Writing One Page at a Time
I recently partook in a writing contest for an interactive anthology/book. The rules were to write between 1,500-2,000 words a fantasy piece that, if chosen, could be broadened into a 10k word submission. The rules were 5 submissions would be chosen to vote upon post submissions. After the deadline ended at 12 am last night, I received an email where the publishing company said after receiving a numerous amount of submissions they had changed the number of chosen submissions. Great? No, as opposed to raising the number of submission granted to be voted on, they lowered it from 5 to 3. *UPDATE: The publishing company replied to a comment abut this on a thread in a different writing group. All submissions were supposed to have been showcased for voting. Does this make it better or even worse that they went from all submissions to just 3? They claimed it would have taken too much room on the voting page. If you do a small summary of each book to choose from with an excerpt, no it would not have. You can make it go to separate pages as well.* This bothered me a bit. First off, if you run a contest on your publishing company page with definite submission guidelines and rules after the submissions are submitted, you cannot change those rules. This is not only bad syntax, but if like me, authors will be less likely to submit again. Why change the rules? If you had more submissions than you thought, you raise the number of allotments for spots to vote not decrease them.
Mind you, this is the second contest I have entered into with this company. I was staking out a third one for an anthology submission for a “Legends” contest that dealt with myths or urban legends of society. I am no longer submitting to this contest after the previous contest had been changed post submissions. The contest ran for two weeks. I had taken a sabbatical from writing and when I realized the deadline was over last night, I hurriedly wrote my submission piece and put it out to my beta readers. If changes to the number of submissions chosen were to have been made, they should have been made when they realized the number of submissions entered. Why didn’t they change it past week 1? I came in on the very last day and they had not changed. It does not bother me my submission was not accepted. This is not the point of this post. The point of my post is to be wary of publishing companies who change contest rules AFTER the contest has been over and done with and all submissions accepted.
Also, if presenting a contest, there should be some sort of rule where previously published authors of the company should not be able to enter into the contest (one of the winning entries was one of their own published members of the company). You aren’t hosting contests to promote your own writers. This is a chance for other writers to have a chance at the winning spotlight. I myself have not been published by this company, however, I am being published in an anthology with a separate company. When things like this arise with companies, it always sets off red flags for me. I am nearly finished with my short story for the next contest they are having, however, I am holding off on it for a different anthology now. I was extended an invitation by another small publishing company to submit my stories to.
I am not complaining I didn’t receive a spot on the voting line. I am complaining, however, that two opportunities for writers to receive a voting poll for their stories was overlooked by the company. Rule of thumb for writers is to always trust your gut. I was wary to submit a novel to them (that was thankfully turned down after speaking with other people regarding the company). I was even more hesitant to submit one of my short stories that was declined as well for an anthology. This third contest spelled out everything I need to know about them and why my gut was itching at the back of my mind not to submit to them. I have always been cautious when it comes to my writing and submitting it to people. I do know I will follow my gut from now (it has yet to lead me astray).
For those of you interested in an anthology contest, go to this website for submissions:
I have become acquainted with the owner of this small press and quite frankly, their personality speaks to me better than others I have met on social media.
Here are the guidelines for submissions:
“Great writer! Highly recommend. Will be using again.”
Between the Lines Publishing is looking for submissions for its first annual anthology. The publication will focus on the liminal world. Do you have a poem, flash, or short story with a liminal theme? This can be anything dealing with the world between worlds in time, space, gender, etc.
If you are interested, please send questions or submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: 1 August 2016
Anthology will be released: 31 October 2016.
All authors will receive a print copy with the ability to purchase additional copies at discounted price.
Authors retain full rights.
Previously published (you must have full rights) and multiple submissions accepted.
All of these experiences I have as an author are building me for my experiences as a publisher when my company actually takes full launch! Thank you for your time. I would list the company, but I don’t want to completely obliterate their reputation. They are just starting off, been open for a year, but hopefully their strategies hone in better than what they are currently. As of now, I will no longer submit to them until they can prove they have pulled themselves together and their rules do not change post submissions.