Writing Competitions

Writers: Get Paid $200 Per Word? Maybe!



20K for 100 Words?  Yes!  The V International Flash Fiction Competition has such a generous prize on offer – US$20,000 for 100 words – the contest is extremely competitive.  And there is no entry fee.  The former Museum of Words contest attracted recently 35,609 entries from writers in 149 countries.

The 5th Edition of the International Prize for Micro-Stories is organized by the César Egido Serrano Foundation.  The Cesar Egido Serrano Foundation is based in Spain and is a private, not-for-profit foundation.  The foundation’s aim is to encourage dialogue between different cultures, ideas, religions, and sensibilities.

Entries for the Museum of Words flash fiction contest are open until Thursday, November 23, 2017.  Entries must be submitted via an online form.
Keeping in mind the Foundation´s ethos, which is that the word is the tool of coexistence between different cultures, religions, and ideologies, the V Edition of competition is open, under the motto: The Word, bridging the gap between different cultures and religions”. The rules of the competition are as follows:

  • Writers from anywhere in the world may participate.
  • The contest rules limit the number of entries per writer to two.
  • Originals whose theme will be free (two per author, maximum) will be written in any of the following languages: Spanish, English, Arabic or Hebrew.
  • An overall first prize of 20,000 dollars is awarded for the best story in any of the languages authorized in the contest.
  • Three prizes of $ 1,000 each will be awarded for the best stories in each of the other remaining languages admitted in the contest, that are not winners of the main prize.
  • The stories cannot exceed 100 words. They will be sent exclusively by completing the online form that will be found on the website of the Foundation.
  • The texts will be original, unpublished in all media (paper, blogs, electronic publications, etc…) and must not have been awarded prizes in any other contest. Those who do not meet this condition will be disqualified.
  • The deadline for submission of originals will end on November 23rd, 2017.
  • The jury will make a selection of the finalists it deems appropriate.  The list of finalist titles will be published on the website of the César Egido Serrano Foundation.
  • The César Egido Serrano Foundation reserves the right to publish the finalist stories.
  • The decision of the jury will be final.
  • The registration in this contest is an agreement in the total acceptance of its rules.

Good luck to all writers who participate!

US$40,000 for a Short Story?

You are reading correctly!
The Sunday Times Short Story Award 2018: Entries Now Open for the World’s Richest Short Story Prize July 6, 2017



Writers from around the world are invited to enter the 2018 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award. The winner will receive £30,000 (approx US$40,000), making this the most valuable prize in the world for a single short story.

The prize is for stories up to 6,000 words in length and there is no entry fee.  Stories can be either unpublished or published.  If it was published, the work must have first appeared after 31 December 2016.

Writers can enter regardless of their nationality or residency but they must have an existing record of publication in the United Kingdom or Ireland.

The 2017 Sunday Times Short Award was won by Bret Anthony Johnston, Director of Creative Writing at Harvard University. Previous winners include Jonathan Tel (2016), Yiyun Li (2015), Adam Johnson (2014) and Junot Diaz (2013).

Entries for the 2018 award close at 6 pm GMT on Thursday, Sept 28, 2017.  A long list of up to twenty entries will be published in February 2018 and the winner will be announced in April.  Full terms and conditions for the prize can be found here (PDF) and writers can access the entry form via the Short Story Award website.

Good Luck to All Participants!


UK Authors: Kindle Storyteller Prize £20,000


Are you a British author?  Did you just finish a new work? Why not enter this competition?  
Amazon UK invites authors: “Recognizing literary excellence, the Kindle UK Storyteller contest is open until 19th May 2017.  The winning author will receive a £20,000 cash prize, and be recognized at a central London award ceremony this summer.
The Kindle Storyteller prize is open to submissions of new English language books from all authors and genres.  Titles must be previously unpublished, a minimum of 5,000 words with no upper word limit and be available as an eBOOK and in PRINT.

Storyteller FAQ:
How is the Winning Book Selected?
Readers will play a significant role in the competition, with the award shortlist compiled based on customer ratings for the titles, followed by an esteemed panel of judges – made up of both Amazon experts and literary authorities – selecting the Kindle Storyteller 2017 winner.

Who can Enter?
Subject to certain restrictions set out in the Terms and Conditions, the prize is open to anyone over the age of 18 who enrol their book through Kindle Direct Publishing on Amazon.co.uk between 20th February and 19th May 2017.

All titles must be entered into the KDP Select programme and must be available as an eBook and in print for the entry period to be considered. For more information, authors can visit http://www.amazon.co.uk/storyteller

Can any Book be Entered?
Yes! All entries must be previously unpublished and a minimum of 5,000 words with no upper word limit.

How can you Enter Your Book Into the Prize?
The Kindle Storyteller prize is open to submissions of new English language books from all authors and genres, and all entries must be submitted using Kindle Direct Publishing with the exact phrase: “StorytellerUK2017” in the ‘keywords’ metadata field when the title is enrolled.
Titles must be previously unpublished. Kindle Storyteller opens for entries on 20th of February until 19th May 2017, and titles must be entered into the KDP Select programme during the entry period to be considered.

How Will the Winning Book Selected?
Readers will play a significant role in the competition, with the award shortlist compiled based on customer ratings for the titles, followed by an esteemed panel of judges – made up of both Amazon experts and literary authorities – selecting the Kindle Storyteller 2017 winner.  The shortlist will be announced in the beginning of June. The judges will be announced soon. The panel will be made up of industry experts within and external to Amazon.

How Will the Winning Author be Recognized?
The prize will be announced at a central London ceremony in July, with the winning author being rewarded with a cash prize of £20,000 and a marketing campaign to support the book on Amazon.co.uk, as well as the opportunity to have their book translated for international sales.
What is KDP Select?
KDP Select is an optional programme that gives authors the opportunity to reach more readers and earn more money. Enrolling in KDP Select grants authors access to a set of promotional tools, including Kindle Unlimited, Free Book Promotion (readers worldwide can get your book free for a limited time) and Kindle Countdown Deals in the US and UK (limited time promotional discounting for your book). In order to be eligible to win the Kindle Storyteller competition titles must be enrolled into the KDP Select programme.

According to the fine print, especially: “readers will play a significant role in the competition, with the award shortlist compiled based on CUSTOMER RATINGS for the titles” the work needs to be fantastic.  But even more, it needs to show fantastic ratings too!  If you are planning to participate in the contest, work hard on getting lots of reader support and reviews.  Only an early on successful book has a chance to win.
IMPORTANT: don’t forget to add: “StorytellerUK2017” in the ‘keywords’ metadata field.  

Good Luck!


How to Navigate Writing Contests

Book Pile

Aside from the cash prize, winning a contest usually means publication in a magazine or newspaper – sometimes even a book publishing contract. Both yield readership, relationships with editors, and exposure.
You might also get that story published, even if it’s not a first place winner.  Contests are a great way to hone your craft and show the world how much better you are than other writers.  Winning a book award for your self-published fiction or nonfiction book is a great way to gain recognition and approval.

Writing contest prizes often are running from $1,000 to $10,000 cash, often paired with an invitation to the prize award presentation ceremony. Recently another prize was a free university MFA program “Creative Writing”. Often there are publishing offers or a free magazine subscription.  Here a s
hort excerpt from our upcoming book:
111 Tips on How to Make Money with Writing
Winning a book award for your self-published fiction or nonfiction book is a great way to gain recognition and approval.  You will not only see an increase in your book sales – provided you market it well.  You also can add the award sticker to your cover and mention the achievement on your back cover, in your books’ description, and in all your marketing and promotions – online or offline.

Examples of Writing Competitions
Two writing contests in the UK call for entries, due in September – one for short stories, one for novels – to attract British, or in the UK published writers.  One is for previously unpublished novels, the other for short stories of well-published authors, prizes range from £5,000 to £30,000.  It is the highest prize award every paid for a short story by the SUNDAY TIMES Short Story Award (up to 6,000 words).  The winner will receive the equivalent of ca. US $38,500.  However, most contest prizes are only around $1,000.
Deadline March 1:  Neutral free contest from New Welsh Review awards a top prize of  £1,000 = US $1,250, e-book publication, and other networking/promotional opportunities for previously unpublished, English-language prose written for an adult audience by authors age 18+.

For 2017, there are two categories: memoirs (5,000-30,000 words) and novellas (8,000-30,000 words).  Both categories are open to all residents of the UK and Ireland, plus those who have been educated in Wales for at least six months; the Novella Prize is also open to writers based in the US and Canada.

Works may be a single, long-form piece or a book divided or structured as the author sees fit.  No simultaneous submissions.  No limit to the number of entries submitted by one author, although only one work may win.  An author may enter both categories. Enter using sponsor’s online submissions portal.


Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing –
The winner receives a US$10,000 advance.

CBC Creative Nonfiction Competition – First Prize CAD6,000

American Library in Paris Visiting Fellowship. Is open to writers worldwide. Fellows receive a stipend of US$5,000 to assist with travel and housing costs.


The James Jones Fellowship Contest awards $10,000 to an American writer with a first fiction novel in progress in 2017. Two runners-up will each receive $1,000.

Chicago Tribune’s Nelson Algren Award
has been held annually since 1981. The award carries a first prize of US$3500 and has four finalist prizes ($1000 each) and five runners-up prizes ($500 each) and there is no entry fee. Stories can be up to 8000 words and must be previously unpublished. The Nelson Algren Award is only open within the United States and entries close on 31 January.

Iowa Review Awards
are open to short fiction of up to 25 pages (double-spaced), as well as poetry and nonfiction. First prize is $1500 and all entries will be considered for publication. The judge of the 2017 fiction category is Amelia Gray. Entries open on 1 January and close on 31 January.

Philosophy Through Fiction Short Story Competition
is open to speculative fiction (including but is not limited to science fiction, fantasy, horror, alternative history, or magical realism) that explores one or more philosophical ideas. These can be implicit; there is no restriction on which philosophical ideas you explore. First prize is US$500 and the winning story will be published.

