The Flounce Non-Fiction Writer’s Award 2015

Win a $500 award and a $120 donation to a charity of your choice. Deadline for submissions is Dec 5.


Submit to a non-fiction essay based on a personal experience or real life event.

Starts: October 13, 2015

Ends: December 5, 2015

Word count:  1,000 – 3,000 words.

Using an experience from your own life (or an interview with someone else about a life experience), your essay should be relevant to a social issue or larger theme. It may take the form of a short story, personal essay, slice of life, or an issues article, as long as it is strictly non-fiction. Share your stories, struggles, achievements, opinions, anecdotes or moments of epiphany, written as a publishable article or essay that relates to an issue or topic of your choice.

Each accepted submission will be published on our site, for audience review and to allow readers to follow along and “vote” in the comments section. Contest submissions will receive the same social media marketing that we give to all articles published on the Flounce. As always, we will do our best to make sure that your story receives the widest audience possible.

For inspiration, here are some examples of our favorite personal essays published on the Flounce:

I’m Not Your Whitest Black Friend. Nobody Is.

Voices of Domestic Violence: Dirty Little Secrets

Guide to Navigating a Funhouse

To The Man Posing as a Feminist Critic: I Haven’t Forgotten You Stole Nude Photographs of Me

Everyone is Pregnant But Me

Walk A Mile: On Not Eating

English and composition teacher Christine Madigan also has written an article to motivate and inspire writers: Write Dammit

How to Submit

Submit to between October 13 and December 1.

Try to submit early so that we can publish all submissions and judging can conclude before the holidays.

Clearly state that your attached story is a contest entry in the title or body of your email.

All submissions should be attached in your email as either a Word compatible document or as a Google Doc (if using Docs, please share editing permission with us). We’ll take any format we can open and edit easily. No read-only or PDF submissions.

No special formatting. The only formatting we require is that your paragraph breaks and line breaks are clear.  Please do not add double spaces after periods.

Titles or working titles should be submitted. We also encourage entrants to submit any tags that are relevant to theme (such as “politics” “relationships” “social issues” “gender” “racism” etc.) In your email, simply write a paragraph marked “Tags:” and enter as many as you need.

You may submit as many articles as you like. If you do submit multiple articles, an editor may help you choose the best submission to select for the contest and for publication. We will triage content. Time-sensitive articles will be published first.


After submission, an editor will contact you. Contest entries will be proofread and fact checked (if applicable) before publication. We will not, however, assist with story development or ask for revisions for any contest entry submissions. Your story will be published on the site in your own words.

Please provide the URL or insert a hyperlink for all citations.

Our site does not support hate speech or material that is offensive to others based on ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class and race. If an editor notices language or content that is clearly offensive, you will be notified and the essay may be rejected.

Profanity and adult themes are acceptable.

Sensitive material (sexual violence, for instance) may require an editor’s note at the top of your article, which will warn readers about potentially triggering or disturbing content.

If your submission may get us into legal trouble, we will contact you with our concerns.

Selection of Charity

We ask that authors choose one charity or non-profit organization that will receive a $120 donation if you win the contest in addition to your award. In your initial submissions email, please send us a link to the charity’s official website where we can find information about how to make contributions.

Some charities or NPOs may be rejected by the publishers. If it is found to be inappropriate or fraudulent, we will contact you and ask that you choose another charity.

To ensure that all published articles will be treated equally without reader bias or favoritism, we will not reveal the charity of your choice to the public until we announce the winner.

Photos and Images

All articles must be accompanied by a featured photo or image before publication. If you are having difficulty finding or creating a featured image, an editor will work with you to create one that is a good fit for your article.

If you have several images to add to your article, please indicate in the text where those images should be inserted and include captions (do not add a caption for the main featured image). All images must be sent separately as jpegs. We cannot use images that are embedded into the text document.

Please limit your use of GIFs.

Original photography and artwork is encouraged. Be creative, try several different ideas, and ask for help if needed. The image itself is not going to be judged, but it is a requirement.

We do not publish stock photography or stock images (with some exceptions).

Screen grabs and stills from relevant movies or media are acceptable, as are classic works of art. Videos may be sent in as well, but videos are only added within the article body and cannot be used as a substitute for a featured image.

You must obtain permission from anyone who appears in any photograph you submit in order to be published on our site (or we will have to alter the image to hide identifying features).

If there are any legal or copyright concerns about your image, we will contact you. A photo submission release contract will be provided if necessary.

Author Submissions Release Contract

After you submit your contest entry, we will send you the author’s submission release contract. Read it, fill it out on your computer, and return it as an attachment in an email. Include your digital signature by writing in the body of your email, “I have read and agree to the author submissions contract and this is my digital signature.”

