Sometimes, in spite of our best efforts, the rules may not be as clear as they might be. These questions may help to clarify some of the issues that have been brought to our attention in the past.

As you click on each article, go to the bottom of the page for more details.

If you need more information, or if our facts are not clear, please contact the Competitions Chair at Competitions Chair.

  • icon Why do I need to rename my entry's file?
  • icon How do I rename my entry file?
  • icon What the heck is "non-DRM?"
  • icon What do I do if my book is not sold in non-DRM PDF?
  • icon Why do you only accept PDF? How about a nice txt or Word doc?
  • icon My totally awesome romance has been totally rewritten since it did not final in the 2003 EPPIEs. Why won't you let me enter it again?
  • icon I just can't decide which category to enter. Can you help?
  • icon How do I complete the upload form?
  • icon What are the dates for the eBook Competition?
  • icon What does "as the product sells" mean?
  • icon Where do I put my hot, hot, hot paranormal romance?
  • icon Why do you ask for so much information?
  • icon Why was I disqualified?
  • icon Where do I put my 27,468 word novella?
  • icon Why did you drop the Anthology category?
  • icon How do I enter a story or novella from an anthology?
  • icon What difference does it make if I upload works by two different authors on the same form?

Why do I need to rename my entry's file?

We receive so many entries that it would be horrifying to try and sort them by category without a designating name. The naming convention allows us to arrange the entries by category and get them assigned to our judges as quickly as possible. If we can move through the judging process expeditiously,  the finalists are selected sooner and that means more promotion time for you! And less stress on our volunteer staff. Please take a look at the rules for categories and renaming files.  You can also refer to the FAQ on this topic.

The Competitions Drones thank you for working with us on this. It means we'll get fewer beatings. 

How do I rename my entry file?

You could find a kid to help you. But if you can't locate a crumb cruncher, here's how you do it.

First, make sure the file is in PDF format. If the file doesn't have a .pdf at the end or the Adobe icon representing the file, check with your publisher. If you can't get a copy from your publisher, you can convert a .doc, .epub, .mobi, or other format into .pdf by using a free conversion program, such as Calibre ( Calibre has been used successfully by many people and it's pretty easy to use. If you convert your file yourself, let us know so we'll be aware of any issues that may arise from the conversion.

Now that you have a pdf file, open it. Select "save as"; a dialog box opens with a suggested filename. Your operating system won't let you just save it with the same name, because it wants a different one. In the suggested filename, type in the category code (letter-number for most categories, available in the category descriptions in the rules), add a hyphen, then type in the full title of your work. Make sure you choose the file type as PDF. Click on "Save". It should save a copy of your book under that name. There will now be two copies of the book: one with the original name and one with the new name.

Simpler method: Open your file manager. Find the PDF file. Right click and select Rename. Type in the correct name and return. The file will be renamed.

Note: The file may move after you rename it this way. Your file manager may resort the files to put the newly renamed file where is should be, based on how your file manager settings are set.

Pay attention to the category code. We have made some changes to the codes, as well as to the categories. For instance, make sure PO, CH are all letters. Make sure F01, R07, etc., are "F-zero-one" or "R-zero-seven" - with no hyphens between letters and numbers. Your book won't be put in the correct category if this isn't correct.

If you have any questions, please contact the Competitions Chair, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

What the heck is "non-DRM?"

DRM is Digital Rights Management. It is a method to prevent theft or other unauthorized distribution of copyrighted intellectual property, like an eBook, movie, or audio recording. DRM protection prevents an unauthorized person from opening or playing the digital material. For eBooks, that means an unauthorized person can't open the book and read it. It would be really hard to provide our judges with the keys or other method to open DRM protected book. Again, our promise to you is that your work will not be distributed other than to be judged for this competition. After the scores are received, all copies will be discarded.

What do I do if my book is not sold in non-DRM PDF?

All you need to do is get your publisher to send you a non-DRM copy. You can assure the publisher that this copy will not be used for anything other than judging in this competition. Our judges will discard all the entries they receive once they have submitted their scores. The entries will not be further distributed. That's a promise!

