Do you have a great short story, but not sure what to do with it? You may want to look into Writers of the Future.

If you are, as a writer, new to the fields of science fiction and fantasy, it can be daunting to find elbow room when you’re up against the greats. Winners of the Hugo Awards, the Nebulas, the Locus Awards and even the Dragon Awards all cast very long shadows, making it very difficult for new writers to get their work seen and appreciated.

That’s where the Writers of the Future comes in. With these awards, the quality of the work carries much more weight than the initial reputation of the writer — and since, like the Nebulas, the entries are judged only by professional writers and not the public at large, they are much less subject to the whims and vagueries of celebrity and promotional relations work.

What is Writers of the Future?

L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest is an opportunity for new writers of science fiction and fantasy to have their work judged by some of the masters in the field and discovered by a wide audience.

No entry fee is required and entrants retain all publication rights.

Entries in the Writers of the Future Contest are adjudicated only by professional writers. Prizes of $1000, $750 and $500 are awarded every three months. From the four quarterly 1st Place winners each year, a panel of judges select one story as the grand prize winner. The writer of the grand-prize-winning story receives the L. Ron Hubbard Golden Pen Award and an additional $5000 cash prize.

To find out more details on the submission guidelines, click the button to go to the Writers of the Future submission guidelines.

Not only does this award pay out in cash prizes and a week long training session at the Writers of the Future headquarters, they also have the opportunity to network with some of the top artists, authors, editors, and publishers in the field.

One of the things I have learned while taking part in this, is that before submitting my next great story, I have to really think about, does this story appeal to the market I’m submitting it to? During a discussion with Dave Farland before he passed earlier this year, I had asked him what I was doing wrong. I continued to get “Silver Honerable Mentions” for my submissions, but never winning.

His reply was that a Silver Honerable Mention is a good story, a publishable story, but not a story publishable by them in the Writers of the Future anthology.

And that answer got my gears to turning. If the story doesn’t appeal to the contest or to the contest audience, then it would be less likely to be well received. So excessive violence, sensitive topics and adult content are only a few things that could easily get the story slid to the nope pile.

The contest itself has a current quarter deadline coming up on June 30th, but they also offer a free online workshop, hosted by Orson Scott Card. For those who complete the workshop by the end of the month, they will have the opportunity for a live zoom discussion in order to pick Orson Scott Card’s brain.

I happened to be one of the first to complete the workshop in 2020 and learned a great number of things, as well as had a nice refresher on many others.

You can find details about the online workshop here. Just click the button.

If you are an author looking to add to your writer’s resume, I can’t recomend the Writers of the Future contest and workshop more, because they focus on the craft and the merit of the stories submitted.

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William J. Roberts
William J. Roberts

William J. Roberts is an author, and editor and publisher for Three Ravens Publishing.