Ominous Signs

I’ve just received a rather worrying e-mail from Fish Publishing regarding their Criminally-Short Short Histories Competition, for which I entered a couple of pieces of somewhat dubious merit:

Dear Writer,

I have recently returned, after a two year absence, to run Fish Publishing, and am in the process of familiarizing myself with the state of the various competitions. The Criminally-Short Short Histories competition, which you entered, has not attracted enough entries to make it viable, and I am forced to close it down. I am very sorry to have to do this, and I ask your indulgence for the following course of action.

With your permission, I will transfer your entry to the 2009 Fish One Page Prize. (Obviously there will be no further charge to you). The closing date for this prize is 30 March 2009, and the winner and nine best others will be announced on 30 April 2009. The winners, as per usual, will be published in the annual Fish Anthology of Short Stories, which will be launched in the summer of 2009. The first prize is 1,000 Euro, and 50 Euro for nine runners-up. All who are published will receive five free copies of the anthology.

If you do not want your story to be transfered, please let me know by email, and include your name, the title of the story, and confirming that it is a Criminally-Short Short Histories entry, and I will refund your entry fee.

I apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused. We at Fish want to ensure that the high standards we have developed and maintained over the years are continued, and that the 2009 Fish Anthology is successful in promoting the writers within it.

I think I’ll take this as an opportunity to pull out, because the two pieces that I sent in won’t stand a chance in the open comp (particularly as I’ve just noticed that one of them has a switch of tense in the last line – oops). But are the economic conditions affecting competition entry numbers now? Things must be getting really bad.

[UPDATE: Apparently, it’s not just the Criminally-Short Short Histories Competition. Ouch.]

2 thoughts on “Ominous Signs

  1. SallyQ says:

    I’d entered the Fishknife competition too, Jon, and got the same email. I decided to let them transfer my story to the open comp, and was assured that the judge would be taking into account the fact that some stories were from the genre comps. Also, it seemed a lot less trouble than having to mess around getting a refund. I don’t think I’ve got a cat in hell’s chance, but it’s worth a try.

    My own view is that Fish might have just stretched themselves a bit thin, having three comps closing on the same day. And their comps aren’t that cheap to enter (though it’s fair to say that the prizes are pretty generous).

  2. admin says:

    Hi Sally – nice to see you here! You could be right about Fish stretching themselves a bit thin, although they clearly managed to do it last year, and I do wonder if it’s a small sign of the times. I think I will pull my pieces because, quite apart from that awful tense cock-up (how did that slip through?), I don’t like the idea of them locked up for several months. With any luck I’ll come up with something better to submit in the spring. Maybe.

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