2014 Contest Statistics, Fun Facts & FAQs

Have a question? Scroll down to the FAQs.

READ: “How to Hook Your Reader with a Winning Beginning” by Lead Judge, Laura Thomas

READ: “Tips for Writing a Short Story” by Lead Judge, Laura Thomas


Overall Statistics – All Categories

Click on the poster for complete details about the Polly Prize for Creative Writing

Number of unique visitors to the contest webpage during the five-month submission period: 24,491

Total number of entries: 1,053

Percentage of unique visitors who actually entered the contest: 4.3%

Total number of participating countries: 58

Countries with most participants (see complete country list at bottom of page): US, Canada, Australia, Mexico, UK, and India

Total percentage of entries that were disqualified for not following the contest rules (especially contest rule #9) : 20%


Category 1

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Now available in the LTC Store

Total number of entries in Category 1 (ages 18 – 21): 155

Breakdown of Category 1 by age: Age 18 (61%), Age 19 (18%), Age 20 (12%), Age 21 (9%)

Percentage of entries that were disqualified for not following the rules: 29%

Number of Category 1 entries that made it to the second round of judging: 16

Number of Category 1 entries that made it to the finals: 10


Category 2

Total number of entries in Category 2 (ages 15 – 17): 397

Breakdown of Category 2 by age: Age 15 (29%), Age 16 (28%), Age 17 (43%)

Percentage of entries disqualified for not following the rules: 19%

Number of Category 2 entries that made it to the second round of judging: 55

Number of Category 2 entries that made it to the finals: 28


Category 3

Total number of entries in Category 3 (ages 12 – 14): 337

Breakdown of Category 3 by age: Age 12 (30%), Age 13 (36%), Age 14 (34%)

Percentage of entries disqualified for not following the rules: 18%

Number of Category 3 entries that made it to the second round of judging: 45

Number of Category 3 entries that made it to the finals: 17


Category 4

Total number of entries in Category 4 (ages 9 – 11): 164

Breakdown of Category 4 by age: Age 9 (28%), Age 10 (22%), Age 11 (50%)

Percentage of entries that were disqualified for not following the rules: 15%

Number of Category 4 entries that made it to the second round of judging: 28

Number of Category 4 entries that made it to the finals: 14


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

I made the finals and it says I will get a Certificate of Achievement. How does that work?
Once the final results are done, with our top 8 winners in each category chosen, Laura will create personalized certificates for everyone who placed as a finalist or higher. Each writer will receive one certificate by email. It will be for a top 8 placing or being a finalist, not both. You don’t really need a “finalist” certificate if you won the contest. Those will be mailed out during the week of October 20 – 24.

I didn’t pay for feedback, but can you tell me how my story did or if it was disqualified?
No. If we start offering that service to the 1,000+ writers who enter, we will have to charge an entry fee. We don’t have endless time and financial resources. However, we are committed to keeping our big contests free to enter and provide much more general judging feedback and support than most other big writing contests that do charge an entry fee. Between those who are willing to pay for feedback and our new Insider Plus+ Membership, we should be able to achieve this goal.

When will you announced the winners?
October 18th. They will be published on the 2014 Winners page on October 19th.

I paid for the feedback option. When will I get it?
Between October 20 and November 7th by email.

I paid for the feedback option but what if my story was disqualified?
Even if your story was disqualified, it will be scored and you will receive comments. The whole point of the feedback is to get a better idea of what we are looking for in a short story, how we judge, and to take that information and use it for your entry next year.

Do I have to be at the Junior Authors Writers Conference in Richmond on October 18th to accept my prize if I win?
No. Our conferences are separate from the contests, except that we enjoy making the big announcement in front of an audience. We also Tweet and post the names on Facebook as they are announced. You can follow along from anywhere in the world. Also, we publish the names of the winners on the website, usually within a day or two of the conference. All winners are contacted personally by Laura to arrange for the prizes to be delivered.

Come to the conference because you want to spend a day focused on your writing, meeting other young writers, and learning from industry experts.

Why do you run this contest?
When I was a teen and wanted to write back in the 1980s there weren’t many opportunities, so I put my writing dreams on hold until my late twenties, which was unfortunate because I lost a lot of time. I also know how much having a goal and knowing that someone will read your work seriously helps you finish a piece of writing. That’s what this and our other contests provide, opportunities and goals.

Can I find out if my story was disqualified?
Only those who paid for the feedback option will find out any information about how their story did in the contest, including whether or not it was disqualified. The primary reasons that entries were disqualified: the story was over the word count and/or rule #9 was not followed. Tip: Successful writers are detail oriented and good at both following rules and being creative within the parameters set out for them. Showing that you can follow submission guidelines is an important part of pursuing a career in writing.

