Rate Your Story Submission Guidelines - UPDATED 10/2/15

Currently OPEN to Submissions for Basic and Pro Members.

Currently CLOSED to Submissions to Non-Members
*Our current free and open submission day is scheduled for November 1, 2015. Regardless of what this page says, we are open from 12:00 a.m. - 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight time on that day.


Please check back periodically because we amend or change guidelines often. We advise you to follow @RateYourStory on Twitter for the latest submission updates.

Whether or not you are a member, you will need to adhere to these guidelines in order for your manuscript to be read and rated. Basic and Pro Member submissions will automatically be filed in a priority inbox, and given preference in the read/rating order.  If you would like to become a pro member, click here for more info.

SPEEDPASS users—please follow the instructions at checkout to ensure that your manuscript is quickly sorted and distributed.

All Rate Your Story Submissions must be made electronically through our currently listed submissions email on the contact page.  We do not rate hard copies, nor will we visit your website to read and rate a submission.  Please follow the guidelines below.

Length:  2,000 words or less.  No exceptions, please.

File Type:  .DOC, or .DOCX PREFERRED, but will accept PDF or story pasted in email body (please note if you submit as PDF or in the email body, various judges who offer bonus comments on the manuscript will not be able to do so).

Format:  Double-Spaced, Size 12, Times New Roman or Arial font, black text

Header:  Please include your email address and a word count in the header of the attachment

Email Subject Line:  Please include the SUBMISSION, TITLE and GENRE in the email subject line when emailing your submission to Rate Your Story. Speedpass users, please follow instructions from checkout message.

Please be kind and send each manuscript as a separate submission (e.g. don't attach four manuscripts to the same email). Nonmembers or members using the free critique service may submit one manuscript per open submission day. After that manuscript has been returned to you with a free critique rating, then we will accept another (one) submission from you on the next available open submission day. Basic and Pro members may submit multiple manuscripts within the same month, but we do prefer a separate email with each manuscript. Basic Members may submit an extra 12 manuscripts (in addition to the 5 free manuscripts per year on open submission days - one per open day); Pro members may submit an extra 18 manuscripts per year (in addition to the 5 free manuscripts per year on open submission days - one per open day). You are free to re-submit stories to RYS once they've been revised, however, please remember that a revision submission counts as a regular submission. Furthermore, we politely ask that no manuscript be sent more than three times. It's hard for our judges to see an MS with fresh eyes after that.  We highly encourage you to take time (weeks, not days or hours) when revising your work in between submissions.

When your email reaches our inbox, you will get an autoreply as confirmation that your email has been received. Note: If you send more than one email with the same subject line or if you send more than one manuscript in the same month, you will only receive one auto-response.

Any genre of story–including humor, fantasy, satire, sci fi, flash fiction, fable, retold folk tales, etc.  It can be a board book text, picture book manuscript, short story for adults, teens, or written for anyone in between. Poetry is allowed AS LONG AS it tells a clear story (such as a rhyming picture book) with plot and characters.  Non-fiction stories are allowed AS LONG AS they are written in a story format with a beginning, middle, and end–such as a short memoir. No articles, please.

Explicit adult material (including overly erotic love scenes, distasteful use of curse words, extremely violent or threatening material, or anything deemed overtly discriminatory, racist, or prejudice against any group of human beings). We reserve the right to delete any submission that we deem 'unratable' without notifying the sender.


1) Prepare your manuscript as directed according to guidelines above.

2) Visit our contact page. Write down the current Rate Your Story submissions address listed.

3) In your submission email, be sure to include the word SUBMISSION, the TITLE and the GENRE in the email subject line.

4) Feel free to include any pertinent information the judge should consider when rating it (i.e. target age group, written for a particular market, "I'm from Australia, not the USA").  Do not say, however, "this is a work in progress" - we judge all stories as finished stories! Although I can't guarantee each judge will give proper time to your email or cover letter, they may.

4) We prefer that your manuscript is an attachment (see: File Types above).  If you are having problems, you may copy and paste your story into the email body.  Keep in mind that most formatting will be lost and your rating may be affected (lowered) by the interruption of line breaks to the person reading it. DO NOT SEND A LINK to a webpage, Google Doc, or other download.

5) Average wait times are 1-3 weeks for members, 3-6 weeks for nonmembers. Please feel free to send it again or inquire about the status of your critique rating if you do not hear back within that time frame.  Your submission may not have reached us.  Please pay attention to whether or not we are open or closed to submissions, as this will affect response times. Nonmembers: If you send a manuscript on a day other than our regular submission day, it is unlikely that you will receive a reply and your manuscript will be ignored or deleted.  Members: we will do our best to get back to you; times will vary based on submission volume! Thank you for your patience.

Very important note: We highly respect your work, and your MSS will never be shared online by us. However, Rate Your Story administrators and judges reserve the right to use snippets or entire bodies of cover letters, pitches, or other email correspondence that are not part of your manuscript in an anonymous way without obtaining permission, for the purpose of educating others on good (and bad) practices when submitting your work for representation or publication. Sending us your submission is interpreted by us as your agreement to these terms. This policy is very similar to other online writing blogs such as those practiced by QueryShark, etc. The intention is to help writers learn from others and to provide specific examples to clarify best practices. Thank you!