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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  • Are friendly to unpublished authors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.

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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 Answers with one-off contests will quickly become out of date.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 '10 at 18:47
@sjohnston: Agreed. @justkt: Thanks for making the question more precise. – Mnementh Dec 20 '10 at 19:14
Are there any other cyclical contests out there? Does having this question with a status of "answered" keep others from contributing? – Strozykowski Feb 15 '12 at 20:24
up vote 8 down vote accepted

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 WotF is specifically for unpublished writers, and occurs once a quarter.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.

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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 '10 at 19:24
Wow, the Jury is the Who is Who of SF. – Mnementh Dec 20 '10 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 '10 at 3:41
Elron wrote SF, too. The most well-known of his SF works is, in fact, Scientology. (S,CRNR) – Jürgen A. Erhard Dec 21 '10 at 15:34
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. – Jürgen A. Erhard Dec 21 '10 at 15:35

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


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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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