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Best of the First Four Years Contest
The Best of the First Four Years Contest

Okay, so has been around for four years now, believe it or not, and we on the editorial staff decided that it was about time we took that big step into the print world. So we’re holding a contest to find the best short fiction, humor, and features from’s first four years—and we’re asking our readers to help.

During the next couple of months, we’ll be collecting nominations and voting for the top stories on the site. Our readers’ favorites will then be published in a book that will be available for purchase online. And the author of the readers’ favorite story will receive a free copy of the book.

So here’s the scoop:


Between February 14, 2006 and March 1, 2006, we’ll be accepting nominations from those subscribed to the Weekend Reminder (you can subscribe at Each member may nominate up to ten stories (but play fair—no self-nominating!).

Nominees must be short fiction, humor, features, or humor/feature columns.

There are two ways to nominate an article:

1) All eligible articles will feature a “Nominate This Article” button at the bottom of the page. To nominate the article, click on the button. A nomination email will automatically be created—just click Send.

2) Nominations can be emailed to—with “Nomination” in the subject line. Be sure to send your nomination from the same email address that you used to sign up for the Weekend Reminder—and include your name in your nomination email. Nominations should be listed in the body of the email and should include each story’s title along with the author’s name.

Nominations must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on March 1, 2006.


Once all nominations have been collected, we’ll compile a list of the qualifying nominees.

We’ll then contact the authors of the nominated stories and ask if they’re interested in participating.

All participating authors must:
  • Own the copyright to his or her piece. Of course, that should be the case, since they shouldn’t have submitted it to the site if they didn’t. Authors are responsible for their own work—and all contest winners will continue to own the rights to their stories after publication.
  • Agree to give us at one-time rights to print the story and sell it in both print and ebook format. The author will not receive payment for the story but will receive a by-line and a bio.
  • Agree to sign a disclaimer if he or she is selected for publication in the book.

Authors must respond to their participation agreement email by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on March 8, 2006.


Once we’ve gotten preliminary permission from the nominees, we’ll compile a list of eligible stories and post it on the site.

Voting will begin on March 12, 2006.

Any reader may vote (but, once again, please don’t vote for your own stories).

Each voter may vote only once and for up to ten stories from our voting Page. He or she must also provide his or her email address at the time of voting.

Voting will end at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on April 6, 2006.


Votes will be tallied once all ballots have been collected. The winners will be announced on April 20, 2006, and the top stories will be included in the as-of-yet unnamed collection.

The overall winner of the contest will receive a copy of the book in print format.

Other Rules:

Any number of stories by one author may be nominated, but the editorial staff reserves the right to limit the number of stories by any one author to be included in the book.

In case of a tie for first place, there will be a tie-breaking vote on the site to determine the winner.

Once the finalists have been announced, the authors of those stories will be asked to sign and mail a disclaimer before publication. They must return the signed disclaimer, along with a bio, by May 20, 2006. Any author who fails to do so will not be published in this collection.

Members of the N& editorial staff between February 14, 2002 and February 14, 2006 are not eligible for the first-place prize. In the case that an editorial staff member wins first place, the prize will be awarded to the first eligible runner-up.

Fine Print:

Only pieces published between February 14, 2002 and February 14, 2006 qualify for this contest. Editors will determine the qualification of each nomination before contacting authors.

Additional stories may be selected by the editorial staff to be included in the book.

Pieces published after February 14, 2006 will be eligible for a future contest.
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