What’s New with the 2021 Realm Awards

Every year we seek to improve the Realm Awards. Ready to see what we’ve come up with for next year’s speculative fiction awards?

NEW this year – Subgenres!

Same spec fiction genres, but this year you can also list your subgenre. Why? Because it lets us plan for future years. If there are enough submissions in a sub-genre, it might get its own award!

NEW this year – Genre definitions!

Wondering which genre is most appropriate for your work? We’ve defined our genres to help you.

Genres, Definitions, and Subgenres for 2021

  • Fantasy
    • Stories containing magic or magical beings in this world OR a different world than our own
      • Subgenres: epic/high fantasy, fairytales, sword and sorcery, urban fantasy, contemporary/modern fantasy, superhero fiction
  • Science Fiction
    • Stories set in the future, past, or other dimensions that feature scientific ideas and advanced technological concepts 
      • Subgenres: alternate history, apocalyptic fiction, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, parallel/alternate universe, cyberpunk, hard science fiction, military science fiction, space opera, science fantasy, steampunk
  • Supernatural
    • Stories that stories remove fantasy and horror elements and embrace supernatural elements that are considered commonplace in the natural world. Things like angels, demons, God, and Satan.
      • Subgenres: angels, demons, the afterlife, spiritual warfare
  • Paranormal
    • Stories that include any phenomena that lie outside the range of what is normal in our world. 
      • Subgenres: paranormal romance, shapeshifters, ghosts, psychics, telekinesis, aliens, cryptids, time travel
  • Horror
    • Stories that include scary or macabre elements generally involving pursuit and escape
      • Subgenres: dark fantasy, gothic fantasy, alien, cryptid/creature

For definitions and examples, refer to Jill Williamson’s article on Speculative Fiction Subgenres.

NEW this year – Short Fiction!

All of the Short Fiction entries must fit into one of the genres listed above to be eligible

  • Novelette/Novella
    • Between 10-40K words
  • Short Story/Flash Fiction
    • Up to 10K words

NEW this year – Audio Fiction!

All of the Audio Fiction entries must fit into one of the genres listed above to be eligible

  • Book (full-length)
  • Short (novelette, novella, short or flash fiction) – can be audiobook or podcast
  • Audio drama (full cast, full-length, scripted)

Returning this Year – Audience Categories

  • Young Adult (YA)
    • Written, published, and marketed to adolescents and young adults (ages 12 to 18)
  • Middle Grade
    • Written, published, and marketed to middle schoolers (ages 8 to 12)
  • Children’s
    • Written, published, and marketed to children (up to age 7)
    • Subgenres: Picture book, chapter book, early reader

Returning this Year, with a NEW name Specialty Categories

All of the Specialty entries must fit into a genre listed above to be eligible

  • Debut
    • The author’s first published novel
  • Cover Design
    • Parable Award for speculative fiction
  • Readers’ Choice
    • Alliance Award (reader nominated) 
  • Book of the Year
    • Five of the finalists will be chosen by the Awards Committee as contenders for Book of the Year. These books will automatically be sent to the Book of the Year judges.

A few more caveats…

NEW this year – Content Ratings!

We’re going to ask our authors to rate their work on whether it is appropriate for all audiences or not. Mature themes are allowed, but explicit content is not. We realize our judges have different comfort level when it comes to certain themes in fiction so entries will be assigned accordingly.

Submissions will be rated as CLEAN, MODERATE, or MATURE in the following categories:

  • Sex & Innuendo
  • Violence & Gore
  • Profanity
  • Alcohol, Drugs, & Smoking
  • Frightening & Intense Scenes

NEW this year – EDITORS!

We’re also going to ask our authors to list the primary editor of their work. Who knows, maybe we’ll award an Excellence in Editing award one day…

Of course, we have plenty more to share about our awards, so stay tuned here for more details.

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What’s New with the 2021 Realm Awards