I love seeing the stories that everyone submits. I’ve been combing through some of the data, and its really amazing. And humbling. We’ve had some writers enter more than 100 times – wow! It’s always been our goal to inspire writers, and I can’t tell you how much it means to me to see many of you coming back time and time again. I really want this to be a fun, welcoming, and safe place. I hope you feel it is.
I know we’re still a very small operation, but as we continue to grow, slowly but steadily, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a member of a community of shared interests. How we can build and foster that sense of it, and how we can give back to it (and others)? And I’ve come to the conclusion that, of course, a community becomes what it collectively wants to be.
With that in mind, I’d like to open the door for discussion. What’s working or isn’t working? What can we do better? I’d also like some idea input so I know best where to focus my energies. (Honest feedback is appreciated.)
A couple of people have reached out to me already with suggestions, and I’m so grateful that you feel comfortable and invested enough to do so. That means a lot to me, and I’ll do my best to make the recommended improvements, because I do agree with a lot of what’s already been shared.
I’ve created a list of questions for topic inspiration (it’s not meant to be a definitive set), and I’ve love to see them as comments here so we can get some back and forth, as I think it will help to see points and counter points. However, I know not everyone is comfortable with that, so I’ve also created a survey so that your responses can remain private, if you so wish (name and email fields are optional, as are all questions). Alternatively, you can also contact us.
I don’t know how long I’ll leave this post up for, but please know that my proverbial door is always open.
Thanks and best wishes,
General Contest Feedback
- What is working or isn’t working?
- What would you like to see more or less of?
- Favorite / least favorite thing?
- If you only contribute participate or rarely do, or if you used to participate but no longer do, what do you think is holding you back? Did something change that you don’t like?
- What would make you want to continue to participate or participate more often?
- Is there something “missing” from our contest that you see in others? (Conversely, is there something you like here that you don’t see elsewhere?)
Building Our Community
- What would make you feel more engaged/supported?
- What would make this feel like a safe space for you?
- Would you be interested in events or perhaps a dedicated group where you can share your wins, request/give feedback from/to others, and perhaps promote a new release, etc.?
- If so, what would be your preferred channel? (E.g., Twitter spaces, Facebook group, Discord channel, a subreddit, Slack, Whatsapp, etc.?)
Celebrating Our Winners And Entrants
- We are going to do some winners showcases to make up for earlier contests from this year. Aside from doing a separate post and making an announcement on Twitter, how else can we celebrate our winners and entrants?
- Would you be interested in occasional author interviews with winners and/or frequent entrants?
Potential Future Projects
How would you feel about the following?
Anthology of Entries
(where anyone interested can submit a story they’ve previously written for the contest for consideration)
- Would you be interested in this? Why or why not? What would make you want to take part?
- What prior experiences do you have with anthologies (both good and bad)?
- What type of compensation would you expect from a small organization? (Contributor copies, flat fee, price per word, etc.) How do you feel about an anthology to benefit a charity? (And would you expect the same level of compensation?)
(for winners or others who would want to participate, with permission, of course – e.g., YouTube, TikTok, or a podcast)
- Would you be interested in this? Why or why not?
- Any interest in participating as a reader/VO narrator? (If so, please share any equipment and experience you might have.)
(Weekly would always remain free, but I mean eventually separate, advertised contests with entry fees and bigger potential prizes – e.g., $100, $250, etc.)
- Would you be interested in this? Why or why not?
- If so, what type of entry fee do you think would be fair? Alternatively, how do you feel about “choose your entry fee” options vs grants for underprivileged writers to enter?
- What word counts or classifications would you be interested in? E.g., Micro, flash, short or <100 words, <300 words, <500 words, <1000 words, etc.
(This is fairly future oriented because we are still so small, but I would like anything we do moving forward to have this in mind.)
- We already have an option for winners to donate their prizes to charity. (No pressure, though!) What else can we do to make a difference? E.g., online volunteer opportunities, mentorships/feedback, donations to charities from us as an organization, bringing awareness to causes, etc. (Nothing political or religious.)
- Is there anything you would be interested in participating in?
- How can we include and/or engage underserved or marginalized communities?
Feedback Form (in case you don’t want to comment)
In case the embed isn’t working, you can click this link.