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Rules for the 2024 contests for previously unpublished writers

For purposes of these contests, unpublished writers are defined as those who have never published extensively in any form and have never earned over $250.00 by their writing skills in any single year, whether from a salary, freelance work, editing, royalties, sale of stories or books. or any combination of these.

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 open contest, 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 2024 Contests

    This year there are four nonfiction story contests with cash prizes.  These are open to all.  Entry and closing dates are below.  There is also a contest for previous winners.
    Stories must be between 1000--5,000 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.
   We no longer accept the use of pen names.  Sorry, but it makes extra work for me and I don't need that.        
    Be sure your stories are ready for publication.  We do not provide copy editing services.  If your stories aren't ready to go up on the site, please don't send them until they are.
    A short author's introduction to the beginning of each story is nice, but optional.  A brief biography of the author at the end with writing credits and city and country is required. This helps us determine if you are truly an "unpublished writer."
     We can use one or two JPEG or GIF images with your story, so send them as E-mail attachments. Include your statement of ownership if they are your photos.  Remember, it is your responsibility to get permission to use any copyright material you submit, whether text or photos.
    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, all 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 consider removing a story only if special circumstances justifies it.  We will not, however, remove winners and finalists.  On the other hand, we have no objection to the stories being published elsewhere. If you anticipate submitting your story to a publisher that would object to previous publication on our site do not send it.  Contact us if you need further clarification.
    Stories may be submitted as text in the body of an Email or as electronic text files such as Word or Open Office. PDF files will not work for us. No paper manuscripts will be considered.
See How to submit a story

    Click here to read a warning from our lawyer about the use of copyright material. You must read it fully and attest that you have done so when you submit your story and/or photo. Once you have read this you may decide it is better to let us provide a photo for your story or for the story to be posted without one.

    No story may be entered in more than one contest.
    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.  
    For all contests there will be one prize of $200 for the winner, $100 for the runner-up, and certificates of achievement for all finalists.
     If you wait until the last day, or even the last week of a contest, don't expect your story to get as careful consideration as those that arrive earlier--when there is plenty of time for them to be considered.   
     First prize winners in previous contests are not eligible for prizes in current contests.  However, there is a separate contest for them, the Winners Circle contest (see below).  We hope this will encourage newer writers and increase their chances of winning.

Contest for entries between
March 1, 2024, and February 28, 2025

Winners Circle Contest
    This contest is only open to first prize winners of previous contests.  While ineligible for prizes in regular contests, previous winners can compete in this one.  This gives newer writers a better chance of winning one of the open contests.
    Most rules for regular contests apply.  Stories may be on any nonfiction subject. There is a limit of four contest submissions.
There is no limit for submissions not meant for the contest.
    Stories posted after March 1, 2023, and not entered in a previous contest can be entered in this one.

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

Contest for entries between
May 8, 2023, and April 30, 2024

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 domesticated animal or a pet.  
    Stories posted after May 8, 2023, and not entered in a previous contest can be entered.

Contest for entries between
July 1, 2023, and June 30, 2024

General  Nonfiction

    Any appropriate nonfiction topic is eligible.  Stories must be true, not semi-fictional accounts.  So-called "creative nonfiction" will not be considered.  
    Stories posted after July 1, 2023, and not entered in a previous contest can be entered.

Contests for entries between
September 1, 2023 and August 31, 2024

Biographical Nonfiction Contest

    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.
    Biographical stories, especially those from older people, or about them by children and grandchildren, are especially appropriate for our mission--to "preserve the extraordinary stories of  'ordinary' people."   
    Stories posted after September 1, 2023, and not entered in a previous contest can be entered.

Contests for entries between
 November 1, 2023 and October 30, 2024

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.
    Stories posted after November 1, 2023, and not entered in a previous contest can be entered.

    Judging will be as we have done it for the last several years.  Click here to find out how.


    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. 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!

    We love to read and post your noncontest stories, both fiction and nonfiction.  So send them in.  After all, our primary purpose is to preserve those stories for your children and grandchildren and maybe even for your grandchildren's children.


The Preservation Foundation, Inc., A Nonprofit Book Publisher