It’s here by popular demand! Today I’m opening a new writing contest to feature the unconventional ideas of other great people from our community.
The winning entries will be published on the site for all to see, and naturally I’ve got some (other) great prizes as well. Here are all the details.
People ask me every week about writing a guest post for AONC. I’ve never said yes, mostly because I want to be careful about managing the workload. Most bloggers I know who regularly work with guest writers say that editing the guest posts takes as much time as writing their own posts.
I have enough writing projects right now to know that I can’t become an editor, and I also don’t want to get into the messy (but necessary) role of saying yes to a few people and no to a lot of other people.
Therefore, I still won’t offer traditional guest posts here, but my hope is that the writing contest will allow a few more voices to be heard without my taking on a new job as editor.
How It Works
You write a short essay of 500-1200 words describing an unconventional life topic of your choice. A panel of anonymous judges (I’m calling them the Supreme Court) will review the entries and select a short list of finalists for my review. I’ll choose the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners. The winning essays will be posted on the site for all to see, and there will also be some great prizes.
Remember, this is an unconventional writing contest and the site is called the Art of Nonconformity – so you don’t really need a lot of instruction. Do what you want; just make it excellent.
However, if you’re stuck, think about these principles:
*Essays should be helpful in nature and seek to explore provocative issues. Don’t be boring.
*How have you or someone you know successfully challenged authority or overcome adversity?
*How can other people make unconventional choices? How can people overcome the fear of change?
*Highly practical, interesting lifestyle design content is also welcome.
(Again, those are guidelines, not rules. The Supreme Court will award the short list designation to the best possible essays based on content and original ideas. )
You have until Saturday,
July 11th July 18 to submit your entry. Don’t wait too long!
How to Submit
Include your essay in the body of the email (not as an attachment!) and include the following info at the top:
1. Your Name
2. The Title of the Essay
3. Your Web Site (if you have one)
4. A Two-Sentence Biography
Send the info to this email address (the address is really long – blame Google).
Alternatively, if you already use Google Docs, you can also upload the file to your own account and then share it with email@example.com. Either way works just fine.
I’ve never had a guest post here, so the winning contest entries will be the first ones published here in our 16-month history. The site is currently ranked in the top 10,000 blogs by Technorati and slowly inching towards the next 5k benchmark. For the past three months there have been more than one million pageviews each month.
After it’s posted, the winning essay will go into the AONC archives for
all of eternity the foreseeable future. The posts will include a link back to the writer’s site, and I’ll also promote them through Twitter, LinkedIn, on billboards throughout each major city in North America, etc.*
*The billboards may not happen, but everything else will.
The Big Prize
I know that people would submit entries without a prize, but I also think that a great contest needs a great prize. Therefore I decided to “go big” and give away something that will have a real impact.
Grand Prize Winner: Complimentary Business-Class upgrade on any American Airlines flight.
If you’re going to fly on a U.S. airline, you might as well do so at the front of the plane. This upgrade is valid on any long-haul flight in the AA network, and can also be applied to domestic connections that get you to the hub where the long-haul flight originates from.
If you’re traveling between the U.S. and Europe, the U.S. and South America, or the U.S. and Asia (Tokyo and New Delhi) in either direction over the next year, this upgrade will help you arrive in style. Lounge access in any OneWorld airline lounge is also included, so you can hang out, drink free cocktails, and watch the planes go by in a quiet place before your flight.
Depending on how you use the upgrade, it’s worth anywhere from $500-2,000. I’ll also provide free travel optimizing services to the winner. [Click here to read more about AA’s Business Class.]
(Alternative prize: If the winner has no current plans to travel, I’ll give them 25,000 Frequent Flyer Miles on American, Air Canada, Delta, or United, which they can use for a round-trip domestic ticket anytime in the next two years. If the winner lives outside of the U.S. or Canada, no problem – we can use the miles to book a codeshare flight on British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, or almost any major airline.)
The Grand Prize Winner will also receive:
The “I Want it All” combo pack that contains the complete versions of all the Unconventional Guides. This currently sells for $197.
The Combo Pack includes Working for Yourself, Art and Money, Travel Ninja, and Discount Airfare.
A new journal from Piccadilly Journal. This moleskine-alternative is what I’ve been using recently. It’s better than moleskine and half the price, which makes my life easier since I’m paying for the prizes.
I do most of my writing with pen and paper before transferring it to a computer. Even if you don’t operate the same way, these notebooks are fun for journaling, to-do lists, or looking cool in the coffee shop.
Props and respect from the universe. You’ll get the table by the window wherever you go, and the only tradeoff will be all the autograph seekers. (Value: Immeasurable. You’ll be famous! Sort of.)
Second Prize Winner: *The “I Want it All” combo pack that contains the complete versions of all the Unconventional Guides.
Third Prize Winner: A free copy of the complete version of any one Unconventional Guide (winner’s choice).
The Fine Print
1. Your essay must be completely original. This means it can not have been published elsewhere, including on your blog.
2. If your essay is selected as one of the winners, you grant AONC non-exclusive rights to publish it. All winning essays will be edited prior to publication.
3. If your essay is not chosen as one of the winners, the rights will return to you and you can post it on your blog or send it somewhere else.
4. Winners are responsible for any taxes associated with a prize.
5. A note to American Airlines employees – I verified my ability to offer the Grand Prize upgrade as a gift for the winner through the Executive Platinum desk earlier this week. The upgrade can not be transferred further. If you have any questions, please contact me at the phone number listed in my profile.
My goal with the contest is to add quality ideas and content to the site by promoting original voices. I’m looking forward to what some of you have to say!
Oh, one more thing – if you have any questions, please post them in the comments section here. To be fair to everyone else, I probably shouldn’t offer specific feedback by email. For the same reason, I won’t review entries prior to submission. Just make it excellent and you’ll stand out.
What do you think — are you in?
‘Letter Writer’ Image by RitaB