Short Story Competition

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Short Story Competition

Postby garyreynolds900 » Thu Jan 22, 2009 8:18 am

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Welcome to the Concept Sci-fi 2009 short story competition - your chance to win £100 and some signed goodies.

This year Sean Williams, author of the Astropolis series and numerous Star Wars books, will be judging the competition. He's also responsible for setting the theme!

The competition costs £3.50 (GBP) to enter and all short-listed entries will be published in a special edition of the Concept Sci-fi ezine. The winning entry will be decided by Sean and announced on the Concept Sci-fi website. So, what are you waiting for? Check out the details here.
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Re: Short Story Competition

Postby admin » Thu Jan 22, 2009 1:48 pm

Speaking only for myself, I do not submit to competitions that charge fees, or to magazines that charge reading fees. If a magazine has a large enough circulation to make it worthwhile to publish in it, then it can afford an editor to read the manuscripts.

But that's just me.
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Re: Short Story Competition

Postby garyreynolds900 » Thu Jan 22, 2009 2:48 pm

admin wrote:Speaking only for myself, I do not submit to competitions that charge fees, or to magazines that charge reading fees. If a magazine has a large enough circulation to make it worthwhile to publish in it, then it can afford an editor to read the manuscripts.

But that's just me.


It's interesting that a fair few people share this view - and I can completely understand where they're coming from. I'm not expecting to persuade you, but would like to offer some explanation...

Normally, an author would submit their story to an ezine, or other 'print' magazine, for considered inclusion in an issue. They might get paid for this (if it's a paying market) or they might not (if it's an exposure only publication). Concept Sci-fi runs an 'exposure only' ezine at the current time and the ezine is freely downloadable - and the circulation is quite reasonable and growing steadily.

This is separate to the competition I'm running now. The two are not related at all.

What I'm advertising here is a writing competition - a chance for one writer to prove he or she is better than all the other entrants and to walk away with £100 and signed copies of books from Sean Williams. To cover the prize money, I'm simply charging an entry fee. The British Science Fiction Assoiation ran a similar competition last year, where they charged £10 to enter and had a £500 prize.

I am just one person, and cannot afford to run the website and offer £100 as a prize without charging an entry fee. Many competitions both over the web and in real life have entry fees. Some people don't mind paying to enter a competition, some do. That's their choice.

Concept Sci-fi is run solely by me. I'm the editor and the web designer. I work for free and fund the site out of my own pocket - so being able to afford an editor to read manuscripts is not really the issue here. I can afford to read the manuscripts. What I can't afford is to offer £100 prizes without charging an entry fee - I wish I could!

Thank you for taking the time to provide your opinion anyway.
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Re: Short Story Competition

Postby admin » Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:59 am

And thank you for your reply.

You say your "circulation" is large and growing. May I ask how large, and also how you measure circulation? My guess is a counter that records how many people visit your site, but does not record how long they stay.

I write because I enjoy writing. But I want people to read my stories. And, as a third consideration, it is nice when I make a little money.

It isn't hard to get a few people to read a story -- just ask them to. Rather than submit my story to an e-zine, unless it is a major e-zine such as Intergalactic Medicine Show, I'd rather workshop the story in a writers workshop, such as Baen's Bar. I suspect I get more readers. I certainly get more comments.

To get a thousand readers is not hard -- if you write reasonably well. After that, I think it becomes very hard. Even the major science fiction magazines: Analog, Asimov's, and F&SF probably aren't read from cover to cover by most readers. I know I only read the stories by authors I know I like: Card, Bujold, Beagle, Niven, LeGuin, and Wolfe are the ones most likely to show up in magazines. I had a story in the December 2008 Analog. How many people read it? Maybe 10,000 is my guess.

On the other hand, millions of people have read Ray Bradbury's "There Shall Come Soft Rains", Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery", and Arthur C. Clarke's "The Star".

To paraphrase an old fanish saying, "It's a proud and lonely thing to be a sf writer."
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Re: Short Story Competition

Postby garyreynolds900 » Fri Jan 23, 2009 10:01 am

I employ a statistics package on the Concept Sci-fi site, so I can record exactly how long each visitor spends on the site, what pages they visit and what files they download. I also maintain an email subscriber list with a marketing service that allows readers to subscribe/unsubscribe to the ezine (this list is used for the email distribution of the ezine). Those two combined gives me a good idea of the number of people who download the ezine each month directly from my site or get it delivered directly to their inbox.

What's less clear to me is the number of people who download the ezine from the few 'archive' sites that I also use, i.e. websites that hold past issues of magazines. So that blurs the picture a little, but does increase the number of sites where people might just 'stumble' upon Concept Sci-fi.

I too am a writer and, like you, I write because I enjoy it. That's exactly why I established the Concept Sci-fi ezine - not to publish my own work, but to provide other authors, often new writers, with an additional avenue for getting their own stories 'out there' and read by people.

My ulterior motive is that any additional editing work I do on these stories also helps to improve my own writing (as well as hopefully improving the writing of the submitter).

Concept Sci-fi is still small compared to Intergalactic Medicine Show, but I do have plans of my own that will hopefully see Concept moving into the semi and eventually the pro market. Naturally this will take time - I'm a patient person.
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Re: Short Story Competition

Postby admin » Sat Jan 24, 2009 8:10 am

I wish you all the luck in the world.

I sense that you are reluctant to share the circulation data you have put so much time and effort into gathering, but it would provide insight into the ezine world that is unavailable elsewhere.
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Re: Short Story Competition

Postby garyreynolds900 » Sun Apr 05, 2009 5:31 am

I've had a chance to capture and analyse the circulation data for the last edition of the ezine. Excluding downloads from third party sites, the currently circulation is about 2,500. I'm quite pleased with this since Concept Sci-fi has only been running a year. Hopefully, ciruclation will continue to grow at the current rate for the next 12 months.

Also, just a quick reminder that the deadline for the Concept Sci-fi 2009 short story competition is 15th June, so if you haven't started writing already...get those fingers moving!

You can find the full set of competition rules at http://www.conceptscifi.com/competition.htm
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Re: Short Story Competition

Postby garyreynolds900 » Wed May 27, 2009 11:02 am

A final reminder that the closing date for entries to the Concept Sci-fi short story competition is fast approaching. You have until 15th June to get your entries in. Good luck!
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