Writers of the Future Contest Update

Back in December, I posted an article on the Writers of the Future Contest. Since then, the contest has reported 4Q11 contest winners, and rejections have started trickling in for 1Q12. Unfortunately or fortunately, I have no news to report on my own submission. That said, I have analyzed the data reported thus far to provide some further insight for those interested in the contest.

Competitive Update

While the contest still does not release the number of entrants each quarter, it was possible for me to estimate a range. According to the contest FAQ, the contest awards Honorable Mentions to the top 10-15% of overall submissions. Based on contest data I compiled for the last eight quarters (see below), I estimate that there have been between 560 and 1,210 submissions per quarter.

Contest Status

I recently discovered a highly useful website called Duotrope that helps authors manage their submissions to various periodicals, and also anonymously crowdsources these statistics. That way, authors can get a sense for how many days it takes for a particular market to review their submissions as well as assess the probability of gaining an acceptance.

Of the 381 Duotrope-reported submissions to the Writers of the Future Contest over the past year, only 2.1% of these submissions won the contest. Nearly 90% reported rejections, and the remainder either reported their submission lost or returned, withdrew their submission, or failed to report anything at all. My analysis assumes that people do not report their results if they are non-winning finalists, semifinalists, or receive honorable mentions.

Source: Adapted from Duotrope

I estimate that between 4 and 34% of the Writers of the Future Contest submissions are included in the Duotrope database. This estimate implies that the number of submissions in 1Q12 ranges from 403 to 3,481. That said, based on the historical data I provided above, it still likely fits into the more narrow range of 560 to 1,210.

Adapted from Duotrope, Writers of the Future Blog

Over the past ten days, authors have reported 13 rejections out of 137 Duotrope-reported 1Q12 (also known as 1Q of Volume 29) Writers of the Future Contest submissions. The historical data implies that the judges have only sent out about 12% of the overall rejections, and that the folks on Duotrope can expect about 98 more by the time the 1Q12 contest is complete. Either way, I look forward to keeping everyone informed about the contest status.

Adapted from Duotrope

Chart Sources

4Q11 Results
3Q11 Winners

3Q11 Results
2Q11 Winners
2Q11 Results
1Q11 Winners
1Q11 Finalists/Semifinalists
1Q11 Silver Honorable and Honorable Mentions
4Q10 Finalists/Semifinalists
4Q10 Silver Honorable and Honorable Mentions
3Q10 Finalists/Semifinalists
3Q10 Silver Honorable and Honorable Mentions
3Q10 Honorable Mentions First List
2Q10 Finalists/Semifinalists
2Q10 Silver Honorable and Honorable Mentions
2Q10 Honorable Mentions Second List
2Q10 Honorable Mentions First List
1Q10 Finalists/Semifinalists
1Q10 Honorable Mentions

Note: All Winners are also Finalists. However, the chart in this post only includes Finalists who were not winners to avoid the problem of double-counting total awards.

About Sean Patrick Hazlett

Finance executive, engineer, former military officer, and science fiction and horror writer. Editor of the Weird World War III anthology.
This entry was posted in Science Fiction, Technology, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Writers of the Future Contest Update

  1. KE says:

    Cool stats. Just FYI, semis and finalists tend to report as personal rejections (semis do so because they get a critique out of the deal, and finalists do because semis do and finalist is a higher tier than semi). HMs tend to report as form rejections. Not sure how much this affects your numbers.

  2. Pingback: Writers of the Future Contest 1Q29 Update: Statistical Torture | Reflections of a Rational Republican

  3. Pingback: Writers of the Future Contest 1Q29 Results | Reflections of a Rational Republican

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