Apex Magazine Presents: Steal the Spotlight Micro Fiction Contest

by on Sep 2, 2014 in Blog | 35 comments


Halloween is coming and with it the vampire, zombie, witch, and ghost stories will creep into your hands and whisper “Boo” in your ear. Now I love a good ghost story. Witches are wicked. Zombies give me the chills. And vampires are grand. But…

But there’s more out there. Monsters waiting in the wings to give you a fright. And they want their moment to shine!

I went to Twitter to ask you, the Apex readers, what monsters you’d like to see steal the spotlight, and did you ever have suggestions. Everything from wendigos to banshees to Jekyll and Hyde.

So tell me a story.

After the huge success of our Christmas micro fiction contest last year (over 500 submissions!), we’ve decided to do it again. This time with the monsters that are often forgotten. The ones whose stories don’t get told.

Here’s the nitty-gritty:

  1. There will be five categories: sea monsters, black dog/Hellhounds, banshees, science experiments gone wrong, and demons (this can include wendigos, succubus, be creative). Write a story to fit one of these five categories, then submit it to apexwritingcontest@gmail.com with the subject line formatted as Title, Author, Category.
  2. This is a micro fiction contest. Stories must be 250 words or less. If a story is more than 250 words, it will be deleted unread.
  3. You can submit one story per category, five stories total. If you submit two banshee stories, we will consider the first story your submission.
  4. Send each story as a separate email with the story in the body of the email. No attachments, please.
  5. Submissions are open September 1st through October 15th. Submissions will be read by Jason Sizemore and Lesley Conner.
  6. Winners will be announced on Halloween on the Apex blog. There will be one winner per category.

We’re going to give every writer who submits a free issue of Apex Magazine. Head over to our back issues page and check out our back catalog. Let me know which issue piques your fancy when you submit and I’ll send you a download link.

So that’s what I need from you, but I’m sure you want to know what you get if you win. The winning stories will get the spotlight turned on them in the November issue of Apex Magazine. The authors will be paid 6 cents per word, receive a free 12-month subscription to Apex Magazine and a short story critique from an Apex editor. Stories for critique can be up to 5,000 words long.

And that’s it. Write me a story. Bring me your Halloween best and scare me. And see if you win.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me (Lesley) at lesley@apexbookcompany.com.


  1. Hate to be that guy, but it’s “piques your fancy”. Looking forward to the contest and the results!

    • *face palm*

      Thanks for pointing that out. Corrected.

  2. Does the title contribute to the word count or is it considered a separate entity?

    • Nope.

  3. Do you prefer the stories as attachments, or in the body of the email?

    • Attachments. Word Doc or RTF.

      • Oh, good to know. You might want to update this part of the rules:

        “4. Send each story as a separate email with the story in the body of the email. No attachments, please.”

        If we’ve previously submitted in the body, would you prefer we re-send it as an attachment, or leave it be?

  4. Do you accept .txt attachment submissions?

    • It would be better to send it in the body of the email, so that way any formatting doesn’t get taken out.

      • Oh, okay – I’ll definitely re-submit with the story in the body of the email. I previously submitted as a .docx attachment, due to the fact that one of the replies here said to send as an attachment rather than in the body of the email so I was a little confused! Thanks for the clarification. Will resend. 🙂

  5. Thanks for running the contest! Do you send out confirmation that you’ve received a submission, i.e. you send the link to the back issue immediately upon receiving a submission or is that link sent out after the contest is closed? Just asking because I’ve been having issues with my emails being filtered as spam and wanted to make sure you received my submission. Thanks for time 🙂

    • We do send out an auto-confirmation.

  6. Hi, maybe a stupid question, but how exactly are the words counted? “wc -w” delivers different results from OpenOffice, which is different from Scrivener’s counter again. Any tips so we don’t accidentally send in 251 words or (worse) have to leave off that killer sentence that would have made the story go nova ;-)? (Hope the answer isn’t MS Word…)

    Also, in one of the above answers, Jason says “Send as attachment” once, and “It would be better to send it in the body of the email,” another time. Which is it to be?

    • If we load a story into MS Word and it comes out to 252 words (for example), we’re not going to reject the piece. We just have to trust you guys aren’t trying to cheat! 🙂

      Attachment or body of email is fine.

      • Thanks, good to know. And thank you for the contest :-)!

  7. Hello! I just subbed 2 pieces to 2 different categories and have not received an auto-confirmation email. Do I need to re-submit my work? Thanks so much!

    • Yep, we got them.

      • Thanks so much for letting me know!

  8. I submitted earlier this morning but haven’t received an auto-confirmation yet. Does it take a while or should I re-submit? Just want to make sure it was received. Thanks!

    • Lesley tells me I am wrong. We do not send auto-confirmations. But you should hear something back in 4 days or so.

  9. Is there an Issue with the winners from the Christmas microfiction contest? My friend and I were having an argument about how traditional vs non-traditional the monster stories should be and wanted to look to see what was chosen last year.


    • Those winning stories were published on our old blog. I don’t believe they’re available any longer.

  10. I have submitted three stories but not have heard from your end till date. Please tell shall i resubmit the stories?

    • Hi Biswanath,

      We received them. There is no need to resubmit.

  11. I submitted stories for the “Demon” and “Science Experiment Gone Wrong” categories (also plan on submitting one more before the deadline expires tonight), but have not received auto-confirmation that my pieces were received. Does this happen after the deadline, or was I supposed to have received confirmation already? Thanks.

    • We received them.

  12. Sent in my third submission at 11:20pm EST on 10/15. Hope that counts!

  13. I did not receive any confirmation — did you receive my submissions?

  14. “The suspense is killing me! I hope it lasts.” – W. Wonka

  15. 6.Winners will be announced on Halloween on the Apex blog. There will be one winner per category.

    What happened to that?

    • nm I finally see the link at the top. I was just going to the blog and didn’t see a post.

  16. Have the winners of the micro-fiction contest been announced?

  17. Ah. Ok. I see where it is. Thanks.


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