Feedback provided by professional judges
When you enter a Grindstone competition, you'll have the chance to request feedback on your work, which will be provided by one of our professional judges.
Shortlists presented to Literary Agents
We bring literary agents on board to judge our fiction competitions and present our shortlists to different agencies in order to give our writers more exposure.
All shortlisted work is published
Every year we produce a gorgeous anthology, celebrating the best work from the last competition season. Place on one of our shortlists and you'll see your work in print.
Prize pools and writing course discounts
We give away thousands of pounds in prizes every year, as well as providing discounts for great writing courses. This year alone we've got more than £5,000 worth of prizes on offer!
How does it work?
Sign Up & Login
Every Grindstone entrant will need to sign up to our platform in order to submit. Our accounts are completely FREE and will remain that way forever. Having an account gives you access to all of our competitions and collections, and will be where you receive and read your personalised feedback and competition performance report.
Draft & Upload
When you're submitting to a competition you'll have the option to draft an entry by copy and pasting your submission, or by using our PDF uploader. Once you've decided, you'll be able to preview your entry and read it through before you send it to us. Then, once you click confirm, it'll upload to our database and be prepared for judging. That means no emails and no attachments. Simple, right?
Pay & Submit
PayPal is a super secure and easy to use transactional plugin that allows safe and easy payments for competition entries. Our integrated payment system means that you can pay using your PayPal account or checkout as a guest using your card details without ever leaving our site. Once payment is confirmed, your entry will be automatically submitted and stored ready for judging.
We'll send a confirmation email to the address you used to sign up, to let you know we've got your entry. It will also appear under the 'My Entries' section of your dashboard. When the winners are announced, another email will go out, linking you to your dashboard where you can view your results. They'll stay there forever, or until you delete them, so you can view and use your feedback whenever you'd like.
Confirmation & Results
We began as two people who were sat where you are right now, entering competitions left, right, and centre, and not seeing any results.
Entries were going in, and so was the money... And yet there was never a sense that anyone was on the other side. We wanted to know why we weren't winning. What was it about our work that they didn't like. And then we said hell -- we could change that. We could run a competition where everyone gets feedback. Sure, it'll take some time, a little elbow grease, but why the heck not?
We set up our first website over the winter and by January 2017 we opened our doors to the first Grindstone entrants.
To begin with, it was slow. But as people began to talk, and see how things could be different, word began to spread. And now we're one of the largest competition providers in the UK. And that's all thanks to you.
We love doing this, and we love helping writers succeed. That's why we don't just offer cash prizes, but we still give feedback to every entrant, we still handle the social media and emails personally, and we still make sure to give you every opportunity to get your work out there, be it with publications, or by putting your work in front of literary agents.
We've worked hard to get where we are, and we know you have too. But don't worry, that sort of thing is rewarded around here.
At Grindstone, it's always time to work!
Frequently Asked Questions
Who judges competitions at Grindstone?
Our judging team is made up of talented writers, editors, and professional readers from around the world, all of whom are trained using Grindstone's very own judging system to ensure fairness across both genre and style.
How does the feedback work?
Entrants who request feedback on their work compete alongside those who choose not to pay for it. If you choose to receive the optional feedback, you'll be able to download a Grindstone frontmatter for your submission, which will allow you to guide the nature of your own feedback! That means you'll get critical feedback on the aspects of your work you most need it, as well as getting a chance to compete for the prizes along with everyone else.
Is the user account completely free of charge?
Yes. Registering and maintaining an account at Grindstone is completely free, and will remain that way. There're no hidden charges, no fees, and no bills to pay. Competitions, though, do have entry fees, payable at the time of submission.
Do I have to sign up?
Yes. We did offer guest entries, but many entrants were not providing correct email addresses, or were missing their feedback, so we felt that centralising everything in the user dashboard would eliminate that issue altogether. And wouldn't you know it -- it has. Signing up for an account keeps everything in one place and means you'll never miss feedback or announcements again.
Do you really show the shortlists to literary agents?
We know that the end-goal for a lot of writers is to have their work picked up by an agent and published. And that's why we not only get agents on board to judge our novel competitions, but also to judge our short fiction competitions, too. That way, you can get on their radar and then, if your work lands on their desk, who knows... We also show our novel shortlists to other agencies too. Competitions like ours are a great way for agents to spot new talent. We're not making any promises about what happens after, but we do everything we can to get your work into their hands.
How do the cash prizes work?
You win them, we send them to you. It's as simple as that.
How does copyright work at Grindstone?
You retain the copyright to your work. All that we ask is that you give us permission to publish it. Full details on this can be found on our Terms page.
Can I work with you?
If you'd like to be a reader, work with us, or get in touch to see how we can change the world together, then please do. We'd love to hear from you.
What's the best way to stay up to date?
Registering an account will add you to our mailing list (which can be unsubscribed from using the link at the bottom of our emails), but we also have a thriving social media network. Find us on Facebook and Twitter using the links at the bottom of the page.
Need something else? Get in touch.