Announcing SOOP’s Annual Short Story Contest for 2021-22

SOOP is excited to invite you to participate in our rolling annual no-fee Short Story Contest! And we’ve increased the guaranteed cash prizes to over $5,000, with Grand Prize awards of $500 each for Fiction and Non-Fiction.

Yes, in case you missed it, there is no fee to enter! SOOP’s contest is designed to honor excellence in writing short stories and flash fiction, especially for emerging Authors. All valid entries are reviewed by SOOP’s team of Curators who award a “Curator’s Choice” cash prize from each heat of 25 qualified entries.  The top three entries from each heat move forward to the Semi-finals, to be judged by an independent panel of judges, for consideration for additional Awards and Cash Prizes to the authors.

Authors retain ALL rights to their submission throughout the contest. Submissions for flash fiction, short story and short non-fiction submissions are accepted on an ongoing basis, across the 25 diverse literary categories listed below. 

Your stories will not be published in our site – only your name, title, and the synopsis you provide. Authors must then qualify each submission by getting 50 votes for it from the Author’s potential fans.  A vote is simply a reader’s name and email, indicating interest in the synopsis you provide. Other than reaching the qualified number of votes, no consideration is given for the number of votes. Winners are chosen solely based on which stories score highest with our panel of independent judges. 

SOOPs purpose in conducting this contest is to provide a steady flow of stories for SOOP’s curators to review. SOOP’s Curators recommend stories to SOOP’s editorial team so that we can then offer a unique publishing opportunity for these emerging Authors.   Anyone who is offered, and accepts a contract will have their submission published in one or more carefully curated anthologies, similar to a 25 Servings of SOOP Volume I, with royalties that are generally above industry standards.

Process Overview:
  1. AT ANY TIME IN THE YEAR: Author qualifies by submitting a valid story within a category and obtaining 25 votes
  2. AT ANY TIME IN THE YEAR: Once 25 qualified submissions (a heat) are received in a category the Curator reviews them, awards a cash Curator Award and passes 3 entries on to the semi-finals to be reviewed by our independent panel of judges
  3. AT ANY TIME IN THE YEAR: Authors may receive an invitation for their story to be published in one of SOOP’s Anthologies, which are published as enough quality content is collected through our contest and the activities of our Scouts and Curators.
  4. JULY 31 EACH YEAR: Is the deadline to qualify.  SOOP reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to provide a grace period to achieve the number of votes needed to qualify, whether across all categories or for specific categories, to achieve the needed # of submissions to declare a heat.
  5. IN AUGUST EACH YEAR: Category Curators review any remaining entries, and issue Curator Awards / pass entries on to the Semi-Finals as appropriate. By August 31 SOOP will announce the Semi-Finalist lists and the independent panel of judges begins reviewing the Semi-Finalist entries that have been received
  6. ON NOVEMBER 1ST – NATIONAL AUTHOR’S DAY – EACH YEAR: SOOP announces all Prize winners and awards prizes

2022 Contest Year Prizes:

  1. $50 (Contest ending 2022) Curator’s Choice Awards – issued at any time in the year:
    Each time a “heat” of 25 Qualified Submissions is achieved in a specific category or Anthology grouping (such as “Speculative Fiction”, or “Chills and Thrills”) the Anthology’s Curator will select one entry for the $50 Curator’s Choice award. The Curator’s choice, along with the top 2 runner up entries from that Heat, will advance to the Semi-Finals
  2. Semi Finals – Deadline to qualify for the Semi-Finals is July 31 of each year.
    Those advanced to the Semi-Finals by July 31 each year will be offered a Publishing Contract for their Qualifying Submission and will be listed on our Website as a Semi-Finalist.
  3. At least $5,000 in cash prizes, including two Grand Prizes of $500 (Fiction, Non-fiction) and one Grand Prize of $250 (for Poetry) will be awarded for the 2021-2022 Contest year, by November 1, 2022. 
    The top submissions across the 25 Fiction and Non-Fiction Categories will advance to the Finals and be announced on our website. Poetry will be judged as a separate category. Our independent panels of Judges – for Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry – will award the following prizes, on or after November 1 of 2022.
  4. 1st prize for each qualifying category – $50 cash prize, plus double royalties for their published submission.
  5. 2nd for each qualifying category – $25 cash prize plus 1.5 times standard royalties for their published submission.
  6. 3rd for each qualifying category – Free copy of an Anthology, plus standard royalties for their published submission.

