Short stories are notoriously difficult to get published, let alone get paid for. Unless you are a famous name there is little chance of having a collection accepted yet many writers still love writing them.
Competitions are probably one of the main ways of bringing your short stories to public attention but then of course competition is fierce. If your aim is to get paid then competitions are probably not for you, except that the publicity involved in being placed in a prestigious competition will do a lot for your career. But the big competitions attract the big fish of the writing world and the entry fees are usually close to £20 per story. Even the modest competitions usually ask about a fiver entry fee now so if you enter several a month you could soon be out of pocket.
For me, publication is more important than prize money so I tend to enter only competitions that produce an anthology of the best entries. These too can be hit and miss with the smaller comps, often run by writing groups seeking to boost their funds, producing amateruish booklets that really won’t further your writing cred. However, some of the indie presses are producing quality publications with marketing strategies to match.
Such a one is Last Call , an anthology of the best entries from Ouen Press‘s 2015 ‘Working Dogs’ competition. My entry was shortlisted and while I was a bit disappointed in being commended (and not even highly!) rather than winning a prize, a slight feeling of being one of the also-rans, yet it is still an achievement to have your story selected from a large number of entries.
However, I wasn’t disappointed on receiving free copies of the anthology. It’s always exciting to see your work in print and the book is nicely printed with an excellent front cover. My parcel also included a large pack of professional advertising postcards. Ouen are also to be congratulated on their post- publication publicity, using social media to promote the book for each individual contributor. They also contacted my local newspapers which has resulted in some press interest. I am very impressed with Ouen and will be watching out for their further publications.