Tales2Inspire is unique in that it is an “Authors Helping Authors” project as well as a contest. My goal is to encourage talented authors and help them grow. We work together to help one another polish our stories until they sparkle and shine.
Step one – The screening phase:
I screen each story as it is received and give my honest feedback. If I feel a story has good potential, but could use some fine tuning, I offer that author general suggestions for strengthening it. The author then has the option to edit and resubmit before the judging begins. NEW: I have now imposed an $18.95 initial reading fee for first time Tales2Inspire authors to help keep up with the increasing number of submissions.
Step two – The judging phase:
Each author whose story is accepted into the competition receives three other stories to judge, using a click, click, click automated form. Judging is done anonymously. Neither the names of the authors of the assigned stories nor the names of their judges are shared.
CLICK here to see a screenshot of the form.
Step three – The feedback phase:
I assign Winner, Finalist and Honorable Mention awards based on these scores. (Occasionally, a scoring discrepancy occurs, in which case I rely on input from outside editors.) I collate the judges’ comments/suggestions from part four of the form for each story and send them to that author.
Step four – The publishing phase:
Although the awards remained fixed, based on results from the feedback phase, if I believe a particular story has potential for inclusion in one of the Tales2Inspire books, I invite that author to edit it and lend my support to that effort.
The peer critiques of my story were very helpful to me, but I found Ms. Stern’s initial input the most beneficial of all. I recommend this process to anyone who is seriously interested in getting a story published.