Deadline: December 31, 2022
About the competition
The short story contest is open to everyone with a brain (this is more restrictive than you think). There are no restrictions on genre: fantasy, sci fi, memoir, fiction/nonfiction, etc – we don’t care as long as it’s a good story.
The $1,000 prize package will be divvied up like so: $500 first place, $300 second place, $200 third place. The winning story will be featured on Story Unlikely’s website. All three placing stories will be published in the monthly issue.
Stories will be published the following calendar year between June and December. Winning authors will be notified, at the latest, by June 1st. All authors MUST be signed up for the Story Unlikely monthly issue to be eligible for prize and publication.
The submission period runs from October 1st through December 31st. Our reading period is January through March.
When will my story be published?
Stories will be published – at our whimsical discretion – the following calendar year between June and December. Winning authors will be notified, at the latest, by June 1st. All authors MUST be signed up for the Story Unlikely monthly issue to be eligible for prize and publication. (Don’t worry, we only send out ONE issue (email) a month – we can’t stand getting our emails blown up, and we know we’re not alone in that).
How do I submit?
We accept email submissions only.
Attach the entire story to the email (Microsoft word doc or docx). Be sure to remove ALL forms of identification from the story (If your story happens to be about you, just be sure to remove your last name). Send your story in the following manner:
Email to [email protected] Title must be in the following:Submission: Title, Author Name, Fiction/Nonfiction, Sub Genre (if applicable or desired)(In the text)Dear Editor,TITLE, FICTION/NONFICTION, SUB GENRE (if applicable), WORD COUNT[Insert FIRST 250 words of your story (rounded to the nearest sentence) here]# (insert page break)(Insert short author bio, including any previously published stories, as you want it to appear below your story if/when published)(Tell us how you found Story Unlikely)Sincerely,
Contact information (best email contact, phone number (just in case), country and state, and email)
And let us know how you found us.
Do you accept multiple submissions?
No, one submission per author.
Do you accept simultaneous submissions?
No – do not send your story entry out to other publishers prior to June 1st.
What type of formatting should the story be in?
We actually prefer block paragraphs (if for no better reason than to see who actually read this), but anything remotely standard is fine – we’re not picky on formatting, so long as its not obnoxious.
Any tips on winning this thing?
Most stories get ‘bumped’ before we finish reading the first page (that’s right, we’re a merciless bunch). A trained eye can tell the quality of a story and the ability of the storyteller from only a few sentences, so tighten that opening! It also helps to read some of our past issues. You can check out our 2022 contest winning story HERE.
What are you looking for?
To put it simply, good stories. Entries will be judged both by the technical and literary quality as well as the author’s ability to tell a story. All entries must be previously unpublished. Here’s what we’re NOT looking for: Excessive anything. Think PG-13, R if necessary. We’re not attempting to salt the earth with more cultural dogma couched as mediocre fiction, or writers who are jockeying for the title of Most Woke. There’s enough of that already out there. You want to impress us? Write a good story. You want to win? Write a great one.
Anything I missed?
Likely you skimmed over two things, and they’re OH so important:
#1. To be eligible for the contest, all writers must be signed up to Story Unlikely’s monthly issue. Did we mention it’s free? Because it is. Totally free. You can unsubscribe at any time, just wait until the contest is over, otherwise we’ll consider that a withdrawal of your entry. Scroll down for the sign up form.#2. Re-read HOW we want you to submit (like, the first 250 words of your story, we really do need that in the body of your email – it is of utmost importance to us). It’s so important that we will post a sample below…