The Haunted City 2014 Short Story Contest Rules

Doubleday and Blumhouse Books invite you to submit your short story, on the theme of urban horror, for inclusion in The Blumhouse Book of Nightmares: The Haunted City.

Your story:
– Must fit the theme of urban horror.
– Must be less than 2000 words.
– Must be your original work.
– Must be written in English.

Once submissions close, on December 1, Doubleday and Blumhouse will select six finalists.

Final stories will be posted on the Blumhouse Books and Knopf Doubleday websites and social media, where fans can vote on their favorite story. Voting will be open for a period of two weeks after finalists are announced and stories are posted.

The winning story will be announced on or around January 1, 2015 and will be included in the e-book and print editions of The Blumhouse Book of Nightmares: The Haunted City.

All finalists will receive a hardcover edition of The Blumhouse Book of Nightmares: The Haunted City.

TO ENTER: Entries accepted only through e-mail. Send your story as plain text in the body of an e-mail, along with your name, mailing address, e-mail, and telephone number. Attachments will not be opened.
By submitting, you agree to the contest rules and regulations as posted here.

Sponsor is Random House LLC, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY, 10019, USA (“Sponsor” or “Doubleday”).

The Haunted City 2014 Short Story Contest begins October 31, 2014 at 12:00:00 a.m. US Eastern Time and ends December 31, 2014, 11:59:00 p.m. US Eastern Time (“ET”) (the “Contest”). Information on how to enter and prizes form part of these official rules (“Official Rules”). By submitting an entry, each entrant agrees to the Official Rules and warrants that his or her entry complies with all requirements set out in the Official Rules. This is a skill-based contest and chance plays no part in the determination of winners.

Contest is open only to ), residents of the United States, including the District of Columbia, and Canada (excluding the province of Quebec) who are 18 years or older at the time of entry. . Employees of Penguin Random House, Blumhouse Productions, and their subsidiaries and affiliates, and their immediate family members (spouse, parent, child, sibling and their respective spouses, regardless of where they live) or persons living in the same households of such employees, whether or not related are not eligible.. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply. Void outside of the United States and Canada and where otherwise prohibited by law.

Each Entry consists of an e-mailed short story submission. The To enter, visit; and submit a story to the e-mail address listed there, along with the required information, including your name, address, telephone number, email address, story and story title.
Each entry must comply with the following requirements (the “Contest Requirements”):
Stories must be submitted in the body of the e-mail message to the contest address. Story must fit the theme of urban horror, be less than 2000 words, and be written in English.
Stories that include excerpts from and other written works will be accepted as long as they do not constitute copyright infringement or fraud; provided entrants must be prepared to provide a release form as described below in “Release.”
The story, in its entirety, must be a single work of original material taken by the Contest entrant. By entering the Contest, entrant represents, acknowledges, and warrants that the submitted story is an original work created solely by the entrant, that the story does not infringe on the copyrights, trademarks, moral rights, rights of privacy/publicity or intellectual property rights of any person or entity, and that no other party has any right, title, claim, or interest in the story.
The story must not, in the sole and unfettered discretion of the Sponsor, contain obscene, provocative, defamatory, sexually explicit, or otherwise objectionable or inappropriate content.
Disguising or misrepresenting the origin of your content is cause for disqualification.
Watermarks are not acceptable. If Sponsor does not receive a non-watermarked version of the entry within ten (10) days following its request, the entry will be disqualified.
The entries in each Category will judged separately, in accordance with the Judging Criteria, as defined below. All entries must be submitted and received by December 1, 2014 at 11:59:00 p.m. ET. Proof of submission is not proof of receipt. Sponsor reserves the right to examine the submitted material in order to confirm compliance with these rules.

Contest consists of three (2) rounds of evaluation. In Round One, each judge in a panel of editors and publishing professionals will select up six Finalists based on the following criteria (“Judging Criteria”): (1) Creativity; (2) Relevance to theme; (3) genuineness/authenticity of the content. The entries selected in Round One will proceed to Round Two. In Round Two, stories will be posted online at and, where the winner will be selected by a voting process open to all site visitors. tThe entry with the highest popular score will be declared the Grand Prize Winner. The winner will be chosen on or around December 31, 2014, and notified by email. Decisions of the judges are final and binding.

Upon Sponsor’s request, each entrant must be prepared to provide (within seven (7) calendar days of receipt of Sponsor’s request) a signed written license from the copyright owner of any copyrighted material that appears in the story, authorizing any Authorized Party to reproduce, distribute, display, and create derivative works of the entry in connection with the Contest and promotion of the Contest, in any media now or hereafter known. Failure to provide such releases upon request may result in disqualification and selection of an alternate winner.
For the purposes of these Official Rules, the entrant will be deemed to be in receipt of Sponsor’s request or notification, (a) in the event that Sponsor sends the request by postal mail, five business days after the request was sent by Sponsor, or (b) in the event that Sponsor sends the request by email, on the day that the email was sent by Sponsor.

