DL Hammons’ beloved WRiTE CLUB contest is back for its seventh year! This is a great way to submit your work anonymously and have it read and critiqued in a Fight Club-inspired tournament-style competition. We’re proud to have DFWCon associated with this contest once again. Winners will be announced at the conference!
We’re in the middle of the submission period right now. It ends April 1, so now’s the time to get your 500-word entry together. For requirements, prizes and details on how the contest works, please visit DL’s website.
We talked to DL about WRiTE CLUB and why he started it.
DFWCon: Why do you do WRiTE CLUB? What are your objectives?
Hammons: I started WRiTE CLUB eight years ago for two reasons. 1) I wanted a way to drive traffic to my fledgling blog, and 2) I was always in search of ways to give back to the writing community in a way that benefited other aspiring writers. I was already considering some sort of competition where a writer/bloggers “popularity” wouldn’t be an issue when I saw a commercial for the movie FIGHT CLUB, and that’s when everything fell into place. Nowadays my objective is still pretty simple, giving writers the exposure they crave and maybe even serve as a stepping stone to something bigger.
DFWCon: What’s the most challenging thing about running the contest and how do you handle it?
Hammons: The most challenging aspect of the contest, for me, is securing all of the slush pile readers and celebrity judges. It takes a lot of legwork, research, patience, and determination to land quality readers and recognizable judges. Luckily the task has become easier as the contest has grown in popularity–for which I have the DFW Writers Workshop to thank. Everything else, as detailed and time consuming as it is, is made manageable through experience and preparation. I start planning for the next years WRiTE CLUB the Monday after the DFW Conference, where the current years winner is announced.
DFWCon: Who helps you make the contest possible?
Hammons: First and foremost, my wife Kim. She is my conduit to all of the contestants as soon as the submission period opens. Since I am the tie-breaker in the event a bout ends in a stalemate, I cannot know the real names of the contestants, so it’s my wife who logs in all of the entries and does any communication with them if necessary. You asked previously what the most challenging thing is about the contest, well, logging in hundreds of submissions, uploading them to the Dropbox folder for the slush pile readers to have access, and sending confirmation emails back to the submitters–that is one of them and my wife does it gladly. Five years ago when she was battling breast cancer and life was chaotic, she still wanted to do this for the contest. I also have to mention the efforts of my slush pile readers. Without them reading and voting on what equates to a full-length novel worth of submissions, the contest would never get off the ground.
DFWCon: What’s the most fun/rewarding thing about running the contest?
Hammons: Hearing how the experience of participating in the contest has boosted a writers confidence in themselves, as well as seeing past winners (or finalist) finally realize their publishing dream. I’m not saying WRiTE CLUB was a direct reason for their success, but I will accept some measure of correlation.
DFWCon: What would you like to say to writers who are hesitant about submitting their work for publication or even to contests?
Hammons: Why?? The first why refers to submitting in general. Why are you writing if not to have other people find pleasure in it, because believe me, there is an audience for you. The question is how large of an audience. And the second why…why not this contest because it guarantees anonymity if that’s what you are afraid of. Feedback without all the angst, what could be better? And it’s free! 😊
DFWCon: What’s your long-term vision for WRiTE CLUB?
Hammons: Love this question! Yes, I do have a long-term plan, but right now I suppose you can call it a long-term dream. I too am an aspiring writer and some day I hope to make a name for myself by publishing a catalog of books – and still hosting WRiTE CLUB! Hopefully my readers will help me grow the contest and make it a staple of the writing community like other annual writing events (i.e. Pitchwars) and in turn the contest might lead future contestants (and voters) to my books.
DFWCon: What do writers submitting to WRiTE CLUB need to know?
Hammons: Everything you need to know about the contest, and even some tips on how to write a successful submission by previous winners, can be found on my website: www.dlhammons.com.