Monday, January 22, 2007

The Moon Topples Great Big Awesome (Short) Fiction Contest: Starting Soon!

I think I have everything sorted out at this point, and so I am pleased to announce that the first-ever Moon Topples Great Big Awesome (Short) Fiction Contest will officially begin on February 1st. Tell your friends.

I'm hoping you will all consider entering, even if you don't think of yourself as a writer. The whole point of all of this is merely to encourage writing in general, have some fun, and to applaud some deserving folks once it's all over.

Here are the rules:

At midnight CST (GMT -6) on February 1st, 2007, I will post a topic for the contest, as well as restating the rules below with any changes I have implemented between now and then. Submissions will be accepted at any time after that post is live on the site until midnight CST on February 7th, 2007, at which time the contest will be closed to new entries. Voting will commence on February 7th (once comments are enabled on the submissions and a new post declaring the contest closed has hit the site) and close at midnight CST on February 12. Winners will be announced on this site on February 14. And since this is Valentine's Day, I can tell you right now that the topic is not "love."

Submission Guidelines: Total word length of submissions must not exceed 500 words, and must have an obvious correlation to the topic or image specified at the start of the contest. All entries must be in English. Entries will be submitted via email to, and should be formatted for posting to this blog (no paragraph indentations, the use of double line-breaks, etc.). I may request a resubmission if formatting of your piece for this purpose proves difficult. Entries can be submitted within the body of the submission email or as an attached text file. MS Word documents may be returned to the entrant to be formatted and resubmitted, as they are notoriously unfriendly. I shall make every attempt to retain formatting (such as italicizing) when the entry is posted, but if I miss something, it is the author's responsibility to point out any formatting errors. It is my intention to keep entrants anonymous until the end of voting (in the hopes that voting will be based solely on the writing, and not the popularity of the entrant) so any links entrants may wish to add to their individual websites or blogs should link to the contest itself, and not their specific entry until voting has closed. Entries must not have been previously published in any form (including the author's website) until the contest completes on February 14. Non-fiction and poetry entries will not be considered for this contest. All entries will remain on this site until at least March 1st.

Entries will be assigned a number and posted to this site in the order received. All entries and the official start of the contest announcement will posted with a tag identifying it as a contest entry, and the page generated by clicking this tag is the one entrants should link to once the contest begins.

I seriously doubt any of this will come up, but I reserve the right to deny submissions based on content (the only thing I can think of is if something is genuinely hateful or incredibly inflammatory), suspicion of plagairism, or if the writing does not otherwise meet the requirements of the contest. These submissions (which, again, I doubt I'll receive) will be discarded without reply to the author. They will simply never show up on the site.

Prizes! Winners will be selected in each of the following categories

Reader's Choice: One winner to be decided by visitors to this blog. Anyone may vote in this category, but only once. Duplicate entries will be discarded from the total number of votes received. Winning entries will have their votes checked against Site Meter data to encourage fairness. Voting will commence on February 7th, at which point comments will be enabled on these posts for this purpose. This one is strictly on the honor system, so try to maintain some honor. I can't imagine you want to be caught cheating at a piddly little contest like this. The winner of this title will receive a $20 (USD) gift certificate via email, as well as a badge to put on their website or blog (if applicable). Also bragging rights and the adulation of their peers.

Writer's Choice: Three winners to be determined by the entrants to the contest themselves. Entrants should submit their three favorite entries numbered in order of preference via email. Entrants are to use the same email address used for the initial contest submission, and may not vote for their own entry. I will weigh the votes cast in this fashion by assigning three points to a first choice, two points to a second choice, and one point to a third choice. When voting closes, I will simply add up the numbers to determine the winners. Writer's Choice Prizes: 1st Place winner will receive a $20 (USD) gift certificate and a badge for their website or blog. 2nd Place winner will receive a $15 (USD) gift certificate and a badge for their website or blog. 3rd Place winner will receive a $10 (USD) gift certificate and a badge for their website or blog. All winners in this category will also have the warm glow of knowing they were chosen by their peers.

