My short story, Blind Loyalty, received an honorable mention in the second quarter 2012 Writers of the Future contest. I found out about the award a bit sideways because of a glitch in the notification system. A friend saw my name listed on the blog: http://www.writersofthefuture.com/node/725. However, yesterday, my beautiful certificate (pictured here) arrived in the mail, so I would have found out soon anyway :).
Writers of the Future (WotF) is a wonderful speculative fiction contest where writers who have not managed to break into the pro publications can be measured against other non-pro writers. The competition is steep, both because there’s an element of luck in getting to pro level and because of the sheer number of people who submit to the contest. At the same time, any placing level, honorable mention being the lowest then silver honorable mention and so on, is an indication that the story stood out among a thousand submissions or more.
If you haven’t given this contest a try, and you’re still eligible, I highly recommend it. The coordinator, Joni, is a delight to talk to, always encouraging and helpful, the prize money should you reach a prize level is significant, and the recognition is a wonderful thing. It is one of the few contests where you compete only with people in relatively the same situation as you are and yet with enough submissions to make the competition fierce and a win significant.
Like any other submission, the judges are human so it’s subjective, so not catching the judge’s eye does not mean the story is horrible necessarily, but it’s worth taking a second look if you never place.
Here’s the most important part of it though. The contest runs annually on a quarter system. Whether you place or not, if you are actively trying for the contest, you will be polishing and submitting a minimum of four stories a year. And once those stories are polished and ready to go, whatever the response you get from WotF, as long as they don’t publish it for you of course, you can easily turn those stories around and try for other markets. “Worst” case scenario, your stories find homes in pro markets and you’re no longer eligible to submit.
So are you taking your place in the submissions for WotF? And if not, what are you waiting for?
Your last point is what made me start submitting to WOTF regularly. Having the deadline makes it a lot more likely that I’ll write the story.
I have no need of a push to write stories, but the push to edit and get something out there has been very useful over the years :). Good luck with your submissions.
Technically, I can still submit — I have not sold more than three stories to pro markets. I’ve hesitated to sub there this year because I’m concerned about the contest’s ties to Scientology. Not that there would be any coercion or proselytizing, but more the connections at the administrative level.
Huh — part of my reply got cut off. Trying again:
GAH!!! Comments doesn’t like that cut-and-pasted apostrophe.
“worth taking a second look if you never place” — I haven’t placed in the contest for years. Still managed SFWA status, though. 😉
Hugs on the apostrophe. Probably a smart quotes issue. And they make a real effort to separate the two. But yes, it’s something each person has to decide on their own.
It’s definitely a good push to get more stories out there. And the new judge has been writing his Daily Kicks with the contest entries as his inspiration. It’s both educational and scary at the same time.
Yeah, well, it’s his second time around at this judging thing, so he’s got some grand wisdom to share. It’s still his perspective, but for this contest, signing up for his Daily Kicks is definitely a wise approach, and they’re good tips even if not.
Maybe it was just me, but I had a bad experience with the coordinator, so I stopped subbing to WotF.
The Scientology link didn’t exactly make me sing it praises either.
Of course, it doesn’t help that my personality is ready to block people after one slight. :>
Aww, that’s too bad. I don’t know whether it was a different coordinator or you just hit her on a bad day. I know the shift to electronic submissions has been a rough one for example. However, the good thing is that there’s other contests and markets for you to try for :). Have you subbed to the Parsec annual contest? Two of my early successes came from there.