S6 | Storyletter Substack Short Story Summer Sweepstakes
Hello, my name is Winston Malone. I’ve been running The Storyletter Substack for almost a year now and to celebrate I’m hosting our first writing contest to cap off an already great year of fiction.
There’s a ton of amazing writers out there in the indie realm. I want to promote and highlight these talented individuals by providing a new type of contest. The S6 (Storyletter Substack Short Story Summer Sweepstakes) contest will be our biggest event. It’s the first iteration, so please bear with me as we iron out any wrinkles that might occur.
Category: Short Story
Theme: Seasonal Retreat - can be any season of the year (real or imaginary). Write about a vacation destination on a far-off world, an isolated cabin deep in the mountains, or a magical theme park floating in the clouds. Feel free to let your imagination run wild!
Word count: Between 1500-4000 words
Deadline: September 15th - winners announced late September
Judging: We will host a panel of 3 judges who will grade submissions individually, with me coming in as a final judge, if necessary, for any tie-breakers.
Arjun Agarwal - a science student who writes on the side. Find and follow their work at Arjunagarwal.substack.com.
Daniel Davison - a frequent Storyletter contributor. Best known for his collection “The Cave of Branching Tales and Other Fictions”.
Galia Ignatius - a professional writer and ghost writer for businesses and academia since 2005.
Cash prizes: Winner gets $100, 2 runners up get $50 each. All honorable mentions get one year of XPress (valued at $25).
Entry fee: 1-month paid subscription ($2.50)
A “Welcome” email will be sent with the link to the submission form.
S6 2022 is a short story fiction contest. There are varying definitions of what constitutes a short story, but for the sake of this contest I’ve established a min-max word count of 1500-4000 words to keep it fair and balanced for everyone participating.
The Storyletter publishes speculative fiction, and (according to Wikipedia) the genres under this umbrella category include, but are not limited to, science fiction, fantasy, horror, superhero fiction, alternate history, utopian and dystopian fiction, and supernatural fiction, as well as combinations thereof (for example, science fantasy)
The fee for entry will be a one month subscription to The Storyletter ($2.50). The perks of becoming a paying subscriber include exclusive immersive audio stories, a bonus newsletter, contest entry, access to the private Discord, member only events, discounts in the merch Gift Shop, and tailored edits/feedback on non-contest submissions.
There is no penalty for canceling your subscription after the one month fee has been charged, and no extra consideration for long-term members.
No contest entry fees will be returned.
The cash prize will be $100, with runner up prizes being $50 each. Winners will be determined based on a grading rubric, with the points tallied up between all three judges to determine the total score. A minimum score must be reached to be eligible for the cash prizes, but only the highest score will receive the full prize amount, with 2 runners up receiving half the value of the main prize, as well as additional honorable mentions. The winner, runners up, and honorable mentions will each receive one year of XPress membership (currently valued at $25) for opportunities to compete in future contests at no extra cost.
Payment will be sent via Paypal or Venmo.
Each judge will grade your entry based on 6 categories. Each category is worth 3 points, with the exception of one (explained below). The final score from each judge will be added together for a total score. Your entry’s total score must reach 33 points or higher to be eligible for publication. Here are the categories we’ll be grading:
Grammar/Readability: This is based on how well-written your entry is and ease of comprehension.
Style/Mechanics: Determined by how well the rules are followed in regards to the structure of a short story and the consistency of the author’s voice.
Theme: This is based on how appropriate the story relates to the theme of “Seasonal Retreat”.
Plot/Story: Scored on the originality of the story and the overall quality of the storytelling.
Character: This considers the overall complexity and development of your story’s main characters.
Train cameo (Bonus): The Storyletter logo is that of a fantastical train that delivers people and stories to any destination imaginable. The XPress train doesn’t need to be featured heavily, or at all, in your story, but entries with cameos of a train will receive 1 bonus point (which counts for 3 points as there are 3 judges).
The Storyletter will publish the top scoring stories for free on Substack for our readers to enjoy. These stories will remain up for everyone indefinitely unless requested otherwise after the standard 6 month exclusivity period.
All decisions made by the judges regarding the winners and scores are final.
Once you’ve joined The Storyletter as a paying subscriber, you will receive a Welcome email that will contain the instructions and link to the submission form. If you’re already an XPress member, the link will be provided in the private Discord and as an XPress post.
Ready to write?!
If this sounds like fun, please join The Storyletter as an XPress member below. Keep in mind that subscribing with an annual subscription won’t increase your chances of winning, but will allow you to enter any future contests over the course of your subscription. If you don’t want to compete in contests but still want to read awesome stories when they get published, consider subscribing for free!