Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Koala Challenge 2011!

Welcome to 2011 - The Business of Writing!

The 2010 challenge worked very well for many people, with its focus on submission. This year I want to continue that, but I also want to put some emphasis back on the writing itself (which for many of you was the main activity), and I'd also like to start looking at marketing your writing. So, while submission will still be a good way to gain points, it's not going to be a short cut to Approves.

First, the basics... Again, every month we all start on zero and gain points by meeting Koala targets. Each point will raise you up a notch in The Koala's estimation and take you up a challenge level. Depending on the number of points, you earn a badge, created by The Koala's semi-tame goblin, JJ de Benedictis, to display on your blog.

This is how the points can be earned this year:

One point for every short story, poem or other short fiction submission to a competition or magazine. This is one point per publication, so check out the ones that allow multiples, and race up the Koala Love charts. Your blog does not count as a submission. However, blog competitions such as Jason Evans' Clarity of Night do count as a submission.

*Change for 2011* You can earn a point for a blog article submitted to other blogs (public blogs, not private) - if your article is of a good length and shows the type of accuracy/effort devoted to a magazine article, then it's point-worthy. (I'm still not allowing your own blog entries, so I remain fairly evil.)

One point for every article submitted to print or online magazine. *Change for 2011* Now one point per publication as per the short story submissions outlined above.

One point for achieving The Koala's perfectly reasonable writing/editing target of 4000 words a month.

One point for each 2000 words of original writing (not editing) over and above the basic 4000.

One point for each 5000 words of editing over and above the basic 4000.

One point for beta reading a fellow writer's novel and providing feedback. (Nothing shorter than a novel is eligible for this category).

One point for completing and publishing a new author website (not amendments - this is a one-off point for the first time you put it up). *Change for 2011* - I'll consider significant changes/updates to a web site for a point - as a rule of thumb, completely redesigning/rewriting four or more pages - not just adding a new picture or short story.

One point for writing a query (one-off point for each novel)

One point for writing your synopsis (again, a one-off point for each novel)

*Biggest change for 2011* One point for a novel submission (no more straight to Approves for a single submission!)

*Another change* Let us know what you've been doing in the way of marketing yourself and/or your books and I may award bonus points.

Bonus points may also be awarded for entering particular flash story competitions, as we did occasionally this year.

Report in at the end of every month, with your point totals and what you did to get there - as you have been. Points cannot be held over for a following month. The Koala wants consistent effort. The Koala is always right.

Each person is allowed one month off in the year - you decide if you want a summer holiday or a Christmas break or to have a baby or get your appendix out.

Go, go, go - January counts!

In for 2011 so far:

PD Singer (the writer formerly known as Pam...)
Sarah Laurenson

And please welcome a new victim, heh heh, Laurel K!

And more new victims, Jenna, Stevie and Daniela! And more - Mar Durango and Sempra!

More people should be signing up/re-signing up, so I'll wait a few days before I put the links up in the sidebar. It also gives you a few more days for December updates...

Remember to support one another in your attempts to avoid a Koala Shredding.

Spread the word, all welcome!


Sylvia said...

Can I get special bonus points for finishing what I start? *hopeful smile*

writtenwyrdd said...

Okay, count me in again. I figure I will at least serve as a bad example and scratching post. :)

writtenwyrdd said...

PS, I'm with Sylvia.

Lauren K said...

Hi, can I play too? Unless I'm Laurel K which is fine, since I've always liked that name better anyway. ;)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jenna said...

I'm new and would like to sign up.

jjdebenedictis said...

You know, calling me semi-tame is really overstating the tractability quotient.

Welcome Laurel and Jenna!

Gird your bottoms, lassies; the Koala claws, they be sharp. Arrr.

Robin B. said...

I'll be slow-ish out of the gate this year, but around the middle of February, watch out!

Looking forward to it.

Daniela said...

Please sign me up or count me in. :-) My main resolution for 2011 is: write more and submit, submit, submit.

Stevie Carroll said...

I'd like to sign up for this year, please. Angie's been twisting my arm.

Merry Monteleone said...

Okay. Game face.

We've said that before but I'm aiming lower this time =)

I'll link it up on facebook tonight or tomorrow too... always fun with more victims... er, umn, writers...

Whirlochre said...

Oh, so we have to sign in.

I rather thought it was like the Convicted Criminal On Death Row scenario, ie once you were in you were in (up to your neck).

If that means I'm now counted in twice, so be it.

I'm a fool.

McKoala said...


Written - the blog article thing may help you this year.