Can I find out if my story made it to the second round?
Only those who purchase the feedback option will find out how far their story went in the judging process, except for those who see their names published as finalists or winners.

Does it matter if I buy the feedback option? 
The feedback option is completely separate from the contest and judging. It has no bearing on whether or not you will make the finals or be a winner. Feedback is for those writers who wish to find out their score and get some feedback on their submission so that they can learn from it. Feedback is prepared personally by Laura and given after the winners are announced. The money we raise from the feedback option helps keep the contest free for everyone to enter. So thank you to everyone who purchased it. :-)

I’m really anxious to find out the results and I’m going to be offline on the official announcement day. Will Laura give them to me privately in advance?
Not a chance. That wouldn’t be fair to everyone else. Don’t ask Laura for special treatment. Be patient. The results will be published on the website and then remain there. You can check them when you are back online.

How come no one from my country has ever won a prize?
Take a look at the country participation list below, if less than 100 writers from your country have entered, the odds are not in your favour. We don’t care at all what country a young writers lives in. In fact, in a perfect world, we would have the same number of writers from every country competing in our contests…like a Writing Olympics. If there is anything you can do to help spread the word and encourage writers in your country to enter we would love to hear your ideas. Please email your thoughts and suggestions to Laura.

When will the 2015 Junior Authors Short Story Contest Open?
The 2015 contest will open in January 15, 2015. In order to keep this contest free to enter, there will be some changes made to the prize structure in 2015.

Who are your judges?
This year our round-two judges include a bookstore manager, a librarian and editors from the LTC Team. Laura is lead judge and has the final say on who the winners will be.


Participating Countries 2014

Top Participating Countries:
USA – 377
Canada – 142
Australia – 110
Mexico – 98
United Kingdom – 59
India – 52

Countries with 11 – 20 entries:
China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan)
New Zealand

Countries with 5 – 10 entries:
South Africa
Sri Lanka

Countries with 4 or fewer entries:
Czech Republic
East Java
New Caledonia
Saudi Arabia
South Korea
Trinidad and Tobago
United Arab Emirates



29 comments on “2014 Contest Statistics, Fun Facts & FAQs

  1. Cassie Montgomery

    The finalists are announced on September 19th, correct?

    • Laura Thomas

      Hi Cassie. Yes.

  2. Arihant Hemendra

    May I know if I’ve been disqualified or not as in the story I wrote my age as oh May 14th 2014 but on the entrance form I wrote my age as of the correct date. I was 11 then and am still 11 now…

    • Laura Thomas

      Hi Arihant. It’s not a problem. Your story would not be disqualified for that.

  3. Hi Ms. Laura!
    When will we find out who the judges are?
    You said on Sep. 13 you will announce the finalists, does that include the titles and names of the finalists?

    • Laura Thomas

      Hi Madison. Please check the FAQs for info about our returning judges. Please look at last year’s list of finalists on the 2013 winners page to see how it is formatted.

  4. Abigail Alda Ong

    hey laura, will a disqualified participants keep receiving emails about the progress of the competition?

    • Laura Thomas

      Hi Abigail. Yes. Everyone stays on the contest mailing list until I delete the list shortly after the winners are announced.

  5. Myra

    When and How will you announce the name of the winners ?
    Thanks :-)

    • Laura Thomas

      Hi Myra:
      Finalists will be announced on the 2014 Winners Page on September 19th.
      Winners will be announced live from the Junior Author Writers Conference on October 18th. At the same time we will tweet and post the names.
      The day after the conference, I will publish the names of the winners on the 2014 Winners Page.
      Winners will be contacted by me after that.

  6. Cindy

    Can I still buy the feedback option?

    • Laura Thomas

      Hi Cindy. Yes. You will see it in the LTC Store. It’s the second item.

  7. Mesut

    Hi Laura, could you please list down the list of entries that that made it to the second round of judging by country at the very least… I’m very eager to know…cant wait. Could you please do this favour

    • Laura Thomas

      Hi Mensut. Not for the second round. I will list the titles and names for those who make the finals. That will be in September.

  8. Umber

    is the entry is free?

    • Laura Thomas

      Hi Umber. Yes. It is free to enter. If you would like feedback on your submission, there is a small fee.

  9. Sibz

    Sorry to bother you, if you haven’t paid for the feedback option and you place first or second, how would you be contacted?

    • Laura Thomas

      Hi Sibz. The finalists are posted on the website in September. I contact the winners via email just after the announcements are made at the Junior Authors Conference. This information is at the top of the main contest page.

  10. Alisha

    I am from Taiwan and I published my story but there is no Taiwan written in Participating Countries. Why is that?

    • Laura Thomas

      Hi Alisha. China includes Hong Kong and Taiwan. Please look again and you will see that I made a note of that.

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