Texas Authors Insitute of History, Inc.

Texas Authors Short Story Contest - Adults

9th Annual Short Story Contest

Presenting the 9th Annual Short Story Contest! I'm thrilled to declare the commencement of our ninth yearly Short Story Contest. The past eight years have been brimming with surprises and remarkable tales. Volumes 3, 4, and 5 were generously distributed to over 1,000 Texas Libraries for FREE as part of the DEAR Texas Literacy Program, supporting Title 1 schools and libraries. Unfortunately, due to the challenges posed by COVID-19, volumes 6 and 7 couldn't follow the regular distribution channels. However, Volume 8 is slated to reach 1,000 readers as per our usual schedule in 2024.

This exhilarating contest is open to all Texas Authors, and we're excited to extend an additional contest for Indie Authors worldwide, eager to share their short stories. Prizes of distinction await the top three winners in each genre, including printed copies of the anthology, memberships, and cash rewards.

Submissions are open from March 1st, through July 31st, with the winners set to be revealed in early September. Anticipate the release of the 9th anthology in October.

Winning brings not only recognition but also coveted prizes such as anthology copies, press releases, and extended marketing support over six months. Join the ranks of Texas Authors who have experienced a boost in readership through this esteemed short story award.

Short stories serve as powerful marketing tools, allowing published authors to share compelling backstories from their novels, ultimately promoting their literary works. Don't miss the chance to be part of this exciting literary journey!

How to Enter:

Texas authors are welcome to enter in any genre.  Entry fee is $40.00.

We have kept our entry process as simple as possible.

Please email us your short story to [email protected].  Once we receive your entry, we will then send you an invoice that you can pay with your CC/Debit card.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Click here to view the past eight anthologies our winners have been printed in.

Judging Guidelines

The following are the guidelines that the librarian judges will use to score your short story entry.

1. Characterization: Does the author create believable, memorable characters with the uniqueness, complexity, and individuality of real people? Do you respond to the characters either positively or negatively? Does the main character respond to and influence events? Does the dialogue contribute to rich, vivid, unique characterization?

2. Plot: Has the author constructed a clear, convincing and compelling storyline with a recognizable arc of conflict, crisis, and resolution? Are obstacles to be overcome sufficiently challenging to the protagonists? Do you feel the tension mounting in the story? Is the resolution innovative, credible, and authentic?

3. Theme: Does the story contain a central or dominating theme? Does the author make this idea concrete through the characters and their actions? How well is the message integrated into the story? Is the story an agenda-driven platform?

4. Setting and Atmosphere: Are historical and geographic details sufficiently and accurately developed to give the story a realistic or appropriate atmosphere and setting? Can you visualize the places being described? Does the story contain anachronisms?

5. Mechanics: Are there errors present in spelling, grammar, paragraphing, and punctuation? Are words used incorrectly? Do typographical errors mar your enjoyment of the story?

6. Writing Quality: Does the quality of the author’s prose and deftness in handling point-of-view enhance the story? Do specific details appeal to your senses and hold your attention? Does the author use precise, active verbs? Does the rhythm of the prose enhance the meaning? Are metaphors and similes skillfully employed?

7. Passion: Does this story engage your emotions? Have you come to care deeply about the characters and what happens to them? Is your mind and spirit stimulated and enlightened by the experience of reading this story?

Below is the suggested concept of the scoring of points from 1 to 10

1 – this should have never been written
5 – it’s ok, but…
10 – this is fantastic

The Annual Anthology

Will Your Story be in Volume 9?

Will Your Story be in Volume 9?

Official Rules

Official Rules and Entry Procedures for the Short Stories 2023 Contest.
Please read these rules before entering the Short Stories Contest (the “Contest”). You agree that, by submitting an entry, you will be bound by these Official Rules and you acknowledge that you satisfy all sweepstakes eligibility requirements.

Eligibility. If you are an individual legal resident of the United States of America and are older than 18 years of age or the legal guardian of a minor wishing to enter this contest, you are eligible to enter the Contest.

Contest Period. The Contest begins at 12:00:01 a.m. (CDT) on March 1st, and ends at 11:59:59 p.m. (CDT) on July 31st (the “Contest Period”).

How to Enter. To enter, during the Contest Period you must enter a non-published fictional short story written by the author consisting of no less than 1,500 words and no more than 3,000 words, will not reject stories up to 5,000 words. The contestant may enter and pay the fee as outlined below as often as they would like during the contest period. All entries must be submitted to TxShorts.com.  The entries become the property of TxShorts/DEAR Texas/DEAR Indie for a minimum period of one year ending December 31, 2024.  Copyrights of the short stories belong to the author.

Mailing List. By entering the Sweepstakes, you consent to be placed on a mailing list for promotional and other materials from the sponsors of this contest. You may update or change your “E-mail Preferences & Notifications” by submitting an email to each sponsor. Prizes. 2024 Proposed Award List:


1st Place Top Winners from each category will receive a $25 gift certificate from Amazon.com **

Top winners from each category will receive a 3-month basic membership in the Authors School of Business

Top winners will receive 3 print books* If the winner also wins in the Indie Author Short Story Contest, they will only receive 2 of each book.

