2009 Short Story Anthology Contest


What’s new for 2009? More winners!

Instead of only three winners per contest, we will now have at least five winners and up to seven winners per contest. We are going to place five winners, but will reserve the right if some of the entries are super good or we have more room in the anthology than we anticipated.

So here’s how it will go:

First Place – $100 bucks – one winner

* Name on the front cover of the book, title page and LOC page
* Five free copies of the anthology
* 50% discount on other copies of the anthology (no purchase necessary)
* Winner’s HTML banner/button code for website or blog
* Full-page author’s bio in the back of the book
* Link of your choice on the blog announcement on 7 different websites
* Name included in the press releases about the anthology release
* Name included as an author in Amazon.com and B&N.com
* Coupon for a free editor’s critique and assessment of a short story other than the winning story (which receives a free edit before being included in the anthology)

Second place – $75 – One Winner

* Name listed on the title page of the book and the LOC page
* Three free copies of the anthology
* 50% discount on other copies of the anthology (no purchase necessary)
* Winner’s HTML banner/button code for website or blog
* Full-page author’s bio in the back of the book
* Link of your choice on the blog announcement on 7 different websites
* Name listed in the book description as an author on Amazon.com and B&N.com

Third place – $25.00 – Three winners

* Name listed on the LOC and book description page of the book
* One free copy of the anthology
* 50% discount on other copies of the anthology (no purchase necessary)
* Winner’s HTML banner/button code for website or blog
* Half-page author’s bio in the back of the book
* Link of your choice on the blog announcement on 7 different websites
* Name included in the description of the book on Amazon.com and B&N.com

If the judges and Michy decide to award up to seven winners, the added two winners will be treated as third place winners for prize payouts.

Everyone who enters will receive on free copy of the anthology for every paid entry, after it goes to print but before the public release, even if they don’t win!

All winners will be announced within 30 days of the contest end date.


1.) All entries must be written in MS Word as a .doc or .RTF format if you do not have Word. (I can accept .docx files from Word 2007, but prefer .doc files – this won’t affect your chances of winning. However, Word 2007 does have the option to allow you to save the file as an older version of Word. 2003 is the preferred format.)

2.) Please use the following standards to submit your entry:

A. 12 pt. font

B. Times New Roman (Absolutely no fancy fonts – all winners will have the proper font changed before publication.)

C. 1″ margins, all sides

D. Double Spacing, set as double spaced, no line breaks

E. Auto-indent, using the auto-indent feature, not tabs – the use of tabs will automatically disqualify you and make Michy fume about people who can’t read the submission guidelines and she might post about you on her blog! Auto-indent at .3.

(This video will show you how to set auto-indents: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYxdYJdZbao, or you can read this blog post: http://michysthoughts.blogspot.com/2008/07/how-to-set-auto-indents-in-ms-word…)

F. Left Justified (Left, Right, Center, Full – choose Left)

G. Do NOT double enter after paragraphs. That’s why you indent. (had an entry last time do this!)

H. Use a centered * * * between scene breaks, if necessary, not a double enter. (Be sure to remove the indent on any centered lines but ONLY on centered lines, otherwise, they won’t be centered.)

I. Do NOT tell us ‘THE END’ – when the words run out, we generally stop reading and assume the story is over, though sometimes, understandably, that might be hard to tell. If it’s hard to tell, you might want to consider a revision.

3.) All entries must be emailed to:


If you would like others to view and read your contest entry, opening it to critiques and feedback either before, during or after the contest, you can also UPLOADED to this thread:

[Link coming soon]

Keep in mind that your story MUST BE EMAILED, whether you put it in the upload thread or not. The upload thread is OPTIONAL; emailing is not optional.

If you are not a member of the forum, you will have to sign up for a free membership to be able to participate! No entries will be accepted this time from anyone NOT a member of this forum!

The password to get into the upload thread is: password

I put it in the password protected thread so that your stories are not indexed in search engines and can only be viewed by registered members and even though they win or are entered in a contest, they won’t eliminate you from selling the story to someone else!

Yes, you will retain all rights to your story, although I am asking for first publication rights, North American, print – if you win. We might discuss electronics rights at a later date.

4.) You have until the last day of January 2009, at 11:59pm Central Time, to pay your fee and upload your entry. It’s recommended you pay your at least one day prior to contest close, because contrary to popular belief, I do not sit on the computer all the time and if I don’t send your entry number by the contest close, you might not make the deadline!

5.) Entry fee? Yeah… You see, there is no limit on the number of short stories you can enter, but to ensure writers do not just throw anything they write up and actually put a little bit of themselves into the contest, we are charging a small entry fee to ensure your sincerity in entering and to help offset some of the cost of the prizes and publishing the book!

The fee is only $5.00 per story – you can enter as many stories as you’d like, but it’s $5 each! You can send it one story at a time or you can add it all up and send it together, BUT you must pay the fee first BEFORE you post your entry.

You can send it to PayPal: michelle@accentuateservices.com

If you do not have a PayPal account, we also take credit cards, debit cards or bank account transfers through PayPal without you having to sign up for an account. Just go to the bottom of the post here and click the PayPal button!

6.) After your entry fee payment is received, you will be emailed an ENTRY NUMBER. This entry number is what you will use in the title of your post in the entry thread where you upload your document and at the top of your document and as the document name too.

This will help us keep the entries separate, and will be used by the judges to ensure judging is blind.



1.) (again) MS Word or RTF file, double spaced, left justified, 1″ margins all around, using the auto-indent feature at .3″. DO NOT use tabs or spaces for indenting new paragraphs. PLEASE use the auto-indent feature – if unsure ho
to do this, read above and visit the video and the blog that explains in detail how to do this.

