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Why I Love Writing Contests, in 100 words or less

The writing contest, a staple of the mid-20th century, are experiencing a resurgence in popularity - largely because there are so many interesting ways to use Web 2.0 technology to harness user-generated content.

On the heels of its romance-writing competition, Gather.com is partnering with CourtTV and Borders for a crime-writing competition, reports the Book Standard. In addition to taking advantage of Gather's intensely loyal participants, the contest implements some interesting interactivity with CourtTV via interviews and web postings. Says Gather.com CEO Tom Gerace:

"The Gather.com, Borders and Court TV alliance is a powerful mix of media that delivers a multi-faceted platform to identify, vet and elevate aspiring mystery writers."

The heavy-hitter judges are Sandra Brown, David Baldacci, and Harlan Coban. The contest is a way of driving interest in CourtTV's new series "Murder By the Book". Presumably not about the victims of being thwacked over the head by a Riverside Shakespeare (though God knows some of us have attempted this route when all else has failed us).

, Penguin and HP are also sponsoring a writing contest for first novels, in which the winner gets a non-negotiable $25,000 contract with Penguin. In this case, the novel is submitted using CreateSpace, a POD publisher owned by Amazon. According to the Book Standard:

"The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award reflects the Print 2.0 momentum seen in the book world, where production platforms like the HP Indigo press help creative people say what they have to say through on-demand publishing," said Rich Raimondi, vice president and general manager of U.S. Graphic Arts Organization at Hewlett-Packard. "We are pleased to be working with Amazon.com and Penguin Group to provide an opportunity to a deserving author who otherwise might not have access to the broader publishing community."

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