About the contest

How does the contest work?

Every Friday morning, Reedsy sends a newsletter that includes five themed writing prompts. Those five prompts will also appear at the top of our Reedsy Prompts page. Writers then have one week (until the following Friday), to write a story based on one of our prompts. 

To submit to the weekly contest for the opportunity to win its $250 cash prize, writers must pay a $5 entry fee. Alternatively, writers can post their stories directly to their profiles for free. Stories posted for free will be publicly available for the community to read and comment. However, they will not be judged for the competition or eligible for the weekly $250 cash prize.

To learn more about the difference between posting a story for free and submitting it to the contest, scroll down to the section "About the entry fee". 

Sign up to participate in the contest here. 

Read our contest’s full Terms of Use here.

How do I submit a story?

Please follow each of these steps:

  • Sign up for a free Reedsy Prompts account.
  • Head to this week’s Contest page.
  • Choose the prompt you want to respond to.
  • Enter your title and story.
  • Choose whether you want to submit the story for official consideration in the contest or post it to your profile for free.
  • If you want to enter your story for official consideration for the $250 prize, you should hit “Submit to contest ($5),” and follow the onscreen instructions to enter your payment details.
  • If you don’t want to enter your story into the competition, just hit “Publish to profile (free).”

We no longer accept submissions via email.

Can authors submit more than one story per week?

All authors can submit one story per prompt. In other words, up to five stories per week. However, each story must be different. Duplicate entries will be removed. Authors entering multiple stories in one week to the competition will have to pay $5 per entry.

Can authors continue to participate in the contest after they win?

Authors who win the contest are welcome to continue submitting, and are eligible to win the contest multiple times.

Can I choose to submit my story to the contest after I've already posted it for free?

Yes, you can change your mind and submit to the contest any time up until the contest closes. Just head to your story page and hit the button that says “Pay $5 and submit to this week’s contest”.

What is the deadline to submit a story?

Five new prompts go out every Friday. The deadline for all submissions (both competitive and noncompetitive) in response to those prompts is the following Friday at 11:59 pm EST.

When is the weekly winner announced?

The winner of each contest is announced one week after the closing date. 

Why is my contest entry approved days after I submit it?

Stories are reviewed and approved during the week after the closing date. So if you submit a story on a Wednesday, the contest will close on Friday, but your story will not be published, read and approved/disapproved until the following week.

Who is eligible to participate in the contest?

The contest is open internationally, to all writers over the age of 18. (Keep in mind, however, that you will need a PayPal account to receive the $250 prize). Submitted stories must be written in English and be previously unpublished.

Can I submit stories under a pen name?

Yes! To change the name associated with your account, visit your account settings. And if you'd like a hand in coming up with your pseudonym, why not give our Pen Name Generator a try?

How does the Critique Circle email work?

Each Wednesday, we send out a Critique Circle email, encouraging users to leave feedback on other stories by randomly pairing them with three submissions. Only stories which are submitted to the contest and approved will be eligible for inclusion in the Critique Circle.

To leave feedback on a story, simply scroll down to the comments section and leave your notes there! Sign up for the Critique Circle, visit your account settings.

There is not the option to send critiques via private messages at this time.

What are karma points?

Karma is awarded to authors who contribute to the community. You can gain karma by submitting stories, winning contests and gaining upvotes on your comments. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Receiving likes on a story or comment = 1 points
  • When your story is approved = 10 points
  • If you win a contest = 100 points

If an author has a lot of karma, this generally means they have contributed popular content to Reedsy Prompts. Check out the leaderboard here.

About the entry fee

Is there an entry fee?

Yes. As of July 2021, there is a $5 fee to enter the competition. A small conversion fee will apply to users paying in a currency other than USD.

There is no fee to post a noncompetitive story to the site! Nor is there a fee to create a Reedsy Prompts account, browse stories, or leave comments on other submissions.

Why is there an entry fee?

For years, our contest has been free to enter, but it recently has become unsustainable for us to judge on a weekly basis. We want to make sure that we’re able to give every story the attention and consideration it deserves.

We have introduced a fee to encourage authors to submit only their best stories to the contest. It will also allow us to improve the judging process and increase the prize fund!

Reedsy Prompts has always been about creating a writing routine, which is why we still encourage authors to post and share their stories on their profiles for free.

