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Q: Is it okay to have illustration pictures on the cover?
A: Please send the text only

Q: If there is a word count, how many words per page am I allowed?
No preference.

Q: How large of print is allowed?
No preference.

Q: Are pen names allowed?
Pen names are fine. Write your pen name on all forms etc. so there is no mistakes on credits. Please be advised that we only need your real name if you are chosen as a winner (in order to issue prizes).

Q: What if I am not a U.S. resident?
Writer’s Digest writing competitions are open to non-U.S. residents as well. Please refer to the entry form and guidelines. All entry fees are due in U.S. Dollars.

Q: Is there an age limit for entrants?
No, any age may enter.

Q: What if I wanted to submit only part of my novel into the competition ( to stay with in the maximum number of words)?
If you submit a portion of a novel please understand that it will be judged as a complete story, not part of another work, so it needs to be a complete story in and of itself.

Q: When will winners be notified?
Top Award Winners will be notified by mail before February 27, 2015. The top 10 winners will be listed in the July/August 2015 issue of Writer’s Digest. The top 25 winners will be listed in the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection and at www.writersdigest.com after the issue is published.

Q: What are the word count requirements?
The competition is open to manuscripts 1,500 words or fewer.  The title is not counted in the word count.

Q: How do I order books published by F+W Media?

Q: How do I subscribe to Writer’s Digest?
Visit www.writersdigest.com and click on the link

Q: Are there other writing competitions?
Yes! Visit www.writersdigest.com/competitions for other writing contests

Privacy Promise
Occasionally we make portions of our customer list available to other companies so they may contact you about products and services that may be of interest to you. If you prefer we withhold your name, simply send a note with your name, address and the competition name to: List Manager, F+W Media, Inc., 10151 Carver Road, Suite #200, Blue Ash, OH 45242.

50 Responses to Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Kevin_J_MacLeod says:

    I have never received competition updates and related information to my email and the contest ends tomorrow. Why? Do you email the non-winners to let them know that they have not won or are they to assume that after tomorrow Feb 28th, that they have lost and can send their material somewhere else. Was the reason that I have never received any contact from you guys about the contest whatsoever that I was taken out of the race to soon in? Will you eventually be sending the story back to me with a critique? just a few questions… thank you.

  2. Kevin_J_MacLeod says:

    I have never received competition updates and related information of any sort and the contest is finished as of tomorrow. Why?

  3. GoldenGalleon10781 says:

    What happens if you are under 18 and want to enter? Will expenses be paid for a parent/guardian to come along?

  4. ammanni says:

    Can I post my submitted story on my own personal blog?

  5. Lynx Firenze says:

    Just looking to clarify. A previous question already clarified that erotica is allowed so long as it fits with another category but I wanted to ask if fur fiction fell into the same category. (Fur fiction meaning anthromorphs not bestiality) because I can edit if I have to but it would strip a lot of their character so I’d rather not.

  6. mcianci says:

    Based on the submission rules, in order to submit a short story to another organization/contest, it would first have to be submitted here and if not selected for an award, could be submitted elsewhere. Correct?

  7. adar says:

    I submitted a story to a different magazine but since then it underwent minor changes. Can I submit it to short short story competition as it is slightly different from the version submitted to the other magazine?

  8. advocacyguru says:

    November 15th refers to an “early bird deadline.” When is the “late bird deadline?” I apologize if the answer to this question is posted somewhere. I’ve looked at the Notice, the Rules, the FAQs and the online registration form. I just don’t see it.

  9. Ashley Renee says:

    After the contest, are we allowed to submit our story elsewhere? I assume since we’re allowed to submit part of a novel, then it would be fine. Right?

  10. indee10 says:

    I might have missed this, but can we simulateously submit our work to other contests while our piece is being judged? (as long as we withdraw the submission if it gets picked up else where.)

  11. kbt says:

    I was just about to self-pub this short story on kindle. Would that disqualify it from this competition?

  12. Dream1n9big says:

    Can a story written together by two authors be submitted?

  13. Robert King says:

    Can I submit a shortened version of a story that I submitted to the popular fiction awards

  14. FairytaleDreamer9 says:

    Would it be okay if I indicated the author as my Pen name, but then put my real name in parenthesis? I’m a little hesitant at letting go of my real name, but I really want to start dubbing my Pen name, especially since this is my first submission. Why not let the entire world of writing and publishing know me by my Pen name and let my real name slowly begin to crumble beneath it, thus watching the process of reality losing its label and this little writer girl becoming a piece of her fictitious creation? If that makes any sense. Lol.

