I woke up this morning, still thrilled that I had won 5th place in the Mainstream/Literary Category of Writer’s Digest 82nd Annual Competition for my short story. But a memory that they had rules about simultaneous submissions sent me to their website. I checked and emailed the staff to tell them that the story had been published this year in the California Writers Club Literary Review. I realized that probably disqualified my 5th place win.
The staff, especially Cris, took a thorough look at the dates of the two submissions to see if I still could be eligible. For a while, it seemed possible. After several emails back and forth, we concluded that yes, I would have to be disqualified.
I appreciated and was pleasantly surprised at how personable Cris is in these situations. It isn’t the first time they’ve had to disqualify people after announcing their win. I was told that they appreciated my honesty, that it was refreshing. I sensed they really wanted me to be able to keep the award. Cris encouraged me to submit again in the future.
In my mind, I feel rewarded to know that I placed 5th out of 1000 entries even if, in the end, I couldn’t reap the awards.
I caution you all to be better at record keeping than I am. To keep track of which stories you send where, what date, and the date of the result, whether it’s acceptance or rejection. In the end, it all comes down to dates.
I also encourage you to submit to Writer’s Digest’s competitions. My experience with them today increases my appreciation for all they do in our writing community.
(Special thanks to Cris.)