There are many writing competitions around and it would be great to enter them all, but apart from the difficulty of coming up with work of a high enough standard, all those entry fees add up. Sadly, not all prizes reflect the amount of the entry fee either. Sometimes the only prize offered is publication, which is great if all you want is the exposure, but most writers need to earn to eat. Entrants are also, in effect, paying to be published. They might be better off self-publishing on Kindle or Smashwords.
    Struggling writers might think that their only options are to stump up a fee or give up on contests, but there are some free ones around offering prizes that are worth having. Readers' Digest runs a 100 word story contest each January, and The Binnacle Ultra-Short competition opens in December for stories or poems of up to 150 words offering $300 in prizes. Both are worth entering, and it isn't only flash fiction contests that are free. Coming up in the near future are the Dark Places quarterly contest with a first prize of £50, deadline 15th June; the Baen Fantasy Award with publication at professional rates for the winner, deadline 30th June; Over the Redline contest on a theme of Faith with £50 first prize, deadline 1st July and The Morley Literature Festival competition with £50 for the winner, deadline 1st July. Why not give them a try?