Short Fiction Submission Guidelines

We invite you to participate in this local fiction contest. Please read and follow the rules listed below. Send any questions to Good luck!

  • Entrant must be 18 years or older

  • At least one of the following must be true:

    • Entrant resides, works, or attends school in the Fox Cities (within a 45-mile radius of Appleton).

    • Entrant has enrolled in a class at The Mill (past or present).

    • Entrant is a current Friend of the Mill.

  • Submissions will be accepted no earlier than _____ and must be received by ____.  (Dates will be posted when available. Submission window is typically mid-summer to early fall.)

  • One story per entrant. Keep a copy of your story; all entries will be recycled.

  • Stories must be no longer than 4,500 words. Sections of novels are eligible, providing they stand alone, requiring no prefatory material. 

  • All work must be original and previously unpublished in print or online periodicals, including work published in print in North America, or published on the Internet in electronic journals, e-zines, academic websites, and other official websites. We will allow works posted on personal blogs or websites. Please be honest about such web posts and give us the link to the post. Any work discovered to have been posted or published elsewhere—and not openly acknowledged by the author in advance—will be removed from consideration. No restrictions as to subject, style, or narrative mode. Authors will retain all rights to their work.

  • All work must be double spaced with reasonable margins in a common font like Times New Roman, no less than 12-point. Pages should be numbered. Include word count in upper right-hand corner of first page.

  • Submissions must be sent via email only. Do not paste story into the body of the email. Attach a single document (one or two poems) saved in Word, PDF, or RTF format to your email message. Use FICTION CONTEST ENTRY in the Subject line of the email and send to

  • The author’s name or address must not appear anywhere on the manuscript. Please attach a separate cover letter with the title of your story, your name, home address, email address, and phone number.

  • The judge will select one winner who will receive a $200 prize. The judge may also select one finalist and one honorable mention if applicable. (The name of the judge will be announced when available.)

  • The winner and other honorees will be announced at a Fox Cities Book Festival event. Prize recipients will be invited to attend and read an excerpt from their winning submission. (The date of this event is yet to be determined, but is typically a weekend in October.)

  • IMPORTANT: The name of the judges and the submission and award dates for The Mill Prizes are not yet decided and will appear on this page as soon as available. Dates are based on the schedule of the Fox Cities Book Festival.

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