Thalia Wants Your story.one Book!

Together with our partner Thalia, we are thrilled to announce the first-ever Thalia Storyteller Award 2024! This contest is an open invitation to all book enthusiasts out there – because who knows great stories better than the readers themselves? Grab your chance to have your book read, to share it with the world, and to promote it. Enter our free competition and show us what you’ve got!

Start writing

Become a Thalia Storyteller NOW.

Thalia invites you to submit your very own masterpiece that will truly capture readers. The best part? The chosen story.one books will be in stock in Thalia bookstores and also actively promoted by Thalia! This is our mission to make the book market more direct, more colorful, and more regional. Therefore, the competition is open to everyone – no age limit, no preferred genre, and no language restrictions. If you prefer to write your book together with other authors, feel free to do so! Our new short and entertaining book format makes it even easier to explore your creative freedom.

Thalia Storyteller Award 2023

The Award Categories

Consider this an encouragement to let your creative freedom run wild. The Thalia Storyteller Awards offer a new level of diversity, which also shows in the Award Categories. Which one will you snag?

Woman reading a book illustration

Trend Stories

This is the category that proves that writing knows no limits. Get inspired by social media, because here we are looking for fresh, creative, never before seen stories. Short texts can be very exciting and it’s on you to show it! As lively as a TikTok video, as sassy as a caption – the book market can be just as dynamic and diverse. Become the trendsetter that demonstrates how exciting and innovative unique content can be.

Man reading a book with his dog illustration

Best Stories

Never mind genres as long as your story lights a spark! Comedy gold or drama at its finest, captivating fiction or real-life madness – we welcome them all. We want stories that captivate us, that excite us, that make our hearts heavy in one moment and let them overflow in the next. We want you to write us off our seats!

Community in Frame

Local Stories*

Let’s make stories about Cologne, Düsseldorf, Berlin, Hamburg and Vienna come alive! The best ten local stories will be awarded – as long as your book covers the unique local flair of one of these five cities. Whether it be a regional crime novel, a collection of neighborhood legends, or non-fiction specialized guides. In addition to these awards, there will be more initiatives of story.one and Thalia in these 5 cities, bringing life to your local literary scene with words that come straight from the community.

Prize Categories

10
Trend Books
10
Best Stories
10
Local Stories: Cologne, Düsseldorf, Berlin, Hamburg and Vienna
Trophy for the first place illustration

Trend Books:
• Winners will be shared on social media and promoted with EUR 1000 each #bookfluencer
• The books are presented in the 5 flagship stores

Best Stories:
• An evening together for all Best story winners with surprise guests (e.g. authors, Thalia personalities or other celebrities)

Local Stories:
• The books will be displayed in the corresponding flagship store
• There is a joint event for each location in which the 10 best local books are presented by their authors. Each author can bring up to 20 guests, there will be finger food and drinks
• Use regional media cooperation where possible

Meet the Jury

story.one founder Hannes Steiner
Hannes Steiner
publisher and founder of story.one
Barbara Kayser
Head of Category Management Buch Thalia

Ingo Kretzschmar, CEO Thalia

“At Thalia we discover stories. Therefore, It is a matter close to our hearts to create the Thalia Storyteller Award. With this competition we want to bring new and exciting content to readers and at the same time enrich the book market with fresh ideas. Through the partnership with story.one, we have found the ideal format to underpin and promote exactly this claim.

The awards’ three categories – ‘Trend Stories’, ‘Best Stories’ and ‘Local Stories’ – are carefully selected to reflect the diversity and dynamism of the stories that surround us all every day. I look forward to discovering the creative works that will emerge in these categories. And I am convinced that they have the potential to excite the reading market and create new favorite books.”

“I look forward to discovering the creative works that will emerge in these categories.”
Woman chatting online with other people illustration

The Selection Process

If you want anyone to read your book, these are the people: Thalia’s Category Management Book Team is responsible for scanning the book landscape for the most promising stories. And they will be the professionals who will pick their favorites from all the entries in the Thalia Storyteller Award. Are you looking for a way to become instantly recognizable to them? Start with a perfect cover, a catchy title and a great summary at the back cover. Even the authors biography can become a factor, so show yourself! But the moment of truth really comes once you open the book. Does the story grip you? Does it deliver what the cover and the book description promised? Take this to your heart and you’re closer to the win!

