Introducing the 2023 Vocal Writing Awards

Celebrating the art of storytelling through 8 categories, 24 winners, and a $14,000 prize pool that grows with every entry.

By Justin @ VocalPublished 10 months ago Updated 10 months ago 4 min read

Over the last few years, Vocal has hosted nearly 200 writing Challenges and given back over $2M to creators. The stories you've submitted have not only astounded us with their creativity and depth, but the transformative impact these Challenges have had on your lives has left us deeply touched. Your feedback has shown us that Challenges on Vocal are more than just competitions; they are catalysts for growth, creativity, and change.

We're thrilled to launch the 2023 Vocal Writing Awards today. This initiative represents a significant next chapter in our journey, building on the success of our Summer Fiction Series and Vocal Fiction Awards, which drew in an impressive 20,000 submissions.

The Vocal Writing Awards is our ambitious step to reach more writers, amplify more voices, and celebrate the creativity that thrives within our community. It's about rewarding originality and excellence in writing, and welcoming new creators to our platform.

Categories & Prompts

The Vocal Writing Awards feature eight categories, including:

  • Flash Fiction: Tell a complete fiction story about any topic in just 250 words or less.
  • Science Fiction: Submit your stories that explore futuristic landscapes, alternate realities, or extraordinary realms.
  • Fantasy Fiction: Step into the realm of Fantasy, where magic reigns and mythical creatures roam.
  • Horror Fiction: Craft spine-chilling tales that evoke fear, suspense, and the supernatural.
  • Young Adult Fiction: From coming-of-age tales to fantastical adventures, submit your stories that resonate with the experiences and themes of young adulthood.
  • Romance Fiction: Weave stories that capture the essence of love, passion, and deep connections.
  • Free Verse Poetry: Transform your thoughts and emotions into compelling verses.
  • 🌊 Haiku Poetry: Craft a haiku that captures the essence of a moment.

Growing Prize Pool

What sets the Vocal Writing Awards apart is our innovative approach to the prize structure: with each new entry, the prize pool grows. This unique concept ensures that the potential rewards grow in tandem with the participation, making the contest more exciting and rewarding for everyone involved.

We’re also introducing a reward system where you can receive $5 for every writer you nominate who enters; more on that below.

Each entry costs $20, and here's a break down of how we distribute the entry fee:

  • $7 goes directly into the prize pool.
  • $5 goes to the people who nominate new participants.
  • $8 goes to Vocal for hosting, managing, and for our staff to read all the entries.

Vocal is providing a $1,750 base per category to the prize pool, and every entry grows the prize.

The winners in each category will receive at least the base minimum of:

  • 🥇 1st Place: $1,000 prize + 20% of entry fees per category
  • 🥈 2nd Place: $500 prize + 10% of entry fees per category
  • 🥉 3rd Place: $250 prize + 5% of entry fees per category

Vocal+ members are entitled to 50% off one entry per category, and discount codes for these entries will be emailed to you in the coming days. If you're not a Vocal+ member yet and interested in upgrading, you can do so here:

Nominate a writer & get $5

We're on a mission to introduce the power of Vocal to more creators, and you can help us make that happen. By spreading the word about the Vocal Writing Awards and nominating writers to participate, you can play a significant role in expanding our community and growing the prize pool. As a token of our appreciation, we'll email you a $5 Visa gift card for every writer you nominate who enters the contest.

You can nominate friends, family, or your favorite authors from platforms like Vocal, Medium, Wattpad, Substack, or anywhere. Each nomination not only increases the prize pool, but also brings us closer to discovering more diverse and vibrant voices.

You don't need to be a participant in the Vocal Writing Awards to nominate a writer and earn your $5 reward. Simply sign up, share your unique link through various channels like Facebook, Twitter, text messages, emails, and more, and start earning as your nominated writers enter.

Note: When you share your unique link, your friends will see a personalized link preview and landing page with your name that reads: {FIRST NAME} nominates you to enter the Vocal Writing Awards." Here's an example of how it will look:

Your unique link with personalized preview:

Nomination page after someone clicks your unique link:

As an additional bonus, the top 50 referrers on the leaderboard will receive one year of Vocal+ for free.

Timeline & Judging

Our team of expert judges, led by former Times literary editor Erica Wagner, will curate a shortlist for each category. From there, we'll be passing the reins to the participants and Vocal community to choose the winners through community voting. This unique approach ensures that the winners truly resonate with our community of readers and writers.

  • Submissions open: 7/13/23
  • Submissions close: 9/30/23
  • Judges announce shortlists: 10/15/23
  • Community judging begins: 10/15/23
  • Community judging ends: 11/16/23
  • Winners announced: 11/17/23

How to Enter the Vocal Writing Awards

Please note the submission process is different from entering a Vocal Challenge. Here’s how to enter:

  1. Join Vocal: If you don't already have an account, sign up for free. If you already have an account, you're good to go.
  2. Publish Your Story: Craft your story following the Vocal Awards category prompt of your choice, and publish it on Vocal.
  3. Submit to Awards Category: After publishing your story on Vocal, navigate to the Vocal Writing Awards, select the category, and submit your published story's URL along with the entry fee.
  4. Spread the Word: Promote and encourage your friends and family to join the Vocal Awards to increase the prize pool.