Is the entry fee refundable?

There will be no refund if you delete your story or want to withdraw your story from consideration for the contest. If you choose to delete or withdraw a story and then re-enter, you will need to pay the entry fee again.

What’s the difference between posting a story for free and submitting it to the contest?

If you post a story for free, your story will immediately be publicly available to read on your Reedsy Prompts profile. However, it will not be considered for the weekly competition, and cannot be shortlisted or win the $250 prize. 

If you submit a story to the competition for $5, your story will be eligible for the $250 prize, and it will be read and evaluated by a panel of judges. It will also be publicly available to read on your profile and in the Reedsy short stories directory once it’s been approved by a judge.

About the prize

What is the prize?

$250 USD (to be paid via PayPal) and publication on Reedsy Prompts, where it will be highlighted as a winner. You will also receive a special spotlight in the Reedsy Prompts newsletter, which is sent out to over 250,000 readers every week.

Each week, a handful of shortlisted entries will also be awarded a $25 credit towards Reedsy marketplace services — such as professional book editing, design, or marketing. There is a limit of one $25 credit per user, even if they are shortlisted multiple times. Learn more about the Reedsy publishing community here!

Who judges the short stories and picks the weekly winner?

All entries undergo an initial round of review by our team of judges, comprised of Reedsy Prompts members. Our judges shortlist the top stories. The team at Reedsy then reads the shortlist and determines the weekly winner. For more information on applying to be a Reedsy Prompts judge, please head here.

About stories

What are the word count limits for stories?

Unless otherwise specified, the short story must be between 1,000 - 3,000 words.

Can a story reference more than one prompt at a time?

Yes, you can incorporate as many of the prompts as you’d like. However, you can only submit a story once to a prompt, so pick the most relevant prompt when submitting.

Are there any restrictions about the type of content the story can include?

Stories may contain mature themes and language. However, stories containing large amounts of graphic or explicit language will not be considered for publication on our blog. Read our Terms of Use for more information.

What does it mean to report a story or comment?

By reporting a story or comment, you are sending it to the Reedsy team to review. From there, the team will make a discretionary decision as to whether to remove the comment or story in question. If a story is reported and found to be in violation of the Terms of Use or otherwise warrants removal, an email will be sent to the author with a copy of their work for their own records.

What can I report a story or comment for?

If you see a story that goes against the Terms of Use, is spam, contains offensive content, or requires a content warning, you can hit “Report” at the bottom of the story and select one of the following reasons:

  • This story contains defamatory, obscene, graphic, explicit, offensive, or any other such unsuitable material.
  • This story requires a trigger warning.
  • This story is suspicious, spam or plagiarised.

You can also report inappropriate comments by hitting “Report” and selecting between the following options:

  • This comment is abusive or harmful.
  • This comment is suspicious or spam.

Unwarranted or repetitive reporting of content which does not violate the Terms of Use is not acceptable, and can result in users being removed from the platform.

Can I delete or edit my story after I submit it?

You can delete your story at any time. Stories can be edited after they’re submitted until the closing date of the contest passes. 

If you pay to enter your story into the weekly contest and then delete your story, you will not be issued a refund for your entry fee, and will need to pay again if you wish to re-enter the contest.

Can I submit my story elsewhere after publishing it on Reedsy Prompts?

When authors submit a story, they retain the copyright, but they grant Reedsy a non-exclusive, irrevocable, perpetual, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide, royalty-free license to store, publish, and otherwise use the entry on any platforms, in accordance with our Terms of Use.

After you submit your story, you may still publish the story elsewhere, but the publication must include:

  1. The relevant prompt;
  2. Acknowledgment to Reedsy.com for providing the prompt that inspired the story.

This acknowledgment should be in the form of a mention, and in the case of a digital publication, a “dofollow” link back to https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts

Can I receive feedback on my stories?

The Reedsy team does not offer individual feedback on submissions. However, we do send out a weekly Critique Circle email. Scroll up to the question “How does the Critique Circle work?” for more information! 

How can I get more likes and comments on my submissions?

The best ways to receive likes and comments on your stories are to share them via social media, and take part in our weekly Critique Circle email. The more you engage with other users on Reedsy Prompts, and the more you comment on the stories of others, the more likely you are to receive comments in return.