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Wondering How to Make Money Writing? | Writer's Life

Updated: Aug 13

by Sarah J. Kings


As you know, not everyone who has ever written or published a book is sitting in the lap of luxury. Heck, many authors and poets struggle to make ends meet with their art. In most situations, our creative writing is an act of passion, set aside for lunch breaks at work or the middle of the night after little ones are tucked in bed and everyone else’s needs are met.


Unless you’re John Green or J.K. Rowling, writing doesn’t always “bring home the bagels”. In this way, the notion of a “starving artist” is not necessarily that far from the truth. As writers, we are used to shelling out money for literary agents, paying reading fees, and coughing up credit card numbers and security codes for self promotion. If your book hasn’t made the New York Times Best Seller list just yet, and you are looking for some ways to earn some money writing, look no further. Here are some amazing writing opportunities that you can take to the bank!

Midway Journal - $50-$500

Midway is currently holding it’s 1,000 Below Flash and Poetry Contest. Entries are $10, and to submit your work must be original and unpublished. Brevity is the name of the game here; fiction is limited to 1,000 words, and poetry is capped at 40 words. The contest is being judged by author and poet, E. J. Koh, whose work has been featured in TIME Magazine, BuzzFeed, and The Stranger. This contest is running until May 31st, so enter soon.


Lunch Ticket - $500

This August, Lunch Ticket is holding The Gabo Prize. This literary award focuses on multilingual texts and translated works. They are looking for works of poetry or prose. It is important to note that your original work as well as the translation should both be included with your submission. Submitting to this contest is free, and all works will be evaluated by an unnamed Guest Judge.


River Styx - $1,000

River Styx is holding an International Poetry Contest. Your work must be unpublished and original and must be under 14 pages. It is $20 to enter, but the payout of $1,000 is quite the prize. The contest will be judged by Lee Ann Roripaugh, who is an award-winning author and poet, a college professor, as well as the Editor & Chief of South Dakota Review. If you feel as if you have a poem that could win, enter soon. This contest closes on May 31st, 2020.


Red Hen Press - $1,000

If full-length fiction is more your thing, you are in the right place. Red Hen Press is currently holding a Fiction Contest. To enter your manuscript must be original, unpublished, and at least 150 pages. It costs $25 to enter the contest, and winners will have their book published by Red Hen Press alongside the $1,000 prize. The deadline to enter is September 30th, 2020. Just make sure that you remove any author bios and any other identifiers from your submission so that you don’t get disqualified.

Palette Poetry - $3,000

Palette Poetry is currently accepting submissions for its Sappho Prize. All work must be original, unpublished, and primarily written in English. It is $20 to submit, and the last day to enter is June 14th, 2020. Submissions will be judged by Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, and the author of Barbie Chang, Victoria Chang. It is important to note that for this contest, Palette is only looking for poetry written by women (cis, trans, non-binary, etc.)


Uno Press - $10,000

The University of New Orleans Press is holding its Publishing Lab Prize. This contest is international, and is open to anyone who believes they have a great novel on their hands. There is no word limit, and submissions are open until September 1st, 2020. The winner of this prestigious award will win a contract to be published by Uno Press and will receive a $10,000 advance on royalties.

Hopefully there is a paid contest on this list that matches your creative talents and interests. Let us know in the comments if you plan to submit to any of these competitions. Good luck with your entries and submissions!



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