Short Story Guidelines

Official Rules

Eligibility:This contest is open to all writers whether published or not, and regardless of experience who reside within the United States. Current and former employees of,,, or their relatives are not eligible for prizes, but may appear in the publication at the request of Story Institute. Inclusion of guest writers will appear at the discretion and expense of Story Institute. All short stories must be between 500 and 5000 words. You may enter as many short stories as you wish to this site. All short stories will be considered for publication. However, not all will be guaranteed publication or online visibility. All accepted short stories will appear on

Contest Deadlines and Timelines:
2011 Edition:
Submission process ends – August 19th, 2011
Winners and other publication determined – September 1, 2011

Prizes:For each contest duration with 10 or more entries by 10 or more individuals, the following prizes are guaranteed to be awarded for the Poetry and Short Story Competitions combined:

One (1) Grand Prize – or Barnes and Noble Gift Certificate and one free copy of the published compilation in which your poem appears. Dollar amounts of gift certificates will be determined based on the number and quality of entries. Current value is up to $100 in a or Barnes & Noble Gift Certificate for top poem or short story entered.

For each contest duration with 10 or more entries, the following prizes may be awarded depending on the quantity and quality of all short stories submitted:
One Second Prize – or Barnes and Noble Gift Certificate and one free copy of the published compilation in which your short story appears. Dollar amounts of gift certificates will be determined based on the number and quality of entries.

One Third Prize – One free copy of the published compilation in which your short story appears and one book on writing from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

In the event of ties, we may award additional prizes. Various special promotions may be conducted from time to time depending on sponsorship and amount of submissions. Prizes are subject to change or may be substituted at any time. If less than 10 short stories are entered, alternative prizes may be available depending on the ratings of the judges and averages from past contests.

Decisions:Judges are members and partners of Story Institute. Entries are judged on creativity, ingenuity, inspiration, storytelling ability, imagination, and the adherence to line limits. We do not consider, publish, or post short stories that are interpreted as offensive, explicit, or in poor taste. The interpretation of whether a short story matches these descriptions is based on the decision of the judges. All decisions of the judges are final. If the judges do not select enough short stories to complete a compilation, prizes will still be distributed. However, publication may be delayed until the next book is scheduled for print.

Simultaneous Submissions & Previous Publications: Story Institute will accept previously published or simultaneously submitted short stories as long as: 1) the story is the original work of the author who submitted it; 2) there are no restrictions from the previous publisher; 3) and the short story did not receive any “top awards” in other contests (this would usually be 1st, 2nd, or 3rd prizes).

Fees:There are no entry fees, no subsidy payments, and no purchases of any kind required to enter and win the contests.

Rights:All short stories remain the property of the writer. A short story submitted for any Story Institute contest is also eligible for publication within a Story Institute Compilation. Story Institute is under no obligation to publish every contest entry and can disqualify an entry at any time for any reason. The writer is under no obligation whatsoever to purchase a copy of the publication in which the short story may appear. Purchasing the publication will not determine inclusion within the compilation. Publication will be determined on merit alone. Final compilations will be available for purchase on and other online retailers. By submitting a story, the writer grants Story Institute, its owners, and affiliates the right to publish, reproduce in any format currently available or developed in the future without compensation for the reproduction. Each reproduction will and must list the writer as the owner and author.

Notification:All writers whose work will appear in a Story Institute publication or whose work wins a prize will be notified through the email submitted within the Story Institute Forums upon forum registration. All accepted short stories and names of writers will be posted on our internet site, Rules and prizes may change. All contributors will be notified of changes.

Privacy Policy:Please check out our simple Privacy Policy

For further information, contact:

Story Institute
Customer Service
(615) 431-WRIT (9748)

In order to be considered for our contests, please register for The Story Institute Community and post your poem in the Short Story Contest section.

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