Annual Short Story Contest

Short Story Contest

Our Annual Short Story Contest is a free-entry writing competition that provides a unique opportunity to aspiring authors looking to win cash prizes and see their words in print.

SOOP honors excellence in writing short stories and flash fiction, where winners get numerous guaranteed cash awards (totalling over $5,000 this year), and a publishing contract to get their stories out to the world. Grand Prize awards of $500 each are guaranteed for both Fiction and Non-Fiction.

In addition to the winners, other qualified authors will receive a contract offer to 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.


We publish your name, title, and the synopsis you provide on our website. There is no fee to enter – your submission becomes eligible by getting 50 votes from friends, family, and other fans. A vote is simply a reader’s name and email, indicating a sincere interest in the synopsis you provide. 

As part of our unique Crowdsourcing Model, we are gathering a mailing list of interested readers to grow strong and engaging communities.  Once you have qualified for an anthology project, we will contact all your voters with an offer to buy the Anthology where your story has been published.  Creating a mailing list is a core function of a modern, professional publishing company.

Other than reaching the qualified number of votes, no consideration is given to the number of votes. Winners are chosen solely based on which stories score highest with our panel of independent judges.


Click here to read the full list of 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 soon.

SOOP will, at its discretion, issue publishing contract offers to authors of submissions beyond those recognized as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in each category. SOOP typically offers publishing contracts to less than 20 percent of the writers who submit their stories; we expect that percentage to remain consistent.

Authors of submissions that we are interested in publishing, regardless of whether they win, may receive a Letter Of Intent at any time after we announce the winners. Contract Offers will be sent to all Authors in a Cohort when we are ready to publish the Anthology. 

If you want to know the status of your submission, send us an email to [email protected] from the email address you used for your entry, and please include the link to your submission voting page.


AT ANY TIME IN THE YEAR: The Author qualifies by submitting a valid story within a category and obtaining 50 votes.

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.

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.

JULY 31 EACH YEAR: 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.

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.

ON NOVEMBER 1ST – NATIONAL AUTHOR’S DAY – EACH YEAR: SOOP announces all Prize Winners and Awards Prizes.


Fiction, Non-fiction and Poetry submissions are accepted across 25 literary categories listed below (Authors retain ALL RIGHTS to their submission throughout the contest):

Fiction Categories with Max Word Count:

  • Fantasy – 5,000 words
  • Science Fiction – 5,000 words
  • Dystopian – 5,000 words
  • Adventure – 3,000 words 
  • Romance – 3,000 words 
  • Detective & Mystery – 5,000 words
  • Horror – 3,000 words 
  • Thriller – 3,000 words
  • LGBTQ+ – 3,000 words
  • Historical Fiction – 5,000 words 
  • Young Adult – 2,000 words
  • Children’s Fiction – 2,000 words

Non-Fiction Categories with Max Word Count:

  • Memoir & Autobiography – 5,000 words
  • Biography – 3,000 words
  • Self-help / Personal development – 3,000 words
  • Motivational / Inspirational – 3,000 words
  • Health & Fitness – 3,000 words
  • History – 5,000 words 
  • Families & Relationships – 5,000 words
  • Humor & Entertainment – 2,000 words
  • Business & Money – 3,000 words
  • Religion & Spirituality – 2,000 words
  • Politics & Social Sciences – 2,000 words
  • Travel – 5,000 words
  • 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.


Our independent panels of Judges will award the following prizes, on or after November 1 of 2022:

  • 2 Grand Prizes of $500 for grand winners of Fiction and Non-Fiction.
  • 1 Grand Prize of $250 for Poetry. 
  • 1st prize for each qualifying category – $50 cash prize, plus double royalties for their published submission.
  • 2nd prize for each qualifying category – $25 cash prize plus 1.5 times standard royalties for their published submission.
  • 3rd prize for each qualifying category – Free copy of a SOOP Anthology, plus standard royalties for their published submission.
  • Curator’s Choice Award –$50 cash prize each time a “heat” of 25 Qualified Submissions is achieved in a specific category.

Click here to learn everything about the contest prizes for 2022.

Submission Process

Please complete the submissions form below to enter your story. Be sure to select the correct category from the drop-down menu. SOOP allows you to submit separate stories to as many category genres as you want, and there is no problem with multiple entries in the same category. 

Once you complete the submission process, you will receive an email with a link to  your customized landing page where you can invite family members, friends, and close supporters to vote for your story. A vote requires only the person’s name and email address to keep them informed about the progress of your entry. Unfortunately, those who opt-out of future emails about your submission will have their vote revoked from your count.

Keep in mind that you must complete the requirements for each entry to validate your submission. Each submission must receive 50 votes to become eligible for prizes or a publishing contract offer.

Submit Your Short Story

  • Please note that the voting pages only display the author's synopsis to protect your intellectual property. Make sure your synopsis is engaging for readers, vs. just descriptive.
  • 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.
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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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  • 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:


Something or Other Publishing, LLC