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Free to Enter Competitions

keThis page lists free-to-enter ongoing competitions (correct at the time of insertion) as money is often an issue for us authors and this is a quick reference to those that are free and either offer money or just kudos (a placing to add to your CV). Please do email me if you find any errors or know of others…

JANUARY
  • Flash Fiction / Short StoriesThe Writer’s Notebook is a monthly, free to enter short story competition. Each month has a set theme, and each writer can submit up to 2 stories per month. A new theme opens on the 1st of each month, and the deadline for entries is the 28th of each month. Future themes are available to view on our webpage. The prize is publication of the short story in our Anthology at the end of the year, and an equal share of sale profits of said Anthology. It is an experimental idea for a free to enter writing competition, relying on social media to drive sales of the Anthology and increase the prize. Stories should be 400-1500 words. A short list of three stories will be published on our blog for our readers to vote for a winner. For more information please see http://thewritersnotebookgroup.blogspot.com.
  • Mixed: The Pen Cove Award (formerly the Whidbey Writing Competition). This contest from Whidbey Writers Workshop in the USA is open worldwide and is for fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry and writing for children or young adults. Up to 1,000 words. I’m told they have a rather strange way of selecting a winner for this one. The judge reads submissions until he or she finds one that ‘knocks his/her socks off’. Never mind that the next one might have divested the judge of his / her pants and woolly vest, the remaining entries are tossed aside without so much as a glance.  However, you can submit you entry again if it isn’t selected (try to get it in early, as entries are read in order of submission).
 Closing: Monthly.
 Prize: $50.
 Entry Fee: Free to enter.
 Comp Page: whidbeystudents.com/student-choice-contest.
  • Short storiesWriter Selection has a 31st January deadline and 200-2000 word count. Prizes £150, £50, £25. Entry is free and all entrants receive a year’s membership (normally £10).
  • Do you know of any more free January deadline competitions? If so, do email me.
  • Also see below for regular competitions.
FEBRUARY
  • Flash Fiction / Short StoriesThe Writer’s Notebook is a monthly, free to enter short story competition. Each month has a set theme, and each writer can submit up to 2 stories per month. A new theme opens on the 1st of each month, and the deadline for entries is the 28th of each month. Future themes are available to view on our webpage. The prize is publication of the short story in our Anthology at the end of the year, and an equal share of sale profits of said Anthology. It is an experimental idea for a free to enter writing competition, relying on social media to drive sales of the Anthology and increase the prize. Stories should be 400-1500 words. A short list of three stories will be published on our blog for our readers to vote for a winner. For more information please see http://thewritersnotebookgroup.blogspot.com.
  • Flash Fiction / Short StoriesInkitt.com is a website where aspiring authors release their most brilliant stories to watch their first steps and first words and first huge gusts of flame pouring from their gullets. Starting from 2nd February 2015, they run free competitions with all the entries being posted on their site.
  • Do you know of any free February deadline competitions? If so, do email me.
  • Also see below for regular competitions.
MARCH
  • Flash Fiction: Erewash has a free flash fiction competition. Deadline late March. Full details here.
  • Flash Fiction / Short StoriesThe Writer’s Notebook is a monthly, free to enter short story competition. Each month has a set theme, and each writer can submit up to 2 stories per month. A new theme opens on the 1st of each month, and the deadline for entries is the 28th of each month. Future themes are available to view on our webpage. The prize is publication of the short story in our Anthology at the end of the year, and an equal share of sale profits of said Anthology. It is an experimental idea for a free to enter writing competition, relying on social media to drive sales of the Anthology and increase the prize. Stories should be 400-1500 words. A short list of three stories will be published on our blog for our readers to vote for a winner. For more information please see http://thewritersnotebookgroup.blogspot.com.
  • Short storiesThresholds International Short Story Forum Feature Writing Competition. Free to enter, international, max 1500 words, 1st prize £500, closing date late March.
