Traditional Publishing

My writing competition success - An interview with writer, Neil Forbes – Saturday April 26, 2008

Neil Forbes recently found success in a writing competition he found through We caught up with him to talk to him about the competition, and his writing.

fw: Congratulations on your competition success. Tell us a little about the competition, your entry, and your prize.

NF: The competition was organised by a publisher in Nevada. Writers' submissions were required to include a nominated chapter, and members of the public then voted on its worth. Highest vote wins, etc. etc. I came third, receiving US$60.

fw: Is writing something you've always done, or something you've come to relatively recently?

NF: At school one of the few things I was good at was English and written expression, but it was only when I retired that I wrote short stories. In a management role however my marketing reports were always very well received.

fw: What made you start entering competitions?

NF: I started entering competitions when I joined your organisation and began receiving email bulletins regarding who is running competitions.

fw: Were you finding it difficult to get good information on potential markets before that?

NF: Yes I was. Your information was the best I received.

fw: Via our InstantAlert service we generally send out details of more than two newly added competitions every day. How did you choose which ones to enter?

NF: The InstantAlert usually provides details of what type of story is required, i.e. fiction, nonfiction, science, fantasy, romance, Sci-Fi, etc. I work on crime fiction mainly and would generally select which competitions to enter based on word limit. My stories are between 3,000 and 5,000 words.

fw: Do you always stick with the same kind of contests, or do you enter a variety?

NF: Pretty much enter the same type of contest, I now have six stories which I believe are suitable for a general audience.

fw: How long was it before you started finding success? Did you enter a lot of competitions before starting to get results?

NF: About 15 months and entered about 24 competitions. Coincidently the story which was a prizewinner has now also been printed on the web by Pitwit of London.

fw: What do you think was the key to your success?

NF: Its a personal thing but I work on the KISS system: "Keep It Simple, Stupid". The more complicated a story, in my opinion, the less chance the reader will appreciate it.

fw: What next? More competitions, or do you have other plans for your writing?

NF: I will continue to submit my stories. Judges have told me my stories lend themselves to tele-movies, so maybe some scriptwriter may have an interest some time.

fw: Well we wish you the best of luck with all of it, and thanks for taking the time to talk to us.

To search's database of competitions for yourself, please click here.