The results are in! I participated in one of Sixfold’s reader-voted writing contests, and I found it a fascinating experience.
Unlike most contests, each entry is judged by other entrants in three rounds of voting. After I submitted my batch of poems, I received an email telling me when voting began. Then I was able to read six collections of poetry, rank them 1 – 6, and share comments.
Two more rounds followed, each a week apart. Just today, the final results were shared. The first-place winner was a collection that I had read and ranked highly, so that was cool to see!
My own ranking was lower than I had hoped—somewhere in the middle—and I received a few comments, some helpful and some not-so. (Respectful, just not specific enough for me to use in revisions. Though one was glowing, so that was nice!)
I really liked the experience of a peer-reviewed contest, and I thought the winners deserved their prizes. It’s a different feeling to see how other writers in similar circumstances receive your work, and to have the chance to read and comment on other submissions. I like the egalitarian aspect of this system very much.
If you’re new to submitting your work, I suggest doing something like this to give you the opportunity to read and critique other writers’ efforts. It’s incredibly helpful to recognize the strengths and weaknesses in someone else’s writing in order to improve your own—not to mention sharing insights with others.
At the same time, it was a bit of work, and I didn’t receive as much helpful commentary as I had hoped. Next time, I’ll try to choose a submission time when I’m not feeling so under the wire (the holidays have enough going on!).
Curious to discover other egalitarian-based and/or peer-reviewed literary journals or contests. Do any build into a real community of writers and reviewers? Which ones have you tried?