If you can't get a non-DRM PDF from your publisher, you can convert a .doc, .epub, .mobi, or other format to .pdf using a free conversion program such as Calibre ( This program has been used successfully by many people and it's pretty easy to use. If you convert your file yourself, let us know so we'll be aware of any issues that may arise from the conversion.

Please note: The content of the book must be the same as the content of the book which is for sale to the public.

Why do you only accept PDF? How about a nice txt or Word doc?

The biggest reason is that our judges are international and PDF is a universally accessible format which can be read on a PC or MAC, and on most eBook reading devices.

My totally awesome romance has been totally rewritten since it did not final in the 2003 EPPIEs. Why won't you let me enter it again?

It's still the same basic book. Even rewritten, it's already been judged so it cannot enter again. This rule also applies to yearbooks, which, though updated, are the same basic work.

In the same way, books that have been re-released by another publisher cannot be entered in the year of re-release. Sorry.


I just can't decide which category to enter. Can you help?

The "bunny" definitions of competition categories might help guide your category choice:

Action/Adventure: Secret Agent James Bunny, code name '7.23Cottontail', strives to overcome the machinations of the evil doctor who wants to take over the world. His cousin, Indyana Bunnie, swings over a waterfall, clutching the Stone of Persistence in his grimy little paw while crazed bunny-eating foxes try to hit him with rocks.

Childrens': A small bunny finds a lost puppy and tries to find its mother. Most of these books rely heavily on pictures and are generally targeted toward small children, i.e. ages 8 or 9 or younger. (See Young Readers for older books)

Contemporary fiction (Formerly Mainstream fiction): A bunny takes a cross-country trip and meets interesting characters along the way. He is not magical nor newly un-zombied, has not escaped from an institution for the criminally inclined, is not from the past nor plans to travel to the future, and does not boff excessively with either female bunnies or male bunnies...or beasts of any ilk.

Erotica: A bunny boffs with him/herself or one or more others, with no expectation other than sexual exploration and pleasure.

Fantasy: A magical bunny, from the world of Garn, pits his skills against an evil wizard lizard.

Historical: A bunny is a soldier in the Civil War, lives in Regency England, or rides the buffalo range...or all three.

Horror: A bunny comes back from the dead to take revenge on the foxes who ate him, BBQing them over hot coals one at a time and leaving their bones for their friends to find.

Mystery: A hard-boiled detective bunny solves a crime and locks away the mad squirrel scientist. A librarian-amateur sleuth bunny solves a surprising number of murders in her small town. A private investigator bunny, disillusioned with the world, is asked to find a missing lady bunny. In the end they discover the truth behind nefarious plots, saving the day with (often) heroic fervor.

Paranormal: A wicked time-traveling ghost bunny from Devonshire haunts the vampire-rat residents who are stalking the beautiful werebears. A psychic bunny helps the police find the Mayor's missing baby frogs. Depending on how much the psychic powers play in the story, the above could be a mystery or a suspense/thriller, i.e. is it predominantly a detective story or is the bunny in extreme danger from her investigation or is it more focused on the paranormal aspect of the bunny's psychic ability?

Science Fiction: Space bunnies with really cool gadgets travel to a newly discovered planet, only to find danger from alien bunny-munching monsters.

Spiritual: A bunny seeks to understand the invisible, spiritual nature of life, transcending the physical, material plane. Stories entered in this category can be from any faith tradition.

Suspense/Thriller: Your heroine uncovers the truth behind the little bunny-down-the-lane, who is really the axe-wielding murderer terrorizing a small Southern town.

Romance works may be any of the genres listed above, but must conform to the romance genre convention, that is, your bunnies find true love; they may be chaste (spiritual/inspirational), boff behind closed doors (sweet), boff energetically (more spicy), or boff themselves silly in interesting ways (erotic). Some erotic romances involve multiple lovers...but as long as they find true love, it's a romance.

