I recently bought the book Winning Digital Photo Contests by Jeff Wignall. It had great reviews on Amazon and I think they're all well deserved.
If you're serious about improving your chances of winning photographic competitions, this book will definitely help.
There is specific information on what will catch a judge's eye. For example, the author tells us how to create an element of surprise, how to engage the viewer, how to create an image that will make the viewer laugh and how to open a window into a rarely seen world.
Most of the information on each page is contained in just a few paragraphs, so it's easy reading. There is some technical information for the more advanced photographer, but even if you're a beginner, you won't have any trouble working out how to create a winning image.
At the back is advice on what types of photo contests to enter and scams to watch out for.
Interviews with photographers who have been very successful in winning photo contests give you some insider tips.
Perhaps the best part of the book is the collection of inspiring photos that the author has sourced for the book. They're all winners of various photo contests and all of the technical details are listed.
Improve Your Photography
Even if you're not particularly interested in entering photo contests, this book is worth owning for its wealth of practical tips on how to photograph landscapes, wildlife, people, travel, sports and close-ups and much more. I love flipping through it for inspiration.