First Place Prizes est. value ($108.00 for Each Winner)


2nd Place Winners Second place winners will receive 2 print books

Second-place winners receive a $25 gift certificate from Amazon

Second-Place Prizes est. value ($50.00 for Each Winner)


3rd Place Winners

Third-place winners will receive 1 print book

Third-place winners receive a $10.00 gift certificate from Amazon


Rules and guidelines are subject to change without notice. *Prize Value is based on there being sufficient entries so that categories are not combined. **If less than five entries for a genre are received, the entries will be combined into a 'general' category for competition. ***All prizes will be awarded within 6 months from notification of winning, and only after each winner has met the requirements.

The total retail value of all prizes is based on the number of winners. Winners must have or will need to create an account on the sponsor’s website to issue the prize in order to redeem the prize. The GCs may only be used for purchases of eligible goods or services on the sponsor’s website or certain of its affiliated websites. Redemption of a GC will be subject to the sponsor’s standard terms, conditions, and restrictions applicable to the sponsor’s Gift Cards in effect on the day of issuance of the GC. A GC cannot be redeemed for the purchase of gift cards. Except as required by law, a GC cannot be reloaded, resold, transferred for value, redeemed for cash, or applied to any other account. The sponsors are not responsible if any GC is lost, stolen, destroyed, or used without permission. If a GC is lost or stolen, it will not be replaced.

Winners will be: (a) responsible for paying all costs and expenses related to the prize that are not specifically mentioned, including, but not limited to, taxes, and any other expenses that might reasonably be incurred by the winner in receiving or using the prize; and (b) will be required to submit his/her social security number or taxpayer ID number to Sponsor or its prize provider agency in order to claim the prize.

Selecting Contest Winners: A panel of judges determined by each sponsor will review each story submitted and grade in the following categories: Characterization, Plot, Theme, Setting/Atmosphere, Mechanics, Writing Quality, and Passion. The score for each category will be given by each judge and then totaled. The author with the highest-scoring story will be selected as the winner for each category/subcategory.

Scores are based on a point system with values ranging from 1 the lowest value to 10 the highest value.  Winners for each quarter will be notified by email.  There is no additional scoring or actions necessary by the author to be entered into the quarterly contest.  However, each short story for that quarterly contest must be entered by the last day of the quarter they are wanting the story to compete in.  If the story is submitted after that period, will only be judged for the overall contest.

The judge’s scores are final. If there is a tie on total points, another judge may be selected to review and score each of the tying stories and issue a final ruling for the winning story. Additional Terms. We may, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law and in our sole discretion, change these rules or cancel the Sweepstakes at any time; or modify, terminate, or suspend the Contest should viruses, worms, bugs, unauthorized human intervention or other causes beyond our control corrupt or impair the administration, security, fairness of the Contest or submission of entries. We are not responsible for: (a) lost, misdirected, late, postage due, incomplete, or unintelligible entries whether caused by you or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Contest, or by any technical or human error that may occur in the processing of entries; (b) any printing or typographical errors in any materials associated with the Contest; (c) any error in the operation or transmission, theft, destruction, unauthorized access to, or alteration of, entries for technical, network, telephone, computer, hardware or software, malfunctions of any kind, or inaccurate transmission of, or failure to receive any entry information on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website; or (d) injury or damage to you or any other computer resulting from downloading any materials in connection with the Contest. We may, in our sole discretion, disqualify any individual found to be: (x) tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Contest or website; (y) acting in violation of these rules; or (z) acting in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. If your entry is incomplete or if you use robotic, automatic, programmed or similar entry methods, your entry will be void. The authorized subscriber of the e-mail account used to enter the Contest at the actual time of entry will be deemed to be the participant and must comply with these rules in the event of a dispute as to entries submitted by multiple users having the same e-mail account. The authorized account subscriber is the natural person who is assigned an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, online service provider, or other organization responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domains associated with the submitted e-mail addresses. No greater than the nine (9) prizes stated in these Official Rules will be awarded.

Miscellaneous. The Contest is governed by the laws of the United States. The Contest and all accompanying materials are © 2015 by Texas Authors, Inc., its sponsors, and its affiliates. All rights reserved. If you win the prize, you may not transfer, assign, or redeem the prize for cash. We may substitute a prize with a prize of equal or greater value. Each winner agrees (for himself or herself and his or her heirs) that, by accepting the prize, we, along with each of our respective affiliates and agents (collectively, the “Released Parties”), will have no liability and will be held harmless by the winner for any liability, loss, injury or damage to property or person, including death, and attorney’s fees and court costs, due in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, by reason of the acceptance, possession, use or misuse of the prize or participation in the Contest, even if caused or contributed to by the negligence of any of the Released Parties. You agree that our decisions related to the Contest and the random drawing are final. Winner agrees that, by participating in the Contest, we may use the winner’s name, image or likeness in any manner and in any medium for our promotional purposes without additional compensation, except where prohibited by law, and we may be required to disclose the winner’s address to state regulatory authorities.

Winner’s List. After we confirm the winners, we will post the names of the winners at http://TxShorts.com after March 1, 2024.

Sponsors. Bourgeois Media & Consulting, LLC, DEAR Texas/DEAR Indie, Inc.,  Texas Authors Institute of History, Authors School of Business and any additional sponsors that may be added during the time of the contest. All sponsors are legal businesses within the State of Texas. Each sponsor is responsible for awarding their prize to the winner of the Contest and can not and will not be held liable for the failure of lost, stolen, un-awarded prizes by other sponsors of the Contest.

Privacy Notice: All information submitted in connection with this Sweepstakes will be treated in accordance with these Official Rules and Texas Authors, Inc., Privacy Notice.