Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I know this isn't what I was going to post (don't worry, the new essay will be finished soon) but while I was doing some research on publishers for short stories, I stumbled across the site for the Electric Dragon Cafe. The most recent news post is from October, but it's enough for me to decide this publisher isn't for me. The post reads:

Electric Dragon News - October, 12, 2008
Since this quarters writing contest was meant to commemorate the birth of our daughter Eleanor, we decided to let her be the sole judge. Instead of reading each and every entry, as we did with all contests last year, we read only the author’s name and the title of the story aloud to our baby. If she smiled or cooed at the sound of a name, then that story made it through to the next round. We repeated the process until only three remained. Ellie is no cupcake. She is a tough judge and a harsh critic. It is a small miracle that these stories entered the gauntlet and emerged whole on the other side. We offer thanks to all entrants, congratulations to the winners, and condolences to the families of those that fell along the way.
Really? You let a baby decide based on you reading the author's name and title? Why would anyone bother submitting to such an idiotic site, one which trivializes writing by not even judging the writing--you know, the stuff after the author's name and title?

It's terribly frustrating to writers having their work judged by people who think they know writing (yes, I know I'm being terribly elitist here) but what Electric Dragon Cafe has done here just confounds me. I mean, it's one of those things that is so utterly ridiculous that you can't believe that it's real.

I hope no serious writers submit to this site. Ever.


Anonymous said...

Hello, this is Gordon, the proprietor of the Electric Dragon Cafe. I would like to take this opportunity to explain exactly why my site has gone so long without a new news posting, and why, once I did finally get around to updating my website, I chose to allow a newborn child to influence my decisions.

First I answer the question, "why no posts?" I shall answer with a bullet list.
-my wife was put on bed rest for two months.
-My wife lost her job and had to work extra.
-We had a baby
-My mom had a heart attack (don't worry, she's ok now)
-my company had mass layoffs, and pay cuts. Soon I will be out of work, and I've been finding ways to keep my house.
-Did I mention we had a baby, for those of you who don't have one, it's totally worth it, but it takes up a lot of your time.

I don't mean for anyone to feel sorry for us, I feel blessed beyond all reckoning, but I think that most folks understand that my website is not my full time job, and life events tend to influence the amount of time we spend on our hobbies. I promised myself I would never miss a contest, and so far, despite all that has happened this year, I have not. Go me.

Secondly, you wondered, "why would I let a baby decide a writing contest?"

Though I believe my infant daughter to be an impeccable judge of character, I did not let her decide the contest. I read every entry myself, as I always do, and it took many, many hours. I'm sorry you were taken in by my joke (my wife told me this would happen), but I ask that in the future you do not degrade the accomplishment of those who have won internet contest regardless of how you feel about the writing prowess of the judges. Those folks worked very hard to win my contest, and they did a great job. You would have known that if you had bothered to read their work. If you did read the work, and you still believed those stories were chosen by a baby, perhaps you should have taken the time to marvel at the child's accomplishment instead of chipping away at her fragile self esteem (that last point was a joke by the way)

All that being said, thanks for looking out for the internet writing community, and I love the name of your blog.


FilthyGrandeur said...

Joke or not, you can at least understand why I thought it was serious, as there was no indication that it wasn't, especially given the amount of description on your site about how the baby was to choose.
congratulations on the baby, and also thanks for responding. i take writing very seriously, which is why i was so quick to judge your method of judging. congratulations also to all the fine writers who won your contest based on merit (as it should be). for future reference, some jokes and sarcasm do not translate well over the internet. thanks for reading.