Summer 2022 “Get Published” Cash Writing Challenge
PWA’s Summer 2022 “Get Published” Cash Writing Challenge
Basic Timeline & Eligibility:
- The challenge is open to all current PWA members (no registration required, and past challenge winners are welcome to enter again).
- Teams are permitted. However, one entry = one prize, regardless of how many members are on your team.
- The challenge begins June 1st and ends August 31st.
- When the active challenge period is over, write a short essay about your experiences.
- Send your essays to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than midnight Eastern on September 16th to be considered for prizes.
- Winners will be announced via press release and in the October edition of our News & Notes e-letter.
The Challenge Theme & How It Works:
The “Get Published” Writing Challenge, like most PWA writing challenges, has the double goal of helping you build client-getting skills and putting money in your pocket.
The skill we’ll be working on this summer is pitching article ideas to editors.
Why? Two reasons! First, there’s an incredible need for fresh content in the world right now as businesses, cities, and individuals increasingly lean on well-written content to bolster their marketing efforts. Many established writers are fully booked, leaving a great opening for new writers able to deliver high-quality content. Which brings us to reason number two… if you put a good idea in front of any editor right now, you’re likely to be hired, and hired fast.
But which editors should you be pitching at right now?
You can, at any time, make a pitch to anyone. That’s your privilege and gift as a writer. But for the purposes of this competition, we’re going to narrow the playing field down just a smidgeon…
Each week for the next twelve weeks, I want you to find one new trade magazine in your niche or area of interest. Read a bit to get to know the tone and topics usually covered, and track down the submission guidelines for the publication. Make sure that it pays for articles (some online-only magazines may not). Then, brainstorm some article ideas that would be a good fit for that magazine. Once you’ve got a good list going, pick your top idea, craft a short pitch that follows the guidelines of the magazine, and send in your pitch.
12 weeks. 12 pitches.
Submit in the spirit of practicing and doing your best, with no attachment to the outcome. You may, indeed, hear nothing back. That happens. Or, you may find yourself getting published. That happens, too.
If you need more inspiration or encouragement as you go along, remember to dive back into Chuck Warren’s series on writing for trade magazines from earlier this year. Chuck passed along several highly practical tips that will help you hone your pitches and potentially see yourself in print.
And of course, regardless of whether or not your pitches succeed, you can also win through your final experience essay.
Your final experience essay (this is how you win cash from PWA)
August 31st is your last day to send in a pitch to an editor, and marks the end of the active skill-building part of the challenge. From there, you have two weeks to reflect and then write a short summary of your experience. This final write up (2,000 words MAX) should cover:
- Which magazines you chose to target (and why)
- What happened — and please do submit an essay even if all that happened was you sent 12 pitches! — testing & trying is part of the writers’ journey!
- How you felt about the pitching process as the weeks went on… did you feel more confident in submitting? Change your approach midway?
- Any shifts in your ongoing business you’ll make as a result of this challenge
- Any tips or takeaways for other writers interested in trying a similar approach
Send your final experience essay to me as a document file (.doc or .docx) attachment at email@example.com no later than midnight Eastern on September 16th. Use “Summer 2022 Get Published Challenge Essay” as your subject line. Be sure to include your full name and contact information in your email.
All summaries received on time, in the correct format, will be eligible for challenge awards.
What can you win?
FOUR equal prizes of $250 are being offered. Each prize carries with it the option to be published on the PWA site.
Winners will be announced in the October issue of the PWA News & Notes and in news items and press releases that may appear on the AWAI main site and elsewhere. Prize monies will be mailed out approximately 4-6 weeks after winners are announced, via paper check for our US members and via PayPal for International members. Publication — with your byline and a photo — will happen in October on the PWA website.
Questions? Reach out to me, PWA Director Jen Adams, directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for the fastest answer to your question. You can also post questions in the LinkedIn community, and may even find a pitching partner or accountability partner there, too.