First of all, what is a Short List? (If you already know, you can skip a few paragraphs). The judges, Professor Konrad and myself, after carefully reading all the entries, prepare what is usually called a Tertiary Short list. This comprises all the entries that in our opinion have sufficient merit to warrant a second reading. In a prestigious contest, around 25% of submissions enter this category.
The aim of the second reading is to evaluate those entries that stand an excellent chance of winning a cash prize. This becomes the Secondary Short List and usually comprises around 10% to 12% of the total submissions.
Now the judges encounter the really hard part of the Contest as the aim now is to determine which entries are so highly appealing, it seems absolutely essential to reward the author and promote his or her work far and wide. Usually about 50 to 70 entries make this Final (or Primary) Short List.
Obviously, even to make the Tertiary Short List is quite an achievement. Authors who figure on this list are obviously doing all things right. In a smaller contest, such gifted and talented authors would undoubtedly win a prize -- or at least a High Commendation.
In the past, I have published our complete Short Lists, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary. However, there are two problems. Firstly, they take up a lot of room in hidden html on the website. Secondly, these results will be published on Google and other search engines. For various reasons, writers have asked me to remove their names. This is easier said than done. Furthermore, Google will NOT (repeat NOT) remove your name from their search results, even if they are deleted from the website.
So what I propose in future is to publish the complete Tertiary Short List in this Newsletter as soon as it is available. This has the advantage of letting you know at the earliest possible time that your entry is under serious consideration.
If you have any comments, please let me know. All contributions to this Newsletter, such as letters and comments, personal experiences and even gripes, are most welcome. There is, alas, no monetary payment, and I do not guarantee to publish all submissions, although each one will be carefully considered.
Both The Margaret Reid Poetry Prize for Traditional Verse and the Tom Howard Poetry Contest for Verse in All Styles and Genres are currently open for entries. This year, the prize pool for each of these contests has been increased to $5,350 (including a First Prize of $2,000), yet entry fees remain pegged at $7 for every 25 lines. There is no line limit, nor is there any limit to the actual number of entries you may submit. Published poems and poetry that has won prizes in other contests are eligible, as well as original, unpublished verse. However, if you win a prize, you must be able to give Winning Writers permission to publish your winning entry on their website.
The $5,350 Tom Howard Short Story, Essay and Prose Contest for 2009 will close on March 31. The prize-money and all other aspects are exactly the same as the poetry contests with just two exceptions. The entry fee is $15 and there is a limit of 5,000 words for each entry. All categories of prose are eligible, including children's stories and one-act plays.
So all three of our 2009 Contests are currently open. You'll find full details at respectively http://poetrycontests.exactpages.com and http://shortstorycontest.0catch.com Alternative sites are http://www.geocities.com/rastar330 (for traditional poetry), http://www.geocities.com/rastar330/poetry.htm (for poetry in all styles and genres) and http://www.geocities.com/rastar330/prose.htm
All subjects and genres are welcome in all our Contests. But the judges are human beings, not robots, so it's advisable to take a look at some of our previous prize-winning entries:
"Watching Time", our latest anthology of winning prose, has for the third time almost completely sold out. The good news is that the wholesaler managed to find a few copies and that Amazon has purchased them. So once again Amazon (and Amazon alone) has this book on sale for only $12.95. Please click this link:
WATCHING TIME: Anthology of Prizewinning Essays & Short Stories
Another piece of good news concerns the reprinting of "Mr Christian and the Bag Lady", an earlier collection of Tom Howard Prose winners. This particular anthology has been out of print for years. But here it is, now on sale for the first time at Amazon:
Mr Christian and the Bag Lady: An Anthology of Prize-Winning Stories
For poetry, it would be difficult to go past SAILING IN THE MIST OF TIME. This book is currently "on special" at many bookstores, including Amazon, for only $9.95, which is marvelous value for a large-format, 194-page book containing no less than 106 prize-winning and commended entries (don't take any notice of the "50" in the title) from previous Margaret Reid and Tom Howard Poetry Contests. Just click the above link for Amazon.
Finally, a new, expanded edition of my "Write Ways to WIN WRITING CONTESTS" has just been published. The book has been completely revised, re-written and re-set. Despite all this, and an additional 20 pages of helpful text, the price has been lowered to only $12.50!
Write Ways to WIN WRITING CONTESTS: How To Join the Winners' Circle for Prose and Poetry Awards, NEW EXPANDED EDITION