Submitting to the magazine is free. There is a membership fee of $10/month to enter the contest. This acts as an “entry fee”, but unlike regular contests, you can enter as many times as you like. As we add more contests, your membership will allow you unlimited entries to all of them. Membership also comes with extra perks that other contests don’t, such as $400+ in discounts.
Membership fees are used to pay the winners, purchase work from writers like yourself, and produce the magazine. Excess money is used to increase future prize value and buy greater quanities of work in accordance with our goal of promoting new authors.
Absolutely. Head to your profile, find the subscription tab and click cancel. You can also upgrade your membership the same way.
When you cancel you will still have access to the Members Area until the end of your subscription period.
Because members have immediate access to our digital resources and hundreds of dollars in savings from our partners, we are unable to offer refunds.
There are some special cases in which you may be eligible for a refund. If you believe you qualify, email firstname.lastname@example.org with details.
If you signed up with a guarantee and need to claim it, simply email email@example.com with your details and we will take care of the rest.
We have partnered with companies like ProWritingAid, Scrivener, Todoist, The Novel Factory, and more. At the time of this writing, a Member could save more than $400 USD if they took advantage of all the discounts.
We plan on adding more Partners to the list in the future, so the value will only increase. If you think your business would be a good match, contact us here.
New or unpublished authors, from anywhere in the world (excluding Quebec, Canada), may enter the contest as long as they are an Elegant+ member.
Writers who are new or have never been published are encouraged to submit work.
Part of our mission is to promote new talent, so we ask authors with certain levels of publication history not to enter.
Please do not submit work if you have:
a) traditionally published a novel of greater than 40,000 words,
b) self-published a novel of greater than 40,000 words and sold 100+ copies,
c) sold four or more works of short fiction to markets paying 8c/word or greater,
d) self-published short fiction work totalling 10,000 words or more, with profits in excess of $500.
e) won a fiction contest with a prize greater than $2,500.
Published authors can still join the community and participate in the Community Workshops.
If you have not met any of the thresholds above, you are considered a new writer in the eyes of Elegant Literature, and are eligible to enter the contest and submit to the magazine.
Anyone 13 years of age or older may enter the contest.
Unfortunately, Quebec has special rules regarding contests which we are not compliant with yet. We are working on it and will be opening future contests to residents of Quebec.
If a winner is under 18 years of age, or the age of majority in their home country or state, the prize will be awarded to the parent/guardian of the participant. The parent/guardian will be responsible for signing any release/waivers before the prize is awarded.
There is also a section on the submission form for a parent/guardian to sign their consent of you entering the contest.
Yes. We accept worldwide submissions.
There is no rule against collaboration. However, the submission can only be in one persons name, and the prize will be awarded to the person who holds an Elegant+ membership and submits the work.
Should your work be selected for publication, we will use the details you provide on the submission form.
We pay winners and authors selected for publication via Direct Deposits in selected countries, and PayPal. We will confirm all details prior to sending out the payment.
To submit your work, create an account, log in, and navigate to the Members Area. If you are an Elegant+ Member, you will see an option to submit your work to the contest. If you are a free member, you will see an option to submit your work to the magazine.
Yes. You cannot submit your work without an active membership.
No. You can submit work to the magazine for free.
No. All work must be submitted through the Members Area of our website to be considered.
Yes. Work must be a minimum of 500 words, and no more than 2000, excluding the title. Work outside these lengths will not be considered.
We will use Google Documents to double check your word count. We do this because Google Documents is a free word processor and accessible to everyone, and therefore a fair standard. You do not need to create your work in Google Docs, but please copy and paste it into the program to check your wordcount before submitting.
The story can be about anything you like, as long as it fits the contest prompt. Our prompts consist of a theme and a prompt word.
The theme is a general topic, like Future Fears, Tricky Time, or Shadows & Knives. As long as your story is related to the theme, no matter how loosely, you’re all set. You don’t need to actually say the “theme” words in your story
Yes. We accept any genre, and our themes are formatted to give you great freedom, but there must be some connection.
