The internet is both a help and a hindrance when it comes to looking for opportunities for writing recognition. List upon list exist of different writing opportunities. Some are out-of-date. Others have information but no links to find the original site. This weekend, we took a little time and sifted through a hundred or so links. We were able to put together a decent list of opportunities. Some are truly limited in scope and only apply to certain locations or certain genres, and some require a publication from the previous year while others require new material. There are also opportunities that are free to enter while others require a ‘reading fee’ or entry fee.

We decided to narrow things down and create a list that was relatively easy to use. As a result, we hae compiled our own list of fee-based and free writing contests for 2014.  This article is dedicated to fee-based and free writing contests for January and February 2014. Other articles will follow with contests later in the year. All contests for novels included in this article are open to independently published novels and/or novels sold in e-book format. Other requirements vary per contest.

Ongoing 2014 (free)

Durham Editing and E-books

Of course, we had to make the top of our own list. We are a small editing and e-books site that offers writers of all experience levels various opportunities throughout the year to publish poetry, short stories, memoirs, or songs. Publishing opportunities vary throughout the year, but there are five planned anthologies for 2014.  The number of pieces allowed for submission also varies per collection. Deadlines and collection details will be updated as publishing approaches. Submission is always free. Durham Editing and E-books asks only one-time rights to publish in the specified anthology, and writers retain rights to any pieces accepted to the collection. We also offer coupon codes for free e-book editions via for all contributors and their followers and friends. We had great fun with our collections this past year, including Whispers, Shouts, and Songs: Exploring Poetry Through the Independent Voice; Summer Shorts: Airing Out Secrets; Leaves of Change: Lessons on Love, Laughter, and Living; and Wrapped Up In Ribbon: Stories and Tales of the Christmas Season. More information on past collections and future opportunities can be found here on our website,


Midlife Collage

Midlife collage holds weekly nonfiction contests for writers over age 40. While we did not see an entry fee posted, there are a good many ifs, whys, and buts in their instructions that writers should read thoroughly to make sure they are okay with the conditions set forth. It seemed like an interesting opportunity for nonfiction essay writers who enjoy writing on a given topic. These topics change regularly, so we have decided to decline to post the topic here since it very well may have changed. Pieces are short, ranging from 500-800 words, and the $50 first prize seemed like a good enticement to give the website a try. We would love to hear from anyone who has entered or won this contest in the past. More information can be found at


January 2014 FREE

Bethesda Literary Festival Essay and Short Story Contest

Deadline: January 24, 2014

Entry Fee: FREE (limit 1 submission)

Prize: Adult- 1st prize=$500, 2nd prize= $250, 3rd prize=$150; High School- 1st prize=$250, 2nd prize=$150, 3rd prize= $50.

Special Requirements: This contest is only open for residents of Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

Contest: Writers must write an essay of 500 words or less on a topic of the writer’s choosing.



American Kennel Club Fiction Writing Contest

Deadline: January 31, 2014

Entry Fee: FREE

Prize: 1st prize= $500; 2nd prize= $250; 3rd prize= $100

Contest: Writers may submit one short story (less than 2,000 words) on any topic, as long as the story features a dog. The dog does not have to be a purebred dog or one registered with the American Kennel Club. They basically just want a really good story about a dog.



Highlights Short Fiction Contest

Deadline: January 31, 2014

Entry Fee: FREE

Prize: $1000

Contest: This is a holiday-themed short story contest for writers over the age of 16. The audience is children, generally upper level elementary school children, so no violence, crime, or derogatory language is allowed. This tidbit of knowledge should also help you focus the rest of the content, as well. Stories can be up to 800 words long.



Nelsen Algren Literary Award

Deadline: January 31, 2014 (extended to 2/1/14 as of 1/24/14)

Entry Fee: FREE (limit 2 submissions)

Prize: Grand Prize= $3500; Finalist Prizes (4) = $1000; Runner-Up Prizes (5) = $500

Contest: This contest is for short stories no longer than 8,000 words and not previously published. All characters must be fictional and no mention of trademarked items is allowed. Stories must be suitable for publication. Stories should not include obscene, vulgar, offensive, profane, provocative, or otherwise inappropriate content.


You can also visit the page for submissions for this contest for basic information and to submit your piece:


Imagine Little Tokyo: Short Story Contest

Deadline: January 31, 2014

Entry Fee: FREE

Prize: 1st prize= $1000, 2nd prize= $500

Special Requirements: Specified setting of the story is Little Tokyo.

Contest: Writers must write a 2,500 word short story that is fiction. The story may be set in past, present, or future, but the setting must be Little Tokyo. Selection will be judged on storytelling and best use of Little Tokyo as a cultural setting.



January 2014 Fee for Submission

Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize

Deadline: January 31, 2014

Entry Fee: $15 for North Carolina Writer’s Network members/ $25 for non-members

Prize: $1000 and possible publication in the Thomas Wolfe Review

Contest: Writers may write a short story up to 12 pages, double spaced, with one-inch margins. Submissions can be online or via mail.



New Millennium Writings

Deadline: January 31, 2014

Entry Fee: $20 per submission

Prize: $1000 for each category (poem, fiction, nonfiction, and short-short fiction) and publication in New Millennium Writings and their website

Contest: Writers may submit in the categories of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and short-short fiction. Fiction and nonfiction may be up to 6000 words. Writers may submit in one entry up to three poems, not to exceed five pages total. Works previously published online are accepted. Honorable mention poems will also be published.



CYGNYS Sci-Fi and Fantasy Awards

Deadline: January 31, 2014

Entry Fee: $40

Prize: Grand prize= $1000; 1st place= $250; winners also have the opportunity to be placed on the Chanticleer Book Shelves which promote and see the winning titles, blue ribbon, and a Chanticleer Book Review

Special Requirements: Accepted genres include Steampunk, Science Fiction, Time Travel, Fantasy, Paranormal, Mythological, Soft Sci-Fi, Young Adult, and Speculative non-fiction. No erotica or graphic violence.