The contract is standard first rights with an embargo policy – we ask that you refrain from publishing your article elsewhere until we have published it on the Flounce. (Articles that are currently published elsewhere cannot be submitted to the contest). After publication, all rights revert to the author. We will not share your story with third parties. The publisher reserves the right to reject or not publish any article on the Flounce for any reason, although we will contact you and explain why we can’t publish your article. If you have any questions about the contract, email us:


We will take into account three main criteria.

  • Quality of the writing. We will not deduct any points for simple copy errors (which will be fixed in the proofing process). We will judge entries based on articulate storytelling. We are looking for coherent and eloquent non-fiction articles and essays. We will take into account story development, pace, clarity and style. Creativity is fantastic, but not at the expense of clarity. We suggest that you avoid stream-of-consciousness, verse or poetry, or similar stylistic/creative gimmicks that are better suited for a literary magazine. If your submission appears to be fictionalized, we will contact you with our concerns.
  • Relevance to a topic or issue. Personal experiences should relate to a larger theme. Use your own experiences as source material for your topic. For instance, an essay about a bad relationship might teach the reader something about resiliency, social expectations, or self esteem. If a story is tagged in the humor category, we will take into consideration that the story’s value lies in whether or not it is amusing or entertaining, but even humor stories should correspond to a topic, central theme or issue.
  • Reader feedback and engagement. We will also take into account positive feedback or interesting conversations started by your article in the comments section. Readers may “vote” in the comments section for their favorite article if they wish. However, popularity is not more important than writing quality, clarity and relevance.

Note about sensitive topics: We realize that some writers may have lived through extraordinary circumstances, and other submissions may appear to be more casual. We will not judge stories by emotional weight or personal feelings. In this contest, all topics are treated equally.

Writers who have contributed to the Flounce in the past are no more or less likely to win the contest.

If you wish to be a judge, and have relevant experience as an editor or writer, please email us at

We are committed to ethically judging contest entries without favoritism or bias. All three main judges are not related or personally acquainted, each judge lives in a different part of the country and their interactions are limited to working on the Flounce website. Judges, editors and publishers of the Flounce or members of their households may not submit to the contest. Submissions will be judged partially blind — author names will not be included on final manuscripts during the judging process. Judges will not favor material submitted by regular contributors. If unethical behavior is suspected, please report this to the publishers.

Author Credit

Anonymous submissions are accepted. If you wish to be published under “anonymous” or by a pen name, just let us know.

All authors who do not wish to be anonymous must send us a brief author bio and photo. You can send a jpeg photograph or link us to your WordPress Gravatar. You will receive a contributor’s account on the Flounce, where you can create a username and password and edit your personal information. However, you are not required to create an account with us in order to submit an author bio.

All articles (with exceptions for anonymous submissions) will be accompanied by a short bio (100-300 words) and links to any social media pages or personal blogs you want to share with readers. Please send your author bio and photo to prior to publication. You may send your bio and photo at the time of submission or to the editor who will contact you after receiving your submission.

Selection of Contest Winner

We will publish the title of the winning submission in a new post on the Flounce, and will also announce the winner on our social media pages (Facebook and Twitter). Subscribing to the Flounce or following us on Facebook or Twitter will result in a faster notification. We will also email the winner directly.

Although we have a deadline in place for submissions, the length of time before we select the winning article depends upon how many submissions we receive. We reserve the right to extend the deadline for submissions if we do not receive enough essays/articles to make a fair decision. Try to submit early – it will help us judge faster.

At the time we announce the winning submission, we will also announce the name of the charity or nonprofit organization that will be receiving a donation. All authors are asked to provide their preferred charity or NPO at the time of submission, and should provide a link to the charity website where information about contributions can be found (see Charity Selection above).

If you have chosen to be anonymous, we will only announce the charity name and the title of your article.

The publishers will contact you privately via email to determine how you would like to receive your award. We can issue payment through Paypal, cashier’s check or money order.

Contact Info

Contact for more information. We will do our best to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have. You can also contact the publishers directly at or

Sample Submission


Re: Contest Submission: “My Story.”

This is a submission to the Flounce non-fiction writing contest.  My title is “A Russian Affair.” I would like to be published under the name Jane Ferraro.

I have selected Autism Speaks as the charity that will receive part of my award. Website:

Tags: romance, affair, cheating, culture shock, betrayal, forgiveness

Attached to this email is my Word Doc submission (2,400 words) and a photograph of myself when I was in Russia to be used as the featured image.

Also attached is my author bio (200 words) and an author photograph. I have included links to my Twitter, Facebook, and personal blog that I would like to be included in my bio.

After receiving author’s contract:

I have read and filled out the author contract (attached) and agree to the terms. This is my digital signature — Jane Ferraro.


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Rebecca Chance
Rebecca Chance is a writer and editor living in New York, often referred to as the "dour voice of gloom." Email (for a good time) or for more appropriate reasons, like pitching an article, whether it's about irreverent pop culture or a damn serious social issue.