We love being surprised and seeing the theme twisted in unexpected ways, as long as it’s clear the author has incorporated it into their story.
Each story must include a word specified by the issue prompt. Writers find this fun, and it ensures work is original. However, it need not constrain you.
The root word must exist in the text, but does not have to be central to the story, or even be in the expected context. For example, if the word is “Hammer”, we’ll accept hammers and hammered and “Ha-ha-ha-HAMMERED”.
You can write about a hammerhead shark and you’ll be fine.
Still, the prompt word must appear in the text in some form. For example, if the prompt word is “cork”, then you can include cork, corked, corks, Cork (Ireland), corkscrew (as in a plane out of control), or C.O.R.K. (an acronym for something).
If the prompt word is “crow”, “crowbar” and “scarecrow” are admissible. As long as the prompt word is the base.
Read any issue and you’ll see the creative ways our authors sneak the prompt word into their stories.
Technically, no. We don’t wish to constrain your creativity with too many rules. However, some content will be less likely to get published. Overly descriptive erotica. Thinly disguised hate speech or rascism. The stuff any reputable publication would refuse to print. We don’t mean you can’t include sex, violence, or hateful characters, only that it should be done in a way that advances the story and doesn’t reflect real world prejudice.
No. We only take fiction at this time.
Absolutely. You can submit as many stories as you like. However, we highly encourage quality over quantity.
You may submit again. If we see duplicate submissions, we’ll only consider the most recent.
No. We do not accept previously published work.
Anything that has appeared in print or online and is accessible to the general public. If it has appeared in a book, magazine, newspaper, anthology, newsletter, or any other publication, it is considered published. Further, if it has appeared on Facebook or other social media sites, on your personal blog, or any other such digital medium, it is considered published. The exception to this is critique groups, where the express purpose of the website is for critiquing work before publication and cannot be easily found through an internet search. Emailing your story to a friend also does not count as previous publication. We encourage you to write something original, based on this month’s theme/prompt. That’s the best way to be sure you are in the clear.
No. That is considered previous publication.
Reprints would fall under the category of previous publication. At this time we do not accept reprints.
Yes. If you feel your story is a good fit for another publication, you may submit it at the same time. However, if they publish your work you will no longer be eligible for publication in our magazine, and thus will not be eligible to win the prize money. We highly recommend waiting to submit elsewhere.
Our acceptance/rejection timeline is quite fast, and you will receive an answer 1 month after submissions close.
If you receive an offer, you must choose whether to accept it and be ineligible to win the prize money, or turn it down and remain in the contest. If you accept the offer, you must immediately contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to inform us you have sold your work elsewhere.
Yes. There is a section on the submission form for pen names. The name you enter will appear on the byline of your story if published.
There is no hard and fast number that would lead to disqualification. If the judges think a story is excellent but has a few typos, we reserve the right to fix those and publish your story (don’t worry, purposeful typos like accents and non-standard character names are safe). If the work is riddled with spelling errors, the story would necessarily need to be amazing for the judges to select it.
You will receive an email confirming your submission. If you receive no email within 24 hours, please contact us at email@example.com.
No. Our mission is to publish as many new authors as possible. Each entrant is only eligible to be published once per issue. Likewise, if you are selected for the award or publication, you are not eligible for an honorary mention in the same issue.
We have forums in the Members Area where you can have your work proofread and receive feedback and critiques from other Members. The judges will not comment on any stories except those they select as winners.
The contest closes at 11:59 pm EST on the last day of the calendar month. Ex, January 31st, February 28th, and so on.
Elegant Literature is based in Toronto, Canada. Eastern Standard Time is what we operate on, and we had to choose something.
Winners are announced 1 month following the closing date. For a January contest, winners will be announced on March 1st. February winners are announced on April 1st.
Winners will be announced in our magazine, which is free to download.