Um, yes, Lauren, yes, that would be you...sorry!

Welcome in Jenna, Daniela and Stevie! You'll love it here. And the scars don't show. That much.

JJ...here JJ... *waves toenail at golin* ...

Oooh, Robin. Mid-Feb? We'll hold you to it!

Merry, I like your thinking.

Whirl. Well, yes. You were never going to escape.

Aniket said...

I'm just going to be shredded to pieces every month this year. Yes, I would be sewn back every month just to be shredded again. Coz, I don't see any way to gain points than to write more this year. Coz that's what I intend to do. Having escaped the furry ones claws with mere submissions for an year, I'm now seeing the worth of writing 4k words for just 1 point. Respect to all those who got points the REAL way.

But a little motivation is always good. And if those claws aren't motivation, I don't know what is. So sign me up. If I ever write that novel, the Koala is getting credits in italicised-underlined-bold letters.

Mother (Re)produces. said...

I think I may chicken out this year. I thoroughly enjoyed last year's smackfest, and it was exactly what I needed at the time, but I have a feeling it's time to do my hermit imitation for a while.

Good luck to all this years koala fodde- er, emm... I mean participants!

Thanks, Koala, for a mad and fruitful year last year :)

PD Singer said...

I'm back for another year. *waves at Stevie*

Robin B. said...

I'll be here Jan and Feb, McK, but my numbers'll be low. Towards the end of Feb, however, they'll be taking a mighty leap forward and not looking back, girl!

Peter Dudley said...

Oops, sorry, already lagging. I meant to say "I'm in" on my comment on the December weigh-in but forgot.


I'm in.

I get that you don't allow rollover points, but how about rolling over our "month off" credit if we didn't actually use it in 2010? I had a few months of one or two points, sure, but I never took a month fully off...

Mar Durango said...

I'd like in, please!

Sempra said...


I'd like to join in

Phoenix said...

Another "point" of clarification, please. Will you be discriminating between submitting queries (meaning whatever is asked for initially by an agent or editor, which could be anything from just a letter to 50 pages and a synopsis) and further requested material?

Meaning, do I get just one point for querying an agent/editor whether I get a rejection or a request? Or do I get another point for sending a requested partial or full? (I've already got a point riding on your answer! And this year I may need all the generosity I can get.)

McKoala said...

Welcome back PJD and Aniket!

Aw, Mothereee! And you had your own nickname and everything!

Welcome Mar and Sempra!

Only one point, Phoenix - it's about having the courage to put it out there in the first place!

writtenwyrdd said...

I agree...it's evil of you to not allow my my blog articles as points. that law enforcement one took two weeks of work, seriously, 80 hours, to do all the research and write all eight articles. (If I only applied myself like that to fiction, right?)

Peter Dudley said...

If it were me, Your Marsupial Highness, I'd give in to the demands of the Law Enforcement Person. But then again, I don't have your dastardly determination or furious death-blossom clawage.

Merry Monteleone said...

Hey Koala,

I'm submitting to regional parenting magazines, which means I'm mass submitting... seems too easy to race up the love fest with one quick stroke of the send key. Should I be counting one point per article, instead of submission?

And, since you were so lovely to award points on anyone who submitted a pitch to crit at my blog, will you be allowing a point for pitches submitted to the goblin and Phoenix. (how evil am I to be looking for extra points? mwahaha)

McKoala said...

PJD, clawage? For just one moment, I read that as cleavage... Twice.

Written, I'm tempted. Very tempted. If you submitted your law articles to another blog, then I would give you points, for sure.

It's just that if I allow blog posts on 'your own blog', people may start counting 500 words on pimple pickage or dog poopage, and I feel it's a slippery slope to awarding points for nonsense blabbage. I know this does not apply to your posts, but it's hard to run around and check everybody's. So I'm going with the criteria that if another blog feels that it's well researched and well written, it's worth publishing - and having the courage to even submit to another blog earns points. I'm also thinking at least partially about the courage in submitting, plus the endeavours of researching etc.

Hm, Merry, yes to the article submittage and thank you for your honesty. Um, no to the pitch submits - you do get a point for actually writing a pitch, though.

Phoenix said...

it's about having the courage to put it out there in the first place

Oh, oh, if it's courage you're looking for, can I claim a point for asking for a named-author endorsement? Only took 4 years to work up the pluck for that! :o) Pretty blase now about popping out those queries...

Julia B said...

This is a brilliant idea! I want to play too :-)

Erastes said...

I hope it's not too late to sign up, this is exactly the kind of thing I need to get myself back on track.