a writing contest for those who dare

fearless contest information

▼ go to frequently asked questions ▼

The Official Rules govern the rules of the Fearless Contest. If this FAQ or other materials contradict the Official Rules, the Official Rules take priority.

key points:

  • Eligibility: legal residents of Canada and US, aged 13 and up
  • Stories must be original work, previously unpublished, and in English
  • Stories posted in the Public Voting track give us first world rights, may publish elsewhere 90 days after the contest ends
  • Stories posted only to the Grand Prize track retain ownership/copyright and publications rights UNLESS you win or opt into the Public Voting Prize track
  • Winners'stories will be published on the StoryBilder website. Winners must give us first world publishing rights, may publish elsewhere 90 days after the contest ends.
  • Free to enter: No purchase or entries fees required.

things to know

Judging for the Adult Grand Prize is at the discretion of the StoryBilder team.

Judging for the Youth and Teen Grand Prizes are at the discretion of the Writer’s Desk team

We're looking for stories that amaze and surprise us. Make us laugh. Make us cry. Make us feel. Writing style, grammar and technical matters will be factored into our final decision, but you're not going to get eliminated for some missed punctuation or some bad grammar. 

For the Public Voting Prize, stories will be open to public likes as soon as they're submitted and approved. Approvals can take up to 24 hours, depending on submission volume. Popularity will influence the top 25 stories we select for public voting in each category, but it will not be the only factor. Once we announce the top 25 stories, public voting will decide the winners.

All stories must be reviewed and approved before appearing in the public gallery. Please read the rules and FAQ to learn about topics, language and themes that are not permitted in the Public Gallery. If your story isn't accepted for the public gallery for any reason, it will still be considered for the Grand Prize. 

Youth and Teen authors who post in the Public Gallery will have their first name and last initial posted, along with their region, for privacy and additional security. You may pick an alias (a "pen name") instead. For example, Emma Price from Kansas City, Kansas will be displayed as "Emma P. from Kansas, USA" or "My Fake Name from Kansas, USA" if they provide an alias. If she provides "Emma Price" as her alias, we'll still display Emma P., so please don't.

Contest FAQ


Can I submit fanfiction?

Sorry, not for this contest. Your story is being considered for a cash prize and it will be published on the site if it wins. Copyright and intellectual property rights are important to us (and to our legal team).

Can I submit more than one story?

No. It's one story per person only. Setting up multiple accounts to submit more than one story will get you disqualified.  

Is there anything I can't write about?

While we encourage you to write about mature topics, we cannot publish stories that describe violent, non-consensual. explicit or pornographic sex, gratuitous torture and abuse, gratuitous acts of violence based on race, gender or sexual orientation, disability or physical appearance. 

We have teenagers participating this time, so please keep your stories somewhere at or below what you'd see in an R-rated movie. If you want to submit to the Public Voting track, but you're not sure whether your story crosses the line, submit anyway. We'll let you know if you've crossed the line, and you'll still be in the running for the Grand Prize.

To learn more about our community guidelines and philosophy, read our Code of Conduct.

What does it cost to enter the contest or vote?

Nothing! Contest participation is free.  

If you decide you want to write a novel on our platform later, you can find our very affordable subscription options at https://storybilder.com/pricing.

What genre should I write in?

Any genre you like! Write what you like (or not, it's totally up to you!)


Can I win more than one prize?

Theoretically, yes! Our Grand Prize judging is happening separately, and we have no control over the public vote once the semi-finalists are announced.

Why are there two different prize tracks? Isn't that unnecessarily complicated?

We know that everyone is different. Some writers want the world to read their work. Some writers prefer to submit their stories in private. So we set things up so you can participate in whatever way makes you most comfortable.

In addition, some writers are more concerned about retaining their publication rights than others. The private track allows these writers to resubmit their stories to agents and other publications if they don't win.

The public track is for writers who write for the pleasure of sharing. If you publish on fanfiction and similar social publishing sites, this track gives you a chance to showcase your work and share with your friends.


How do I vote?

To vote for a story click the grey heart on the right side next to the story's name. If the heart is red, you have already voted! You will need to sign up for a free StoryBilder account first. This helps us prevent ballot stuffing and keep cheating in check. 

How often can I vote?

You may vote once per story per voting round. That means once in the preliminary voting round, once in the Top 25, and once in the Top 10, as long as the story qualifies.

Evidence of ballot stuffing (creating multiple accounts to vote) or automated voting systems can get the story immediately disqualified, even if someone else is doing the voting on the author’s behalf. Don’t. Just don’t.


How will you ensure stories are judged fairly?

