Friday, August 26, 2005

Ralan's Writing Contest - August 31st Deadline

I know that in the past I've voiced my opinion regarding contests in which an entry fee is involved. In general I dislike the idea of paying any fee.

However, and this is a very big however, Ralan's short story contest is different. Ralan, the guy responsible for one of the best resource sites for writers on the internet,, is having a short story contest. The entry fee is $20 US and I think it's worth every penny. Forget about the fact that Sheila Williams and Stanley Schmidt (from Asimov's Science Fiction and Analog Science Fiction & Fact respectively) will be the final judges, the simple truth is that we've all been benefiting from Ralan's excellent site for years. If a subscription to a good site is worth this much (a year), then surely a contest is worth that too.

From Ralan's newsletter:

The contest is the main source of funding for For six years, before I started the contests, I paid everything out of my own pocket, but the cost of maintaining a viable, fast web site is far greater than it used to be.

I also had plans to introduce a new web design and a searchable database (in addition to the lists) in the next year, but that will be tabled if the contest is called off. Many of those who have entered have expressed to me that they are entering not to win, but to support What about you -- is the Webstravaganza worth $20.00 a year?

The contest - Ralan's 500-Word Clincher Contest - is now open.
I'm certain that most of us have a 2000-6000 word short story lying around. Take the last 500 words and sent it out.
Remember, other than the fact that this is a speculative fiction contest, also that Ralan is a stickler for guidelines and rules so make sure you read them carefully.

What are you waiting for? Go to and find out about the contest.

Categories: ,


Pat Kirby said...

I have a "what's in it for me" approach to "fee" contests. Each manuscript got a critique in the last contest I entered. The initial jury panel included published authors and agents. The final judge was an editor at a New York pub house. So besides the critique, I got a feel for how my manuscript was viewed by the pros.

I avoid "fee" contest that seem little more than a sneaky way to get people to pay to submit to a publication.

Melly said...

Pat, as always, you put things so well, and in case of Ralan there's a lot of things 'in it for me.' Maybe not directly, but there's a benefit no doubt.