I'm pretty sure the main reason most of us enter the WotF is to receive recognition that will help us publish future work. Anyway, that's the reason I enter. I know a few Hatrackers have won or placed as a finalist or semi-finalist.
Has this helped or had any influence on getting any of your other work published or in landing an agent? How about those who have won HM's or silver HM's? Does it really give you that added boost?
As someone who is accumulating quite a pile of HMs, I can say with the utmost authority that they make no difference whatsoever in furthering my career. The certificates are shiny, though.
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Published Finalist, Q4 2003 2nd Place Winner, Q1 2004
From an interview of me published on the WOTF forum:
quote:Winning Writers of the Future launched my career. My published finalist sale to Writers of the Future was my first fiction sale ever. And while it's certainly possible I would have eventually managed to start selling stories without WOTF, the contest certainly accelerated the process in a number of ways. First, it gave me professional writing credentials to put on my cover letter, and I noticed that I started getting better responses from editors. Second, I learned a lot from Tim Powers and K.D. Wentworth (and the other judges who spoke) at the workshops, which enabled me to improve my writing. Third, the networking effect of getting to know the other winners and the judges has given me people to turn to for advice (not to mention a couple of story sales.)
I had a couple of even more direct results from the workshops: I sold the story I wrote at the 2004 workshop to InterGalactic Medicine Show, and I sold the story I wrote at the 2005 workshop to Jim Baen's Universe. Neither of those stories would have existed had I not entered WOTF.
Anecdotally - I'm a big fan of Patrick Rothfuss and The Name of the Wind. Rothfuss implies in a number of places that his WotF win helped launch his novel sales, because of the opportunity to network via the WotF judges and other contestants (I believe this is also mentioned in the acknowledgements page of his book)
Personally, there were two reasons I entered WotF. At first it was so that I could put it on a query letter as some 'platform'. Then, as I learned more about the competition, the opportunity to socialise with and make contacts in the industry became my main reason to want to enter. Since winning, this has evolved into a significant motivation to finish the first draft of my latest novel project so I have something to talk about when I'm at the workshop.
So as a 2010 Q2 2nd placer, it's too early to say what long term effect it's had on my writing career, but it's certainly helped provide some focus in the short term.
I'm convinced that winning Writers of the Future helped me get my sales with Analog Science Fiction & Fact. Prior to winning Writers of the Future, I couldn't get much traction with that market. I'd gotten dozens of form rejections and a tiny handful of personalized rejections from Dr. Schmidt. But the very next story I sent Dr. Schmidt, after winning, was my non-winning Finalist, and he bought that immediately. He's also purchased two more stories, and I feel like I've developed a genuine working relationship with Dr. Schmidt. He doesn't buy me every time, but if he rejects, it's always with a detailed response telling me why and/or encouraging me to send the story elsewhere.
Writers of the Future is a high-profile feather in a writer's war bonnet. Without question. Editors -- both magazine and novel -- pay attention to Writers of the Future; as a reliable gauge of quality. The types and kinds of responses I get from editors now, compared to before I won, is much, much different.
I would also add that WOTF is an excellent networking opportunity. Most of the judges make a point of attending the workshop every year, and you will have ample opportunity to discuss various matters with them -- both during the workshop and at functions like the BBQ, and after-hours. Kevin J. Anderson especially is fond of cultivating connections with WOTF winners. He was around (after the official day had closed) more than any other judge when I went to Los Angeles last year. He and Rebecca Moesta also give damned good writing advice. A great husband and wife writing team. Eric Flint is good too, and Tim Powers and Kathy Wentworth make excellent anchors to the program.
If you're a social animal, you can build a lot of bridges between yourself and the judges and visiting authors -- they usually bring successful past winners down, if possible, to show you where you can be in a few years with hard work. This, combined with your bonds you will form with your fellow winners, is the gift that keeps on giving. I've already seen this since I got back from the workshop.
[This message has been edited by Brad R Torgersen (edited January 18, 2011).]
I have read the same thing from other winners. Their careers jumped with a win. That's nice to know. And I think it would worth winning just to go to that writer's workshop they put on. Except for a couple of the exercises they do.
I add that out of my four HMs I was sent only one certificate, maybe two. Come to think of it I don't know where they are. Maybe with the rejects for that year.
And to change the subject slightly, one person I know said his sells picked up after IGMS bought a story.