And The Winner Is…..

Last weekend I attended When Words Collide, an annual conference for writers and readers held in Calgary. I enjoyed several seminars, and I also read a short story to a small audience Saturday evening.

Before the conference, I entered the Robin Herrington Short Story Contest. (The results are announced at When Words Collide.) First Place has a prize of CDN $125 and the top ten stories are included in an anthology, In Places Between.

Sunday morning I went to the final judging, where the top ten pieces were offered critiques by four judges, and the results were announced. I thought the short story I submitted was unique, well written, and I expected to win.

By the time the judges were half-way through the list, and my name hadn’t been mentioned, I reduced my expectations from winning, to at least being included in the anthology. As the last short story was discussed, I had to accept the fact my story wasn’t even one of the top ten.

Earlier this year, however, I learned that one of my short stories was accepted for Power: In the Hands of One, In the Hands of Many. It’s an anthology soon to be published by the West Coast Science Fiction Association. That story was written quickly to meet the submission deadline, and I wasn’t optimistic about it being accepted.

If you’re trying to decide whether to enter a contest, or submit material to an editor, remember that it isn’t a simple “yes or no” proposition. One person could love your story, another think it’s a piece of junk. It’s like listening to the radio; a song comes on and you wonder how anyone could possibly enjoy it, yet it’s a huge hit and millions of people love the song.

Whether you self-publish or send your material to traditional publishers, what’s really important is that you give others the opportunity to hear your voice and feel your passion. Keep writing my friend, keep writing….

Copyright © 2018 by J. Paul Cooper

If you haven’t read it yet, my eBook, What If? A Collection of Short Fiction by J. Paul Cooper, is available through and several other online retailers, as well as several libraries in Canada and the United States.