If you’re a writer and you don’t know about these two competitions, then you should keep reading. You might be missing out on a lot of great information, a free writing course, and the opportunity to submit to a worthwhile writing contest. I have been submitting to the writers side of the contest for years, but just haven’t found that perfect story to win. But that just makes me want it that much more.
To me, this contest has value, because it is judged on the merit of the story, not the popularity of the author or series like most of the contests out there.
Here’s what you need to know about Writers of the Future, and Illustrators of the Future:
From the WotF web site: https://www.writersofthefuture.com/
Writers & Illustrators of the Future
The L. Ron Hubbard Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests have left an indelible mark on the fields of science fiction and fantasy. With more than three decades of developing new professional writers and more than a quarter century of cultivating new professional illustrators, the impact that the two Contests have had on the field is impossible to measure.
Renowned author and critic Algis Budrys led the original Writers of the Future Contest, with a blue-ribbon panel of science fiction legends serving as judges: Dr. Gregory Benford, Robert Silverberg, Theodore Sturgeon, Jack Williamson, and Roger Zelazny. The first awards ceremony was held in 1985 in Beverly Hills, California.
But the Contest was formed for a purpose beyond simply giving awards—it was intended to help foster the next generation of master writers. Budrys developed a world-class workshop to accompany the awards ceremony.
WRITERS OF THE FUTURE
The most enduring and influential contest in the history of SF and Fantasy 1
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.
ILLUSTRATORS OF THE FUTURE
The most enduring and influential contest in the history of SF and Fantasy
L. Ron Hubbard’s Illustrators of the Future Contest is an opportunity for new science fiction and fantasy artists worldwide 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 Illustrators of the Future Contest are judged only by professional artists. Three prizes of $500 (a total of $1500) are awarded each quarter. From the twelve quarterly winners each year the judges select a grand prize winner to receive the L. Ron Hubbard Golden Brush Award and an additional $5000 cash prize.
Now, on top of the contest, they also offer a free online workshop that I have taken and revisited many times over the last few years to refresh my knowledge of the basics.
It is a great refresher for a veteran author, or a way to learn the craft for the novice. The lessons taught by David Farland, Orson Scott Card, and Tim Powers are perfect to get you fired up and thinking about how to improve your skill in the craft of writing. If you followed the workshop and did the lessons, by the end of the course if you should have something suitable to submit to the writers of the Future Contest. It helped me personally to hone my skills and to continue getting Silver Honorable mentions when submitting to the quarterly contests.
Per their site:
This free writing workshop provides valuable tools for a writer of any skill. Designed as an intermediate-level writing course, people of all levels have found this workshop helpful with the story structure, character development, the formulation of story ideas, and the business of writing.
The course includes 13 video presentations featuring Writers of the Future judges: David Farland, Tim Powers, and Orson Scott Card. There are 11 lessons with practical exercises as well as essays from Contest Founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and Founding Contest Coordinating Judge, Algis Budrys.
The workshop takes one through the entire process of writing a story. Upon completion, we recommend entering the Writers of the Future Contest.
This workshop will take you through the process of coming up with story ideas, research, outlining, plotting, steps to writing your story, writing description, writing dialogue, writing narration, adding suspense, writing the beginning, middle and end of your story, and productivity.
By signing up for this free writing workshop you will also be creating an account for the Writers of the Future Forum, where you can connect with other participants.
They also host a forum for authors and Illustrators to learn and grow from their world wide community. https://www.writersofthefuture.com/forum/
And if you’ve never heard it before, they offer a podcast where they interview industry experts such as Jody Lynn Nye, Brandon Sanderson, Todd McCafrrey and more. https://www.writersofthefuture.com/podcast/
Ben, one of my partners from Three Ravens, and myself were lucky enough to be interviewed by John Goodwin while out at the Superstars Writing Seminar a few weeks ago.
You can find our interview here:
Writers and Illustrators of the Future volume 39
One thing that I keep telling young authors that was an epiphany moment for me was to look at the market you are submitting to. If you want to get into a particular magazine or win a particular contest, one way to do that is to read what stories that won, and what is getting published by that particular publisher. The best way to do your research on the Writers of the Future is to check out their Anthology collections for the winners.
The next installment of amazing art and prose will be released to the public sometime in May. But, the folks at WotF are having a special cover reveal over zoom at 8 PM PST on March 1st that you can sign up for which will come with a few surprises.
Link to the event for people that would like to attend the cover reveal zoom event:
Here are the preorder links (the Kindle and Amazon links will be live on Feb 27th):
Books a Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/L-Ron-Hubbard-Presents-Writers/L-Ron-Hubbard/9781619867680?id=8748446917116
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/l-ron-hubbard-presents-writers-of-the-future-volume-39-l-ron-hubbard/1142955660?ean=9781619867680
Bookshop.org (to support Indie bookshops): https://bookshop.org/p/books/l-ron-hubbard-presents-writers-of-the-future-volume-39-the-best-new-sf-fantasy-of-the-year-samuel-parr/19699175?ean=9781619867680
To wrap things up, I hope that some young author out there takes advantage of what this contest and workshop has to offer. I’ve found it a valuable tool in my arsenal as an author and creator.
Keep your heads up and your Pens sharp
~William Joseph Roberts~
1 This is what their web site says, but the Hugo Awards are far older, and arguably hold considerably more sway with publishers and readers alike, if for no other reason than they had a massive head start.
The Hugo Awards were first presented in 1953 at the 11th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The awards were named after Hugo Gernsback, a pioneer of science fiction who founded the first science fiction magazine, Amazing Stories, in 1926. The Hugo Awards have been presented annually ever since, with the exception of 1954.
The Writers of the Future Awards were founded in 1983 by L. Ron Hubbard as part of the larger Writers of the Future Contest, which is intended to provide a platform for aspiring science fiction and fantasy writers to showcase their work and receive recognition.
The Hugo Awards are one of the oldest and most prestigious awards in the science fiction and fantasy community, with a focus on honoring outstanding works of science fiction and fantasy in various categories, including novels, short stories, films, and television. Winning a Hugo Award can increase a creator’s visibility, book sales, and career opportunities, and the award is highly respected within the industry.
The Writers of the Future Awards, on the other hand, are aimed specifically at aspiring science fiction and fantasy writers, with a focus on discovering and nurturing new talent. The contest is funded via an endowment from the L. Ron Hubbard estate, and offer significant prize money, publication opportunities, and a week-long writing workshop with established authors as instructors. While the Writers of the Future Awards are not as well-known or prestigious as the Hugo Awards, they still offer a valuable opportunity for new writers to break into the industry and gain recognition.
In summary, while the Hugo Awards have a broader reach and more established reputation within the science fiction and fantasy industry, the Writers of the Future Awards offer an important opportunity for up-and-coming writers to gain recognition and exposure.
Three Ravens Publishing is one of the major sponsors of SCIFI.radio.
William J. Roberts is an award-winning author, editor and publisher for Three Ravens Publishing.
“One thing that I keep telling young authors that was an epiphany moment for me was to look at the market you are submitting to. If you want to get into a particular magazine or win a particular contest, one way to do that is to read what stories that won, and what is getting published by that particular publisher.”
I’m not disagreeing with this (although my first professional sale was to a magazine I found in a list and otherwise had never heard of). There is also the caveat that, if one’s trying to imitate what’s popular, chances are a whole bunch of other writers are doing the same thing. It’s easy to get lost among one’s fellow imitators. I think it can be helpful to look at what authors are doing, and then think of what they aren’t doing. Some of the greatest and most popular works turned a genre on its ear.