If you are looking for a way to get noticed, or add some credits to add to your query letter, winning a writing contest is a great way to do it. Agents and publishers like to know that your manuscript has already received recognition. Not to mention, it shows that you probably have been networking and that will help them sell you and your book to prospective publishers because you’ve already made a name for yourself.
I’ve said this before and I’ll keep saying it, networking is important! I know you hate it. It’s tedious, frustrating, and it takes practice if you want to get good at it. One of the most important things for struggling networkers is to educate themselves on the different mediums out there.
When someone says network, most people think of the obvious opportunities to gain an audience (blogging, facebook, twitter, linkedin, etc.), and not of the rare, unique opportunities like writers competitions. Today’s find is a monthly genre contest called Show Off Your Best at the Sandbox. It’s a short story contest that probably won’t gain you international recognition, but you will make connections. Even if you only come away from it with one reader, that is one reader that will buy and advertise your product.