  • Do you know of any more free March deadline competitions? If so, do email me.
  • Also see below for regular competitions.
APRIL
  • Flash Fiction / Short StoriesThe Writer’s Notebook is a monthly, free to enter short story competition. Each month has a set theme, and each writer can submit up to 2 stories per month. A new theme opens on the 1st of each month, and the deadline for entries is the 28th of each month. Future themes are available to view on our webpage. The prize is publication of the short story in our Anthology at the end of the year, and an equal share of sale profits of said Anthology. It is an experimental idea for a free to enter writing competition, relying on social media to drive sales of the Anthology and increase the prize. Stories should be 400-1500 words. A short list of three stories will be published on our blog for our readers to vote for a winner. For more information please see http://thewritersnotebookgroup.blogspot.com.
  • Do you know of any free April deadline competitions? If so, do email me.
  • Also see below for regular competitions.
MAY
  • Flash FictionErewash has a 1,000 words maximum with free mini-crit feedback for all entrants. First Prize £50, Second Prize £25. Closing date: early May.
  • Flash Fiction / Short StoriesThe Writer’s Notebook is a monthly, free to enter short story competition. Each month has a set theme, and each writer can submit up to 2 stories per month. A new theme opens on the 1st of each month, and the deadline for entries is the 28th of each month. Future themes are available to view on our webpage. The prize is publication of the short story in our Anthology at the end of the year, and an equal share of sale profits of said Anthology. It is an experimental idea for a free to enter writing competition, relying on social media to drive sales of the Anthology and increase the prize. Stories should be 400-1500 words. A short list of three stories will be published on our blog for our readers to vote for a winner. For more information please see http://thewritersnotebookgroup.blogspot.com.
  • Mixed: Free prose and poetry competition run by Listen Up North with a mid-May deadline.
  • Do you know of any more free May deadline competitions? If so, do email me.
  • Also see below for regular competitions.
JUNE
  • Flash Fiction / Short StoriesThe Writer’s Notebook is a monthly, free to enter short story competition. Each month has a set theme, and each writer can submit up to 2 stories per month. A new theme opens on the 1st of each month, and the deadline for entries is the 28th of each month. Future themes are available to view on our webpage. The prize is publication of the short story in our Anthology at the end of the year, and an equal share of sale profits of said Anthology. It is an experimental idea for a free to enter writing competition, relying on social media to drive sales of the Anthology and increase the prize. Stories should be 400-1500 words. A short list of three stories will be published on our blog for our readers to vote for a winner. For more information please see http://thewritersnotebookgroup.blogspot.com.
  • Short stories: Fall Writing Contest: Dream of getting published but just can’t get your foot in the door? This contest is for you. Metamorphose is preparing for the Fall 2015 first issue, and your story could be published in it! How? Just enter the writing contest in the appropriate category. We are currently accepting submissions for our short story contest (3,001 to 7,500 words, fantasy / science fiction), and flash fiction contest (500-3000 words). We are looking for engaging stories, vivid characters, and fresh writing styles. The top 5 entries in each category will be published in the Fall 2015 first issue. All finalists will receive free professional edits on their submission. Winners will be announced publicly after August 1st. One entry per category. Eligible for one win only. Judging is anonymous. International submissions welcome. Good luck to all authors! Deadline: June 30, 2015. Prize: $25 per category (short fiction fantasy, short science fiction, flash fiction fantasy, flash science fiction)Entry Fee: Free. URL: http://metamorphoselit.com/writing-contestContact Info: Tammy Davies, metamorphosesubmissions@gmail.com.
  • Short stories: Words Magazine runs two Short Story Competitions a year which are free to enter, open to writers internationally, and have closing dates of 30th June and 31st December. See wordsmag.com/compcal14.htm. (this will probably change to …15 in 2015)
  • Short stories: GKBC (Giving Kudos to Brilliant Content) is running a free crime-writing competition with a deadline of 30th June. See gkbcinc.com/the-gkbcinc-short-story-competition for more details.
  • Do you know of any more free June deadline competitions? If so, do email me.
