Longer Fiction - A Contest - Revised Rules
The prize, to be awarded to at least one winner (in the case of a tie, I may award multiple prizes), is one some of you may find intriguing. I am a pretty fair editor and typographer. I will work with you to edit the winning entry until it is as polished as possible, typeset the manuscript as a small book, and provide you with a file you can submit to Lulu.com - which will give you, at no cost, an electronically published book visitors to Lulu may buy.
If you would like to have the book assigned an ISBN and made available through various online booksellers, you will have to pay that fee yourself. However, you will still have all the preparatory work done for you. If you are also an artist or photographer, you may submit cover art or illustrations with your manuscript. You will probably want to limit interior illustrations to greyscale to keep the book's price reasonable.
If you intend to provide your own artwork, please make advance arrangements with me so you don't overwhelm my inbox or exceed my e-mail's limits. If you do not provide a cover illustration, I will locate artwork or a photo that is available with an "attribution only" licence, and use typography and judicious manipulation to provide a suitable cover. The exact process followed in editing will be worked out by agreement between the Wandering Author and the winner.
Due to the length of submissions, I will not be able to publish them here, much as I would like to do so, but I will review entries unless the entrant specifically requests otherwise. To avoid being swamped by writers with already complete manuscripts, should word of this contest spread, I reserve the right to limit the number of entrants at any time.
To enter, e-mail me at thewanderingauthor at yahoo dot com with "Wandering Author Contest Entry" in the subject line. Include your name, or the pseudonym you want to use for your book, e-mail address, and blog or website. As long as I get your e-mail before I close the field to new entrants, you've reserved a spot in the contest. I will post the names of every entrant in a sticky post at or near the top of this blog.
I hate to have to do this, but to avoid legal tangles, anyone under 18 may enter, but only if their parents provide signed consent for them to do so. I will send my mailing address on request, for the purpose of sending a signed letter of consent. Upon receiving your request for my mailing address, I will reserve a spot for you until I get your parents' consent.
The tentative deadline for sending completed submissions to me is 31 January, 2007. It is my hope that will give everyone who is interested time to polish up their entries. The deadline will not be moved forward under any circumstances, but if enough of you have trouble meeting that deadline, I reserve the right to extend it as seems appropriate. If any of you do have trouble, please let me know as soon as possible.
Your completed entry should be between 18,000 and 50,000 words, give or take a few hundred. You should submit it in one of the following formats: WordPerfect 12 or earlier, MS Word 2003 or earlier, AbiWrite, ASCII or ANSI plain text, or RTF. Submissions that include active macros will not be accepted! Do not include photos or artwork you do not own the rights to!
E-mail your submission, as an attachment 9 MB or less in size, to me at thewanderingauthor at yahoo dot com and include "Wandering Author Contest Submission" in the subject line. Include in the body of the message a statement that you are the sole owner of rights to your submission; if you don't object to a review, add that you assign the Wandering Author the non-exclusive right to quote from that submission.
Since it isn't clear right now if most of the entrants will send in their submissions early, or wait until closer to the deadline, it is impossible to predict the exact date the winner will be announced. I will announce that date as soon as I have enough information to do so. Any extension of the deadline, or clarification of these rules, will be added to this post, so save a permalink to it if you plan to enter.
The Wandering Author will decide the winning entry or entries, but may at his discretion seek the opinions of others. I offer the following guidelines to those considering entering. I have read fiction in all genres that I enjoyed; if it is well written and has an interesting story and characters that is all I ask.
I do find most formulaic genre fiction, that which focuses on the expected elements of the genre to the exclusion of all else, distasteful. It also seems to me that the quality of poetry is a more subjective matter than perhaps any other form of literature. Which is not at all the same as saying poetry cannot win.
I can ignore minor factual errors; I'd simply suggest you correct them during the editing process. However, unless you are explicitly writing alternate history, or fabricating a completely new fantasy or science fiction world, a setting which rings totally false is more than enough to ruin a story for me. Even then, the setting should have some internal consistency.
I must rule out "fan fiction", for legal reasons at least. In any case, I think only the greatest of writers could make such fiction work for non-fans. Young adult fiction is fine; I won't absolutely rule out fiction for younger children, but I won't encourage it, either. Finally, while I don't mind stories with a moral or a point to them, it needs to be a part of the story. There are few things as dreadful as a tract thinly disguised by a few splatters of fiction flung on.