Maht's Choice: From entries not awarded one of the prizes above, I will select one entry as my personal favorite. Winner of this title will receive a $20 (USD) gift certificate and a badge for their website or blog. Depending on the number and quality of submissions and the sentimentality of myself at the time of judging, I may elect to award additional prizes within this category, with or without prizes as I see fit.

In the event that one entry qualifies for prizes in both the Reader's Choice and Writer's Choice categories, the submission will be awarded the Writer's Choice prize for which it qualified, and the next highest vote total from the Reader's Choice category will determine the winner in that category.

The gift certificates will be awarded via email in U.S. dollars or its equivalent in the currency of the entrant. All prizes will be sent via the email address provided with the entrant's initial submission. I have checked out, and can send prizes via email from there as well. UK entrants should expect their certificates to be one half of the USD amount, due to the conversion rates ($20 works out to about £10, etc.). If a winner comes from an area not covered by one of these two sites, I will contact them via email to work out something suitable.

I'm trying to make these rules as lucid as possible so that once the contest begins, we can all just have fun with it. This is my first time doing something like this, and I want to do it right. I suspect I will learn all sorts of things that I wouldn't have expected as this goes on, and reserve the right to change any of the rules accordingly.

I'm posting all of these rules early in case I left something out, or something seems unreasonable or vague. If you spot something that strikes you as strange, please let me know in the comments and I will address it before the contest begins.

The leaden text of contest rules notwithstanding, I'm very excited.

Boy, after all this, I sure hope somebody enters...


Caroline said...

If only one person enters will they win all of the prizes and all of the badges?????

Sounds like a really great competition. I wish that I could write.

The Moon Topples said...


Everyone knows you're a publishing author. If you don't want to sully your reputation by entering such a small contest, perhaps you will consider doing so anonymously.

If only one person enters, then I suppose I will fake the whole damn thing, writing bogus entries under pseudonyms. The real entry will certainly win the Maht's Choice award, but will sadly be ineligible for the Writer's Choice, as he or she would not be able to select their own entry.

At this point, the entrant would be revealed to be his or her own grandfather.

Caroline said...

Sully my reputation ;-)
Now I have to enter!

CC2383 said...

If I enter, can I do so anonymously?

Rick said...

Sounds like a fun, and at 500 words, not too painful! The topic, however, will be crucial...

The Moon Topples said...

Caroline: Well, that was easy. I had figured I'd have to goad you a bit more.

CC: Yup, anonymous is fine, as long as the email address you provide is valid. Although, if there's only one anonymous entry...

Kyklops: Yeah. Now I'm nervous about the topic all over again. I think it'll be a good one. My desire is to have it be fairly open-ended, so as not to cramp anyone's writing style too much.

Pants said...

Great initiative. I'm in.

Unknown said...

TSP: Yay! I look forward to your entry.

He Who Does Not Subscribe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
He Who Does Not Subscribe said...

Oh man, I only know about 300 words, at best. I know there isn't a minimum word length, but if you will allow word repetition, I reluctantly raise my hand as well. I too am in.

Liz Dwyer said...

I am so impressed! You've thought of everything! It's going to make the doldrums of January/February pass so much more quickly. I can't wait to write something and I can't wait to read what everyone else submits. 500 words will go by in a heartbeat!

And, just because I can't resist...Go Bears!!!

Unknown said...

HWDNS: Fortunately, you could even just submit the 300 you already know, as 500 is the maximum, but there really isn't a minimum. Hope you get over your reluctance.

Liz: Your attitude is heartening. Glad you're on board.

Again, though, I must ask you to refrain from plugging your ursine overlords on my blog.

Ms Melancholy said...

Mr Moon, you are a generous and thoughtful man and even if I don't enter I shall vote with enthusiasm and give you a big fat plug on my blog x

Unknown said...

