Unbound Worlds Writing Contest–who won???



We are thisssssssssssssss close to announcing the winner and three runners-up of the Unbound Worlds Writing Contest! We have to admit, the number of entries took us by surprise. We’d been expecting a good number of submissions—Del Rey/Spectra doesn’t normally accept unagented material, and the contest was meant to be a one-shot chance for people to circumvent that roadblock. But who knew so many writers had manuscripts ready to go??? When the dust settled, we ended up with almost 700 qualifying entries.

Ay-yay-yay-yay-yay. Good thing we have a decent-sized staff at Del Rey/Spectra and that we’re all equipped with e-readers. Everybody was called into duty. Several agents were miffed by the fact that we were reading contest entries when normally we would have been responding quickly to their submissions.

No, we didn’t read every word of every submission. We don’t do that with agented material either, unless we really like the manuscript. And no—in answer to a couple of questions from entrants—we can’t possibly give feedback on every submission. What were we looking for? Writing style: Not just competent, but noteworthy. Worldbuilding: Not so much that the reader is overwhelmed by infodumps, but a sense that the writer has all the details worked out in his/her head and is making them known as the story requires it. Characters: Three-dimensional, individual, people we wanted to spend time with for 350 pages or so. Plotting: Something new under the sun!

We think we’ve found a winner and three runners-up who fit those criteria, and we will announce the names SOON.

  • Michael D.A.

    I’m practically chomping at the bit here. I really want to know the results!

  • Wow, 700 manuscripts? Exciting! Can’t wait to see the results!

  • BTCG

    @Andrea: Yeah, I’ve been hitting the update like crazy. Still, reading 700 in two months must have been a stretch for the staff.

    Suvudu: I appreciate you hosting this contest! Any chance of doing this again next year? I really enjoyed submitting my work here.

  • This is exciting!!
    And I am glad that they posted something, I’ve found it hard to search for the announcement and wring my hands at the same time!

  • April Mason

    OMG!!! About hyperventalating here! When is soon?????? BTW..January, thanks for the encouragement! G.L. to you too!

  • I wasn’t hyperventilating until you said something, but Thanks!

  • Thanks for the heads up! Now I can stop hitting refresh and make myself actually focus on editing. (Because after I submitted, a couple friends told me I really needed a mega-rewrite-of-doom before it was ready to send out. Doh! Guess I won’t be getting any free books or critiques! But at least the contest got me to finish the draft! 🙂 )

  • April Mason

    OMG I am hyperventilating here! How soon is soon???? BTW January thank-you for the encouragement! Good luck to you too!

  • did everyone get a confirmation that they recieved their entry?
    I didn’t.

  • Jacelya Jones

    Yes, Danae Ayusso, I did receive a confirmation that seemed to be auto-generated.

  • April Mason

    Oh geez, I posted twice! LOL…Yes, I got a confirmation. And yes, I’m so nervous I cannot even spell correctly!

  • I’m not sure that confirmations were sent.
    I did not receive one, but later noticed in my websites’ visitor stats that a visitor had arrived from random house.com.
    Now I have to go to acupuncture, like I’ll be able to sit still for that!

  • Another Aaron

    I never got a confirmation either – from reading the comments in earlier threads it was my impression there wasn’t one. The comment above is the only person I’ve seen saying they got one.

    I wouldn’t worry about it.

  • April Mason

    Okay this is really weird. I keep posting, and nothing shows up, and then I check it and what I post, posts twice! LOL….at least I’m getting a laugh!!

  • Jackson

    Any idea what time the winners will be announed? Will it still be today? The reason I ask is because it’s getting towards close of business EST, and I’ve been sitting here clicking refresh forawhile. :-D. Thanks.

  • Klayton A. Korstjens

    ARGH!! I have been trying desperately to not get my hopes up with this but now that the day has arrived…well, let’s just say that went out the window.

  • Michael Levy

    Better they take their time and get it right than they rush to please the 700!

  • Belinda Whitaker

    I didn’t get a confirmation either, but my submission didn’t get kicked back by my server, so here’s hoping it got thru. One of 700. Wow.

    Thank you Suvudu for all of your hard work putting this contest on!

  • Michael Levy

    to Klayton A. Korstjens:

    Know exactly what you mean!

  • Klayton A. Korstjens

    to Michael Levy

    Lol. There’s only so much that one person can stand in keeping one’s cool. lol

  • Klayton A. Korstjens

    to Michael Levy

    There is only so much one person can take when trying to keep they’re cool. lol

  • keith yatsuhashi

    The professional in me says Suvudu needs to contact each winner before they announce–just to make sure they don’t encounter any surprises.

  • Tim Davis

    Contacting the winner and the runner-ups prior to the posting would be thoughtful and appropriate. I would understand if they didn’t given their workload. It might be such that the winners are contacted after the posting.

  • Klayton A. Korstjens

    @ Keith and Tim

    the announcement could come in any number of methods. I personally just wanna know so that I can get passed the thrill of losing. lol

  • J H Levy

    It depends – I just won a pretty big writing contest with a substantial prize, and I had no clue until someone else told me lol It just depends on the contest, I believe. I have no of knowing if they will or they won’t. Good luck to everyone, though!

  • April Mason

    I would say it’s worse waiting to find out than anything else! I’m not a patient person…LOL!

  • OK, I’m waiting with bated breath for the announcement. I’ve occupied myself with writing and editing and general craziness, but I’m almost out of things to occupy myself with.

    Laughing a bit at the image of everyone dragooned into the project, though. Hope you each at least had one good new read out of it!

  • Yeah, I’d like it over with as well. Waiting is the worst.