We have streamlined the submission and publication process to make it easier for everyone involved. You will always know if you were selected 1 month after the contest closes.
No. The official monthly theme/prompt will be announced on the first of every month. If you somehow caught wind of what it might be, do not start writing as it is subject to change until announced.
CONTRACT & RIGHTS
If you haven’t already, you should really read through the publishing contract. We tried to make it as straightforward and easy to read as a legal document can be. It’s also (we think) one of the most favorable author contracts out there.
By entering the contest or submitting to the magazine you are effectively signing the publication contract. If we select your work for publication, we will go ahead and publish it in our Magazine without further consultation with you.
Think of it this way: instead of waiting for an acceptance letter and then going through rounds of contract negotiation, then editing, then potentially waiting for months before seeing it in print, you submit your story, and if we like it, we publish it as fast as we can. This makes the whole process faster, and we are still bound by the terms in the contract.
We’ve also made the terms extremely favorable to you so there should be no need to negotiate. This process allows us to publish more work by more authors, which is our ultimate goal.
Yes. We make no claims to the rights on works submitted to our contest or magazine. Authors are free to submit elsewhere if they so choose (although we advise against that). If selected as a winner or for publication, we buy the rights outlined in our publishing contract. Any rights not explicitly stated in the contract remain with the author, as do all rights developed in the future (like holograms, immersive VR, or straight to brain streaming).
Yes. You will always own your story. You do not transfer the copyright to us.
We buy exclusive First World Electronic Rights for 2 months, and non-exclusive thereafter. This means that only we can publish your story (and only on our website and in our magazine) for 2 months. From month 3 onward you can sell the story to another publisher, upload it to your blog, or do anything you want with it. After 6 months you can even ask us to delete the work from our site if it helps you sell it elsewhere.
Ten (10) cents per word ($0.10/word) including the title, within 30 days of publication. We try to keep the process as streamlined as possible, and we love paying aspiring authors!
Payment is via direct deposit in most countries, and PayPal elsewhere.
Also, in case you’re unfamiliar, professional pay is considered 8 cents per word by the SFWA. Publication with us will earn you credit towards being deemed a “Pro”.
You give us the right to use your name, picture, biography, and other details you voluntarily provide us to promote the magazine and contest. That’s kind of the point right?
That being said, if you use a Pen Name and don’t give us a picture, bio, or socials to share, then we won’t include those things in the magazine or anywhere else. It’s up to you!
Fret not, all ye Sci-Fi & Fantasy writers. We will not remove the apostrophe from your character’s name.
This clause is actually to help us publish great stories. We care about the quality of our magazine and the stories within. Our streamlined submission and publication process means we do not get the opportunity to go back and forth with our authors as normal. It’s up to you to edit your own work before you submit it. But typos happen, an we’d hate to drop your story because you missed the ‘d’ in ‘and’.
Because of the streamlined nature of our publication process, this contract is not open for negotiation. If you email us asking to change the terms it will fall on deaf ears. We can say this without shame or guilt because, in our experience, this is one of the best short story contracts for authors out there. We want to publish and promote as many new writers as possible, and we can’t do that if our staff are bogged down with tedious back and forth communication. We hope you understand! And we hope to be publishing your work soon!
The way Canadian business naming works, we couldn’t make our legal name Elegant Literature. So we opted for the incredible mouthful, Elegant Media Publishing Corporation. Try saying that five times fast! It’s not a tongue twister, it just takes forever.
EMP is Elegantliterature.com and vice versa.
Elegant Literature is a digital magazine and fiction contest run Creag Munroe. Our mission is to help new talent go pro, award life-changing prize money, and promote fiction writers worldwide.
Currently there is no sponsor. If you are a person or business interested in helping us promote new fiction writers, please get in contact with us.
Across 19 submission periods, we have received 3210 submissions. We have published 192 of those, giving us an average acceptance rate of 5.98%.
Use our contact page or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.