The storySouth 2006 Million Writers Award for Fiction
updated 2-21-06


The purpose of the Million Writers Award is to honor and promote the best fiction published in online literary journals and magazines during 2005. This year the award is sponsored bythe Edit Red Writing Community (formerly known as Spoiled Ink).

To make a nomination, go to the Million Writers Award main page.

The Reason

The reason for the Million Writers Award is that most of the major literary prizes for short fiction (such as the Best American Short Stories series and the O. Henry Awards) have ignored web-published fiction. This award aims to show that world-class fiction is being published online and to promote this fiction to the larger reading and literary community.

How It Works

The Million Writers Award takes its name from the idea that we in the online writing community have the power to promote the great stories we are creating. If only a few hundred writers took the time to tell fifteen of their friends about a great online short story--and if these friends then passed the word about this fiction to their friends (and so on and so on)--this one story would soon have a larger readership than all of the stories in Best American Short Stories.

To help promote online stories, the Million Writers Award accepts nominations from readers, writers, and editors (and volunteer judges who assist with the award). There is no entry fee. The only entry requirement is that anyone making a nomination agrees to help promote the winners of the award by sending an e-mail about the winners to at least fifteen of their friends, with the added message that they hope the friend will pass on the information to more people. It is also hoped that nominators will help promote the winners through other means, such as linking to the stories, posting the information on message boards, and so on.

Prizes

This year there will be both a main cash prize for the overall winner and for the ten finalists (the authors of the top ten stories of the year). The overall prize will be $300 in cash, which will be transfered to the winner's PayPal account. Each of the ten finalists will receive a membership to the Edit Red (formerly known as Spoiled Ink)., an online writing community. Each membership is valued at $50. All prizes are provided by Edit Red, which is the sponsor of this year's award.


Best Online Publication Award

In addition to the award for best fiction, the online magazine or journal that ends up with the most stories selected as "Notable Stories of the Year" will be honored with an award as the year's best publication for online fiction.

Why Should I Do This?

The general gripe among writers is that no one pays attention to quality writings, while bad or mediocre writings get lots of attention because they are published in prestigious magazines or written by authors who are good at gaining media attention. This award is about countering this trend by promoting the best online writers. If enough writers, readers, and editors agree to help promote the winners of this award, then all online writers will benefit from a greater acceptance of online publications.

The Rules

1) Only stories published in online literary journals, magazines, and e-zines that have an editorial process are eligible for nomination. This means that an editor must have selected the story for publication. Self-published stories are not eligible. Stories published in the online versions of print journal or magazines are eligible provided that the online version of the journal or magazine is accessible by the general public.

2) Anyone may nominate ONE story for the award. This means that readers of magazines can nominate one story and that writers can nominate one their own stories, provided the story was published in 2005 in an online magazine. Editors of online magazines and journals can nominate up to THREE of the stories published in their magazine during 2005.

3) To be eligible for nomination, a story must be longer than 1,000 words.

4) Any writer, reader, or editor who nominates a story agrees to help promote the winners to their friends and/or e-mail mailing lists. The more publicity gained by these winners and the online magazines that published them, the better all online writers will do. In addition, the editors of storySouth will promote the winners in press releases which will be sent to various media outlets.

5) In addition to nominations from writers, readers, and editors, the Million Writers Award will also use a small number of preliminary judges to nominate stories for the award. The names of the preliminary judges will be released after the award has been announced.

6) From all of the nominees, the judges will select the "Notable Stories of the Year." From this list of notable stories, Jason Sanford, the fiction editor of storySouth, will chose the top ten stories of the year. The overall winner of the year's award will be selected by a public vote from among the top ten stories of the year. The public vote will use a secure voting system.

7) The online journal or magazine gaining the most "notable story" selections will be named as the Million Writers Award publication of the year. The editors will also select one publication as the Million Writers Award new magazine or journal of the year. Other awards for excellence may also be given out, if the editors feel there is a reason for doing so (such as highlighting a journal or magazine for doing something new or unusual which added to the overall prestige of online publishing).

8) Stories originally published in storySouth are not eligible. While stories from storySouth are naturally the best fiction being published anywhere (in the humble view of storySouth's editors), it would be a conflict of interest to nominate or judge fiction we originally published.

9) Nominations of stories will begin February 15, 2006. The list of notable stories of the year will be released on March 15, 2006, with the top ten stories released on April 1, 2006. Voting on the top story of the year will begin April 1, 2006, and will end April 30, 2006.

10) Any attempt by writers to distort or manipulate the public vote will result in the disqualification of their respected stories. Writers are allowed to promote their own stories during the vote and to ask others to vote for them. Attempts to repeatedly vote for their own story or to compromise the secure voting system will result in disqualification. The editors of storySouth have final authority to determine if any writer is attempting to distort or manipulate the public vote and the editors' decisions regarding disqualification are final and can not be appealed.11) The storySouth

To Nominate a Story

To nominate a story, readers and editors will submit their name, a valid e-mail address, the name of the nominated author, the name of the magazine or journal, and a URL hyperlink to the story. The URL must go directly to the story's page in the online magazine or journal that originally published it. Links to author home pages where the story is posted are not eligible. DO NOT e-mail the entire story to any storySouth editor. Doing so will guarantee that a story is not considered for the award.

The URL for making nominations will be posted at the top of this page on Feb. 15, 2006.

Please make sure that the e-mail you use to nominate a story is the same e-mail the judges can contact you with later on. Your e-mail address will only be used to contact you with information about the award and the winners. It will not be given out to anyone else.

How Can I Help?

If you want to help promote this award and online writers in general, please pass the word about this contest or link to this page.

For more information, please e-mail Jason Sanford at storysouth@yahoo.com.

Return to Million Writers Award main page