So far this year I've entered two writing contests for unpublished authors: the Genesis Contest (sponsored through ACFW), and the Touched By Love Contest (sponsored by Faith, Hope & Love of RWA). By the way, the Genesis entry deadline is today, March 31.
For the Genesis, I entered two historical romances, the first 15 pages; the cost was $30 per entry. For the TBL, I entered only one historical romance, consisting of the first 30 pages; the cost was $25.
Now why did I pay all that money (a total of $85) to enter these contests? Was it because I crave the enlightening feedback on my story from the judges? Yes. Was it because I want to see what areas in my writing craft I need to work on? Yes, again.
Ultimately, however, I entered the contests because I want to compare myself with other writers. I'm eager to find out where my writing fits on the scale: am below average, in the middle, or above average? My finishing scores in these contests might give me a better idea of how much further I have to go, before I finally start coming out on top.
What about you? Have you ever entered a writing contest? Why did you enter and what was your experience? And if you haven't entered one, why not?