Frequently Asked Questions

Winners Submissions FAQ The Fish Tank Contact Us

Can I keep my real name secret?

Yes. Submit your story using a pseudonym. If you are a winner, however, we will need your name and address in order to send you the prize money. Your real name will be kept confidential.

I sent in a story and have not received a confirmation email. How long should I wait before I resubmit?

We send out the story confirmations after the pre-screener has checked your story for adherence to the rules. As such, it may take several days before you receive your confirmation. On a couple occasions, due to travel or illness, it has taken us as long as a week to check entries.

There are things you can do to reduce your chance of your entry getting lost. Be sure to send the entry with the correct subject line as specified in the contest rules. And be sure to include your pseudonym, email address, and entry text in the body of the email message. We receive a lot of spam and viruses at the contest address, and if you’re careful submitting your story, there’s little chance that we will lose it in all the noise.

How many stories can I send in?

Each contest has different limits. Our flash contests usually have a limit of three stories per author. For the longer short story contests, the limit may be just one story. Check the contest rules for specific limits for each contest.

I have a revision I’d like to make to a story I’ve already submitted. Can I replace my first entry with this changed version?


Once we have accepted a story, it can not be taken back. In constests where you are allowed multiple submissions, you can submit a revision as your second entry.

Will you put my email address on some annoying mailing list?

The contest results will be sent via email to all entrants. We may also contact you via email if we have questions or concerns about your contest submission.

Beyond that, is a non-commercial enterprise. We do not send out unsolicited email. Furthermore, will not display your email address on any webpage unless you make an explicit request for us to do so.

You say winners must give rights to post the winning stories. Can I post my story at any other sites?

We insist that the stories be previously unpublished, and we will disqualify any story if we find it was posted publicly prior to the winner’s announcement. After the announcement date, authors who receive prize money give non-exclusive rights to post the story at After the winners are announced, winning and non-winning entries are free to publish their stories in any other venue.

300 words? That’s not very many! Does that include the title?

The title does not count towards the 300 word limit. We have a simple word count program that checks the number of words in the story. The word count program will be used to check borderline cases.

Does the word count program count actual words, or use some other method? Will it give the same count as WordPerfect or Word?

The word count program should give the same results as Word or WordPerfect in almost all situations, but it may differ in some odd, obscure cases. If your word count is just a little over 300, we may double-check your count against Microsoft Word’s word count. We’d hate to disqualify a winning story due to a difference in word counting algorithms.

What do you mean by my story must not be “previously published?” If I have my story on my own personal website, does that mean it is previously published?

We expect the first time the general public sees your story to be on the date our contest winners are announced. So your story must not be previously published in a book, magazine, website, or newsgroup.

Note that this does not include early drafts of a story in workshops like Zoetrope, ERWA, alt.fiction.original, or The Fish Tank.

Will you publish other erotic stories on your website?

Sorry, at this time, does not have the resources to host a large collection of erotic stories. We will only display the winning contest stories on the website.

I am new to this. Your rules say I have to own the story’s copyright. What do I have to do to get a copyright?

We aren’t lawyers, so take this answer for what it’s worth. Our understanding is the original author automatically owns the copyright of a story, unless he or she does something to give it away. It is not necessary to register the piece with the Copyright Office or anything like that. Unless you’ve sold your story, or released it into the public domain, or written the story under contract to somebody else, you probably still own the copyright.

Here is a fine starting point for learning about copyrights by Brad Templeton, who really knows about this stuff:

I received a bunch of spam and/or viruses from you. Take me off your freakin’ mailing list.

Illegal spammers and many viruses cover their tracks by using fake email addresses. The only time sends out bulk mail is to announce our contests and contest results. If you received anything else that appears to be from, it is not really from us.

We’ve talked to our webhost to try to get these people stopped. Unfortunately, there is very little we can do to stop them from spoofing return addresses with our good name.

Where does the prize money come from?

Out of my pocket and the pockets of a few close friends. This is my way of giving back to a community that has been very supportive of me and my writing.

What if I have other questions not covered here?

Send us email at Someone should get in touch with you shortly.

Would you like to receive our contest news in email? Sign up for our contest mailing list and receive the latest winner announcements and calls for submissions.

Your privacy is important to us. will never provide your email address to any third party.