Contest: Writers may submit novels over 30,000 words long. Novels will fall into two general categories, published and not published.  Self-published books can be submitted in the published category.



William Saroyan International Prize for Writing

Deadline: January 31, 2014

Entry Fee: $50 per submission

Prize: $5000 for fiction and $5000 for nonfiction

Special Requirements: Work must have been published (self-published accepted) in 2012- 2013.

Contest: This contest is for novels, short story anthologies, drama and nonfiction (biography/memoirs/history) published in 2012-2013. No poetry collections will be accepted this year. Self-published e-books are accepted as long as they are available for purchase online. Entries must be mailed.

Mailing Address:

Administrator of the Saroyan Prize Committee

Stanford University Libraries

557 Escondido Mall

Stanford, CA 94305-6004



February 2014 (FREE)

Glamour Magazine My Real-Life Story Essay Contest

Deadline: February 10, 2014

Entry Fee: FREE (1 submission only)

Prize: $5000

Contest: Writers should write a personal essay based on the theme “My Real-Life Story.” Pieces should be between 2,500 words and 3,500 words long. All entries must be typed and double-spaced and formatted in one document.



Winter 2014 INSPIRATION Travel Writing Contest

Deadline: February 14, 2014

Entry Fee: FREE (up to 5 submissions allowed)

Prize: 1st prize= $1000, 2nd prize= $500, 3rd prize= $250

Special Requirements: The theme is inspiration, a place that inspires you to spend your time wisely with no regrets.

Contest: Submissions must be in Standard English, edited and proofread for proper grammar and language. All pieces must be related to the chosen theme and family-friendly (G-rated). Pieces must be 500-800 words in length and previously unpublished. All submissions which meet the requirements will appear on the website.



AARP and the Huffington Post Post-50 Memoir Contest

Deadline: February 15, 2014

Entry Fee: FREE

Prize: $5000, book publishing contract with S&S for publication of memoir in hard cover, trade paperback, and e-book (advance of $5000 on contract), excerpt from memoir published in AARP magazine and on their website

Special Requirements: Writer must be a legal resident of the 50 states born before December 31, 1964.

Contest: Writers will submit a synopsis of their memoir as well as the first 5,000 words of the memoir.



Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Contest

Deadline:  Begins 2/16/2014, Ends March 2, 2014 or once 10,000 novels have been submitted.

Entry Fee: FREE

Prize: Grand prize=$50,000 contract advance and publishing contract through AmazonPublishing and advance of $15,000; First prize= publishing contract for $15,000. Second and third prize will receive reviews from either Publishers weekly or Amazon Editors.

Contest: This contest is for novels in the genres general fiction, mystery/thriller, romance, science fiction/fantasy/horror, and young adult. Works must be 50,000 to 125,000 words long. The first 3000 to 5000 words of the novel excluding the tableof contents and front material and a pitch of the manuscript up to 300 words long must be included, as well.



February 2014 Fee for Submission

2014 Memphis Magazine Fiction Contest

Deadline: February 1, 2014

Entry Fee: $10

Prize: 1st prize= $1000; 2nd prize= $500; 3rd prize= $500

Special Requirements: Authors must live within 150 miles of Memphis, Tennessee.

Contest: Writers may submit short stories on a theme of the author’s choice. Pieces may be between 3000 and 4500 words. Stories do not have to have a Memphis or southern theme.




Phoebe Winter Writing Contests

Deadline: February 1, 2014

Entry Fee: $17 (limit one submission)

Prize: $750 plus subscription to and publication in the Phoebe Journal for nonfiction; $1000 plus subscription to and publication in the Phoebe Journal for fiction

Contest: This contest is for creative nonfiction pieces up to 5,000 words long or creative fiction up to 5,000 words long.



Greg Grummer Poetry Award

Deadline: February 1, 2014

Entry Fee: $17

Prize: $1,000 plus publication in and 1-year subscription to Phoebe 43.1 Journal

Contest: Writers may submit up to four poems per submission. One submission should not exceed ten pages.



Doris Betts Fiction Prize

Deadline: February 15, 2014

Fees: $10 for North Carolina Writer’s Network members, $20 for nonmembers

Prize: Publication in N.C. Literary Review

Special Requirements: Must be a N.C. resident, member of NCWN or N.C. Literary Review Subscriber with N.C. connections.

Contest: Writers may submit short stories up to 6,000 words long in either Word or RTF formats.



Erma Bombeck Writing Competition

Deadline: February 17, 2014

Entry Fees: $15 (limit one submission)

Prize: $500 and free registration for the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop

Special Requirement: Must meet the following criteria: “A personal essay ‘deals lightly, often humorously, with personal experiences, opinions, and prejudices, stressing especially the unusual or novel in attitude and having to do with the various aspects of everyday life.’ Phillip Lopate, The Art of the Personal Essay.”

Contest: Writers may submit a 450-word personal essay that has not been previously published in a book, blog, magazine or website.  All entries must be human interest or humorous, preferably both. Writers must be over age 14.



Wag’s Revue Winter Contest

Deadline: February 28, 2014

Entry Fee: $22.09

Prize: 1st prize= $1000 and publication, 2nd prize= $500, 3rd prize=$100

Contest: This contest is open to poetry, prose, and essays. Editors of Wag’s Revue serve as editors in the competition. Sixteen previous issues of the journal are available online for writers to read for free and see the type of material the journal prefers. This contest also has a summer version.


free writing contests 2014

Fee-Based and Free Writing Contests 2014
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