2.) DO NOT put your name on your entry. Instead, wait until you receive your entry number and put only your entry number on the top of the document you upload as well as in the title of the thread you post and as the document name. The Word document name should be JUST the entry number.

3.) Entries must be between 1500 – 7000 words, give or take a few hundred either way, as long the entry tells a full story with an intriguing storyline – if your entry is outside of these limits, you’d better have a darned good story to tell and email me first before you submit it.

4.) Use proper grammar, spelling and style when writing the story that complements the story – sometimes, grammar does take a backseat to the story, but you’d better know why it does if you’re gonna break the rules! (yes, the gonna was intentional)

The most common mistakes are: not checking spelling (can you imagine not using spell check at the very least?), dialogue tags and proper punctuation of dialogue, using all caps or multiple punctuation marks at the end of sentences!!!! ?!

THEME: 5.) All entries must use the theme.

To see the themes, go to this link:


I’m not telling you what the theme means or how to use it, so don’t ask. Part of what your entry is going to be judged upon is the adherence to and creative use of the theme. The more creative it is, the better chance you have of winning.

The theme doesn’t have to be ‘in-your-face’. In fact, it’s probably better if it’s not. It can be subtle, but be sure that it’s not so subtle that the judges can’t clearly see you used the theme.

6.) DO NOT use headers or footers, and DO NOT number your pages. I received several this way in the past – I will be disqualifying these this time.

7.) Oh, did I mention to: Give us your best work!

Keep in mind, one of Michy’s goals with this forum is to help aspiring writers – if you think our guidelines are strict with the contest here, it’s nothing compared to what a publisher is going to require – so consider this practice with publication!

At the same time, there are some professional and published writers entering this contest too – so while you might be practicing, they might be polished – so I repeat, give us your best.


YOU will retain ALL copyrights to your short story, but if you choose to accept the publishing contract and include your winning short story in the Accentuate Writers anthology, we do ask for non-exclusive, first print publication rights, North American – and we might negotiate electronic rights at a later date.

After the story publishes in the print anthology trade paperback book and winners have received their free copies they won in the contest, all winners will be allowed to buy additional books at a 50% discount off the retail price. ALL registered forum members can buy the books at 10% off the retail price and any contest entries who did not win can buy the book at 20% off retail price!

THERE IS NO PURCHASE REQUIRED, PERIOD, EVER! We simply make the book available at a discount to those who want to give it as a gift or make it available for sale on their own website and make a little money from selling it. We will never require you to purchase a single copy of the book – but we will be giving away copies as prizes for free!


Editing is part of publishing, so all stories that win the contest will be fully edited for free.


While the $5 entry fee is required per entry, there is no additional cost whatsoever to enter, no required purchase, nada, nothing, zero, zip, zilch.

Some Notes:

This is the first contest of 2009, so let’s kick it off with a bang!

Contests will be held monthly throughout 2009, with a print anthology compiled at the end of each quarter, resulting in four print anthologies in 2009. Michy reserves the right to revise this schedule at any time and print fewer anthologies based on her health, financial situation, number of entries in the contest, or anything else that might get in the way. The plan now is four this year, but it might be reduced to three or two, depending on circumstances, and then the contests might be held semi-monthly instead – for now, we’re shooting for one contest per month!

Accentuate plans to host these contests monthly, and close quarterly for four print anthologies per year. We will never increase that number, since running these contests and preparing the anthologies is time consuming and expensive, and we also want to keep the competitive nature where being published in one of our anthologies is a true competitive honor, limited only to the best of the best of each contest.


No single author will have more than six stories in one book, so after the sixth story, they will be ineligible for future contests until the next anthology compilation begins. Should any single author reach this level for one anthology compilation period, we will make them an honorary judge of the next contest until they are eligible to enter again!

Only first place winners will have their names listed on the cover of the anthology. All authors will be listed on the interior title page, the LOC page, and will have author bios included in the back of the book, with photo and contact information if they so choose. All author’s pen names will be listed in the description field on Amazon.com and other online book retailers.

Winners will get author copies for the prizes they win, even if they win more than one. That is, if a person wins first place in June’s contest and then wins second place in July’s contest, then that person will get 5 free books for June and 3 free books for July, for a total of 8 books.

You must be an ACTIVE member of the forum in order to participate in the contest. This simply means you must register for a free membership on the forum and post your introduction. While we would prefer you continue to stay and chat with us all, this is all that is required for the contest.

Any contest discussion should be held in this thread:



The first anthology of 2009 will be a compilation of the winners of the contests held in January, February, March.

The themes for the contests for each month will be as follows:

January The Past

FebruaryThe Present

MarchThe Future

There will be four poems included in this anthology, and the contest for the poems will be held in March as well as the March story contest.

When you are writing your story to enter in t

he contest, please do not think of the theme for each month by itself, but rather how the theme for your story will fit the theme of the entire anthology.

If you’ve ever read an anthology with multiple themes, you’ll know they divide the themes with a chapter break of sorts. We will include a nice divider with a vector image and the theme centered on the page in a fancy script. All the winners for the first month’s contest, THE PAST will be behind that first chapter divider. Then there will be another chapter divider, then a poem, and then the winners of the next month’s contest, The Present, and then the same for the third month, The Future.

So when you are thinking about your story, please don’t take the theme by itself, but think of it in terms of how it will fit with the anthology as a whole. However, since there’s no guarantee you will be selected a winner in each contest, please do not write stories for one contest that are dependent upon stories in another contest…. i.e.: don’t write a story about the past, present and future of one character.

I’m really curious to see how everyone interprets and uses the themes this time – personally, I think it’s going to be hard! I’m glad I can’t enter!

Good luck to everyone!

Keep this thread for discussion the themes only – all other anthology discussions should go in the discussion thread.

Good luck to everyone!