People like contests, right?
April 8, 2010 11:55 AM   Subscribe

If you were trying to spread the word about a science fiction writing contest online, how would you do it?

I’m part of a small team of people who are working like crazy to try to get a new science fiction magazine off the ground. As part of our attempt to get our name out there, we are running a science fiction contest where we invite people to submit very very short stories (200 words or less). There’s no entry fee. We’ve got cash prizes, as well as some pretty decent non-cash prizes and the winners will be published in a promotional mini-zine we’re putting out in advance of our first issue.

I am certain that there is a huge potential audience of people who would be interested in knowing that this contest is going on. I just don’t know how to reach them.

I have tried sending direct e-mails to several science fiction bloggers, but I think that my pitch/announcement may be being round-filed as advertising. So, tell me, how would you go about announcing such a contest?

Incidentally, the magazine is Canadian, so suggestions with a Canadian connection are particularly valuable. The contest, however, is open to anyone worldwide.

People/blogs I have already contacted:

Cory Doctorow
John Scalzi
Robert J. Sawyer
Torque control
Cherie priest
posted by 256 to Society & Culture (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The Absolute Write forums are chock-full of potentially interested folks. Better be prepared to present your credentials, though :)
posted by restless_nomad at 12:03 PM on April 8, 2010

Instead of just focusing on the SF aspect, try promoting yourself to sites dedicated to flash fiction, even if they're outside of the genre. Mine, for example.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:08 PM on April 8, 2010

Response by poster: FoB: Your site starts to load for me, but then I get a "The connection was reset" every time.
posted by 256 at 12:32 PM on April 8, 2010 should be on that list. I would also sniff through the mass of links in the right sidebar of Making Light for appropriate parties/persons/communities to contact. (Fair warning, that is going to be a bit of work and most of the links aren't relevant to SF.)
posted by greenland at 12:59 PM on April 8, 2010

Do you have a website describing the contest? For starters, why not put a link to that within your profile page. Not saying that would submit anything, but I would look at it.

Are you allowed to put that in the projects page here in metafilter ( I haven't read the FAQ, but maybe check it out).

Another random idea. Does your magazine have a twitter account? In the brief profile you could put scifi, magazine, flash – and send out interesting stuff on scifi, authors, and an occasional tweet about the contest
posted by Wolfster at 1:00 PM on April 8, 2010

You could try promoting it on the forums and discussion groups of places aspiring writers hang out on? I know Critters is an online writing workshop, who might have a place for promotions. The BSFA forums have a promotion section as well.
posted by penguinliz at 1:05 PM on April 8, 2010

There are a couple of online writing workshops specifically focused on science fiction and related genres, such as Critters Workshop and the Online Writing Workshop for SF/F/H. The editors of those sites might be willing to include info on your contest in their newsletters. They each also list places where writers can learn about markets for their fiction - presumably those same sites would be where contests and magazines can advertise to find writers.
posted by unsub at 1:05 PM on April 8, 2010

Response by poster: Wolfster: Thank you for pointing out what should have been obvious. I've added links to our website and to our twitter account in my profile. I sort of forgot that you were allowed (obviously) to self-link there. As for projects, I tried posting the magazine itself in MefiProjects when we first went live with our website, but it was kiboshed because we're using Kickstarter to raise funds, and I guess mathowie thought it was too much like asking mefites for money. I figure posting again now that we're running a contest would be bad form.

Penguinliz/unsub: Thanks for mentioning Critters. I had forgot about them. As for OWW-SFF, they're actually sponsoring the contest. It's been mentioned in their April newsletter.
posted by 256 at 1:16 PM on April 8, 2010

Oh, forgot to mention Suvudu, which is Random House's equivalent to Macmillan's Tor site. They're new, but making a splash with a current fantasy character battle bracket series.
posted by greenland at 1:31 PM on April 8, 2010

Your initial list seems pretty solid, with being the most notable thing that needs adding.

Talking of, how about Mur Laffety of I should be writing?

Amy Sturgis Might be worth a shot - Also you might want to ping StarShipSofa, though I guess they may technically be the competition.

Oh, and you could try Boing Boing... tricky to get on there, but a ton of hits if you do.
posted by Artw at 1:41 PM on April 8, 2010 lists markets and contests. Do be prepared to prove your credentials.
posted by never used baby shoes at 2:45 PM on April 8, 2010

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