Monday, September 12, 2016

What's In It for You? Entering the 2017 Zebulon Writing Contest

By: Dawn Smit

Are you working on your Zebulon contest submission?

The 2017 Zebulon Writing Contest opens for submissions on Thursday, September 15.

Normally, at this point I’d wax rhapsodic about how useful contests are for writers in terms of deadlines, attention to detail, professional presentation, and getting used to complete strangers reading your work. It’s just like submitting to an editor or agent—in fact, the top entries in each category effectively do just that in our VIP judging round—only we promise feedback, even critiques if contestants so desire. We have many great judges, some of whom have been judging for longer than I’ve been working with the contest.

Normally, I’d talk about how encouraging contests can be, especially this contest. Writing is generally a solitary exercise, and not everyone understands why we do it. This means we don’t get a lot of kudos, especially at the beginning when our writing, ahem, needs work. Even as we get better at our craft, we may only hear praise and constructive criticism from our critique group (you do have a critique group, right?). A good writing contest can help fill this gap and let us know that we are indeed improving. That’s what happened for me, and I want it to happen for you.

However, this year’s Zebulon has something more going for it. This year’s contest is affiliated with the 2017 Pikes Peak Writers Conference, which is celebrating its 25th year. As a volunteer, I hear things, and let me tell you, it’s going to be big. PPW is pulling out all the stops on editors, agents, and authors. Darynda Jones of Charley Davidson fame will attend her first PPWC. Keynote speakers will include Kevin Hearne of The Iron Druid Chronicles, best-selling author Tess Gerritsen, creator of the successful TV show Rizzoli and Isles, and literary agent Donald Maass, well known for his Writing the Breakout Novel workshops. Imagine talking with industry movers and successful authors. 

Imagine talking with industry movers and successful authors. Imagine walking around with a CONTEST WINNER nametag, getting first dibs on your editor/agent query appointment, and receiving your reward in front of this group of people. Imagine coming to the 25th PPWC for free because you placed first in your contest category.

So, are you working on your Zebulon contest submission?

Find out more about the Zebulon at:

Important Dates: (Mark your Calendars)

Thursday, September 15, 2016 – The Zebulon is open to submissions

Tuesday, November 1, 2016, 12 p.m. MST – The Zebulon closes to submissions

November 2016 – February 2017 – Judging

March 2017 – The Zebulon announces winners and returns judged submissions

Saturday, April 29, 2017 – The Zebulon awards ceremony and banquet at the 25th Pikes Peak Writers Conference

About the Author: Dawn Smit is a freelance editor and proofreader and the creator of Rainbow Editing®, a technique that writers can use to teach their computers to help them self-edit. She was the contest director for the Paul Gillette Writing Contest from 2005 to 2010 and has returned for an encore.


  1. Okay, you have my attention. I'll go check the contest out.

  2. I do agree that writing competitions are good for writers - for all the reasons you list.


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