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<i>The Writer</i> 2012 Travel Essay Contest Rules FAQ
<i>The Writer</i> 2012 Travel Essay Contest Rules FAQ
<i>The Writer</i> 2012 Travel Essay Contest Rules FAQ


Q: What is the contest entry deadline?
All entries must be submitted by 11:59PM (EDT) June 15, 2012.

Q: What are the judges looking for in a submission?
A: Entries will be judged based on clarity, organization, logic, and overall quality of writing, including grammar, punctuation and syntax.

Q: Can I enter more than one submission to the contest?
A: Yes. Each submitted travel essay requires a $10 entry fee.

Q: How can I confirm that my entry was received?
A: You will receive an email confirmation once your entry is received and processed for judging. Please allow five business days for the processing of your entry. If you submit more than one essay/memoir, you will receive a separate confirmation for each one entered.

Q. When and how will the winners be notified?
A. Winners will be notified via email by August 10, 2012. All entrants will be notified of the results by August 15, 2012.

Q. Do you accept entries from writers outside the U.S. and Canada?
A. Yes. Residents from any country may enter the contest. All entries must be written in English. The contest is governed exclusively by the laws of the United States. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply. Void wherever prohibited or restricted by law. Employees and affiliates of The Writer, Kalmbach Publishing Co., and Gotham Writers' Workshop are prohibited from entering.

Q. I accidentally entered the wrong essay. How can I rectify this problem?
A. Entries are forwarded to The Writer for judging as soon as they are submitted; therefore we cannot accept revisions for any entry.

Q: How do I change my contact information if my email, mailing address, or phone number changes?
A: You may change your contact information by sending your name, email address, mailing address, and phone number to [email protected]. No changes to your entry are permitted after submission.

Q. Where can I learn more about writing a personal essay or travel writing?
A. WriterMag.com offers several helpful articles about writing essays and travel writing.  

Q: Who is judging the entries?
A: Editors at The Writer will read and judge each of the entries and select 15 semi-finalists based on the criteria outlined in Rule 5. Finalist judge Larry Habegger will read the semi-finalist entries and select the three prize-winners.

Larry Habegger is cofounder and executive editor of Travelers’ Tales publishing company. He is a writer, editor, journalist, and teacher who has been covering the world since his international travels began in the 1970s. As a freelance writer for more than 30 years and syndicated columnist since 1985, his work has appeared in many major newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Travel & Leisure, and Outside. The decisions of the judges are final. 

Q: Do you provide notes or feedback to writers?
A: Unfortunately, we cannot provide notes or feedback due to the large number of entries we receive.

Q. Is there an age limit on entering your competition?
A. Yes, entrants must be 18 years or older on the day they submit an entry.

Q: Can entries be submitted via regular mail?
A: No, all entries must be submitted using the online entry form found at the home page of the contest.

Q. Do I need to copyright my work before I submit it? How do I do this?
A: Some believe that once you create a piece of writing, you need to mail it to yourself to unofficially "register" the copyright and prevent someone from stealing your work in the future. However this practice began, it is unnecessary under U.S. copyright law.

According to the U.S. Copyright Office, copyright law protects your work as soon as you create it, or when it is fixed in a copy. On its Web site, the office notes that "Copies are material objects from which a work can be read or visually perceived either directly or with the aid of a machine or device, such as books, manuscripts, sheet music, film, videotape or microfilm." If, for some reason--a jealous rival, an untalented and unscrupulous roommate--you are worried about future lawsuits over your work, you simply need to save your initial notes and drafts. If the authorship of your work ever is contested in court, these will assist you in claiming initial ownership of anything you wrote.

Official copyright registration occurs upon publication of your work. At that time, the publisher registers the copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. If you self-publish a book, you may mark it with a copyright symbol, although you don't need to officially register it. Finally, when submitting your unpublished manuscript to editors, it's not necessary to mark it with a copyright symbol.

For more detailed information, visit Copyright.gov.

Q: What rights does The Writer have to my essay?

A: The only rights that The Writer has are these: If you win first place in the contest, The Writer would have first rights to publish it in the magazine, and nonexclusive rights to post it on the website, WriterMag.com. If you win second or third prize, The Writer would have nonexclusive rights to post the essay on WriterMag.com.

After the essays have been published in the magazine or on WriterMag.com in accordance with the contest rules, the rights (except for allowing The Writer to keep your work posted onWriterMag.com), are all yours and you can do whatever you want with your essay. The posting on the website would be indefinite, but it doesn't prevent you from posting or printing or submitting your essay anywhere else you wish.

Q: What are the prizes?

A: First Place: $1,000 (USD); publication, along with the finalist judge's comments, in The Writer magazine; a 10-week online writing workshop offered online by Gotham Writers’ Workshop ($420 value); and a one-year subscription to The Writer magazine.

Second Place: $300 (USD); enrollment in a four-week How to Get Published seminar taught online by a literary agent and Gotham Writers’ Workshop ($150 value); publication on The Writer Web site (WriterMag.com); and a one-year subscription to The Writer magazine.

Third Place: $200 (USD); enrollment in a four-week How to Get Published seminar taught online by a literary agent and Gotham Writers’ Workshop ($150 value); publication on The Writer Web site (WriterMag.com); and a one-year subscription to The Writer magazine.

Q: Who can I contact if I have questions regarding the contest?
A: Send an email to [email protected]. Please write “Travel Essay Contest” in the subject line.

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