Competition with publishing contract as prize!
Found this on Fantasy Fiction website. It's a competition with a publishing contract as the prize. Got to be worth a try I think. I was trying to find the catch but there doesn't seem to be one.
Well, it looks like a typical means to sell anthologies. You enter your story, and lo and behold, they choose YOUR story to publish in an anthology. It'll only cost $50-$100 to order a copy of the anthology, but how could you NOT order it and see your story in print in a real book? And, of course, you might want a couple more copies to give to family or friends. That's basically the point of this contest - sell as many anthologies as possible.
But of course, if you WIN, then you get a publishing contract. I once spoke with a winner of one of these contest contracts. It was a take-it-or-leave-it proposition, and by his telling, the terms made it far better to leave than take. If he'd been less savvy or more vain, he would've signed a contract to pay THEM to publish his novel, but it was indeed a publishing contract. Of course, I don't KNOW if this is that kind of contest, but it sure sounds like it.
I think if you want to enter contests, enter ones with significant cash prizes, say starting at $1000 for 3rd place and going up. Those are the contests where the publishers are serious about the quality of the writing, and willing to pay for it. Typically, if you win, you're automatically published in a well-known magazine in addition to the prize money.