PodCastle Flash Fiction Contest IV, 2017 - Submission Rules

This special Flash Fiction Contest submittable portal will be open from 00:01 on 1 June and close at 23:59 on 31 June. When the portal disappears, submissions are formally closed and will not reopen.

In order to be a valid submission to the contest, each story must adhere to the following rules:

1. The story must be no more than 500 words long, not including the title. Do not use the title to skirt around the word count. Word count will be determined using Google Docs.   

2. The story must adhere to the general PodCastle submission guidelines. Most importantly, it needs to be a fantasy story; other genres are discouraged, but crossover stories with strong fantasy elements will be permitted. As a general rule, we will take a very liberal view of what constitutes fantasy and will accept all subgenres, but authors should note that past experience shows that stories which attempt to skirt the genre restriction tend to fare badly in the voting.

3. The story must be original and previously unpublished. Stories will be posted on a members-only portion of the forum, so first publication rights will not be spent if your story does not win.

The person submitting the story must be the story's author (or acting for the author with express permission) and hold full publishing rights to the story.

If you are not sure whether your story counts as published or not, please write a query to editor@podcastle.org with the subject line "QUERY" and ask before submitting. Please do not submit stories that have been entries in a previous Escape Artists contest.

4. Each author may submit ONE story to the contest. Note that this is a change from previous contests.

5. The story should be submitted in its final form, as the author intends it to be read by the voting public. We may or may not allow minor typo corrections if those slip in, but as a general rule, we will not allow authors to submit changes to stories, especially not after submissions are closed.

6. Included the body of the submission should be the title and the text of your story. Any byline will be stripped when the stories are posted in the contest, and will be revealed when either the story fails to advance, or ultimately wins. Feel free to request a pseudonym for the byline, but we will need a legal name if you win for prize purposes.

7. The top three winning stories will be published las part of a flash fiction episode Podcastle, and the author will be paid USD $0.06 per word. In past contests, the editors have sometimes approached authors of additional stories and purchased them as well. This may or may not happen this time, at the editors' discretion.

8. Authors under 18 are welcome. By submitting, any author under 18 asserts they have obtained the permission of a parent or guardian with whom Escape Artists, Inc. can enter into a contract on behalf of the author.

9. Entries in the contest will be judged completely anonymously, with all authors on equal footing regardless of whether or not they are already published elsewhere or if they have any association with EA. In the interest of transparency, the following people have access to the submission portal, and can see the names of authors (and therefore are prohibited from participating): Jen Albert, Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali, Setsu Uzume, Craig Jackson (Ocicat), Graeme Dunlop, and Alasdair Stewart. Note that staff on EA's other podcasts, and other forum moderators, have no access to this information and may choose to participate if they wish.
We are always interested in hearing from potential new readers. We live and die by our variety and strength of the voices we use.

As of November 2015, PodCastle pays narrators for their work. Standard rates are $15 for flash-length stories (under 2000 words) and $30 for short stories between 2000 and 6000 words. Pay rates vary for full-cast readings and for longer works.

Narrators interested in more paid work may also consider auditioning with Strange Horizons, which also compensates readers.

How to Audition:

To audition, please fill out the following survey and attach an audio sample of yourself reading a piece of fiction, 5 minutes or less. Please include a pronunciation of your name in your recording. If you are proficient with any foreign languages or accents, feel free to include them in your demonstration. Our preferred technical specs and reading tips can be found here.

What to expect next:

We will review your recording, and offer you feedback if it's not quite what we're looking for, so you can audition again with a different setup or equipment later. Then your information goes into our narrator database to be used when we are looking for a reader.

Your contact information will also be shared with our sister podcasts (Escape Pod for science fiction, and PseudoPod for horror), as they share our narrator database. Narrations with them are still done on a volunteer (unpaid) basis, but narrator pay will be rolled out with them in the very near future.


When we find a story we'd like you to narrate, we send you a query letter with the text attached and give you a chance to read it and reject it if you're not interested or don't have the time. We try to do this at least 2 months before the due date, although there can be last minute rushes (which you're free to reject).