  15. Bri says:

    The story I want to upload is a comedy and it uses mild profanities. Are there any rules applied to profanities?

  16. Misty Venture says:

    If we don’t win, does Writer’s Digest keep the Short Story for good and we can’t submit it anywhere else? Will the ones that don’t win be saved for a later use or kept in Writer’s Digest for WD’s own use?

  17. I was unsuccessful completing the entry process using the online form and paying the entry fee by credit card. There appeared to be a technical problem on your end with doing so. As a result, I just sent out, in the mail, my entry fee with a copy of my contest registration.

    2 questions:

    First, will I receive notification when the entry fee is received? (I did not pay for registered or certified mail, nor for return receipt requested.)

    Second, are there any plans to fix the online registration process so that it will be possible to pay the competition entry fees by credit card in the future?

  18. I was unable to pay the contest entry fee by credit card. There appears to be a problem with doing so as it is indicated that information was missing from the web form I filled out. I corrected that (I had neglected to include my middle initial in filling out the form the first time) but then there was another error which occurred which I seemed unable to solve regarding missing information. As a result, I opted to send a payment in via postal mail. This is a bit of an inconvenience for me, though not something I can’t work out. However, is there an alternate way available for me to pay my entry fee by credit card to save me the time and postage costs? I have the Order ID from the page I printed out when I put my entry through.

    Thanks in advance.

  19. Rose says:

    I am moving in two weeks is there a way I can update my information?

  20. majhart31 says:

    A shorter and very different version of the story I submitted has since been published. Is my entry still eligible?

  21. LeeCnz says:

    I would like to know where on the website do I find the six categories for the short short story. Thanks.

  22. Elibet1 says:

    For the sake of clarity what are the 6 categories?

  23. Ceejae Devine says:

    I have a collection of essays that are set up in a book format and I have submitted a couple of proposals for the book at this time. If I submit one of the essays for a competition, would that make it so that essay could no longer be included in the book?

    Thank you for your time,
    Ceejae Devine

  24. lenacat006 says:

    I have a story that fits the specifications, but I wanted to know if explicit language is acceptable? It’s only in a few places though.

  25. krey1215 says:

    If I posted this story on my Facebook page, is that considered “published”? Thanks!

    • It depends: If you’ve made it public so that way people who aren’t your friends can read it, then yes. But if not (meaning it’s technically “private”) then no.

      Online Editor

  26. shayes08 says:

    I’ve repeatedly tried to upload a file of my story and each time it’s said that the file is rejected. I’ve tried renaming the file, saving it as a .doc instead of a .docx and nothing is working. Can you please assist with any suggestions?

  27. susanap says:

    I reside in Canada and wish to know if I send a check from my RBC account will this be accepted?

  28. SatyricalRaven says:

    3. Who are the judges? And what are their credentials?

  29. SatyricalRaven says:

    2. Why is there no email application option? Aside from being faster it really is much more secure for those of us who do not live in the USA

    • tdebord says:

      The system we use keeps entries organized and easy to review. Some for us to think about, however.

  30. SatyricalRaven says:

    I have three questions:
    1. Given part of the 1st prize is a trip to NYC, how does that work for those of us who don’t live in the USA; I’m from Australia for example?

  31. keuwai says:


    Is there an issue if the entrant’s email/info differs from that of the person making the payment? i.e. is it okay if I use a friend’s credit card to make payment for my story? Thanks in advance.

  32. Crazywater says:

    Hi. I have a short story which fits the specifications of the short-short competition. The story was a runner-up in a competition in 2011 and was included in their anthology. The rights are with me and as far as I know, the book can only be obtained through the competition’s official site. Can I enter this story? Thanks

  33. Katt Sommers says:

    Can the story be erotica?

  34. tdebord says:

    Not necessarily…it will attach itself to your entry, so there isn’t a need to do so. Best of luck.

  35. freeoh says:

    Should my name appear on my uploaded manuscript?

  36. lwillis1 says:

    Can I enter the same story in both the Popular Fiction Competition and the Short Short Story Competition, and/or into more than one category in either competition? Thank you.

  37. tdebord says:

    No, we do not require a separate title page or a specific format. Just keep to the 1,500 words or fewer. Good luck.

  38. Moore says:

    Is there a format Guidline? Do you require a separate title page, or specific format of ms.?