Its the end of the year, and I’ve been busy trying to meet some deadlines for entering Crimson Sky in several writing contests. Last October, I decided to publish my newest novel exclusively as a self-published e-book, and the experience has had a certain learning curve. I wasn’t particularly surprised to find that many writing contests don’t accept entries of self-published works, although this appears to be changing. One contest official told me that their organization was actively reviewing this policy, I suppose in response to the growing number of established authors who are discovering the advantages of self-publishing in the digital age. In fact, I was pleased to find that a number of notable contests do accept self-published works, and I’ve been preparing entries for several of these.
Another thing I’ve found is that while some contests are willing to consider e-books entries, they still require a paper copy for contest judging. Although most will accept an ARC (Advanced Reader’s Copy) in a spiral binding, submitting several paper copies can boost contest entry costs considerably. My ARC of Crimson Sky is 75 pages long set in 10 point type and copied front to back. With binding, this runs me about $13 a copy in printing costs. Some contests want three copies and these have to be sent via snail mail. When you add up copying, mailing, and entry fees for several contests, the costs add up. Hopefully, more writing contests will soon join the epub revolution and allow entrants to e-mail in electronic submissions. This would not only save the contestants time and money, it would also save a few trees. Not only that, but I’m convinced judges would find electronic entries easier to manage.