Years ago, I swore off writing competitions. I never won. It’s as simple as that.
That doesn’t mean I don’t compete. I’m competitive by nature. I played team and individual sports throughout high school. I love card games, from cribbage to bridge, and even owned a modest collection of Magic the Gathering and Warlord cards that I’d bust out and play now-and-then. Won a tournament or two here and there, as well. And don’t get me started on boardgames! Not only is it all about the fun, but also the chance to crush your enemies, have them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of your friends, your wife and your children after their humiliating defeat at my hands!
::cue the supervillain laughter::
Right…where was I?
I haven’t entered a real writing competition in ages. I may have done one a couple years ago, perhaps even unblogged about it too, but I’m lazy and didn’t feel like digging through these archives to find it.
Then this email happened:
Duncan Swan and I would like to congratulate you on your inclusion in the inaugural Self Published Science Fiction Competition, or the SPSFC. Roughly three hundred books have been selected, and yours is one. Over the next year, ten teams of bloggers and reviewers will read each of your books and winnow them down to ten finalists and eventually one winner.
What have I done?
Taken the plunge, I reckon. BLOODLINES has entered the SPSFC Thunderdome. Established by writers Hugh Howey and Duncan Swann, SPSFC is an epic clash of self-published authors that will be remembered in verse, song and the occasional drunken shanty.
300 writers enter, one writer leaves.
Do I expect to win?
Honestly, maybe no…ish?
(I’m neither being coy nor pessimistic. This unblogged entry isn’t about me searching for outside support, either.)
See, I know BLOODLINES is a good story. How do I know this? I’ve already received glowing Amazon reviews, book blogger reviews and added several word-of-mouth “atta boys” to my street cred.
So what is this all about?
The obvious answer is SPSFC creates an opportunity to generate more exposure for my work. While I do care if I win or lose, I’m more interested in seeing how far and wide BLOODLINES will go. Will my audience grow from the exposure? Will I pick up new readers (beyond the judges, that is)?
But, it’s more than that.
SPSFC will connect me with new and exciting writers from across the globe. It’ll present stories I might never encounter otherwise. It’ll introduce me to a broader spectrum of science fiction, its varied sub-genres, and the strange and remarkable creatives who have cobbled together brilliant stories from their own imaginations, revealing worlds heretofore not explored.
THAT excites me.
Sure, Twitter does that already in its way. But Twitter can also be an unapologetic dumpster fire of opinions and stupidity that makes it very hard to separate the quality, thoughtful writers from the legions of blowhards looking to obliterate their peers for the sheer fuckery of it all.
It has often been said by successful authors that one of the best things a writer can do is read. Expand your mind, experience how another author weaves a tale, and maybe pick up a thing or two. SPSFC will showcase 300 other new and exciting writers for me. The 10 teams of bloggers chosen for the daunting task of crowning a winner will meticulously break these entrants down. I’ll read their reviews, then make my own decisions on which stories I want to grab.
BLOODLINES could easily be on the chopping block, too. I mean, my chances of winning are as good as the next writer, so I have no delusions of grandeur here. Don’t get me wrong, though. Were I to miraculously win this thing, I’ll be shouting my novel’s success from the highest mountaintops. But I’ve already begun connecting with some of the entrants, checking out their book links (where available), reading their opening chapters to get a sense of both the competition, but also searching for new worlds to read and conquer. And I’ve been thoroughly impressed so far. The quality of work is both intimidating and astounding.
SPSFC is going to be a literary bloodbath.
And it’ll be glorious.
May fortune favor the foolish.