A message from Pablo to cheer up a bum day:
First off, a sincere “Thank you” to everyone who downloaded, read, voted, help spread the word—this challenge was thrown together off the cuff and would not have amounted to anything without efforts from a lot of folks. Individual e-mails will go out when I have two seconds to breathe, but you all know who you are.
So, the results are in but I am treating them as tentative, for now. Of the 180 copies of each collection that went out, we have only heard back from 15% of readers with votes. In fact, I have personally chatted here and there with people who have told me they read the collections and just needed to vote, but those votes have not come in yet.
The winner (by a margin of a little more than 2-1) as of midnight, Feb. 1st, is Pablo D’Stair’s collection.
BUT: As this could easily change if a good amount of tardy votes come in, any vote that does come in for the next week WILL be counted, no questions. If you personally know someone who read and did not vote (or are such a person yourself) please get the vote in by Feb. 7th.
Because votes are still being counted until Feb. 7th, the Author-List-By-Story for the Challenger Collection and some other updates (including details of Round Two with the $500 Prize Pot) will not be posted/sent out until then.
Now, I do have to say, though I am happily surprised (a little bit shocked, really) to have won (at least so far) that due to the percentage of the readers-to-votes this win is nowhere near as conclusive as I was aiming for. And because of this, and due to the amazing work from the challengers and from all manner of folks helping to promote, I don’t feel right about saying “I win” and having no prize being awarded. At the same time, I don’t just want to give the listed prizes…because that would be kind of silly and oddly dismissive of the work the Challengers did.
SO—as many of the challengers had hinted at donating any winnings to charity and as many of the challengers have actually worked on the charity anthology The Lost Children, I am going to make a donation of the $100 First prize to PROTECT: The National Association to Protect Children and Children 1st UK on behalf of all the writers who participated.
NOTE: This donation is being made, no matter what. If enough votes come in between now and Feb 7th to make the Challenger Collection the winner, I will still pay out all three prizes to the top three Challenger stories, as voted by readers ($225 total).
More updates and details to come.
Cheers again to everyone,