Back in July 2014, I finished a short story for the first time in several years, and I began submitting it to some well-known professional and semi-professional short story markets. After a few rejections and some “close but no thanks” responses at some of the most competitive venues, I decided on a whim to enter the Writers of the Future Contest.
This is an international contest run on a quarterly basis and limited to authors with a few professional short fiction sales and no novel sales. Professional authors with very recognizable names judge the entries. Now entering its 32nd year, the contest has stirred a bit of controversy in the past, but well-known and respected authors of fantasy and science fiction stand by its legitimacy, and no one can deny that many of its winners go on to successful careers.
I recently found out that I received an honorable mention for the fourth quarter of the contest’s 31st year. Now, while there’s a handful of finalists and semi-finalists each quarter, there are typically quite a few more honorable mentions. I’m part of a pool of 140-odd honorable mention recipients from the fourth quarter, so I’m not sure if this is even an accomplishment.
That said, I’ve read that they receive thousands of entries each quarter from around the world. On the list of finalists, semi-finalists, and honorable mentions for this quarter alone, I noticed submissions not only from most (if not all) of the United States but also Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Scotland, South Africa, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. That’s a broad range of competition. Looks like I’m the only one from Wisconsin to “place” this quarter, so there’s that. And I do get a certificate in the mail!
I’ve since sent my tale, “A Bowl of Echoes,” on to another market, so we’ll see where that goes. Another tale is in the works.