Writing Guidelines

6×6 was set up to give authors within the region a platform on which to promote their work – be that a short story or an excerpt from a novel. This is your 6X6 opportunity to bring your writing to the notice of potential readers so please do spread the word via your twitter feeds and blog/web pages.

These are comprehensive guidelines  but don’t be daunted. We always have more entries than slots available and these notes are here to give you the best possible chance of being in that final six!

What do we want to see?

  • Fiction is our focus and all styles and genres are welcome.
  • Non-fiction is always considered where/when a local writer is promoting a non-fiction publication. (We seldom accept unpublished essays.)
  • We do not currently accept poetry or drama/scripts.
  • Extracts should be from publications copyrighted/dated within twelve months of the event. (Older titles may be considered but please ask in advance).
  • Where a short story/extract is taken from competition winner (within past twelve months) please list details.
  • New short stories written specifically for 6×6 are always very welcome.
  • Writers are actively encouraged to bring their published books for sale, plus flyers publicising their latest work and/or any upcoming local signings, literary events, workshops etc in which they may be involved.
  • We actively encourage all writers who have not been selected for a specific 6×6 event to bring along their books and flyers.
  • There are always books on sale so bring your wallets!

Before submitting your entry

  • Remember to check the submission deadlines (dates).
  • All entries must be the writer’s own work.
  • If selected writers are expected to read their own work. (Check that you are available – which may sound odd but people have been known to forget they have a holiday booked that week.)
  • One submission per writer per event.
  • Works that have already been showcased at a 6×6 event are ineligible.


  • Time and Word count. All entries should stand alone as a reading within your allotted six minutes and should be no longer than six minutes when read aloud.  Word count is the single most common reason for rejections.  800 to 900 words is the sweet zone. (Audience feedback has shown us that  +980 is too long to read with clarity in the time allowed and -750 is invariably too short.) Think ‘6X6’  as you write because SIX MINUTES is the key!
  • Explanations/introductions cannot be included within those six minutes. (See notes  below on biography.)
  • Labelling – This is vital! the subject line of your covering email should include: your name and title of your story. Also – label each attachment/submission file with the same information (emails and attachments are stored separately so anything poorly labelled runs a very real risk of getting overlooked, or worse still of being lost!). As per following example: “Walking the dog by J. Smith, entry for (month of event) 6X6”    
  • Submissions must be submitted in either a Doc, Word or RTF file format (Sorry, NO PDFs or ODFs!).
  • Submissions should be made using a standard 12 point font (Times Roman, Arial etc).
  • Any submissions scrolled into the body of an email (i.e. not as an attachment) will not be accepted.
  • Biography:  In a separate file, labelled with your name, include a short biography of approx. 50 words, written in the third person. e.g Jane Smith lives in Staffordshire and writes… Also include the title and subject matter of the book from which any extract is taken, to be used in the compere’s introduction should you be selected, and also for posting on our web/blog page.
  • Include your web/blog page in your biography  so that it can be listed in publicity where applicable.
  • Writers are often invited to remain in reserve for an individual event, but in the interest of fairness we do not hold work over from one event to the next. Fresh submissions must be made for each 6X6. Reading slots cannot be booked.
  • Your submission should be emailed to sixbysixevents @  gmail.com (without the gaps) on or before the deadline date provided on the relevant blog event.
  • The Library staff are always happy to assist those writers without internet access to submit material.

And finally…

  • Though most of our audience are  over 18 yrs old, young people may be present and this should be taken into account. Submissions should be suitable for a pre-watershed/early evening public performance in their use of adult subjects.
  • The use of strong language is not prohibited but should be relevant and proportional.
  • We reserve the right to refuse work that we feel is unsuitable for a 6×6 audience, especially in the areas of language/gender/racial/sexual or other forms of discrimination.
  • We reserve the right to return submissions that do not adhere to guidelines. Feedback is not given on rejections.
  • 6X6 is a platform for authors to showcase their work  and does not incorporate writing competitions, workshops or feedback on work in progress.
  • If you have any queries please do contact us.