Well, I did not make third place in the fiction contest. New Year’s Day I popped open ye olde laptop to see my story at sixth. Part of me wished I’d done a bigger last-minute self-promotion piece, but frankly, I was on an airplane for seven of the last hours of 2012, and once I landed I thought, who is voting for stories at ten o’clock on New Year’s Eve? No one, that’s who.
I expected to feel more disappointed, but I don’t. The contest was a very cool experiment, but it was also, as promised, in the beta stage. My submission wasn’t perfect, either. So I chalk up the experience to having learned a few things. Here they are:
- It’s important to have a great title. “Shunyata” becomes very evocative after you read the story, but it’s probably meaningless to 98% of readers, initially.
- If everyone else is posting an image, post an image! Even if you can’t figure out how to do it (ahem: I should have asked). Mine was the only story in the top ten that didn’t have an image.
- Consider length. I submitted a 15-page story. The story in the #1 slot was more like six.
- Contests are sometimes based on popularity, and sometimes you just aren’t the most popular. Medium’s contest was exciting, technologically-forward, a great premise. But at the end of the day reaching the top three had a lot to do with how Twitter-savvy one was and how much support one could garner using social media. I’m not a dinosaur, but I opened my Twitter account just for the contest, and have barely used it. I might not have been the ideal entrant. I keep wondering whether all the entrants around me were under 25, but maybe now I’m just being paranoid.
Thank you so much to everyone who voted. I know the format was not ideal–you clicked “recommend,” you never knew if your vote went through, you had to have Twitter. These were not great circumstances for everyone, but I appreciate the support nonetheless. Onward!
Happy New Year.
I fucking loved that story; thought it was brilliant. It’s still with me, and I never would have seen it if you hadn’t put it in that contest. So, thanks.
You’ll get ’em next time, Susie Meserve.
Yeah! Thanks lady.
I also thought your story was amazing! I am still thinking about it too. I appreciate you listing all your lessons learned– I think many of them apply to lots of things we writing do (and will do) so thanks for sharing.Onward, indeed!
Hey, thanks. The outpouring of good will from this experience has been really lovely for me. Almost as good as the $2K would have been (ha ha). I’m approaching 2013 in a “what can I learn, how can I be better?” sort of a way, and that feels great. Onward to you, my friend.