Annual Short Story Contest

Short Story Contest

Something Or Other Publishing provides an extraordinary chance for aspiring authors to show off their work, compete for cash awards, and get their writings published.

Our Annual Short Story Contest honors excellence in short story writing by awarding talented writers numerous guaranteed cash prizes (totaling over $5,000 this year) and a contract offer to publish their stories. In addition to the winners, remarkable stories may be eligible for publication in future SOOP anthologies at the discretion of curators and judges.



Authors qualify by submitting valid stories within a category and obtaining 50 votes.


Once 25 qualified submissions (a heat) are received in a category, the Curator reviews them, awards a cash Curator’s Choice Award, and passes three entries on to the semi-finals to be reviewed by our independent panel of judges.


SOOP accepts short story submissions until this date.


SOOP reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to provide a grace period to achieve the number of votes needed to qualify.


Category Curators review any remaining entries, and issue Curator Awards/pass entries on to the Semi-Finals as appropriate. 


SOOP announces all Prize Winner on National Authors’ Day.


Winners may receive a contract offer to get published in one of SOOP’s Anthologies.

Qualification Process

Your submission becomes eligible for review and prizes by getting 50 votes from supporters, or you can streamline the qualification process by paying a contest fee.

What is a vote? 

We publish your name, title, and the synopsis you provide on our website. A vote indicates interest from prospective readers that requires only the person’s name and email address to keep them informed about the progress of your entry. 

As part of our unique Crowdsourcing Model, we help writers gather a mailing list of interested readers and supporters to grow solid and engaging communities. Authors can reap the benefits of this model to gather supporters, understand their expectations, and aim for higher targets according to how they fare. 

Once qualified for an anthology project, they will get a special offer to buy and support the publication. Unfortunately, those who opt out of future emails about your submission will have their vote revoked from your count.

Besides reaching the qualified number, no consideration is given to the number of votes to elect the winners, as our panel of independent judges chooses winners solely through a quality score.


  1. SOOP is the promoter of this writing contest, as well as the publisher of publications in which winning entries might appear. Author reserves all rights to their work, unless and until Author chooses to enter into a Publishing Contract with SOOP.
  2. Entrants must be 18 years of age and older. 
  3. There are no geographical restrictions; submissions may be submitted from anywhere. However, this competition and any prizes awarded are void in countries, states or other jurisdictions where such contests are prohibited by law
  4. Each submission must be the entrant’s own and wholly original work, written in English, and be a comprehensive, stand-alone short story of 250 to 5,000 words, depending upon category.
  5. In order to qualify for prizes, submissions must be complete, clearly written, and as free as possible from spelling and grammatical errors. Submissions must also have received at least 50 votes from fans. Submissions which fail to meet these criteria will be rejected, although writers will be given the opportunity to address shortcomings and re-submit their submissions. 
  6. The following are examples of other reasons SOOP might reject or disqualify a submission, although this list is not exhaustive: the submission does not comply with terms and conditions, the contest guidelines, or rules; the submission or information submitted with a submission is found to contain false information; entrant is not eligible to enter the competition; the entrant cannot be contacted; the submission fails to meet or violates SOOP’s Editorial Standards.
  7. Writers may submit multiple submissions, but may not submit the same submission to different categories. SOOP reserves the right to reclassify the category of any submission.
  8. Each entrant must provide a first and last name, phone number, and email address with the submission.
  9. This contest is ongoing and submissions may be submitted at any time throughout the year. Curator Awards will be issued each time 25 qualified submissions in a category are received. 
  10. For purposes of determining semi-finalists and finalists, the submission year starts on October 1st. To be included in the semi-finals, the deadline for submissions is August 30th, and the submissions must be qualified with 50 votes by September 15th. SOOP reserves the right to extend these dates or qualify stories with less than 50 votes at its discretion. If 25 qualified submissions are not received in a given category by the deadline for the semi-finals, then the number of qualified submissions received may be considered for the Curator’s Award at that time, or the qualified submissions may be combined with another category to create a heat.
  11. Finalist awards will be announced each year on or around National Authors’ Day (i.e., November 1st).
  12. Entrants of Submissions selected for prizes will be contacted at the email address provided and given a time-frame to respond to the offer of cash prizes and a publishing contract. Entrants who do not respond in the required time-frame will forfeit the prize.
  13. Previously published works may not be submitted. Entries must never have been previously published, in print or online (including self-published, ebook, magazines, journals, audio, websites, blogs, social network sites), or won a prize in another writing competition. Any submission found to have been plagiarized will be disqualified. 
  14. SOOP is not responsible for any problems with or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, online systems, servers and providers, computer equipment, software, failure of any email submission to be received on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website, human errors of any kind, or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to participants’ or any other persons’ computers related to or resulting from participation, uploading and downloading of any materials related to the contest.
  15. By entering the contest, all entrants agree to release, discharge and hold harmless SOOP and its partners, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising agencies, agents and their employees, officers, directors, representatives from any claims, losses, and damages arising out of their participation in the contest or any contest-related activities and the acceptance and use, misuse, or possession of any prize awarded.
  16. Winners will be decided by a judge or panel of judges, and will be notified by email at the address provided in the submission. SOOP has no obligation to inform entrants who are not selected for prizes.
  17. SOOP reserves the right to vary the terms and conditions as may be deemed necessary or cancel the competition at any time for any reason. 

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.


Fiction, Non-fiction and Poetry submissions are accepted across the following categories (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
  • Philosophy & Culture (Sponsored by PlankSip®) – 5,000 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
  • Philosophy & Culture (Sponsored by PlankSip®) – 5,000 words


Our independent panels of Judges will award the following prizes, on or after November 1 of 2023:

  • 2 Grand Prizes of $500 for grand winners of Fiction and Non-Fiction.
  • 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 about the winners from last year. 

Submission Requirements

Follow these requirements and complete the submissions form below to enter your story:

1. Please include your name, email, and title at the top of your submission but nowhere else in your submission 

2. Submissions should have a word below 5,000 words

3. All entries must be typed. Please use Word format (.doc or .docx) and use Times New Roman, 12 pt. font

4. Please copy edit your submission. Use tools like Grammarly or free AI tools to edit your submission before submitting.

5. Please do not submit poetry 

6. Please do not include any photos or graphics in your stories 

7. No Screenplays

Please be sure to select the correct category from the drop-down menu. You can 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. 

Every author must complete the requirements for each entry to validate your submission, and each submission must receive 50 votes to become eligible for prizes or a publishing contract offer. SOOP accepts submissions until August 30.

Submit Your Short Story Idea

  • Similar to a blurb (marketing summary) that would appear on the back of a book.It should catch the interest of readers you send to your page, motivating them to vote for your Short Story Idea, much like the blurb on the back of a book is designed to help customers decide to buy it.
  • 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.
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  • 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