Young Readers: Fran and Joe Bunny build a treehouse in their backyard and start a secret club to solve neighborhood mysteries. Young Reader books are generally aimed at kids up through Middle School. A book that is aimed more for older teenagers (Hunger Games, Divergent, for example) could be placed in the appropriate Fiction category and do very well.  The ultimate choice must be the yours.

How do I complete the upload form?

Take care in entering the information. Pay attention to what each field requires.

eMail fields require valid email format: me @, or net, or whatever.

URL fields require a valid URL. Copy and paste works really well. 

  • PayPal Transaction ID is included the upload instructions email. Copy and paste the ID into the field. The ID can only be used once. If you have paid for two entries, make sure you have completed both entry sections before you click on "Submit."
  • Publishing Company means the name of the company. If you are Self-published, enter that in the field.
  • Publisher's email address can be the email of anyone who can answer questions regarding your entry. If you are Self-published, put in your email address.
  • The Buy Now link is where the book can be purchased. The URL link must go directly to the book whether on the publisher's website or other vendor. The publisher's homepage ( is not sufficient.
  • In the Category field, select one category from the dropdown.
  • In the Word-count field, type in the word-count of the work to the closest 500. For example, a book that contains 45,789 words, enter 46,000. For a story an entry that's has 15,425, enter 15,500.
  • Sexual Heat, Explicit Language, Excessive Violence, Religious Content: These items require you to slide the little yellow (or orange, depending on your browser) button to indicate the level of each indicator for your entry. You can also click on the line to move the button.
    • Please read the note under the field. The minimum is 1. You must move the slider at least one place to the right.
  • File Upload: Click on "Browse." Your computer will display the File Manager. Find the book. Check the filename!!!!! See "How do I rename my entry file?" in the FAQ list for the correct format.
    Type in the Spam Check text.
    • Click on the file.
    • Click "Open."
    • The File Manager will go away. You will now be back on the upload form.
    • Check the field in front of "Browse." You should see the entire pathway necessary for the file to be located and uploaded. It will look something like C://Documents/mybooks/F01-mybook.pdf.
    • If your file is not named correctly, your entry will be disqualified.
    • Repeat the above for Entry Two, if you paid for two.
  • Click "Submit."

If your form has valid information--at least as far as the system knows--your entry will be uploaded and your information will be added to our records. You will get a notice at the top of the webpage that your entry was received. You will also receive a confirmation email at the address you provided.

And if you have trouble after following all this guidance, you can ask the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

What are the dates for the eBook Competition?

Seriously? Did you read the rules?

The dates for all our competitions are part of the rules. You can find them there.

What does "as the product sells" mean?

The eBook Competition is for electronic books which have been professionally published and are for sale to the public  Your entry should be a PDF of the work which any customer could purchase. We have received a staggering number of Advance Reading Copies (ARC), and even a few obvious Word-generated PDF versions of manuscripts. When the filename includes such things as "ARC," "edited version," or "print proof," it gets closer scrutiny. If an uploaded file is found to be an ARC, edited manuscript file, or a proof or galley, it will be disqualified. Entries should be clean, well formatted, and free of errors. Judges will consider these items as part of the evaluation process.

Where do I put my hot, hot, hot paranormal romance?

I'd like to enter my paranormal romance, but am not sure whether it would fall under paranormal romance or whether you would consider it erotica because it has graphic sex scenes.

Graphic sex scenes do not an erotica make.

Erotica is a specific genre which features explicit details and is more focused on sexual exploration, experimentation, and the seeking of pleasure as its own justification rather than the development of any lasting romantic relationships. This is not to say that the protagonists of a erotica cannot find lasting love, i.e. the Happily Ever After Ending of a romance, but it is not a requirement of the genre.

If your book follows the conventions of the romance genre -- the romantic protagonists fall in love and form a lasting relationship -- then it's a romance.

Erotic romances are a blending of the two genres, where the explicit words and details are used, but ends with the HEA ending. In general, if it's a romance, it's a romance, even if it's hot, hot, hot.

For purposes of this competition, you must decide where your book will best fit.

Why do you ask for so much information?

Are you nosy or something?