As we embark on this exciting journey of the 2023 Vocal Writing Awards, we invite each and every one of you to participate, nominate, and spread the word.

From the diverse categories and prompts to the dynamic prize pool and the community-driven judging process, every aspect of the Awards has been designed to celebrate creativity, originality, and the vibrant voices within our community.

We look forward to reading your submissions, and as always, let us know your thoughts, questions, and feedback in the comment section below.

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About the Creator

Justin @ Vocal

Founder/CEO of Vocal. COO/President of Creatd ($CRTD), the parent company of the Vocal platform.

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Comments (43)

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  • Wisdom Nkanta9 months ago

    Much love Justin I really appreciate your attitude to the platform, Keep it up sir

  • Jazzy 10 months ago

    Do we need a code to get the half off when we are a vocal plus member?

  • Thank you Justin. I plan on entering in at least two categories. I do have a concern. I am copying this comment I made in an article Judey Kalchik wrote. I am not too hot about the Creator Community voting. That will make this a popularity contest and the same people that always win will win. I feel this should be judged by professionals or maybe by a chosen panel of creators and the identities of the authors should be kept secret from the judges panel. We need to do whatever possible to prevent this from being a popularity contest and make it a contest based on creativity, originality, and quality. Thank you.

  • Canadians can now nominate and enter, or just nominate?

  • Anthony Chan10 months ago

    Justin: I have reached out to the help desk who asked me to attach my profile link. to prove I was a vocal + member to get the discount code. I have been waiting for it since last week. My email is [email protected]. -- still waiting to hear back from someone with the Vocal + discount code. I love your story and can't wait to participate.

  • Poppy 10 months ago

    Hey, just wondering, will the people who place in these challenges receive a badge/ banner like in the normal challenges?

  • Alexandria Stanwyck10 months ago

    I just wrote a piece for the Flash Fiction Category. I want to ask, would it be disqualified if I include some extra information that doesn't pertain to the story at the end and it goes over 250 words? It it is okay, do I just need to have a word count mentioned somewhere?

  • Gigi Gibson10 months ago

    Hello Justin, I didn’t see a discount code and I paid full price for my entry. Will I be able to get reimbursed?

  • Gerard DiLeo10 months ago

    Can the "Free Verse" category have traditional (i.e., rhymes, metered) structures, or MUST they be without meter and rhyme?

  • Anthony Chan10 months ago

    I have just finished writing my first story as a vocal + member for the Flash Fiction category. Since you say, I must publish it first to vocal, when I was going to submit it, it said my story of 250 words is too short. Will it be rejected? I did not see a category for vocal awards. will that category appear in the community category. How could I avoid being rejected and how can I get the code for 50% off emailed to me before my credit card is charged the full $20.00 since your rules say I get one 50% discount per category as a vocal+ member?

  • Judey Kalchik 10 months ago

    Hi Justin. Are you able to enter stories/ poems that have already won or placed in a challenge or Top Story? This has certainly stirred everyone’s excitement and questions! Thank you!

  • Thanks for this opportunity Vocal. I've now entered my story "New Voice of the People" in the Science Fiction category.

  • If someone enters a story, then say one month later forgets they've entered that story and tries to enter it again, what will happen?

  • Karissa E.L. Cuff10 months ago

    Also are any categories suitable to enter a historical fiction story into?

  • Poppy 10 months ago

    Just want to clarify, there's only 1st, 2nd and 3rd places for each category, no runner ups?

  • Karissa E.L. Cuff10 months ago

    Are you able to enter stories/ poems that have already placed in a challenge?

  • Paul Stewart10 months ago

    Well now. This is very interesting and exciting. Thank you, Justin and Vocal! I have no idea what I will be entering just yet. But, between now and September gives me plenty of time. I wish everyone well!

  • Mohamed Hasan10 months ago

    hi How to participate this

  • Judey Kalchik 10 months ago

    Justin, after the first judges’ pass to create a shortlist, is there thought to make the community of creator voting blind by removing the creators’ names from the pieces for voting? Thank you!

  • Ashley Lima10 months ago

    I'm curious if anyone has an answer, but will there be normal member challenges during this time?

  • Kelly Sibley 10 months ago

    Great idea!

  • Gigi Gibson10 months ago

    I can't find where the entered stories are so that I can nominate someone. Can anyone help please?

  • Gigi Gibson10 months ago

    This is awesome Justin! I'm polishing up my pen!

  • Alexander McEvoy10 months ago

    Hi, Justin I noticed that Stephen asked about word limits, and I just want to confirm your answer that there are no word limits for the non-flash fiction categories? Because, that would be pretty cool

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