  • Also see below for regular competitions.
JULY
  • Flash Fiction / Short StoriesThe Writer’s Notebook is a monthly, free to enter short story competition. Each month has a set theme, and each writer can submit up to 2 stories per month. A new theme opens on the 1st of each month, and the deadline for entries is the 28th of each month. Future themes are available to view on our webpage. The prize is publication of the short story in our Anthology at the end of the year, and an equal share of sale profits of said Anthology. It is an experimental idea for a free to enter writing competition, relying on social media to drive sales of the Anthology and increase the prize. Stories should be 400-1500 words. A short list of three stories will be published on our blog for our readers to vote for a winner. For more information please see http://thewritersnotebookgroup.blogspot.com.
  • Do you know of any free July deadline competitions? If so, do email me.
  • Also see below for regular competitions.
AUGUST
  • Flash Fiction: Online literary magazine Eclectica have teamed up with Circalit and are looking for <800 word flash fiction / short stories by early August. Free entry.
  • Flash Fiction: December House Flash Fiction Fest Competition has a mid-August deadline. It’s free to enter and they are looking for three pieces of less than 1,000 words each from each contributor. See http://www.flashfictionfest.com and http://www.shortstorycompetitionhq.com/december-house-flash-fiction-fest-competition for details.
  • Flash Fiction / Short StoriesThe Writer’s Notebook is a monthly, free to enter short story competition. Each month has a set theme, and each writer can submit up to 2 stories per month. A new theme opens on the 1st of each month, and the deadline for entries is the 28th of each month. Future themes are available to view on our webpage. The prize is publication of the short story in our Anthology at the end of the year, and an equal share of sale profits of said Anthology. It is an experimental idea for a free to enter writing competition, relying on social media to drive sales of the Anthology and increase the prize. Stories should be 400-1500 words. A short list of three stories will be published on our blog for our readers to vote for a winner. For more information please see http://thewritersnotebookgroup.blogspot.com.
  • Novels: Brigantine Media started a ‘Publish or Perish’ writing contest in 2015 that “combines marketing muscle with literary skill. It’s Shark Tank meets American Idol. There is no fee to enter and we’re hoping to attract writers who are serious about marketing their books. We’re offering a $2,000 advance and a publishing contract.” As well as your manuscript, they want your marketing plan! Deadline 15th August. Details from http://www.publishorperishcontest.com.
  • Short storiesThe Costa Short Story Award is open to published and unpublished authors writing in English and resident in UK or Ireland since 1 November 2009. £3,500 first prize, £750 x 2 runners up, free to enter. 4,000 words max, closing date early August.
  • Short Stories: The Helmdon (Northamptonshire)-based Bookmarks Festival takes place in August. As part of the festival they run two short story competitions; one for adults, one for children. There is a prize of £50.00 in National Book Tokens for the winning entry, as well as other notable entries being displayed on the day, and it is free to enter (deadline early August). Details on bookmarksfest.moonfruit.com/#/short-story-competitions/4575565307.
  • Do you know of any more free August deadline competitions? If so, do email me.
  • Also see below for regular competitions.
SEPTEMBER
  • Children’s short stories: Run by Orion Publishing, the ‘If Walls Could Talk’ short story competition is open to writers aged 10+ (aimed at children 10-15). Free to enter, deadline early September, the story must be set in Salisbury Cathedral, following the idea “if walls could talk”, doesn’t mention a word limit. See http://www.shortstorycompetitionhq.com/if-walls-could-talk-short-story-competition and Orion Books’ competition page for details.
  • Flash FictionRussian Life magazine is running a short story competition asking writers to respond to a picture prompt. winners will receive publication as well as aRussian Life prize pack. Short stories up to 500 words and they must respond to the image prompt. To see the image, visit the Russian Life website. Two stories per author are permitted. Stories must not have been previously published in any form and to be written in English. Closing date early September. The winning entry will be published in Russian Life magazine and will also win a Russian Life Prize pack valued between $50 to $100. Free entry. See http://www.russianlife.com/blog/fictioncontest and http://www.shortstorycompetitionhq.com/russian-life-fiction-contest for details.
