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Rules for the 2020 contests for previously unpublished writers

For purposes of these contests, unpublished writers are defined as those whose jobs are not based on their writing abilities or their freelance creative writing has never produced revenues of over $750.00 in any single year.  

The Preservation Foundation has sole authority to rule on any writer's eligibility, the appropriateness of stories for entry, contest rules, and all other matters relating to the contest.

Drawing of a pyramid with a treasure inside.

Regular Story Submissions--No Limit

  Just to be clear--while there is a limit of two entries in each of the contests, writers should continue to submit stories not meant for the contests, both nonfiction and fiction, for posting on our site.  There is no limit.  Our purpose is to publish your works and you don't have to enter any contests for us to do that.  

Rules For the 2020 Contests

    This year we will have four contest closing dates and prizes for four categories of nonfiction: Biographical Nonfiction, Animal Nonfiction, General Nonfiction, and Travel Nonfiction.  See details below if you need clarification about any of these categories.

    Stories must be between 1000--10,000 words in length.   

    There are no international limitations.  Stories from any country are fine, although they must be written in English.  

    Language in the stories should be free of words or scenes not suitable for children, since many children read the stories and some actually post their stories.

    Just to be clear, we claim no rights to your stories. They are published with your name as copyright holder.  However, since our object is to preserve these stories for future generations, not to put them up one year and take them down the next,
contest entries will be posted on our web site and we expect them to remain on the site for as long as the Preservation Foundation exists.  We will, however, have no objection to the stories being published elsewhere. If you anticipate submitting your posted story to a publisher that would object to previous publication on our site you could use a pen name with us and/or a different title.  We will take a story down if absolutely necessary but will no longer accept stories from you after that. Contact us if you need further clarification.

    Stories must be submitted as electronic files.  No paper manuscripts will be considered.  Also note: if you submit copyright material as text or as illustration it is your responsibility to obtain permission to use it.  See How to submit a story

    No story may be entered in more than one contest.

    The author should state which contest he/she is entering when making the submission.

    Stories entered in any of our previous contests will not be eligible for current year contests.

    A writer may enter one or two stories in each contest.  There are no entry fees.

    First prize in each category will be $200.  Runners-up will receive $100. Winners, runners-up, and finalists in each category will receive certificates of recognition suitable for framing.

    First prize winners in previous contests are not eligible for prizes in current contests.  However, there is a separate contest for them (See below).  We hope this will encourage newer writers and increase their chances of winning.

Contest for entries between
September 1, 2019, and February 29, 2020

Nonfiction Animal Stories

    Stories should be factual and true accounts of an encounter or encounters by the author with a wild animal or animals. These include, but are not limited to, birds, fish, butterflies, snails, lions, bears, turtles, wombats, etc., as long as it is not a pet.

Contests for entries between
September 1, 2019, and April 30, 2020

General Nonfiction Contest

    Any appropriate nonfiction topic is eligible.  Stories must be true, not semi-fictional accounts.  So-called "creative nonfiction"  will not be considered.
Contests for entries between
September 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020

Biographical Nonfiction

    A biographical entry must be a true story of an individual(s) known to the author personally--not a fictional or historical character.  Autobiography, of course, must be a true story about the author's life, the whole or an episode.

Contests for entries between
September 1, 2019, and August 31, 2020

Travel Nonfiction Contest

    Stories should be factual and true accounts of a trip taken by the author or a person or persons known by the author.

Winners Circle Contest  

Entries valid between
May 31, 2019, and February 29, 2020

    First prize winners of previous contests, while ineligible for prizes in regular contests, can compete in this one.

    Most rules for regular contests apply.

    However, there will be two nonfiction categories, biographical and general. There is a limit of four submissions, but these can be assigned to either or both categories.  You could enter four biographical stories, or two biographical and two general, or one general and three biographicals, etc. The judges will determine if the stories are appropriate for the category chosen.

   There will be one 
prize of $200 for the winner in each category.

   For a list of previous first prize contest winners click here.


     As we write this, the first 2020 contest deadline is over five months away. Our plans now are that judging will be done as we did it for the 2019 contests. Click here to find out how that was done.


    We will continue to accept new fictional stories of all types for posting on the site.  However, we haven't had a fiction contest since the year 2000 and won't this year. 

    We love to read your stories though and are happy to post them.
This decision is based on our belief that many internet sites now offer programs for writers of fiction, while very few encourage nonfiction. We believe too that writers of fiction are also capable of writing about real events in their own lives and the lives of those they know.  So get busy and prove us right!


The Preservation Foundation, Inc., A Nonprofit Book Publisher