Yearbook Short Story Competition
offers the winner a place on an Arvon residential writing course of your choice (valued at £1000) and publication on writersandartists.co.uk. Stories must be under 2000 words and, unlike previous years, can be on any theme. Entrants can be from anywhere in the world and there is no entry fee.

Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize
is awarded by Selected Shorts. The winning entry will receive US$1,000 and the work will be performed and recorded live at the Selected Shorts performance at Symphony Space and will be published on electricliterature.com. The winning writer will also earn free admission to a 10-week course with Gotham Writers Workshop.

There are literally hundreds of writing competitions every year.  Readers of our upcoming book: 111 Tips on How to Make Money with Writing will receive a complementary and comprehensive list of contests in english-speaking countries.

Fee or Free?
Authors can search and apply for a free competition, or one that requires an entry fee. You may wonder “why should I pay to enter a contest?”  Good question.

When a contest is from a reputable publisher such as Writer’s Digest, you can trust they won’t take your money and run.  You have a chance to receive the prize (cash, trip to a writer’s conference and publication of your writing) for your entry.  Even if you don’t win, the experience gives you the opportunity to hone your writing skills.

Where to Find More Writing Contests?

These websites let you know about upcoming writing competitions:







Writer Beware…
Before you click on “accept” when applying, or pay any money: carefully read the small print, and avoid giving your rights away for free.  There are hundreds of options that range from scams to high-level awards and great exposure.  Submission fees are from $10 to $250.  Some entries don’t require fees.  Enter any book award contest only after careful consideration and review of its reputation. Google the awards name.  You sometimes might be surprised what’s coming up.  Watch out for the “small print” examples, shown in these websites, before you apply or pay any fees:





SelfpublishingAdvice listed among others these “Guiding Principles for Writing Contests and Awards”:
“The event exists to recognize talent, not to enrich the organizers.  
Award ceremonies present a lucrative opportunity for unscrupulous organizers and vanity presses.  These companies extract millions of dollars from unwary authors every year through entry fees, merchandising, and ancillary services such as marketing and editing.  The most common method of separating authors from their money is a high entry fee (which they define as $50 and above) multiplied by a high number of categories (10 or more). This system is meant to encourage multiple entries and huge numbers of winners who can each be targeted for promotional products and add-on services.”

Watch out for these unethical rights grab.  Intellectual property is under attack from all fronts and we must be vigilant.  Read the fine print!

How Will You Market Your Award?
Having written or published an “Award Winning Book,” selected from a hundred or more competing titles by an experienced, professional team of judges gives your book the seal of excellence.

Winning the award is one thing, but marketing the fact that your book has been chosen among hundreds of others is equally important.  Have a plan how you can spread the word about your award-winning book, also outside of Social Media:

  • Add it to your email signature. 
  • Post a press release and write a blog post about it. 
  • Create a guest post about your experience, with valuable tips for other writers. 
  • Offer your work to book clubs, mentioning your award. 
  • Do as many book signings as possible, accompanied by a huge poster of your award. 

Most awards call for entries every year, so if the competition is closed for this year, mark your calendar for next years’ contest call.   Entering a writing contest means you will gain experience, and you will get feedback on your writing.  It boosts your self-confidence, which in turn encourages you to write more.  If you don’t win the first contest you enter: remember what Thomas A. Edison said “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Good luck to all of you who participate in writing contests!


Upcoming Writing Competitions

No, I am not talking about NaNoWriMo – even so you might be able to use some of what you already wrote for this yearly NaNoWriMo competition – if it fits into the following categories of the upcoming writing competitions.  Your manuscript will certainly need to be edited, maybe even slightly re-written before you enter it into the contest. Best of all: these competitions require no entry fees!

The Writer Short Story Contest – Deadline November 30, 2016
Write a 2,000-word fictional short story using any nuance, definition or understanding of the word “dark.” Grand prize $1,000 and publication in the magazine.

Dreams and coincidences – Deadline November 30,2016
Chicken Soup explains: “Sometimes magic happens in your life. You have a dream that reveals a truth or a course of action to you. You have a premonition that changes your behavior and saves you or a loved one from disaster. You meet someone at just the right time and you can’t believe the coincidence. We’re collecting stories for a second book on this topic. Up to 1,200 words.  Pays $200 and ten free copies of the upcoming book.

Somerset Maugham Awards – Deadline: November 30, 2016
Open to writers under the age of 35.  Genre: Published work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry. Prize: 2,500 British Pounds apiece to four winners. Prize money must be used for travel.

Betty Trask Prize – Deadline: November 30, 2016
Restrictions: Author must be a Commonwealth citizen. Genre: First novels, published or unpublished, written by authors under the age of 35 in a “traditional or romantic, but not experimental, style.” Top prize 10,000 pounds. The prize money must be used for foreign travel. 


Stories about Dogs – Deadline January 31, 2017
Chicken Soup explains: “We are working on and collecting stories and poems for another wonderful book about our dogs. The focus of this book will be on rescued dogs that were adopted from shelters or rescue organizations and who luckily found their forever homes. We are looking for true stories of no more than 1,200 words.” 
Pays $200 and ten free copies of the upcoming book.



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