Book Review Contest 2023 and Subscriber Writing for November
Hello friends, it’s time for a (let’s be honest) bimonthly newsletter feature and an annual one. First, it’s time for November subscriber writing! Subscribers have an opportunity to share links to their written work with the 50,000 people on my mailing list. All of the information that you need can be found in September’s call. I beg of you to follow the formatting instructions there and to email your submission to email@example.com. Please don’t submit by replying to this email, and if you submitted something outside of submission period, please submit it again. The deadline is Monday, November 13th! The post will run the following Thursday morning, come hell or high water.
Your submission should look like this!
Your Preferred Name, Your Piece of Writing's Title with Hyperlink
one-sentence synopsis of your piece
Also, it’s time for the 2023 subscriber book review contest! This is later in the year than I wanted, but as you know book stuff ate my life for two months. To make it up to you, I’ve increased the prize money again. First prize will receive $1,200, a lifetime free subscription comp (if wanted), and the review will run on this newsletter. Two runners-up will each receive $600 and a year free subscription comp and, if they wish, I will publish their reviews on this website, though they will not be sent out to the email list. I can distribute funds via Zelle, Paypal, or Venmo so please make sure you can access one of these if you plan to enter the competition. If this is particularly an obstacle for you then feel free to email me and we’ll see if we can figure something out.
There are not a lot of restrictions or rules here as far as the actual reviews go, though there are a few. I’ll accept reviews of any book provided that a) they are 2000 words long or less and b) were originally produced for this contest and not previously published anywhere else, even if it was on a low-traffic blog or similar. Please don’t submit anything that exists elsewhere, in whole or in part. There are no content restrictions on books and no preference for fiction or nonfiction. You want to review smut from the Victorian era or The Anarchist’s Cookbook or an Animorphs books, it’s all good, there’s no prejudice about the type of words-on-a-page book here. It can be something with a lot of photos like a cookbook, but there does have to be a significant amount of text. I don’t have any problem with reviews of comic books, but that’s as far as I want to go in terms of the medium. (This is a book review contest.) My suggestion would be that you avoid books that I have reviewed in this space, but that is only a suggestion and I can certainly imagine rewarding a review like that. If you’re wondering what I’m looking for in a review, I’ve got you covered. Here are the winners from 2021 and from 2022.
Having learned from past experience, we’re changing up the submissions to make my life easier. This year, you will submit your reviews via the Email to Dropbox system. Please submit your reviews as attachments to the following address:
(Yes, that's a weird address. Talk to Dropbox.) Entries submitted to me via my own inbox will not be considered! Juggling the inbox just got too hectic for me last year; Email to Dropbox will make things a lot smoother. Please note that nothing that you write in the actual email field will reach me. I definitely prefer Word documents, but I can work with other file formats. Remember though, I won’t see anything in the email field, so whatever you do it has to be an attachment. Also, I’m dropping the anonymity system this year. When I first set up this contest a couple years ago it seemed like a good idea, but I am confident that I can judge impartially and the degree of extra work compared to whatever positive benefit it may have been creating was simply not worth it. As such, I would prefer it if you use your name (real or pseudonymous) as the filename. What’s essential though is that you include your preferred name and the email address associated with your subscription at the top of the file. I do check email addresses against the subscriber list and, to my astonishment, there appears to be no way to check the email address used to submit to the Email to Dropbox system. I would really hate to get a good review with no identifying information and no way for me to reach out.
As suggested, winners can be identified by pseudonyms if desired, both the winner and runners-up will be invited to link to a personal website and/or social media, and once the winners have been declared everyone is of course free to publish their entries wherever else they would like. You retain all copyright rights (copyrights?) aside from my right to host your essay here. I will accept submissions until 10:00 PM EST on Thursday, December 7th. I will announce winners during the last week of December and they will run in the newsletter early in the new year.
It’s ridiculous that there has to be so much fine print, isn’t it? And I’m sure I’m forgetting something anyway. I actually kind of hate this process - I feel such guilt that so many people have to lose - but people really enjoy it and I like to contribute to book culture in whatever little way I can. If you want to participate but aren’t yet a subscriber, you know what to do. Subscriber-only post coming tomorrow AM.