  • keith yatsuhashi

    Here’s another thought to chew on: If a panel decides on the winner, isn’t it possible that one of the judges has a title he/she LOVES–maybe more than one–and it doesn’t win or place. I wonder if Suvudu would consider it for their list.

  • Jackson

    Can someone from Suvudu give us an estimate as to when the announcement will be? I don’t mind waiting, I’d just prefer to know if it will still be today or some other time so I don’t keep checking the website and know when to come back. Thanks.

  • @Keith – That’s what I’m hoping for. Not so much to win, but the hope that an editor liked it enough that they want it. 😀

    ~ Renee

  • Betsy Mitchell

    @Jackson et al–I guess I asked for this, putting up a teaser post! We’re contacting the winner and runners-up today and assuming I hear back from all of them, I’ll post tomorrow before 5 p.m. EST.

  • April Mason

    @Keith Yatsuhashi…that also is my hope as well. I would hate to be the one who picks the final winner! I mean 700??? YIKES!!!

  • Mike Burdick

    Hey Betsy,

    I just realized that the email I had sent you when I submitted has a typo. In the small chance I am one of the chosen, the correct email is obviously on this post. THANKS for making this contest.

  • Lori

    Whoa! I am surprised to hear someone got a confirmation. I did not. I submitted a PDF attachment. I thought that was the correct method. I mean I am sort of a cavewoman with regard to technology, but isn’t attachment about the only way one can submit a file through e-mail? Maybe that is what they meant by 700 “qualifying” submissions. Does anyone know? This has been fun anyway…well, that is, if I was actually ever really part of “this.” Now I’m worried.

  • My acupuncturist let me sit extra long , which was extremely relaxing.
    And then I came home.
    Gotta say it again, Good luck everyone!

  • Jackson

    Thanks for the prompt response, Betsy?

    So if the entrants here have not received an email by the end of today, is it safe to assume they did not win?

  • I’m assuming the emails have already been sent. It’s not like it takes long to email 4 people.

  • chris morris

    Hi Suvudu Editurs,

    Chris Morris here. I sent a MS called ‘Contact Prime’. Fotgot to give you my phone number? Just in case ? Hey, you never know. Hee! 310-751-6536. Thanks much.

  • keith yatsuhashi

    Sorry I started this Betsy 😉 BTW, if you’re at BEA, stop by our booth 3382–U.S. Dept. of Commerce–especially if you saw potential in my submission 😉

  • Suvudu

    Hi All,

    With regards to the confirmation emails, the contest form that entrants were required to fill out auto-generated an email with instructions on how to submit their manuscript. This was in place in case an entrant filled out the form early, wanted to take a week or so to make edits, and then submit the manuscript—so they’d have an email with instructions on how to do so. We did not set up an auto-responder on our email inbox and the volume of submissions got to be such that between handling the manuscripts and archiving the emails, a duty performed by one person on staff, attempting to respond to each entrant just wasn’t feasible. That person would have ended up doing nothing but email for too many days to justify the task.

    We know now that, in the future, contests of this nature will likely require an email inbox with greater storage and an auto-responder to generate an email of receipt. Sorry for any confusion that this might have caused.

    If you sent your manuscript to our info box, then it was entered in to the group. From there, it was looked at to make sure it was an actual novel manuscript (we received a few plays, books of poetry, short stories, and other items that did not meet the entry requirements as stated in our official rules). So when we say 700 “qualifying entries”, we mean 700 entries of the appropriate length that were novels.

    Thanks everyone; this has been an incredible (and eye-opening) experience for us as well! More to come soon.

  • Michael Levy

    Thanks for the info. I’m sure that we all realize that you have quite a bit to wade through!

  • Keith Yatsuhashi

    To Betsy and the Suvudu team. I’m afraid I’m going to stir the pot a little more. To use an example that–admittedly–will make people cringe, I’d like to ask about the submission that didn’t win, but caught your attention. And here’s that example: American Idol. Yes, American Idol. Too many talented contestants to count–one winner. Year after year we see (well those who watch), a non-winning contestant launch a successful career. I’m supposing you’ve read worthy manuscripts in this contest, but what happens to, say, 5th place, for example, or the MS that one reader/editor adored but didn’t quite make the cut? Will you go back to those submissions for another look? Maybe find that hidden gem?

  • Kevin Corr

    Someone hit the proverbial nail on the head… if you haven’t received an e-mail from the nice folks at Del Rey yet, you are (most likely!) not the lucky winner or a runner-up.

  • Justin D

    I won in spirit! *cries*

  • Fletcher Martin

    I did not get contacted so I did not win, but I want to join the others in saying thank you for putting this cool contest on. I appreciate the time you put in.
    It is obvious with 700 applicants that there is a need for contests like this, or at least a viable way for manuscripts to be seen.

  • whoa. thank god about the confirmations. i didnt get one so i was freaking out!

  • Many thanks to the folks at Suvudu and Del Rey for running the contest, and thanks as well for taking the time to clear up the potential confirmation confusion. Now I know at least I got to be in the running. 🙂

  • Congrats to the winners!!
    It was exciting to watch / wait for the announcements with you all, good luck in the future!

  • Congratulations to the winners and thanks for hosting this contest!

  • Michael Levy

    So were the winners announced?

  • Someone spoofed my domain last winter and I’ve had to use yahoo on & off…just in case… 😀

    No announcement yet?

  • Joe

    I didn’t see any place in the rules where it said that collections of short stories were not okay. I might have missed it though. This is a real bummer because some of the best story’s come in that form. Or does it mean (Suvudu’s comments on here that is) that people submitted a single short story and not a collection. I wonder if they get something really groundbreaking if they would keep it in mind for their list. I mean, how could they resist something they really liked? It was cool of them to offer this.

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