Owl Canyon Press Short Story

Hackathon #4 FAQ


Order your copy of the Summer 2018 anthology No Bars and A Dead Battery

Order your copy of the Winter 2018 anthology, 27 Stories.

Order your copy of the Autumn 2019 anthology, When the Ride Ends.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who owns the finished short stories?

The author. Owl Canyon Press only requests permission to publish and publicize the winners’ and finalists’ short stories in an anthology, and authors retain copyright for their submitted short stories.


When is the deadline?

September 30, 2020.


How much does it cost to enter the contest?

The is no entry fee for submissions received during the first month (before September 1, 2020). To submit an entry during the second month (Septermber 2020) will require a $25 entry fee. You can win $1000, $750, or $500.

How do I submit a story?

Easy, just click here… or here


What kind of stories are you looking for?

Pretty much any kind, literary, sci fi, fantasy, dystopian, romance, whatever, but take a look at the Hackathon 1st and 20th paragraphs on the Submittable site since they may not work for all genres.


Are there any exclusions?

No, as long as the short stories are in English.


Can I enter more than one short story?

Sure, as long as they’re different stories with unique titles.


Will I get feedback?

The winners and finalists certainly will, and if a strong voice is heard in any of the others, they’ll probably get some feedback and encouragement too. 


Is there a maximum length to the short story?

No.  Though the guidelines specify 20 paragraphs of at least 50 words each, the minimum would be about 1000 words, but the maximum is up to you, so write whatever you need to tell your story; however, you only have the open submission period to write it.


Who can submit a story?

Anybody anywhere in the world, as long as the story is in English. 


How are stories judged?

The first round will be judged by prior winners of Owl Canyon Press Hackathons based on the opening and closing paragraphs below. The final selection will be made by the publisher on the basis of story, character, voice, the usual.


What happened to some of the prior Hackathon stories?

All of the prior Hackathon winners and finalists have had their short stories published in anthologies and one winner expanded their short story into an award-winning novel.



What are the first and 20th paragraphs of the current challenge?

The 1st and 20th paragraphs are found on the Owl Canyon Press Submittable site.  Just copy and paste the opening paragraph and paragraph #20 from the entry form into your favorite text editor, write the other 18 paragraphs, and then upload your complete 20-paragraph short story to enter the contest.


Owl Canyon Press

Publishing Fine Books in Boulder, CO since 2011