How to Qualify:

  1. To enter, please complete the submissions form below. Be sure to select the correct category from the drop down menu. You may enter separate submissions to as many categories as you would like as well as multiple separate submissions within a category. Please note that the requirements for each entry must be met for the entry to be valid.
  2. You will receive an email with a voting page link. Per the email, please send it out to your family members, friends, and fans and ask for votes. Each vote requires only the person’s name and email address, submitted in support of your work. Those who opt out of future emails about your submission will have their vote removed from your count.
  3. Each submission must receive the required number of votes (50 for the contest ending in 2022) in order for you to be eligible for prizes and/or a publishing contract offer.

Procedures & Rules:

  1. Each genre category must receive at least 25 qualified submissions to guarantee a Curator’s Choice award. To qualify, a story submission must be complete, meet our minimum editorial standards, and receive at least 50 votes for 2021-22. SOOP may, at its discretion, issue awards to categories with fewer than the minimum qualified submissions.
  2. SOOP will, at its discretion, issue publishing contract offers to authors of submissions beyond those recognized as 1-3 in each category. SOOP typically offers contracts to less than 20 percent of the authors from whom we receive submissions; we expect that percentage to remain consistent.
  3. Authors of submissions that we are interested in publishing, regardless of whether they win, may receive a Letter Of Intent at any time, and Contract Offers will be sent to all Authors in a Cohort, when we are ready to publish the Anthology. 
  4. If you are curious about the status of your Submission, you may direct an email to [email protected] from the email address you used to submit, and be sure to include the link to your submission voting page.

Please click here for a full list of the Rules, which the Author acknowledges as having read and agrees to by submitting to the Contest. If you are 13-17 years old and therefore ineligible to participate at this time, please fill out the linked form as we plan to launch a teenager-specific contest in the Spring.

Fiction Categories with Max Word Count:

  1. Fantasy – 5,000 words
  2. Science Fiction – 5,000 words
  3. Dystopian – 5,000 words
  4. Adventure – 3,000 words 
  5. Romance – 3,000 words 
  6. Detective & Mystery – 5,000 words
  7. Horror – 3,000 words 
  8. Thriller – 3,000 words
  9. LGBTQ+ – 3,000 words
  10. Historical Fiction – 5,000 words 
  11. Young Adult – 2,000 words
  12. Children’s Fiction – 2,000 words

Non-Fiction Categories with Max Word Count:

  1. Memoir & Autobiography – 5,000 words
  2. Biography – 3,000 words
  3. Self-help / Personal development – 3,000 words
  4. Motivational / Inspirational – 3,000 words
  5. Health & Fitness – 3,000 words
  6. History – 5,000 words 
  7. Families & Relationships – 5,000 words
  8. Humor & Entertainment – 2,000 words
  9. Business & Money – 3,000 words
  10. Religion & Spirituality – 2,000 words
  11. Politics & Social Sciences – 2,000 words
  12. Travel – 5,000 words
  13. True Crime – 5,000 words

Poetry Collections Word Count:

Poetry collections may range from 3 to 5 poems with a combined word count of up to 400 words. Please submit your collection as a single document in the submission form.

Submit Your Short Story

  • What is the title of your short story?
  • A brief summary of your short story.
  • Accepted file types: jpg, gif, png, pdf, doc, docx, rtf, Max. file size: 100 MB.
    Upload a self-proofread, self-edited copy of your Short Story / Contribution. If you are submitting a poetry collection, please be sure to attach it as a single document to aid our Curators in reviewing each poem individually as well as in light of it being part of a collection. Please note that the voting pages only display the author's synopsis. We use the submitted story for a manuscript evaluation once the Idea has gotten at least 25 votes. We don't display the story itself as a lot of publishers won't offer contracts for anything that has been previously displayed online. If we offer you a contract and you don't decide to publish with us, we'd still want you to have as many publishing options available to you as possible.
  • Please select Genre for your Short Stroy
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    Please provide the name of one indie bookstore in your region that may be interested in carrying copies of an anthology should you be published in it.
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    Please provide the names of the first twenty people who would buy copies of an anthology should you be published in it.
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    Please provide the name of someone who may be willing to write a positive Amazon review for the anthology should you be published in it.
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  • What is your email address?
  • Please provide your first and last names.
  • Submissions are open to all countries.
  • By submitting a social media account handle, we can tag you with announcements/updates on your short story.
  • You may view the Anthology Program Terms and Conditions at:



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