How to Participate

  • Create an account and join story.one
  • Be original! There is no limit to your creativity within this framework – all languages, genres, single author or more are permitted. We offer the book format, and you decide how you fill the pages. Now is the time to find your inspiration.
  • Take your time to think about your book ideas. And remember, the book cover is your opportunity to make that first impression. Make the most of it!
  • Write a book description that draws the reader in, and add a descriptive biography. Be sure to spend some time on this as the judges and your potential readers will be looking for a book that jumps out.
  • Now start writing. Fill 3 book pages with as much text as you want, 12-17 times. The texts can represent individual chapters, or they can be standalone short stories. You can use up to 3500 characters (including spaces) – you decide how many or how little words you use.
  • Upload your book on story.one by latest March 10th, and enter the submission code.
  • Get your submission code now at one of the +380 Thalia stores or – if you don’t have a shop around the corner – on thalia.de. The submission code not only includes participation but also your free author’s copy with all design options and shipping costs covered (worth up to 100€).
  • Do not wait until the code will be released on story.one channels (01.01.2024) – honestly, you should make it to Thalia long before then to get inspired (…and imagine seeing your very own story.one book there soon…)

Additional Details

  • Only books previously unpublished on story.one are eligible to join
  • It is possible to submit several books
  • Group submissions and anthologies are permitted, so start a challenge!
  • Rights remain with the authors and story.one owns only the distribution rights.
  • The author’s commission amounts to 10% (€1.80) from the 21st copy sold and increases when more than 3000 books are sold. So make sure to market your book once you have finished writing it!
  • The book is available everywhere, not just at Thalia.
  • Every book selling 300+ copies will be displayed in selected Thalia bookstores.

Other special prizes to be won:

  • LGBTQ: Celebrating diverse voices and stories.
  • Bilingual: Honoring the richness of multilingual narratives.
  • Most Beautiful Book Design: Rewarding exceptional creativity in book aesthetics
Books and a feather illustration

Are you ready to start? Join the movement.

Write your book

Have any questions? We’re here to help.

What is the idea of the Thalia Storyteller Award?

The Thalia Storyteller Award is a joint competition organised by Thalia and story.one. We share a love of stories and a passion for discovering the best ones and enriching the book market with fresh ideas. We are therefore looking for new, innovative books with stories that inspire readers. “Through our partnership with story.one, we have found the ideal format to celebrate and promote this spirit of discovery,” says Thalia CEO Ingo Kretzschmar. There are 3 award categories that reflect the diversity and dynamism of the stories that surround us every day. With the Thalia Storyteller Award, Thalia and story.one want to discover new stories that have the potential to stimulate the reading market and create new favourite books.

How can I participate in the Thalia Storyteller Award?

We are delighted that you want to be part of our storytelling journey! The first step is to register on story.one, where you will not only become part of our creative community, but also gain access to our innovative book format. Then grab your personal Thalia Storyteller code at one of the many Thalia bookstores throughout Germany and Austria. There you can be inspired by a world full of books – perhaps you will discover the gap that your book will fill.

Imagine how your book will one day stand on the shelves and catch the eyes of readers, fascinated by your title, your cover and a blurb that entices them to read it.

Before you get to that point, however, you should take time to form an idea that will excite you, the jury and your future readers. Talking to friends, family and first readers can be worth its weight in gold, because feedback is what makes good stories great.

As soon as your book is ready on story.one, you can finalise it via the checkout process by 10 March 2024 at the latest. It is important that you enter your Thalia Storyteller voucher code to secure your place in the competition. We look forward to seeing your finished book and are excited to see what fascinating stories you will share with us!

Where can I find the voucher code if I don’t live near a Thalia shop or I’m abroad?

No problem – the Thalia Storyteller code is just a click away! Simply request it by e-mail: Send a message to [email protected] and we will send you the code directly. If you’d rather wait, we’ll release the code here on our website on 1 January. You will only need it in the final step, when your book is ready for publication on story.one

What is the format of a story.one book?

Your story, your rules – within an innovative framework. Our story.one books consist of 12 to 17 chapters and have a total of 60 to 80 pages. This compact format is ideal for captivating today’s readers.

There are three pages per chapter for you to fill with your words and an additional page for visual elements such as images, illustrations or QR codes – make the most of this creative space! Whether you create a collection of short stories or a continuous narrative, whether you write monolingually or multilingually, whether you use traditional genres or create completely new ones: your vision sets the course. Show us how you bring the pages to life – we can’t wait to dive into your story worlds!

Does participation in the Thalia Storyteller Award cost me anything?

Absolutely not – your participation in the award is completely free of charge. As a sign of our appreciation, you will also receive a free copy of your book. The voucher code we provide to you also covers all other design options and shipping costs. We invest in your creativity at no cost to you.

