Contest Guidelines

General Writing Contest Rules

Read these first. These rules apply to all Toasted Cheese writing contests.

Note: These guidelines are for contest entries only.

FAQ answers:

  • No entry fee.
  • No registration.
  • No geographic restrictions.
  • Use the email address (see note below) that you’d want a winning gift certificate sent to or include that email address in the bio paragraph.
  • One entry per author or set of authors. Only one gift certificate will be sent per entry (i.e. gift certificates will not be split between authors who share a credit for a single winning entry).


  • No attachments of any kind.
  • No simultaneous submissions.
  • No plagiarism or AI-assisted entries.
  • Do not send before contest opens. Do not send after contest closes.
  • Do not send to any email address other than the one specified for the contest.
  • Do not send more than one entry. If you find an error in your submission after sending, indicate “corrected version” in the subject line.


  • If a genre contest, write in that genre.
  • Follow the theme(s).
  • Stay within the word count parameters.
  • Stories must be original and previously unpublished.

How to submit:
Format style, also outlined in guidelines
Format your submission as you would a regular submission to the journal. Your entry should include the following elements in this order:

  • Title (Word Count)
  • Story
  • Name or byline and brief bio

About six weeks after the contest closes, you will receive a reply to your entry email with a notification of the winning entries. If your story is a winner, it will include information about your gift certificate. Public announcement of winners is made first on the TC page, then on social media. Toasted Cheese and its staff are not responsible for any electronic transmission problems.

Due to the volume of entries we receive, judges can’t provide feedback on individual entries. We also close the email address after sending the notification so replies won’t be read. If you need to contact us, the notification will tell you how to do that or you can go here.

Fine print:
By entering a contest, you grant TC exclusive electronic rights for a period of 90 days, should your work be chosen as a winner, as well as a non-exclusive right to maintain a copy of published work in the literary journal archives indefinitely.

Effective January 2008, you also grant Toasted Cheese the right to post an audio version (podcast) of your work on the site (authors of work published 2001–2007 will be contacted to obtain permission for this use). You retain all other rights, including the right to re-publish the work in non-electronic form at any time. Any subsequent publication should include the credit “originally published in Toasted Cheese.””Exclusive electronic rights” means that you agree not to re-publish your work elsewhere online while the issue featuring your work is current. “Publish” means any public display of your work, and includes your personal website and posting to message boards. You are welcome to link to the page featuring your work instead. Once the issue has been archived, you are free to re-publish your work online.

About email addresses:

Amazon gift cards sent to winners who use AOL, Yahoo, and Comcast email addresses more often than not do not make it into the winner’s inbox. All three also have a history of bouncing replies/notifications and making submissions look unusual or unreadable on our end. Our recommendation is to use an email address from another provider when submitting any work to Toasted Cheese (or any other literary journal).

Continue to the Savage Writing Contest rules.

Continue to A Midsummer Tale rules.

Continue to Dead of Winter rules.


Toasted Cheese reserves the right not to select multiple contest winners

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