I plan on entering :)

The Moon Topples said...

Ms. M: Thanks for the kind remarks and the offer to help publicize. I can use all the plugs I can get in order to widen the field as much as possible. Hope you'll consider an entry, though.

Zorak: Glad to hear it. I was gonna come tell you about this if I didn't hear from you, 'cause I thought you might like to enter.

Ces Adorio said...

Wow, you are very generous indeed...and quite innovative. As I am not a writer if I ever do join, my entry will probably have a lot of articles, prepositions and connectors just to increase my word count! :-) I will advertise your contest on my blog. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I can't wait to read other peoples' entries so I can feel really inferior and tell myself I wish I'd written that.

But what fun! And Amazon and I have a very close relationship already.

Unknown said...

So, that's 500 words and the topic comes out on the 1st of February?

Better have a think about it, then!

Thanks Maht :)

kj said...

jeez, you've gotten my attention with your ingenuity! i'll be back in a quiet moment to ponder the possibilities.

best wishes to you!


Marie said...

Sounds great. I'll certainly give it some thought. I shall also post a link on my blog.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for doing this and for structuring it so that I could enter. I will plug this on my blog (that looks obscene when I type it out) and I will definitely enter and tell my friends, etc.

I love how you have made it anonymous, and how you have structured the voting. I have wondered recently how credentials get factored into the outcomes of some of these contests and anonymity should largely solve any potential issues in that area.

One suggestion/question: One of the reasons I started entering these things was to get more links to my site, drive up my technorati ranking (why I care about this is a question I ask myself every day, but that is another story). Is there a way you could link the entries to bloggers' sites once the contest is over?

I don't think you'll have to worry much about people entering, Maht, with $85 in prizes.

Sundry said...

Great idea, Maht! I'm going to send your link to my markets list. (In which I send calls for submission to writer friends via e-mail.)

The Moon Topples said...

Ces: You don't fool me. I've been to your blog and you are a writer. It'd be lovely should you decide to have a go. If you'd rather not, it's still very nice of you to be so supportive.

HinSF: My own relationship with Amazon is a rather complicated one. I'm sure when I log on to send out the prizes, they'll sigh with relief to see me again. Can't wait to see what you come up with.

Cailleach, KJ, & Marie: Thanks for giving it some thought. I hope you decide to enter. The more the merrier!

Caveblogem: Thanks for the blog plug (no less obscene, I fear). So far the only comments to the anonymity part of the rules have been favorable. That was an area which made me nervous, as I haven't seen that on other contests, and I wasn't sure if anyone would think it was a good idea. From a judging standpoint, though, it seems immensely more fair to newer writers who may not have a web following, as well as those without websites at all.

As to your link question, once the contest has closed and the winners are announced, I will be unmasking those entrants who do not wish to remain anonymous, and their names will be clickables where applicable. I should point out, however, that I'm planning to delete the entries after about a month or so, so any boost to Technorati stats would be temporary.

As always, though, I am happy to link to folks I read, and usually to anyone who asks for a link swap as well. I wouldn't be surprised to see my blogroll swell somewhat during this contest, as I'll be checking out the blogs of entrants I don't already know.

Since I already link to you, this decision wouldn't have an effect on your Technorati ranking. While it counts the total number of links to your page at any given time, only one link from any site is factored into the number from which the ranking is derived.

Sundry: I appreciate you telling your friends to come and have a peek. Your markets list is a great idea. And yes, at present, this is a "no fee" contest. Although the idea of trying to charge bloggers and anonymous emailers to enter my little contest is highly amusing.

Unknown said...

Oh, all right, but do I have to be merry?

The Moon Topples said...

Minx: Merriment is optional. But would it kill you to opt once in a while?

heartinsanfrancisco said...

What's a Technorati rating?

(Please, Sir, could I have some gruel?)