Book Talk, Tips and Tricks, Writers' Resource

Competitions for Speculative Fiction Writers

Hello there!

So recently, I was flipping through Writer’s Market 2019 (if you haven’t already seen a copy of this newest edition or even one of the older ones, I highly recommend it because it’s an amazingly resourceful book). I was looking for competitions for works of speculative fiction because, well, that’s mainly what I write. Fantasy, horror, sci-fi, the works. And what I found was a huge list of potentially fun contests for previously unpublished works of spec fiction.

They looked so cool that I thought I’d share!


So, here are some of the contests from Writer’s Market 2019 that I found intriguing…

Aeon Award

This contest is set up by Albedo One, which is “Ireland’s Magazine of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror” (check out the website here!) and calls for short stories less than 10,000 words and previously unpublished.

The top three stories will be published in Albedo One magazine, as well as given first, second, and third prizes. If you’re interested in submitting, there are four deadlines for this year: two of them have already passed, but the last two are September 30 and November 30. The submission fee is about $10.

Boulevard Short Fiction Contest for Emerging Writers

This one’s from Boulevard magazine, and it accepts fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction less than 8,000 words. The contest is open to writers who don’t have a book published yet. This is the Submittable site, where more information can be found.

The winner’s work will be published in the Spring issue of Boulevard and will be announced in June. If you’re interested, the deadline for online submission midnight, December 31! The entry fee is $16

The Danahy Fiction Prize

Hosted by Tampa Review, this annual contest is open to submissions between 500 to 5,000 words. As of yet, there is no deadline listed, but it should appear on this site around October 15. The prize is $1,000, and all entries are considered for publication.

There is an entry fee, though, which is $20. But it could be a fun way to be considered for publication, and according to the guidelines, writers have a lot of freedom regarding the topic. Check it out and see what you think!

Dead of Winter

This one really piqued my interest! If you have a horror short story previously unpublished, submit it to Toasted Cheese Literary Journal, and if you win, your work will be published with them. Word count and prompt will be announced on their website on October 1.

There isn’t any entry fee for this one! But there are a few specific guidelines to be sure to follow. And if horror isn’t really your thing, Toasted Cheese also has two more contests, A Midsummer Tale (fantasy) and Three Cheers and a Tiger (a 48-hour writing contest held twice a year).

Fish Publishing Flash Fiction Competition

Fish Publishing is hosting a competition for flash fiction of 300 words or less. The top ten winners will be published in a flash fiction anthology. The submissions are open now, to be closed on February 20, 2020.

The entry fee for this contest is about $20, but writing the flash fiction itself will absolutely be a fun experience.

The Ghost Story Supernatural Fiction Award

Oooooo, scary! This one’s just what it sounds like: anything ghostly, supernatural, or in the realm of magical realism is welcome here, as long as it’s between 1,500 and 10,000 words. More information can be found on The Ghost Story‘s website. Better get writing, though, because the deadline for this year’s entries is September 30! The winner gets $1,000 and online and print publication; two honorable mentions will receive publication and $250. And all winners and honorable mentions will be included in Ghost Story‘s paperbound anthology, 21st Century Ghost Stories, Vol. 2. 

If you’re interested in submitting, make sure you’ve got a previously unpublished story and $20 for the entry fee. This one is coming up fast, and I’m so excited!

Writer’s Digest Short Story Competition

Got a short story under 1,500 words? Enter it in this Writer’s Digest competition by November 15 and see if it wins! If so, the prize is $3,000, publication in the magazine, and a paid trip to the Writer’s Digest Conference.

More information on their website.


These are just a handful of the interesting competitions I managed to find! If you decide on submitting to any or all of these (or find some more of your own!), have a fun time doing it! I know I will.

Good luck and happy writing!


Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash