Curator Center – Contest Edition

Welcome to the SOOP Curator Center!

Short Story Contest Edition

This will be your primary “go to” as a SOOP curator throughout the process of curating a Short Story Contest category! 


Contest Structure 

  1. $35 Curator’s Choice Awards – issued monthly on the first of the month, beginning 2/1/21:
    Each time a “heat” of 25 Qualified Submissions is achieved in a specific Anthology grouping (such as “Speculative Fiction”, or “Chills and Thrills”) the Anthology’s Curator will select one entry for the $35 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 $2,750 in cash prices, including two Grand Prizes of $250 are awarded annually by November 1
    The top 2 submission across the 25 Fiction and Non-Fiction Categories – i.e. 50 Submissions, will advance to the Finals and be announced on our website. Our independent panels of Judges – for Fiction and Non-Fiction – will award the following prizes, by November 1 of each year.

Role Description – What the role is and what it isn’t.

SOOP sponsors an ongoing Short Story Contest, with the goal of identifying emerging talent, providing an opportunity for that talent to find an audience and a chance to “win” a publishing contract. Whenever SOOP has secured a cohort of 25 submissions through the contest, with each submission achieving 25 votes, these are released to the curator to begin the curation process.

At that point, the primary role of a Contest Category Curator (Curator) is that of a cheerleader, encouraging authors and gently pushing them to create the best versions of their stories. Curators initially work with the authors through the Manuscript Evaluation Process (see below). During this process the Curator’s role is to praise what works in the story while gently pointing out potential areas of improvement.

A Curator is not a critic or a judge, so a Curator can have loose standards based on whether the curator sees an author with potential and a submission that might be published with work, vs. we’d like to offer you a place in our Anthology based on your submission. Here is a link to SOOP’s “non-negotiable” Editorial Standards for its short stories.

Once a Curator has accepted the target number of submissions to initiate the editing and production process, the Curator may or may not choose to be heavily involved, based on personal aptitude and intention. Royalties are commensurate with the chosen level of engagement by the Curator.

Manuscript Evaluation Process

Manuscripts that have achieved at least 25 votes will be provided to the Curator. A Curator will use the linked form to evaluate the manuscript to see if it qualifies for the contest. 

The Fields:

Your Name We just need your first and last name. This information is shared with the author to provide a level of credibility to the manuscript suggestions given, and this field also helps us to financially compensate curators appropriately when a manuscript they evaluate is published in one of our anthologies.
Author’s Last Name This will be provided to you. This field helps to ensure that your feedback is automatically sent to the correct author.
Author’s Email Address This will be provided to you. This field helps to ensure that your feedback is automatically sent to the correct author.
Short Story Title This will be provided to you. This field helps to ensure that your feedback is automatically sent to the correct author.
Curator Feedback This field is used to provide your feedback. Please note that what you type here will be sent to the author as is / unedited. Please be kind and encouraging.
Category / Anthology If a manuscript “fits” in the category to which it was submitted, please type that category. If the manuscript does not “fit” in the category to which it was submitted, please type the category in which it would “fit”. For instance, if a story with heavy fantasy elements but a romantic plot was submitted to romance, you may wish to type “Fantasy” instead of “Romance”. Note that this field is the more “forceful” of the two options you have available to you when running into this type of situation. (See the last field explanation.)
Please type either passed or failed. This is where you ultimately decide whether or not the manuscript qualifies for the contest. Templates sent to the author are triggered off of this field, so please be careful to type either “passed” or “failed” vs. “pass” or “fail”.
Is this manuscript a potential candidate for a Curator’s Choice Award? Please use this field to mark both you first choice (which will receive the Curator’s Choice Award) and two more (which will advance to the semi-finals). Please email [email protected] with your Curator’s Choice and the two runners up after you have read through your “heat” of 25 manuscripts. Your responses to this field are recorded. If you can’t remember what you chose or would like to reevaluate your options, especially if you chose more than three to whittle down your choices later, please email [email protected] and request a list of the manuscripts that you marked as a potential candidate for a Curator’s Choice Award.
Are there other categories this submission could fit into? If a manuscript “works” in the category to which it was submitted but could be logically published in a book with stories from other categories, please indicate that here. SOOP does not achieve a return on its investment in sourcing manuscripts until they are published, so we are always looking for ways to publish manuscripts more quickly, including moving them to other categories that make sense.

Points of Contact

Your primary point of contact will be with SOOP’s Director of Anthologies, Dannelle Gay. Her email address is [email protected].

For questions specific to Curator’s Choice Awards, semi-finalists, and the Grand Prize, please reach out to the Contest Coordinator Dave Rank. His email address is [email protected].

For questions specific to your curator contract, please reach out to SOOP’s Founder Wade Fransson. His email address is [email protected].

Dannelle will be conducting a monthly Curators Meeting on the third Tuesday of every month at 6 PM CT. Please plan to attend if you are able!


Something or Other Publishing, LLC