This, my friends, is the brass ring.
If you’re a new science fiction/fantasy or horror writer, then you may not know the what’s and how’s of submitting your newly written stories. Or you may have done a little homework, checked out some of my resources, and kinda have an idea of what you want to do with it.
Well, if this isn’t the first name on your list, you’ve got the wrong idea.
Here’s all the reasons why you should be sending your work to this place first and foremost.
One: The pay! First place is $1000, second is $750, and third is $500. So even if you just make third, you’re making more on your story than you would at virtually any other pro place. You factor that in with a possible 5 grand payout if you did make first… at which point you’re only competing with three other stories for that year. If there’s another place that’s available year round where you can get $6000 for one story, somebody comment and put me on. Don’t say Playboy either, it’s easier for a convict to break out of prison than it is for a new guy to break into Hefner’s world.
Two: The credit! This is what this here blog is chronicling, breaking into the world of pro pay. That’s exactly what you just did winning this, even at third place. You now earned that first one of “three pro-published stories” requirement needed to be an SFWA pro. Not only that, now in your cover letter to Editor X you can say “I am a Writer of the Future.” And yeah, most editors say they don’t too much look at the cover letter credits, but believe me, that’ll raise eyebrows in a lot of circles.
Three: The other competition! I’m not saying the guys you’re going up against are bad writers. No, they’re awesome writers. But they’re new writers, just like you. That’s different than putting your story into Asimov’s or Clarkesworld. There you’re competing with new guys and writers whose names are as household as Swiffer and Mr. Clean. At least with Writers of the Future, all the folks are new, which can’t help but mean equal footing of you versus some other anonymous Joe or Jill.
Four: The golden ticket! When you win, you get an invite to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. No lie, it’s a suit and tie event, people giving you big-ups like you just saved the planet. It’s a trophy taking, merry making, picture snapping, drink imbibing good time. I’m pretty sure they pay for it. So while getting accepted by anybody may feel like a big brass band parade to you, these guys actually give you that on their end.
You can enter once a quarter. I have two in the system now, one from last quarter, one from this quarter, and come April I’m going at it again. If you win once, that’s it. You’re done, no more chances to party like a writer. Beyond that, the website actually has pretty good forums, with helpful advice from pros.
The one I put in two quarters ago came back recently (just before I set this website up, in fact) with an Honorable Mention. That means I almost got to the big show. Almost. Stay tuned to see what happens with the ones that are there now.