Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Now THAT'S What I'm Talkin' About

At least, this is part of what I'm talking about in regards to promoting the short story. Thanks to Gerald So for posting about this contest.

The purpose of the Million Writers Award is to honor and promote the best fiction published in online literary journals and magazines during 2004.
The Reason
The reason for the Million Writers Award is that most of the major literary prizes for short fiction (such as the Best American Short Stories series and the O. Henry Awards) have ignored web-published fiction. This award aims to show that world-class fiction is being published online and to promote this fiction to the larger reading and literary community.
How It Works
The Million Writers Award takes its name from the idea that we in the online writing community have the power to promote the great stories we are creating. If only a few hundred writers took the time to tell fifteen of their friends about a great online short story--and if these friends then passed the word about this fiction to their friends (and so on and so on)--this one story would soon have a larger readership than all of the stories in Best American Short Stories.
I particularly like two parts about the award: 1) promoting the fact that high quality short stories are being published online; and 2) the part about writers telling their friends about good online stories. This is one of the ways we can use the Internet to promote short stories. Essentially word of mouth. Any advertising executive (you trust an adman, can't you?) will tell you that you can't buy at any price advertising better than word of mouth.

How did blogging get so big? People telling other people, "You've GOT to try this! It's a blast!" At last count there were 8 million blogs online. And Big Media had nothing to do with getting them there.

The Short Mystery Fiction Society has the Derringer Awards but not much has been done to date to promote the award winners other than announcing them at the Pennwriters' Conference in May. One of the problems with the Derringers (or the Edgars or any of the other myriad awards out there) is that many of the winning stories appeared in print magazines, and by the time the winners are announced, those magazines are damn hard to find. Makes it difficult to tell someone to go read them.

Online stories don't have that problem for the most part. Most 'zines have archives that keep the stories where people can get to them for a long time.

So. When you read a story you like a lot, tell your friends and acquaintences. Give them the URL. Tell them they've GOT to read this story. It'll knock their socks off. Send them here, too. Let's get the word out.

Remember, we've got the power.


At 11:49 PM, Blogger Candace said...

Hi Bob,
Candace here. Thanks for the info, both to you and to Gerald. (That artwork is something, eh?) Looks like once we start peeling that onion, we may find out there are more layers than we realized. Of course, here in Georgia, people are inordinately proud of those Vidalias.

Yeah, we DO have that power. Some of my friends say trading one set of problems for another is sure to be the end result but the way I try to look at it is, at least they will be *our* problems.


At 5:44 PM, Blogger Megan said...

Happily it's becoming more and more common for award finalists to show up online, and Fictionwise offers free downloads of many.

At 10:50 AM, Blogger ibrahim said...

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