What costs will I be billed if I want to order my book myself?

Your book is available from independent retailers at the standard price of 18 euros. However, as an author at story.one, you benefit from special conditions for direct orders via our platform. If you order 7 or more copies, you will receive an author discount of 22%. If you want to order 50 or more books, the unit price drops to just 12 euros. Additional benefits await you from this order quantity, which you can look up in the general FAQs under “My book at Thalia”.

What should I consider before I start writing my book?

Firstly, think carefully about the basic idea. What do you want to tell and why exactly is this story worth putting down on paper? This creative core of your book is crucial.

Invest time in designing your cover. Play around with the different design options, upload your own cover image, choose from different design elements for the front cover and design the back cover.

Create a captivating book title. Try out different variations and take your time until the title fits your story perfectly.

Don’t forget that the cover and title are the first points of contact with your potential readers. They make the first impression and can determine the success of your book.

Work carefully on your book description. It will not only be printed on the back of your book, but will also be displayed in online shops and should arouse curiosity and encourage people to buy.

Present yourself in an authentic author biography and add a personal picture. Your readers will be curious to find out more about the person behind the words.

What does the voucher for the Thalia Storyteller Award include and can I use it more than once?

The voucher you receive for participating in the Thalia Storyteller Award is your ticket to the world of authors. It covers the entire cost of creating your book – and that includes all the design options that would normally cost extra. In addition, you will receive a free author’s copy sent directly to your home. Depending on which design options you choose, the value of the voucher can be up to 100 euros. And the best thing is: you can redeem the voucher for every new book you submit to the award. So, whether you want to publish one book or several, with this voucher you are well equipped.

What defines a really good story that could be successful in the Thalia Storyteller Award?

A really good story is more than just a collection of words – it’s a window into new worlds, experiences and emotions. It can be based on true events or inspired by your fantasy, but the most important thing is that it connects with the reader. A story that creates personal connections or simply blows the reader away has a special power. Think of those moments when someone tells a story and everyone says: “That should be made into a film!” or “Someone should write a book about that”. Such stories arouse emotions, create images in our minds and never let go.

Whether it’s a gripping slice of life anecdote, a special interest story or a local legend – each one can be great. We look for stories that hook readers and offer them something meaningful or entertaining. It doesn’t matter if you have a large community or not; what matters is the ability to reach and touch your readers. At Thalia and story.one, we look forward to discovering and promoting great stories that open up new perspectives for our readers and touch them deep inside.

Who owns the rights to my book?

You are the creative mind behind your work and your exploitation rights remain untouched. You can use your stories wherever you want.

At story.one, we only claim the right to distribute your book for at least six months so that we can make it available in stores everywhere and promote it effectively. Sales in bookshops earn you a 10% royalty.

If you would like to withdraw your book from our distribution, you can do so for a fee of 25 euros to cover the costs incurred.

Our logos, designs and the special layout are protected by trademark law and may only be used as part of our service.

How can my book receive a special promotion from Thalia and story.one and be displayed in selected Thalia bookshops?

Every book that is published by story.one and sells more than 300 copies in bookshops, regardless of the Thalia Storyteller Award, automatically receives a special promotion from us and Thalia. This is your wild card for an outstanding presence: your book will be placed in selected Thalia bookshops. You don’t need to do anything else – we’ll contact you as soon as you’ve crossed this important threshold. We are also working on developing a feature that will allow you to view your sales figures directly in your story.one profile. We aim to have this feature available by the end of the Thalia Storyteller Awards to give you even more transparency and control over the success of your book.

In the meantime, the sales rank on thalia.de and the story.one x Thalia bestseller list provide an excellent guide to how well your book is selling. Visit www.thalia.de/vorteile/story-one/bestseller to see current sales successes.

Where will my book be available if I publish it on story.one?

As soon as you publish your book on story.one, it will not only be available on thalia.de and thalia.at, but will also be listed in many leading online bookshops worldwide. This gives your book the chance to reach a wide readership. Not every book makes it directly onto the physical shelves of Thalia bookshops, but we do look at books that are attracting attention. If you would also like to secure global distribution for your book, we offer an extended service for a fee of 100 euros that makes your book available worldwide for three years. For more information on international distribution, simply email us at [email protected].

What are the key elements for my book to find many readers and be successful?

Making a book successful is like a puzzle – it depends on many pieces:

Know your readers: think about who would enjoy reading your book. If you know what they like and your book offers exactly that, more of them will be willing to find out more about it.

Promote your book: Even the best book needs to be discovered. Tell people everywhere about your book – on the internet, with friends or through advertising so that it doesn’t remain unnoticed.

