If you're interested in publishing a novel, chances are you've run into a major roadblock: No one will take you seriously until you are published. And no one will publish you until they can take you seriously.
What a Catch-22.
Here's a loophole: It's often easier to publish short stories, even if you have few or no credentials, than it is to publish a novel. And once you've published a short story, tah-dah! Your foot is in the door. You can write down 'Published Author' on your resume. Brilliant.
Of course, many short story contests are expensive to enter. Here are a few cheap (and sometimes free!) contests I've found.
Kansas Voices: Kansas residents only- Deadline March 15 2010 (so hurry it up!). Entry fee: $3 per piece.
Glass Woman: Deadline March 21 2010. Women only (Sorry, dudes). No entry fee (Yes, that's right; it's FREE!)
Warren Adler Short Story Contest: Deadline April 11 2010. $15 entry fee. :( But the winnings are significant, so check it out anyway.
Oh hey, while you're at it: Do you write creative nonfiction? Do you have a TRUE story you'd like to share? See if you can get a story into a Chicken Soup For The Soul book! How would THAT look on your resume? Awesome, right?
Check back soon for more contests, tips, and expert advice. You want to get published, riiiiight?
PS. If you're into photography and beautiful clothes... Check out the JPeterman Photo Contest.