Let me say up front that I'm not a fan of writing contests. You will almost never see me promote them. Yet I'm going to share one with you today. I'm not being paid to promote it. I have no ties to the company running it other than the fact that they emailed me a copy of their press release.

I'm simply letting you know about it -- the Publish or Perish writing contest from Brigantine Media -- because it has an interesting angle that caught my attention.

That angle is the fact that the contest doesn't rely solely on your manuscript. It equally revolves around your book marketing plan. And given that authors, indie or traditionally published, are increasingly responsible for marketing their own books, I think this is a smart move.

Let me tell you a bit about the contest.

Contest Details

  • There is no entry fee for the contest.
  • It runs from April 15, 2015 through August 15, 2015.
  • Results will be announced on September 15, 2015.
  • Manuscripts in all genres will be considered (though Brigantine Media mostly publishes business, education, and fiction books).
  • The prize is a publishing contract with a $2000 advance, paid when the author signs their contract.*
  • Entries are judged on a 50/50 basis between their manuscript quality and their marketing plan.
  • Manuscripts can be a maximum of 150,000 words.
  • Marketing plans can be a maximum of 5000 words.

* The winner must also give Brigantine Media the right of first refusal on their next two books

Learn more.

Should You Enter the Publish or Perish Writing Contest?

As I mentioned, I have no connection to Brigantine Media. So I cannot recommend either working with them or avoiding them. I strongly suggest asking around, especially if any of their existing authors are in your network.

I personally won't enter, but that's because I don't enter writing contests and I'm indie all the way. And while I mostly cater to indie authors here, I know some of you are still interested in more traditional publishing deals or taking the hybrid approach. So this might be of more interest to you.

If you're looking for a traditional publishing contract, entering a contest like this might be the right move for you. There's no financial commitment, whereas many writing contests these days come with entry fees. So that's a positive sign in my opinion.

You can learn more about Brigantine Media's royalty structure, purchased rights, and rights reversion policies by checking out their sample contract.

Enter the contest.

About Your Book Marketing Plan

[Update: Someone from Brigantine Media emailed me to let me know that they've expanded the below marketing plan list. I appreciate them clarifying what authors should include, in this or any book marketing plan. You can view the updated guidelines in their FAQs.]

One area where I wish Brigantine Media would offer more clarification is in their marketing plan requirements. As of now, this is all I could find on their site:

Here are the components we like to see in a marketing plan for a book:

  • the audience for your book
  • how you plan to reach your book’s audience
  • marketing materials that will publicize your book
  • speaking opportunities to promote the book
  • author’s bio
  • author’s platform: your visibility, your authority (credibility, credentials), and your proven reach to your target audience

Include as many of these as possible, along with any other ways your book will be marketed.

That very loosely covers the basics, but it's largely about tactics. And a list of tactics is not a marketing plan. I wish they'd give authors a bit more guidance on identifying their target audience for example -- something authors I've worked with tend not to fully understand (often thinking their book appeals to almost everyone).

If this isn't enough background for you and you can't get more clarification on what makes for a good marketing plan in the eyes of the publisher, you can use my free book marketing plan outline as a starting place. It will give you more details on identifying your target market. Plus, it'll briefly explain other elements of a real marketing plan like your market analysis, competitive analysis, the difference between marketing strategies and tactics, and some of the financial things any serious book marketing plan should cover.

You can also subscribe to the All Freelance Writing newsletter to make sure you're notified when my upcoming, more detailed book marketing plan template is released (along with a possible interactive online version if I can get the new tool working in the next few weeks).

Does this type of writing contest appeal to you? Tell me why or why not (so I know whether or not to share similar leads in the future). Have you ever worked with Brigantine Media? If so, please leave a comment and let other authors here know a bit about your experience with them so they can make a more informed decision before entering the contest. All feedback is appreciated.

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