Million Writers Award was a short story literary award presented annually by storySouth. It honored the best online short stories. The award was structured to be egalitarian allowing for anyone to nominate a story including readers, authors, editors and publishers; prize money was donated by readers and writers; and the winners were selected by public vote from a short-list of entries selected by judges.
The Million Writers Award was founded by author Jason Sanford in 2003 at a time when the literary establishment "didn't believe online magazines were legitimate places to publish fiction," seeing it as a fad. Sanford set out to honor and highlight online only publications and stories with the award.
Stories eligible for the award include those first published in online literary journals, magazines, and e-zines that have an editorial process. The award has a variable cash prize, in 2011 for example it was $600 for the winner, $200 for the runner-up and $100 for third place. Prize money is raised through donations from writers, editors and readers and thus fluctuates each year. Anyone can nominate up to one story, while editors and publishers can nominate three stories. Stories must be at least 1000 words.
The award has become one of the premier online literary awards and was named a Hot Site by USA Today. The award was profiled in a six-page feature interview with editor Jason Sanford in the 2005 Novel and Short Story Writer's Market and mentioned in The 100 Best Trends, 2006: Emerging Developments You Can't Afford to Ignore as an example of the emerging online literary movement.