All internal judging in the Grand Prize Track will be BLIND (no names, no personal identifying information) to ensure fairness.

You may choose to post your story with your real name or with an alias for the Public Voting Prize, but our internal judges won't see your name or your personal details when they rate your story. 

I didn't make the Top 25 Public Semi-Finals. Does that mean I'm out of the running for the Grand Prize too?

Not necessarily. The Top 25 will be picked based on popularity and style, while the Grand Prize criteria include writing quality and interpretation of theme. Also, not everyone will include their story in the public vote, so the Grand Prize winner won't even be in the Top 25 if they opted out.

My story was rejected for the Public Voting Track due to violence or other criteria. Can I change my story and resubmit?

No, sorry. We’re a small team, and we don’t have the ability to manage story edits or resubmitted stories. Please note that your story will still be judged in the privately judged Grand Prize Track and will still qualify for those prizes.

My story was rejected for the Public Voting Track for (any) reason. Can I petition the judges to change their mind and approve it?

No, sorry. We know you’re proud of your work and want to share it with other people, but our rules are clear and our judges’ decisions are final.

Please note that your story will still be judged in the privately judged Grand Prize Track and will still qualify for those prizes.

What's the difference between the two judging tracks?

The Grand Prize track is for everyone. Your story will be judged privately, and it will only be published on our website if you win. 

The Public Voting Prize track is optional. If you choose to include your story in this track, your story will be published on our website immediately (after it has been checked to make sure it follows the rules), where the general public can read and like it. Our judges will select the top 25 eligible stories for public voting.

Will my story be critiqued?

No. We're a tiny team, and we already have our hands full making StoryBilder amazing. 

Visit our pricing page to get access to our full platform. 


I submitted my story but I don’t see it in the Public Gallery. Where is it?

hours to verify. You’ll get a confirmation email when your story is posted, but if it has been more than 48 hours and you still don’t see your story, feel free to reach out.

Why a short story contest? Isn't StoryBilder for novels?

Yes, but we wanted to make it easier for people to participate, and this is a fun way to get people started. 

When you're ready to take your story to the next level, visit our pricing page to get access to our full platform. 

Why do I have to register to submit or vote?

Registration helps keep our contest clean and makes it harder for bots to rig the votes, and it helps us verify the winners when the contest ends.

We won't sell or share your information, and you won't hear from us outside the contest UNLESS you opt into our newsletter when you register. We hope that you do. We'd love to stay in touch. 


I'm 18 or younger. Do I need to get permission from my parent or guardian to enter the contest?

If you are 18 or younger, we'll ask you for your parent or guardian's name, phone number and email address when you enter the contest. We will need to contact them if you win, or if we detect behavior that goes against our code of conduct.

Please be sure to ask your parent or guardian for consent before entering the contest.

I'm 18 or younger. Why do you need my parent's or guardian's contact info?

If you are participating in the Teen or Youth contests, we'll ask for your parent or legal guardian's name, email and phone number when you enter the contest.

We'll need to contact them if you win. Depending on where you live, they may need to accept the prize on your behalf.

Please be sure to get their permission before you enter the contest.


What about my publication rights and copyright?

Submissions entered into the Public Voting track will be published on our website as soon as they're approved. This means we take first world publication rights, but you own the copyright to your story, and you're free to publish it elsewhere starting 90 days after the contest winners are announced. 

Submissions entered ONLY into the Grand Prize track (and not in the Public Gallery) will not be published on the site unless you win. If you are trying to place your story in professional magazines or anthologies, this may be the better choice for you, since you will retain full publication rights and ownership of your story and can submit elsewhere if you don't win. If you do win, we'll take first world publication rights, but you'll still own the copyright to your story. 

Please read our contest rules and regulations for further details.  

What are First World Publishing Rights?

First World Publishing Rights go to whoever publishes your story first, by definition. If you participate in the Public Voting track, your story will be published on our site. If you win either award, we'll publish your story on our site. Both of those acts mean we automatically get first world publishing rights for your story.

Professional publishers and magazines will generally want your first world publishing rights for themselves. If you are thinking about submitting your story to professional publishers after the contest is over (assuming you don't win), you should NOT enter the Public Voting track.

If you plan to publish your story on a blog, on a public publishing site like Wattpad or Archive of Our Own, or if you plan to self-publish, participating in the Public Voting Track won't matter. 

*Contest open to residents of Canada and the United States, aged 13+. Entrants who participate in the Public Voting track and winners whose stories are published on storybilder.com forfeit First World Publication Rights to StoryBilder, Ltd. One story per person. Chances of Winning decrease as more people enter the contest.