Not at all. Entries in the eBook Competition have a wide range of content. In the same way, our judges have a wide range of content preferences. We use the Sexual Heat, Explicit Language, Excessive Violence, Religious Content levels, as well as BDSM and GLBT information, to match our judges to your books. This way your entry will be placed with a judge who will already be excited about reading it. After that, it's up to you to have written a sparkling book that will get high scores.

A few words are in order here about bondage, domination, sadism, masochism (BDSM). These practices are generally depicted between consenting adults. If one of the practitioners is not consenting, the acts constitute torture. In this case, the entrant should indicate a higher level of Extreme Violence on the entry form. This will allow us to place the book in the hands of a judge who will be more comfortable with the content and less likely to mark it down because it's uncomfortable for them to read.

Why was I disqualified?

How do you know you were disqualified? Our rules state that disqualifications are made "without notification or refund." However, there are any number of reasons for an entry to be disqualified. Here are the most frequent reasons:

 A file that arrives with the filename 919954867.pdf

After you pay your entry fee, you will receive a link to the upload form. There are two steps regarding your file that have to match: the typed name and the uploaded file.

On the upload form you will see the field "Filename" where you type in what the filename should be in the format F01-MyBook (the category code-title). Correctly typing the filename does not affect the name of your uploaded file. This filename helps us figure out what weird uploaded file belongs to which entrant...and so we don't say rude, very funny things about the entrant. We used to correct naming errors, but the competition has grown and this hands-on assistance is no longer possible.

See the FAQ for assistance on correctly naming your uploaded file. We've gotten lots of entries where the filename is correctly typed in the entry form, but the filename on the actual uploaded file is funky beyond belief. So, it's up to you to make sure your files are correctly named for both the Filename box and your uploaded file.

Done correctly, your entry will slide into the correct category, fly to the appropriate judges, and have the best opportunity to win our award!

Advance Reading Copy or Review Galley

Seriously? Yeah, we've gotten uploads of ARCs and Review copies that had that in the filename, which was also not correct. Competition DroneObviously, you don't sell ARCs or review copies, so don't send them to us. More rude comments... Don't make us talk dirty!

Previously entered books

No kidding. If it's been entered before, even with a different publisher or title, or any other changes that you've made to it, it's still the same book. See the FAQ on this issue.

Inappropriate content

We're a pretty open-minded bunch here in EPIC, but even we have our limits. Depictions of bestiality, necrophilia, snuff, or pedophilia as acceptable sexual practices will get you tossed.

Naturally, we're fans of paranormal works. Shape-shifters are not animals, so the bestiality prohibition does not apply. Same deal for aliens who evolved from cats, dragons, skunk bears, whatever. They're all good...really good.

Zombies may be undead, but that means they're not corpses...right?... so, in the icky case of zombie sex, well...okay. But sex with corpses...stone-cold dead corpses, is too icky...yuck...pew...

Snuff, do we need to explain? If you don't know what that is, you don't write it, so don't worry about it.

In the case of pedophilia, we recognize historical accuracy may allow very young protagonists, and you'd have to live under a very large rock not to know that kids are engaging in sexual activity. Pedophilia is a crime, where an older person victimizes a child. This situation may be used as a plot element but, obviously, we don't accept books that depict pedophilia as an acceptable life choice.

There are things that cross the lines of most people's comfort zone. Using children and animals is one of them. There are some practices which, though there are clearly consenting adults who enjoy them, are so far out of the mainstream that we cannot ask our judges to read about them.

EPIC, as an organization, is dedicated to inclusion and acceptance, but our rules indicate where we've drawn the line.

Where do I put my 27,468 word novella?

Where you place your entry is up to you.

We purposely left the "gray area" between 20,000 and 30,000 words to give some flexibility to entrants. Traditionally, longer short stories can be up to 20,000 words and longer novellas can be up to 30,000 words. Anything over that is called a novel. These numbers are generalities and your publishing houses may have their own definitions. ePublishing has made it easier to get works of all lengths published, so we're trying to find a way to adequately represent all that diversity.