  • Flash Fiction / Short StoriesThe Writer’s Notebook is a monthly, free to enter short story competition. Each month has a set theme, and each writer can submit up to 2 stories per month. A new theme opens on the 1st of each month, and the deadline for entries is the 28th of each month. Future themes are available to view on our webpage. The prize is publication of the short story in our Anthology at the end of the year, and an equal share of sale profits of said Anthology. It is an experimental idea for a free to enter writing competition, relying on social media to drive sales of the Anthology and increase the prize. Stories should be 400-1500 words. A short list of three stories will be published on our blog for our readers to vote for a winner. For more information please see http://thewritersnotebookgroup.blogspot.com.
  • Poetry: The Cheshire Prize for Literature is for a previously unpublished poem or collection of poems, free to enter and for poets with a Cheshire connection, 100 lines max, closing date 1st September. See chester.ac.uk/literatureprize.
  • ‘Casting The Net Short Story Competition’ was new for 2013. 1st September deadline, max 3,000 words, any genre, and it’s free to enter. See http://www.shortstorycompetitionhq.com/casting-the-net-short-story-competition and http://www.puffinreview.com/content/content/new-short-story-competition for details.
  • Do you know of any more free September deadline competitions? If so, do email me.
  • Also see below for regular competitions.
OCTOBER
NOVEMBER
  • Flash Fiction / Short StoriesThe Writer’s Notebook is a monthly, free to enter short story competition. Each month has a set theme, and each writer can submit up to 2 stories per month. A new theme opens on the 1st of each month, and the deadline for entries is the 28th of each month. Future themes are available to view on our webpage. The prize is publication of the short story in our Anthology at the end of the year, and an equal share of sale profits of said Anthology. It is an experimental idea for a free to enter writing competition, relying on social media to drive sales of the Anthology and increase the prize. Stories should be 400-1500 words. A short list of three stories will be published on our blog for our readers to vote for a winner. For more information please see http://thewritersnotebookgroup.blogspot.com.
  • Short stories: The Erewash Writers’ Group competition website is running two free entry competitions and these close early November.
  • Short stories: The Commonwealth Short Story Prize is being run by Commonwealth Writers, a cultural initiative from the Commonwealth Foundation. Cash prizes are on offer for the winning writers, and prizes for translation are also available. Short stories 2000 – 5000 words. Genre, theme and setting is open. Writers must be citizens of a Commonwealth country. Writers do not need to currently reside in that country. Entries must be original and unpublished with the exception of personal blogs and personal websites. English entires only. Translations of short stories written in languages other than English are eligible if submitted by the writer (not the translator) and provided the translator is a citizen of a Commonwealth country. One entry per writer. Opens 1 October, closes 30 November. Free entry. One winner is chosen from each regional category – 1. Africa, 2. Asia, 3. Canada and Europe, 4. Caribbean and 5. Pacific. One regional winner will be selected as the overall winner with four runners up from remaining regions. Overall winner will receive £5,000. Remaining four regional winners £2,500. If the winning short story is a translation into English, the translator will receive additional prize money:  £2,000 for the overall winning story and £1,000 for a regional winning story. Details on: http://www.commonwealthwriters.org/prizes/commonwealth-short-story-prize/entry-rules.
  • Do you know of any more free November deadline competitions? If so, do email me.
  • Also see below for regular competitions.
DECEMBER
  • Flash Fiction / Short StoriesThe Writer’s Notebook is a monthly, free to enter short story competition. Each month has a set theme, and each writer can submit up to 2 stories per month. A new theme opens on the 1st of each month, and the deadline for entries is the 28th of each month. Future themes are available to view on our webpage. The prize is publication of the short story in our Anthology at the end of the year, and an equal share of sale profits of said Anthology. It is an experimental idea for a free to enter writing competition, relying on social media to drive sales of the Anthology and increase the prize. Stories should be 400-1500 words. A short list of three stories will be published on our blog for our readers to vote for a winner. For more information please see http://thewritersnotebookgroup.blogspot.com.
