Commercial Mags Get In On the Contest Action

If your literary aspirations are a bit more, shall we say, glossy—your ideal number of readers in the six- or seven-digit range—you might want to check out these new writing contests. Esquire, the monthly magazine for the "intellectually curious and confident modern man" (circ. 700,000), and Real Simple, the magazine for women that features "the inspiration, information, and time saving tools they need to make their lives easier" (circ. 1.9 million), recently launched contests that offer some good, old-fashioned cash and, perhaps more importantly, publication in magazines that are read by a wider cross section of the American public than most creative writers ever expect to reach.

The new Esquire Fiction Contest offers $2,500 and publication for the best story based one one of these three titles: "Twenty-Ten," "An Insurrection," or "Never, Ever Bring This Up Again." Writers may submit up to four thousand words by August 1. 

Real Simple's second annual Life Lessons Contest offers three thousand dollars, publication, two round-trip tickets to New York City, hotel accommodations for two nights, tickets to a Broadway play, and a lunch with Real Simple editors, for the best essay that answers the following question: When did you realize that you had become a grown-up? Writers may submit essays of up to fifteen hundred words by September 7.