A beautiful cover and an exciting title: The first thing someone sees is the cover and title of your book. If these stand out and create curiosity, people are more likely to pick up your book.

Exciting content: Your story should be so exciting and well told that nobody wants to put it down. A well-written text is important so that your readers love the book and recommend it to others.

Positive reviews: If people like your book and say so, others will want to read it too. Good reviews are like a recommendation.

Stay open to change: Sometimes a small improvement, like a few new sentences in your story or a better description of the book, can have a big impact. But make sure you don’t keep changing everything, because that’s a lot of work and not always necessary.

So, the secret is not only to write an exciting book, but also to show it to the right people and make sure it gets noticed.

Who is behind story.one?

Hannes Steiner, the bestselling publisher and founder of story.one, and Thalia, the market leader in the German-language book trade, are the creative minds behind story.one. Since 2023, with Thalia as an investor, we have been connected by more than just business – it is our shared passion for stories and books that drives us. Ingo Kretzschmar, CEO of Thalia, describes this relationship aptly: “We at Thalia are true story explorers and are constantly on the lookout for new, captivating content for our readership. The Thalia Storyteller Award is our way of enriching the book market with fresh, dynamic content. The partnership with story.one offers us the perfect format to promote innovative and diverse literature. The categories selected for the award reflect the vibrancy and diversity of the literature that surrounds us every day. We are excited about the discoveries we will make and the new favourite books that will emerge from this competition.”

Where can I enter the voucher code for the Thalia Storyteller Award?

Your masterpiece is finished, the pages of your book are filled with creativity – now what? Simple: In the publishing process on story.one you will find a field for your voucher code. If you forget to enter it in the euphoria of finishing your book – don’t worry! We can also add your submission to the competition at a later date. Just send us an e-mail to [email protected]. And if you feel the Thalia Storyteller spirit but don’t want to take part in the competition, tell us that too. Remember: The voucher code is as universal as the talent of our authors – it’s patiently waiting to be used until you’re ready.

How exactly does the jury select the books?

When our jury makes its selection, first impressions count – just like with readers in a bookshop. That’s why it’s so important that the title, cover and book description go hand in hand and together create a convincing picture. The jury examines each book to see whether it arouses curiosity and makes readers want to read on. They do not always read the entire book; similar to readers who sometimes start at the end, our jury focusses on the essentials. A captivating book description, an appealing table of contents and a successful beginning – or a surprising ending – are your tickets to successful participation.

Of course, all books that fulfil the basic requirements with excellence will be read in full by our jury. A perfect combination of title, cover and book description is your ticket to the world of complete reading by our experts. And don’t forget: our jury and readers want to know who is behind the stories. A meaningful author portrait and background information, such as a strong community, can also be convincing and are an additional plus point for the sales chances of your book. So reveal something about yourself and let us know who you are – this will increase your chances of scoring points with both the jury and your future readers.

Can I use artificial intelligence (AI) for my book for the Thalia Storyteller Award?

AI can be a helpful tool to support your creativity. You can use AI to come up with innovative book ideas, find a compelling title, improve your book description and biography, or even design a captivating cover. AI is particularly effective at translating text into engaging design elements, especially if you provide creative input. Keep in mind, however, that the text of your book should be written by you personally. The winning books at each story.one award are checked to see whether they were created independently by the authors. So feel free to use AI as a tool for inspiration and support, but your own creative output and personal touch are crucial.

By the way: AI tools such as ChatGPT are great for developing creative ideas for book promotion and entire marketing campaigns.

What exactly is the Thalia Storyteller Award looking for in the ‘Local Stories’ category, and what kind of stories can I submit?

In the “Local Stories” category of the Thalia Storyteller Awards, we are looking for books that capture the heart and soul of the cities of Cologne, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Berlin and Vienna. You have the unique opportunity to present these cities from your personal perspective – may it be with real life stories, fictional narratives, young and fresh advice books or other genres.

We want you to let readers dive into the world of your city. Tell us about the colourful streets, the hidden treasures, the everyday encounters or the small, extraordinary moments. Your book should be a reflective portrait of life in the city that appeals to both locals and visitors and gives them a new, exciting look at well-known places.

Whether it’s true-life narratives, adventurous fiction, young people’s tips, innovative guides or any other genre, the aim is to show the diversity and dynamism of urban life. Your creativity knows no bounds – we encourage you to break traditional formats and show the city in a light that is fresh, original and engaging.

