And so it begins…

Being a writer is hard. I know. I’ve tried my hand at just about every kind, from journalism to article writing to fiction and essays. I’ve scoured the internet, from speculative fiction ezines to O-Desk and everything in between. I’ve submitted short stories and waited six months for that rejection letter. I’ve competed in a global marketplace at $2 an article. I’ve churned out copy, I’ve agonised over a verb, I’ve edited endlessly and streamed my conciousness right onto the page.

And why?

Because I believe, like many people believe, that at some point in my life I will have trained my writing muscles enough to realise the dream.

Jack Kerouac once wrote: “One day I will find the right words and they will be simple.” While I wait for that day to come, I’ve decided to try something different. Rather then fuss about how I can make a living as an author, I’m going to try and help other people reach that goal.

So here is my promise:

No long waits. Whether you make the short list or not, there’s another competition right around the corner.

Lots of awards.  Sure, the prize money is pretty meagre at the moment, but I’m only one guy with an ordinary part time job. With time, I think we can grow the prize pool and bring greater awards to the site.

An engaging, transparent process. No entry fees. No scams. Community driven. All donations go back into improving NITH.

Everything else is up for grabs. The format is a loose guide on how I want to do it. I’m sure some things will change, partly because that sort of feedback only comes with time, but also because I want to keep it reasonably fresh and interesting. I don’t know if the ROSA is going to get three submissions or 300. Both seem like they could be a problem, but I think I know which problem we’d all prefer.

Here’s the kicker though… For this to work I’m going to need help. If you want to take part, here’s what you can do.

Write and submit. Enter as many awards as you can. The turnaround time for some competitions will be as little as a week. Sure, that’s not a lot of time to get things right, but it also means when you do, you’re going to be up there on top of the pile no matter your pedigree.

Read and engage. Without a reader there is no story. Don’t be shy, comment on and share the stories you like. Each opinion will weigh on the judge’s consideration, and your voice will shape the award. In exchange, there will be plenty of good fiction delivered to your face,  heat forged in competition and slow cooled in the tubes of the internet by machines of loving grace.

So that’s it. Info on our first award is available on the front page. I promise to keep you guys updated and answer any questions you might have. Best of luck, and may the force (of the original trilogy) be with you.


- The Ed