One good way for new authors to become recognized is a contest. What contests exist that:

  • Accept short stories
  • Occur on a regular (annual, semi-annual, bi-annual, etc.) basis
  • Are friendly to unpublished authors
  • Ideally provide a good amount of publicity within the target market.

If the contest caters to a specific genre or has important entrance criteria, those would be helpful to note.

  • 2
    I think it would be wise to only add contests here that occur on a regular basis. Answers with one-off contests will quickly become out of date.
    – sjohnston
    Dec 20, 2010 at 18:47
  • @sjohnston: Agreed. @justkt: Thanks for making the question more precise.
    – Mnementh
    Dec 20, 2010 at 19:14
  • Are there any other cyclical contests out there? Does having this question with a status of "answered" keep others from contributing? Feb 15, 2012 at 20:24
  • One way to go about this is to look at the journals and collections in your genre. These usually include author notes that include the journals and contest they've won. Then investigate the ones that stories similar to yours have appeared in. Aug 28, 2016 at 15:38

3 Answers 3


Writers of the Future is for SF/F, but it's the longest-running contest in the genre, and carries significant fame and prestige. No other contest comes close. WotF is specifically for unpublished writers, and occurs once a quarter. Check the website for entrance dates and other information.

  • 1
    I was a little astonished to see L. Ron Hubbard all over the page, but right, he was also an author. The contest seems unrelated to Scientology.
    – Mnementh
    Dec 20, 2010 at 19:24
  • Wow, the Jury is the Who is Who of SF.
    – Mnementh
    Dec 20, 2010 at 19:41
  • They have four rounds each year. If you qualify you should try to have a story in each quarter.
    – Fox Cutter
    Dec 21, 2010 at 3:41
  • Elron wrote SF, too. The most well-known of his SF works is, in fact, Scientology. (S,CRNR) Dec 21, 2010 at 15:34
  • 1
    Actually, include me out of this contest. I really wouldn't want to be associated with L. Ron Hubbard in any way, at all. The WP article on the contest (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Writers_of_the_Future) is worth reading. Dec 21, 2010 at 15:35

Glimmer Train offers a few different types of short story contests regularly and one especially for new authors.



A quick Google search turned up this list of 19 short story competitions. Here's another list of short story competitions, sorted by deadline.

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