Choosing a winner of a contest can be difficult, especially for your first contest. I was a bit apprehensive going into this first contest because I wasn’t sure what I was looking for. I simply wanted to juice up the blog with some fast action – and, boy, did I get what I asked for.
My initial call for entries was vague. I put out a call on Facebook for some flash and said I’d pay a measly $5 for the first story I accepted.
One person was quick on the uptake. In just an hour I had my first submission. The submitter was proud of the fact that he wrote a story about a garden gnome. Since I didn’t put a deadline on the contest, I decided to initiate one, so I chose Friday, August 30, 2013.
I spread the word as far and wide as I could in such a short time – Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Craigslist. Then I sat back and watched the submissions come in.
I didn’t get as many as I’d liked, but the ones I got were quite good – most of them. I decided not to read any of them until the deadline, then I would read them all at once. The diversity of submissions was quite impressive. I wrote back to several of the non-winners and told them I’d like to publish their stories anyway. They all accepted.
But there was one submission that earned a spot in my heart even after I’d read all the others. It was the story about the garden gnome, the first submission received.
What’s So Special About Garden Gnomes?
It’s a fair question to ask: “What criteria did you choose the winner based on?”
Luckily, no one has asked me that question – yet. But if they did, I’d have to say in this case it was very simple. I wanted something that was representative of what Garden Gnome Publications is all about. That could be an easy thing to find or quite difficult. In this case, the winner had a leg up on everyone else. He helped me create the look and feel of the website. In fact, he created my header.
That may seem unfair, but I didn’t know David Anderson was going to submit to the contest (and he didn’t know I was going to have one). Nevertheless, he hit me with a story I couldn’t resist.
There were other stories that were better written. From a craft standpoint, several stories were much more winner-worthy. But most of them weren’t creepy enough, or funny enough, or weird enough. One, I felt, was too short, though it was an extremely well thought out and written story. Another almost took the prize but in the end, the garden gnome represented the essence of Flim-Flam. I had my pick.
Congratulations to David Anderson, graphic artist and writer in the Bizarro fiction genre. You can read his story on the Flim-Flam Blog tomorrow.