Gernsback Writing Contest: THE RULES

writing contest logo with trademark

(Learn about our judges and readers here and here)

Amazing Stories will begin a regular bi-annual writing contest for short science fiction on July 1st, 2015.

The contest will be held twice per year.  Each contest will select the Top Ten submissions as winners.

Here are the details:


  • Submissions open on July 1st and close on July 31st, or once 100 submissions have been received.


  • Prior to reading and judging, all stories will have author names redacted in order to prevent unconscious bias.
  • During the first selection round, submissions will be read by Amazing Stories contributors.  Up to 20 finalists will be selected during this round.
  • During final judging, three SFWA Active Members (professional SF&F authors), will choose the ten winning stories from among the 20 finalists.
  • The judges will also select the top three stories.

Judges for the first contest are Cat Rambo, Dave Creek and Jack Clemons.


  • Authors of the top three stories will be awarded 6 cents per word in prize money
  • The top 10 stories will be published on the Amazing Stories website
  • The top 10 stories will be published in an anthology (electronic and/or print), for which each author will receive payment of 6 cents per word
  • All authors will qualify for SFWA Affiliate membership upon publication of the anthology. (Subject to SFWA rules & fees.)


Contestants do not assign any rights until final selection.  (Authors not selected for the final ten do not assign any rights.)

Finalists will grant Amazing Stories the following rights:

  • First electronic publication rights
  • Non-exclusive anthology rights
  • Non-exclusive electronic archival rights
  • The right to use the author’s name & likeness and the right to use the title and excerpts from the submitted story for promotional and marketing purposes related to the contest, Amazing Stories and the associated anthology series.


  • Stories must be original and previously unpublished
  • Stories must be between 1,000 and 2,000 words in length
  • Stories must conform to the following short story manuscript format: Manuscript Format
  • Stories not utilizing the proper ms format will be summarily rejected (may be reformatted and resubmitted)
  • Stories may only be submitted through Submittable (link provided when the contest opens)
  • Stories received other than through Submittable will be summarily rejected and will be ineligible for future consideration


  • The theme for the first contest is:  What will our solar system look like 250 years from now?
  • Stories must have a positive take on the theme


  • Contributors and Staff of Amazing Stories are ineligible for the contest (as are the SFWA judges)
  • Questions should be directed to Steve Davidson.  Please place GWC (Gernsback Writing Contest) in the subject field.

We are VERY serious about both the method and form of submissions. We expect that a very large percentage of stories will be deemed ineligible because the author was incapable of following simple instructions or did not care enough to follow through. We think that insisting on a standardized ms format and a single channel for submissions will end up being a very effective tool in minimizing the slush pile. Part of being a professional writer includes following submission guidelines effectively.

Our readers and judges have been instructed to look for the highest quality stories they can find. Be ambitious!

Good Luck to All!

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