MooingAround.com contributor Mary Ellen Lives won the Penn Cove Literary Arts Award for her humorous short story, “A Damn Good Funeral.” Here’s an interview she gave us:
What were your feelings when you learned you won?
“I was and am ecstatic! Even though this is not a highfalutin contest it pays, and this is the first time anyone has given me any money. I have to say, though, that I get excited even if they don’t pay. Just publish me!!”
How do you choose what contests to enter?
“I generally don’t enter them if they charge. Some of these contests are way out of line and I can get rejected for free all day long.”
How many things do you send out per month?
“I try to get a couple out a month. Right now for instance I have four out for review. Two of those have to be exclusive so that takes those stories off the market. (These are short stories only. I also have the novel out to one contest and one publisher.) I just had two stories rejected so I will be sending those back out when I figure out where I want them to go. That takes a lot of time.”
What advice do you have for writers submitting to contests and/or to publications?
“Do your research. I know, everyone says that but it’s really true. Spend the time to read what the mags are looking for. And expect a lot of rejections. Even if it is what they are looking for. Get down about it for a day, then get over it and move on.
“Don’t just send to paying magazines or print magazines. Send work to university presses and others who don’t pay in anything and don’t look down at online only sites. They all give encouragement and exposure. The two things every writer needs.”
Congratulations, Mary Ellen. Your win is our encouragement.