Thank you for considering volunteering to be a reader for this year’s Hysteria writing competition. As promised I’ve added more information about what is involved here so you can decide if you have the time to take part.

What is a reader?

The readers are people who read all the entries that meet the criteria for their category. Any entries that don’t meet all the requirements will be removed before they are sent to you. Your job is to give your opinion about the entry, you don’t need any special knowledge or skills, just a love of reading good stories or poetry.

How does it work?

The competition starts on the 1st of April and ends on the 31st of August. Between those dates, entries will be submitted through the website. There are only a few to start with and the majority arrive in August. As the entries come in I will sort them out and weed out any that should be disqualified because they don’t meet the criteria. I will then send the others to you to read when you have time. There will be a short online form to fill in for each entry you read.

All the readings must be completed by the 30th of September to give me time to get the anthology ready for publication in late November.

How do you send readers the entries?

I create an online folder for each category and give the readers for that category access. This means you won’t need to bother with the entries in any other category, and it also means that you can enter the two other categories you aren’t reading for if you want to. Please don’t share the folder link with anyone else as they can’t access it anyway.

Do I need a OneDrive account?

No, you don’t need an account to see the files in your category. I will send you a link directly to the category folder. You may be sent an email to confirm your email address before you get access, but that should be the extent of any security for the folder.

Do you need any more information?

I will add a post to the website before the competition starts to tell visitors who the readers are. This means I will add your name to the list of readers by each category. You’ll be invited to submit a short biography of around 50 words together with a link to your own website or social account if you have one. Please don’t feel you have to do this, your name will be more than enough :-)

You can see last year’s Readers on the website to get an idea of how they presented themselves.

What happens if I can’t carry on reading entries?

If you find you can’t continue as a reader because life gets in the way please let me know as soon as possible. That way I won’t continue to remind you about the entries.

What do I need to be a reader?

You will need an email address and a way of completing the online form. The form will work quite happily on a mobile phone as well as a laptop or computer.

Will we get together?

I will organise a meeting in early April for everyone to get together, it will be online via Zoom. I will also organise one in September to finalise everything. The purpose of the meetings is to give you a chance to ask any questions, say hello to other readers, and generally share reading hints and tips. There is no obligation to attend, but it’s nice if you do. If there is any demand I’m also happy to organise meetings as the competition progresses between May and August.

What happens after the competition finishes?

Completing the forms means it is relatively simple for me to work out the shortlist and winners, and is as objective a process as I can make it. Once the shortlist has been notified, work can start on the anthology. As a reader, you’ll be invited to take part by submitting some advice for entrants to your category, this is entirely up to you and I won’t be offended if you decide not to do so :-)

You will also be invited to the launch party for the anthology which will take place in December. I did a launch for the first time last year and we had a panel of readers who talked about their experience of reading, and their biggest hints and tips for entrants. If you’d like to be part of the panel you will be more than welcome.

Can you help me too?

I’m always grateful for any help I receive with the competition and would love to help you out too. If you’d like to come on my podcast just let me know, if you have some news to share I’ll pop it in my monthly newsletter too. Every reader gets a free entry into the competition and in September, you are all invited to join me as a free member of the Creative Hub on Substack.

OK, I’d love to take part what do I do next?

Just fill in the form below with your details and chosen categories (you can choose just one or more). If you choose more than one I will organise you according to the number of volunteers in each category.

Which category would you like to read for? You can choose more than one if you are happy to do any.(required)