The Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award 2019 is open for business for just seven more days. If you have never entered before, but would like to give it a go, we thought it would be helpful to share a few tips we’ve picked up over the last ten years to give yourself the best possible chance of success. Once you’ve read them head over to our submissions page https://www.shortstoryaward.co.uk/awards/2019/submit/- you have until 6pm on February 15th 2019 to get your story of up to 6000 words in.
1: Read the Terms and Conditions, which you can find in all their glory here: https://www.shortstoryaward.co.uk/terms-conditions/.
They are long and complex, but they are important!
For instance, don't despair if you have not got a book publishing deal: if you have had just one piece of creative writing (prose fiction, drama or poetry) published in an established magazine in the UK or Ireland, or broadcast on UK or Irish national radio, you could well be eligible.
Conversely, we don’t want you to be ineligible for the Award because your story is too long, too late or too old. However, if you haven’t read the rules, we have no choice. Reading the Terms and Conditions is especially important this year, as our new sponsors Audible will hold the exclusive audio rights to shortlisted stories in order to produce an audiobook of the final six. If you have any doubts, please email us at email@example.com and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.
2: Let your story percolate.
Don’t hammer away at a story and send it in without editing - check it over, rest it, and come back to it. And remember: you have one chance to enter any story - a story entered one year is ineligible for any subsequent one.
3: Don’t try to second guess the tastes of the judges: their only criteria is to look for the very best of the form, and they are not limited to subject or style.
The winning and shortlisted stories have varied hugely from year to year - from Kevin Barry to Yiyun Li. We don’t announce judges until the end of the submission period and the only consistent judge from year to year is Andrew Holgate, Literary Editor of The Sunday Times, who runs the Award. You are best off submitting your best story rather than looking at what has been successful previously.
4: Enter the story you are most excited about - the story you will always regret not submitting.
If a story excites you it may excite the judges! Most of all, do submit. You never know what may happen - and you can’t be successful without entering. Good luck!
Don't be disappointed if your story isn't longlisted on your first attempt. Please keep writing, and submit again next year. Writers have been longlisted, shortlisted and even won who are at the start of the careers. But every writer faces stiff competition: the Award receives upwards of 1000 entries each year, of which the judges must choose only the most outstanding few, so to make it to the longlist is a phenomenal achievement.