Skip to main content

Popular Fiction Awards

LEARN MORE! CLOSED Writer’s Digest’s Popular Fiction Awards is not currently accepting entries. This is the only Writer’s Digest competition that celebrates short fiction in today's most popular genres. Winners will appear in our May/June issue.

Want to manage your competitions account? Log In Here

Image placeholder title

CLOSED

Submit your best short stories in the 15th Annual Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards for a chance to win $2,500 in cash, a featured interview in Writer’s Digest magazine, and a paid trip to the ever-popular Writer’s Digest Annual Conference in New York City.

If you’re ready to take the next step in your writing career, choose your favorite categories—Romance, Thriller, Crime, Horror, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Young Adult—and enter your best short stories of 4,000 words or less.

ENTER THIS COMPETITION

Already Entered?
You can edit or manage your entry HERE

MANAGE YOUR ENTRY

Prizes
One Grand Prize winner will receive:

  • $2,500 in cash
  • Featured interview in Writer’s Digest’s May/June issue
  • Winning story published on writersdigest.com
  • Paid trip to the ever-popular Writer’s Digest Conference!
  • 2020 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market
  • $100 gift certificate for writersdigestshop.com

One First Prize winner in each category will receive:

  • $500 in cash
  • Announcement in the May/June issue of Writer’s Digest
  • Winning story published on writersdigest.com
  • 2020 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market
  • $100 gift certificate for writersdigestshop.com

Honorable Mentions will receive:

  • Announcement on writersdigest.com
  • 2020 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market

Categories

  • Mystery/Crime: From the classic whodunits and police procedurals, cozies and courtroom dramas, amateur and private detectives, hook us from the start and keep us guessing until the end.
  • Horror: Whether psychological, supernatural, or technological, crank up the tension and deliver an unsettling but satisfying conclusion.
  • Romance: Historical or contemporary, paranormal or suspenseful, chaste or sexy, no matter the path you take, don’t forget to deliver a satisfying happy ending.
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy: Science, magic, or a mash-up of both, introduce us to new worlds, alternate histories, or fantastic ideas that push the boundaries of our own reality.
  • Thriller/Suspense: Less whodunit, more how and/or why, with high stakes, compelling conflicts, and ever-increasing tension that keeps us turning pages through the adrenaline-pumping ending.
  • Young Adult: Your preferred genre(s), but written specifically for readers age 12-18.

How to Enter

  • All entries must be submitted online. During Checkout, entry fees can be paid by credit card/debit card (MC, V, AMEX & DISC) or by selecting the option to pay by ‘CHECK’. Checks are to be mailed (postmarked by the current entry deadline), and should be drawn on a US bank, in US funds (this includes cashier’s checks & money orders). All checks will be cashed within 60 days of the competition final deadline. Entry fees are non-refundable.
  • Your entry must be original, in English, unpublished and unproduced, not accepted by any other publisher or producer at the time of submission. Authors retain all ownerships of their work. Upon submitting an entry, Author agrees to grant Writer’s Digest one-time nonexclusive publication rights to the Grand Prize and First Place winning entries in each category to be published in a Writer’s Digest publication. Any piece posted online, anywhere other than a personal blog, is considered published.
  • Entries are to be submitted as file uploads (.doc, .docx, .rtf, or .pdf). Please double space your story (preferred but not mandatory); we suggest an easy to read font style & 12 pt. font size, however this is also not mandatory. Submitter (author) information is collected on the submitter form; please do not include identifying information on the pages of the story.
  • BE SURE OF YOUR WORD COUNT! Entries exceeding the word limits will be disqualified. Type the exact word count (counting every single word, except the title and contact information) at the top of the manuscript.
  • Due to U.S. Government restrictions we are unable to accept entries from Syria, Iran, North Korea, or Crimea.
  • For more information visit our Preparing Your Entry Page or our FAQ page.

Enter your email below and receive a free download, "Writer's Digest Guide to Writing Contests." Be a step ahead of your competition!

Karen Hamilton: On Cause and Effect

Karen Hamilton: On Cause and Effect

International bestselling author Karen Hamilton discusses the “then and now” format of her new domestic thriller, The Ex-Husband.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: The Ultimatum

Plot Twist Story Prompts: The Ultimatum

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character give or face an ultimatum.

6 Things Every Writer Should Know About Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company

6 Things Every Writer Should Know About Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare and Company

Sylvia Beach was friend to many writers who wrote what we consider classics today. Here, author Kerri Maher shares six things everyone should know about her and Shakespeare and Company.

How Writers Can Apply Business Tools to Their Writing

How Writers Can Apply Business Tools to Their Writing

Author Katherine Quevedo takes an analytical look at the creative process in hopes to help other writers find writing success.

Nick Petrie: On Following the Most Compelling Story

Nick Petrie: On Following the Most Compelling Story

Award-winning author Nick Petrie discusses how he listened to the story that wanted to be told in his new Peter Ash thriller novel, The Runaway.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 596

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a punishment poem.

Jacquelyn Mitchard: On Forgiveness in Fiction

Jacquelyn Mitchard: On Forgiveness in Fiction

Award-winning novelist Jacquelyn Mitchard discusses the chance meeting that led to her new novel, The Good Son.

Sea Bound

Sea Bound

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, write about someone connected to the sea.

writersMarket_wd-ad_1000x300 (1)

Get Published With the Latest Market Books Editions

Get published and find more success with your writing by using the latest editions of the Market Books, including Writer's Market, Poet's Market, Guide to Literary Agents, and more!