Wednesday, June 07, 2006


It's Just Possible

...that the following stats may be of interest only to me, but as I'm considering writing up a blog entry detailing my experiences from the inside of an independently run literary contest, I thought I'd offer this little tidbit from inside Triplopia's Best of the Best contest: as of the deadline of midnight, Pago Pago time, May 31, we received a grand total of 81 entries. This for a contest that purposely did not stipulate what constituted a previous first place win in a literary contest as a prerequisite. Grand prize, $100, no entry fee charged. What's compelling about these 81 entries, however, is that if a strict reading of the contest guidelines is adhered to, 37 would be eliminated without being read.

We're being more generous about that. This time around.

This is why I enjoy working on the zine. That's about as clear a case as I have ever encountered for following the guidelines when seeking publication, and the hands-on nature of the lesson is something that I respond to strongly. In the hands of a more well-positioned editor, nearly half of the contest submissions would be eliminated without having even been read. That means by reading the rules, and structuring your entry to fit them, there's a good chance that you've already moved into the top 50% of the entries.

That's well worth considering when you're putting your next submission package together, whether it's a contest or not. Time doesn't permit me to make the same observation about general submissions, but I highly suspect that the numbers aren't all that different from what they are in a contest.

I'll write more about the process once we're a bit closer to completion.

Hi Gene,

I've read this post a few times. These are sriking stats. Quite interesting. I don't often submit, but tend to be a stickler for the details, easily embarassed to myself if I might not follow the guidelines.

Hi Rus,

Is this a subtle way to tell me that I need to update my blog? If so, message received.

I was pretty impressed, yes. And having that lesson taught to me in such an immediately practical way is one of the reasons that I value the DIY aesthetic: when someone who doesn't know much about the craft engages the craft fully, they learn the elements of that craft. There's no better teacher than experience, and we're fortunate enough to live in an age that allows many to publish who, in past times, would have been denied that opportunity.

Here's to engaging those times, and learning from them.

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