules by heart. Mistakes happen, so please read the rules again. The CONTEST GUIDELINES are guidelines, not merely suggestions. Follow them and you cannot go wrong.
2) Is your contest category and the word count for your entry printed in the top right corner of your entry? The word count means the actual number of words in your entry. (You don't need word count for poetry entries. You DO for all prose entries.) Your word processing program will be able to tell you this. Please do not estimate. For Book Length Prose, this means the word count of your submitted excerpt, not of the overall novel.
3) Have you filled out your entry form correctly and marked which categories you’re entering? Not filling out the category section would be okay if you’re sending only one entry and its category is noted on the entry itself, but in the case of multiple prose entries it can be important to have it in both places.
4) Have you double and triple checked that your name and/or address is NOT printed on your actual story or poem? This contest is blindly judged; meaning, the judges may not know the names or identities of the writers. The ONLY place your name should appear is on your contest entry form. (We assign each story a code corresponding with that author’s entry in our contest database, where the author’s name and their story are recorded. This way our judges have no idea who has written a given piece.)
5) If your entry requires a one-page synopsis (Book Length Prose, Middle Grade Children's Book) have you included it? In order for the judges to be able to see the plan for your entire work, the synopsis must be included.
6) Have you double-checked to make sure you included all of your entries in your envelope? In the past, we’ve received a few envelopes that are a story or poem short of the intended amount. (In fact, we once received an envelope that only had an entry form and no submission at all.) We always contact entrants to make sure of their intentions. But the more careful you are in submitting the easier it is on me. Which brings us to…
7) Have you included accurate contact information for yourself? Every year people send entries in that require followup to correct an error or two, and every year many of those emails sent bounce back because they are incorrectly written on the form. (Sometimes, handwriting interpretation on our part may be at fault.) Please legibly print your contact info, especially your email address, and make sure it’s all correct. Better yet, download and use the fill-in-the-blank contest entry forms we have available this year.
8) Have you addressed your envelope with the correct address of our contest coordinator? The mailing address to send your entries to is different than in years past. Be sure your form says 2018 and don't use a form from a previous year.
9) If you live in a state other than West Virginia, have you made certain your membership dues in WV Writers are paid in full? Out-of-state members may absolutely enter the contest, but they do need to be current members. You can check with WV Writers secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dos and Don'ts.
- DO staple your individual entries if they have multiple pages. (You can also paperclip them, but I'm just going to remove the paperclip and staple them again for added stability in transit to the judges.)
- DON'T staple all of your entries together in one big stapled document. You may use a paperclip to hold multiple entries together, but stapling them all together does not help and may actually hurt. (I've received several stabbings while trying to remove such staples.)
- DO write legibly on your entry form.
- DON'T forget to include your zip code on the contest entry form. We don't know the zip code for every town in the state and having to find your envelope to double check the return address, or look it up online, slows down the process.
If you have questions feel free to send them to us at email@example.com. Do know, though, that many of the answers to questions we have received about the contest are found at our Frequently Asked Questions list.