One (1) Grand Prize winner will receive a hardcover edition of The Haunted City ($35 value), and his/her winning story will be published in the forthcoming edition of THE HAUNTED CITY, provided all conditions in these rules are met to the sponsor’s sole satisfaction. Five (5) finalists will receive the hardcover edition of The Haunted City ($35 value).
Potential winners shall be required to sign and return within ten (10) days following an attempted notification, an Affidavit, Declaration or Certificate of Eligibility, Liability Release, and where legally permissible, a Publicity Release and Warranty of Ownership and License in which the entrant warrants that he/she is the owner of the story (and all the intellectual property rights in the stories submitted) and grants to Sponsor and its licensees the irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide non-exclusive license to reproduce, distribute, display, and create derivative works of the entry (along with a name credit) in connection with the Contest and promotion of the Contest without additional compensation. Failure to execute and deliver any required documents to Sponsor by the specified deadline may result in disqualification from the Contest, and selection of an alternate potential winner. NONCOMPLIANCE OR RETURN OF PRIZE NOTIFICATION AS UNDELIVERABLE, WHETHER BY REGULAR MAIL OR BY EMAIL, MAY RESULT IN DISQUALIFICATION AND SELECTION OF AN ALTERNATE POTENTIAL WINNER.
No prize transfer, assignment, or substitution by winners permitted. If a prize (or part of a prize) is unavailable, the Sponsor, in its discretion, reserves the right to substitute the original prize (or that part of the prize) with an alternative prize to the equal monetary value and/or specification, unless to do so would be prohibited by law.

By entering the Contest, all entrants grant an irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide non-exclusive license to Authorized Parties, to reproduce, distribute, display and create derivative works of the entries (along with a name credit) in connection with the Contest and promotion of the Contest, in any media now or hereafter known, including, but not limited to: Display at a potential exhibition of winners; publication of a book featuring select entries in the Contest; publication online highlighting entries or winners of the Contest. Entrants consent to the Sponsor doing or omitting to do any act that would otherwise infringe the entrant’s “moral rights” in their entries. Display or publication of any entry on an Authorized Party’s website does not indicate the entrant will be selected as a winner. Authorized Parties will not be required to pay any additional consideration or seek any additional approval in connection with such use. Additionally, by entering, each entrant grants to Authorized Parties the unrestricted right to use all statements made in connection with the Contest, and pictures or likenesses of Contest entrants, or choose not to do so, at their sole discretion. Authorized Parties will not be required to pay any additional consideration or seek any additional approval in connection with such use.

By entering, entrant acknowledges acceptance and compliance with these Official Rules, including all eligibility requirements included herein, and the Penguin Random House LLC Privacy Policy, available here: .By entering this Contest, all entrants agree to release, discharge, and hold harmless Penguin Random House and its partners, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising agencies, agents and their employees, officers, directors, and representatives from any claims, losses, and damages arising out of their participation in this Contest or any Contest-related activities and the acceptance and use, misuse, or possession of any prize awarded hereunder.
Penguin Random House assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, or delay in operation or transmission; communications line failure; theft or destruction of or unauthorized access to Contest entries or entry forms; or alteration of entries or entry forms. Doubleday is not responsible for any problems with or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer online systems, servers or providers, computer equipment, software, failure of any email entry to be received on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website, human errors of any kind, or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to entrants’ or any other persons’ computers related to or resulting from participation, uploading or downloading of any materials related to in this Contest..

THIS CONTEST IS VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Entrants agree that this Contest shall be subject to and governed by the laws of the State of New York and the forum for any dispute shall be in the State of New York, United States of America. To the extent permitted by law, the right to litigate, to seek injunctive relief or to make any other recourse to judicial or any other procedure in case of disputes or claims resulting from or on connection with this Contest are hereby excluded and any entrant expressly waives any and all such rights. Certain restrictions may apply. Entries void if the Sponsor determines the story to not be an original, or if the entries are illegible, incomplete, damaged, irregular, altered, counterfeit, produced in error or obtained through fraud or theft.
By entering, entrants also agree (a) to be bound by these Official Rules; (b) that the decisions of the Judges are final and binding with respect to all matters relating to the Contest; and (c) if the entrant wins that Sponsor may use the winning stories and each winner’s name, photograph, likeness, and/or voice in any publicity or advertising relating to the Contest or future promotions without compensation or approval (except where prohibited by law). All federal, state/provincial/territorial, and local taxes, fees and surcharges and taxes (whether foreign or domestic, and including income, sales, and import taxes) on prizes are the sole responsibility of the prize winners. In the event that the selected winner(s) of any prize is/are ineligible, cannot be traced or does/do not respond within ten (10) days to a winner notification as required by the “Contest Prizes” Rules above, or refuses the prize, the prize will be forfeited and Sponsor, in its sole discretion, may choose whether to award the prize to another entrant.
The Sponsor reserves the right to verify the validity and originality of any entry and/or entrant (including an entrant’s identity and address) and to disqualify any entrant who submits an entry that is not in accordance with these Official Rules or who tampers with the entry process. Failure by the Sponsor to enforce any of its rights at any stage does not constitute a waiver of those rights.

If for any reason the Contest is not capable of running as planned, due to infection by computer virus, bugs, worms, trojan horses, denial of service attacks, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of Doubleday that corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this Contest, Doubleday reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual(s) who tamper with the entry process, and/or to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the Contest. If Sponsor elects to cancel or terminate the Contest, Sponsor will not retain any rights in the submitted stories, and will return the fees submitted with each entry.

Entrants are responsible for complying with these Official Rules. Winners’ names will be available online at after January 1, 2014.

Entrants agree that personal data, especially name and address, may be processed, shared, and otherwise used for the purposes and within the context of the Contest and any other purposes outlined in these Official Rules. The data may also be used by the Sponsor in order to verify the participant’s identity, postal address, and telephone number or to otherwise verify the participant’s eligibility to participate in the Contest. Participants have the right to access, review, rectify, or cancel any personal data held by Sponsor by writing to Penguin Random House, 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.