  • Poetry: Print Express are running their first poetry competition and this is free to enter, with the winner will receive £100 worth of Amazon vouchers. The theme is ‘Winter’ and poems must be no longer than 45 lines. The deadline for this is late December.  You can view further details here: printexpress.co.uk/blog/2011/10/17/the-print-express-poetry-competition.
  • Mixed (novel extract / short stories): The Jim Henson company together with Grosset and Dunlap are running a competition to find an author for a new novel set in the world of The Dark Crystal. The winner will be decided based on a short story or sample of a longer work. 7,500-10,000 words that represent the story you would tell in a full-lengthDark Crystal novel. It can either be the first chapters, final chapters, a collection of middle chapters, or a short piece that would form the inspiration for a novel-length story. Open only to residents of the fifty United States, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories and possessions, Canada (excluding Quebec) and the United Kingdom. Authors must be 18 years or older. Closing date: 31st December. Prize: A contract to write a full length novel to serve as a prequel for the Jim Henson film The Dark CrystalFree to enter. See http://www.shortstorycompetitionhq.com/jim-hensons-dark-crystal-author-quest-competition and http://www.darkcrystal.com/authorquest for details.
  • Short stories: Words Magazine final Short Story Competition of the year closes on December 30th. The Prizes are: 1st – £50, 2nd – £25. Entry is FREE and all entries will be considered for publication in future issues of their quarterly magazine sold in aid of the RNLI – the charity that saves lives at sea. See their website: www.wordsmag.com, Email: admin@wordsmag.com. You can order a free PDF copy at http://www.wordsmag.com/freecopy.htm. For help with your writing see: http://www.wordsmag.com/guides.htm (I’ve also put this link on this blog’s Writing 101 (tips) page).
  • Do you know of any more free December deadline competitions? If so, do email me.
  • Also see below for regular competitions.
WEEKLY
MONTHLY
  • Flash Fiction: LinkedIn’s Aspiring Writers Group runs a monthly flash fiction / short story competition (600 to 715 words). You do have to be a member of LinkedIn (free) and the writing group itself (a closed group but you can ask to join) to enter the competition.
  • Flash Fiction / Short Stories: The Writer’s Notebook is a monthly, free to enter short story competition. Each month has a set theme, and each writer can submit up to 2 stories per month. A new theme opens on the 1st of each month, and the deadline for entries is the 28th of each month. Future themes are available to view on our webpage. The prize is publication of the short story in our Anthology at the end of the year, and an equal share of sale profits of said Anthology. It is an experimental idea for a free to enter writing competition, relying on social media to drive sales of the Anthology and increase the prize. Stories should be 400-1500 words. A short list of three stories will be published on our blog for our readers to vote for a winner. For more information please see http://thewritersnotebookgroup.blogspot.com.
  • MixedOpening Editions.
  • MixedWhat The Dickens magazine lists “competitions and give-aways which are all free to enter”.
  • Non-fictiontales2inspire.com/HOME.html.
  • Short StoriesCreative Writers’ Circle competitions are open to all and are free.
  • Short StoriesFlash Fiction Online is a 500-1000 word site that is free to subscribe / read, free to submit to. Payment is via donations with 60% going to the author and 40% going to the site so there’s no way of knowing how much (if anything) you’d earn but another opportunity perhaps.
  • Short StoriesWriter’s News / Writing Magazine runs a monthly competition for stories of 1,500 to 1,700 words (different theme each month) which is free but you do have to be a subscriber to their magazine (which I do and it’s so worth it).
COMPETITION WEBSITES

If you discover any broken links, closed competitions or know of ones that I haven’t listed here, please do email me with details.

 

2 responses to “Free to Enter Competitions

  1. Mark Morris

    July 25, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Just a quick word about the Costa short story competition; the closing date is August 2nd, not September 7th. I’m writing for it, so I’m quite aware that the time’s almost gone!

     
    • morgenbailey

      August 2, 2013 at 10:45 am

      Thank you, Mark. I’ve updated this page as well as the Competitions home page.

       

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