With “Local Stories”, we offer you a platform to share your own vision of the city and create books that not only entertain and inspire, but also open readers’ eyes to the uniqueness of their own urban neighbourhood. We look forward to seeing how you bring cities to life with your words.

In this category, it is not necessary for you to live in one of the cities mentioned. We invite you, regardless of where you currently live, to share your unique stories and perspectives about Cologne, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Berlin or Vienna and explore and portray these cities seen through your eyes.

What is being judged for the “Book Design” special prize?

The special prize “Book Design” focuses on the book as a complete work of art. It is important to us that the cover design and book content form a well-balanced unit and mutually enrich each other. A coherent design that visually captures the essence of your story and inspires readers even before they open the book is crucial. We look for designs that express originality, creativity and attention to detail and thus enrich the reader experience at first glance. For us, a convincing book design is an indicator that authors have created their work with passion and care.

What are the guidelines and the special meaning of the ‘Bilingual’ category at the Thalia Storyteller Award?

When submitting books for the Thalia Storyteller Award, we offer a variety of language options. For all categories, books can be submitted in any language that uses a left-to-right (LTR) writing format. This covers a wide range of languages and allows authors to share their stories in their native language or a language of their choice.

Of particular note is our special “Bilingual” category. In this category, we celebrate cultural diversity and dialogue between languages. Books submitted in this category should be written in both German and another language. This approach reflects our deep desire to use literature to build bridges between different cultures and promote a broader understanding of the diversity of our world.

In bilingual books, you can switch languages from text to text or even within a story. This offers a unique opportunity to dive into the depth and beauty of two languages and provide readers with an immersive reading experience.

We are proud to be a platform that uses the power of language to connect people and foster mutual understanding in today’s globalised world.

Do I have to specify a category for the Thalia Storyteller Award when submitting my book?

You can sit back and relax, because our Thalia Category Management experts will take care of categorising your book for you. They have the know-how to assign your book to the right category based on the cover design, title and book description. Just like in a real bookshop, an appealing cover and a captivating book description attract attention. If these elements are convincing, people will dive deeper into the content. Remember to polish your book until it’s as shiny on the outside as it is on the inside – our judges will appreciate it. There is only one chance for your book to win in a main category, but if it stands out, you could also shine in the special award categories.

What happens after I have published my book on story.one?

As soon as you have published your book on story.one, our team starts the review process. We take a close look at each book and often discover works in advance that have potential for a presentation in Thalia bookstores – whether in a single branch or even nationwide. But don’t worry, this process happens in the background.

As a rule, your book will be visible in all online shops within 2-3 days. After around 10-14 days, all relevant data is updated and your book can be ordered everywhere. Meanwhile, your author’s copies are produced and arrive at around the same time. This is also the perfect time to launch your own book campaign.

Use this moment to let the world know about your book and increase the chance that it will not only find a prominent place online, but perhaps also on a Thalia shelf soon.

Can I also submit poems or parts of poems for my book?

Absolutely, poetry has a home with us. You can fill your book with poems or include them as part of a larger narrative. Your work can be as diverse as your creativity allows. We have already seen that poetry wins the hearts of our readers and the jury – as the impressive example of the poetry slammer who made it to second place in our Young Storyteller Awards shows. So, whether it’s pure poetry or a mix of different literary forms, we’re excited to see the magical worlds you create through your words.

Can I really submit as many books as I like for the Thalia Storyteller Award and use the voucher code?

In general, it is possible to submit several books for the Thalia Storyteller Award. However, for reasons of fairness, we have introduced a limit so that each author can submit a maximum of three books. This rule is intended to ensure that all participants have an equal chance and that the diversity of the books submitted is maintained. We would also like to point out that submissions of serialised books may be rejected under certain circumstances. The competition aims to recognise books that can stand on their own and do not continue previous publications. We look forward to receiving your creative and unique submissions!

Can I participate with an already published story.one book?

For the Thalia Storyteller Award, we are looking for new and unpublished books that reflect the diversity and creativity of our authors. Therefore, your book should be texts that have not yet been published in a story.one book.

However, we understand that a very specific text may have the potential to shine in your new book. Therefore, you can submit a book for the award that includes such a story, as long as the other texts are published in a book for the first time. We want to offer readers originality and freshness that will inspire them.

Can I correct typing errors in my book afterwards?

Yes, at story.one you have the option of correcting typos or small errors in your book as part of a reorder. We offer a special feature that allows you to update your book. We charge a fee of 25 euros for this service. Please note that after the editing, all newly printed books will contain the changes, while copies already being distributed will remain unchanged until they are sold. This ensures that your story reaches your readers as quickly as possible in the best possible quality.

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