An issue we saw in both the Short Story and Novella categories were that entries ranging from Children's and Young Adult to highly erotic, from romance to mainstream, were judged together. Because of that, we divided the short works into two groups: Fiction and Romance.

We realize many novellas aren't that much shorter than novels, so this change allows you to enter your 20,000 word novella in a novel category. Keep in mind that your decision should be based on an objective evaluation of your work: is there enough plot and characterization to add the texture to the work that will allow it to compete successfully against the longer works? 

There are some novellas that are more compact and may fit better with short stories. Others may be longer, with plenty of plot and characters, and are, for all intents and purposes, novels. In fact, novellas have entered the novel categories, when there was not a specified ‘novella’ category, and won. Our judges don't really care how long, or short, the work is as long as you tell a good story.

Hopefully, this will help you make your decision on where to place your shorter works or novellas.

Why did you dump the Anthology category?

Frankly, anthologies were a pain in the posterior!

First there was the entry process. Even though we tried to simplify things, the entry of anthologies became very complex since there wasn't a single author...unless there was a single author...

Then there was the trophy, which could be presented to the editor, who took a whole bunch of stories and put them into a comprehensible whole, or the publisher, who produced the collection, or the author, who wrote all the stories. See how it got confusing? There were contributors of anthologies who thought everyone in the anthology should get a trophy. One year, we had a winner who kidding...fifty contributors. That would have almost tripled the number of trophies. Crazy, right?EPICDroneMascot

Judging was the final straw. Judges read each story in the anthology, scored the individual works then scored the collection as a overall whole. And what did they do if there were stellar pieces and the rest were not up to par, or visa-versa? Too much math when considering the whole. Not everyone can be Einstein or Pascal. Yikes!  Plus, it gave our Competitions Chair headaches and made her grumpy.

So we came up with one way to make the process easier for everybody, especially our hard working Competition Chair and her (nearly worthless) Competition Drones: individual authors can enter their anthology pieces in either a short works or a novel category.

This will, hopefully, simplify the entry process. We'll keep an eye on how this works out, but we're optimistic that it'll make more people happy than it ticks off.


How do I enter a story or novella from an anthology?

You will send us the entire anthology, renaming the file to reflect the individual story you are entering. The judges will only read the work indicated by the filename. Your upload form should reflect the name of the story, not the entire anthology.

Example one: You have a 10,000 word romance story in an anthology called Stories from the Wild West. The title of the story is The Virgin Schoolteacher. The length would require this work to be entered in the Romance Short Works (RS) category. The filename should be RS-TheVirginSchoolteacher.

Example two: You have a 23,000 fiction mystery novella in the anthology Gumshoe Diaries. Because the word count falls between 20,000 (the maximum for Short Works) and 30,000 (the minimum for the novel-length categories), you have the choice of entering this novella in either the Fiction Short Works category (FS) or the Mystery category (F06). So if your novella is titled A Bad Day for Bill, and you decided to put it in the Fiction Short Works category, your file should be named FS-ABadDayForBill.  If you decided to put it in the mystery category, your filename would be F06-ABadDayforBill.

Remember, you will send us the entire anthology. If you are entering more than one story from an anthology, you will submit each story separately. Yeah, a separate copy of the entire anthology for each story entered. Each story that is entered must have its own file. We understand that means that we may receive an anthology numerous times.

Why can't we just use the same anthology for several stories? Because the filenames have to reflect the title the judges are to read. Several judges may be assigned to the stories entered from a single anthology. The various stories may be entered in all kinds of categories and separate files for each entered story will assist the Judge Coordinator in assigning the entries to judges.

In the word count field, enter the count for the story you are entering, not the word count for the entire enthology.

What difference does it make if I upload works by two different authors on the same form?

We don't want to make things difficult for the entrants, but we have to manage a huge amount of data, match up the entries to the appropriate categories, send the finalist certificates to the finalists, and send the awards to the eventual winners. Keeping the individual authors separated makes managing the data much less confusing and less likely to be messed up.

We really appreciate the extra time you take to help make things as easy as possible on our end.