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Monday, March 31, 2014

FINAL DAY-- WV Writers Contest Reminder Checklist

Today, Monday, March 31, is the FINAL deadline for submissions for the 2014 WV Writers Annual Writing Contest to be mailed.  Anything postmarked after March 31 will not be eligible for our contest, so it's important that you get your entries in the mail today.  

That said...  if you're not able to get to the post office before they close today, here's a time-tested method for getting your entries postmarked by 3/31/14 anyway...

Assemble your entries before midnight tonight, 3/31/14, put them all in their envelope and weigh them using a kitchen scale, then use that weight to purchase and print a Priority Mail label on (Or use, if you have that.) It will have the post mark of 3/31 printed on it and then you can mail it out tomorrow with no problem.  However, don't take a long time about mailing it, cause our contest coordinator (me) is sending all the entries to the judges by next Monday, April 7, so if your entry isn't here by then, you'll be out of luck.

To help things run smoothly for both entrants and our contest coordinator (me) here's a handy checklist that you should go over before sending in your entries.


1)  Have you read the contest rules to make sure you're complying with them? 
Even if you've entered a dozen times before, please do read the rules again because errors happen.  Please pay special attention to the CONTEST GUIDELINES section, which a number of entrants have apparently skipped over already.

2)  Is your contest category and the word count for your entry printed in the top right corner of your entry? (See Checklist #1)  The word count means the actual number of words in your entry.  Your word processing program will be able to tell you this.  Please do not estimate.  For Book Length Prose, this means the word count of your submitted excerpt, not of the overall novel.

3) Have you filled out your entry form correctly?  I've received several entry forms this year in which no contest categories have been marked.  This is fine if there's only one entry and the entrant has put their category on the entry (see Checklist #1 and #2), but when there are multiple prose entries and they've not been indicated on the entries themselves, they could potentially be intended for short story, nonfiction, Appalachian, humor, emerging writers prose, Pearl S. Buck, or children's book and I have no easy way to know.

4)  Have you made absolutely certain your name is NOT printed on your actual story or poem? 
The ONLY place your name should appear is on your contest entry form.  UPDATED 3/17/2014:  So far this year, only TWO people have left their names on their entries.  If you find out you've left yours on, don't sweat it.  I can blank out the name with correction tape and then photocopy that page to replace the original.  However, this takes both time and correction tape and I have a limited supply of those.

5)  Have you double-checked to make sure you included ALL of your entries in your envelope? 
In the past, I've received a couple of entry envelopes that are a story or poem short of the intended amount.  (In fact, last year I received an envelope that only had an entry form and no submission at all.)  I always try to contact the people to make sure of their intentions, and have been known to print missed entries here.  But the more careful you are in submitting the easier it is on me here.  Which brings me to...

6)  Have you included accurate contact information for yourself? 
Every year people send entries in that require followup to correct an error or two.  And every year many of those emails sent bounce back because they are incorrectly written on the form.  (And, sometimes, handwriting interpretation on my part may be at fault.)  Please legibly print your email address and make sure it's correct, along with your other contact information.  

7)  Have you addressed your envelope full of entries with the correct address of our contest coordinator?
  Last year I received more than one entry forwarded to me from Patsy Pittman, who was our contest coordinator for many years, but has not been since 2008.  Please use the correct entry form with the correct address for 2014, which is available at our website and in our newsletter.

8)  Have you included the additional $2 per entry late fee for having mailed entries after March 15?  (Or $1 for New Mountain Voices Student Contest entrants.)

If you have questions feel free to send them to me at  Do know, though, that many of the answers to questions I have received about the contest are found at our Frequently Asked Questions list.