It’s not often I hope to get disqualified from something, but that’s exactly what I’d like to do for the Writers of the Future Contest. This contest is open only to “amateur” writers and the two ways to get permanently disqualified are to: (1) win the contest or (2) publish enough in pro markets.
I’ve been entering the contest for several years and learned about a week ago that my most recent entry earned a semi-finalist nod. Of the seven stories I’ve entered into Writers of the Future, I’ve gotten close four times (Finalist once, Semi-finalist twice, and Silver Honorable Mention once), but I’ve never placed or made it into the anthology. I’m running out of chances to win because I’ve now had two short story sales to qualifying professional markets (Asimov’s Science Fiction and Lightspeed Magazine) and another to a market that should become a qualifying market soon (Daily Science Fiction). That means my next qualifying sale likely ends my chances with Writers of the Future. Not that “proing out” would be a bad thing—consistently selling stories to pro markets is my goal after all—but winning the Writers of the Future contest comes with perks most writers will never experience in their careers.
Who knows when that disqualifying pro sale will happen—maybe it’s on an editor’s desk right now. I certainly won’t complain if it comes soon. I might even get lucky and “double” disqualify myself, because winning the contest also counts as a qualifying sale.