Young Storyteller
Award® 2024

The Young Storyteller Award, presented by story.one and Thalia, is looking for the most inspiring storytellers of our time. We believe in the power of young voices to completely transform the book market, setting the stage for new trends and bestsellers.

Are you ready to share your story? Join the Young Storyteller Award 2024. Write here. Write now.

This is what it’s about:

Until August 31, 2024 (24:00 CEST), everyone between the ages of 14 and 35 is invited to publish a book on story.one for free. Aside from the book format (“The TikTok of the publishing industry”), there are no restrictions. All genres and languages are welcome. From all submissions, the jury will select 10 storytellers to read at the live finale on October 11, 2024, at Thalia in Cologne.
New: The top-selling book will automatically qualify.

Your gateway to the world of books: The live jury, including Tabea Grunert @tabeajoanna (#Booktoker of the Year 2023), Ingo Kretzschmar (CEO of Thalia), Sahra Al-Dujaili (TikTok, Director Consumer Goods), Markus Breitenecker (Head of Entertainment at ProSieben Sat 1 Media), and Mia Eidlhuber (ALBUM/derSTANDARD), will choose the Young Storyteller 2024 winner following their live performance (reading of one story). The winner will receive EUR 20,000, a personal mentoring program, the presentation of their book at the Frankfurt Book Fair and promotional support from Thalia.

In 2024, all finalists will share a total cash prize of EUR 43,000, plus there are numerous special prizes.

These Prizes Can Be Won

1
Prize money: €20,000
2
Prize money: €10,000
3
Prize money: €5,000
Trophy
In 2024, for the first time ever, EUR 43,000 in prize money will be awarded.

Additionally, the top three finalists will benefit from a six-month mentoring program, a book promotion by Thalia and the chance to showcase their book at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Participants placing 4th to 11th in the live finale will each receive 1,000 euro.

There is no specific ranking for the longlist.
Illustration of a book with glasses and a quill

Everyone is a winner

As in previous years, only one person can become the Young Storyteller, but participating is what counts because …

  • You’ll connect with an inspiring community and meet fantastic people.
  • Everyone receives a free printed story.one book (with ISBN) – there are absolutely no costs involved.
  • You can use everything on the platform, choose from all design options for your cover and upload your own cover image – entering the participation code covers all costs for your first author’s copy (this “voucher” is worth up to 100 euros).
  • The rights to your texts remain with you, we receive the distribution rights for the book for at least 6 months.
  • You’ll earn a 10% author’s commission starting from the 11th copy sold in stores, with payments made every six months. Sales trends data can be found in your account.
  • Special deals for authors when ordering additional author copies from story.one (if you want more than the one free copy).
  • We’ll support your journey with numerous podcasts, book hacks (in our newsletter and on our social channels) and you’ll receive a free e-book from Hannes Steiner, “The story.one Bestsellerformel” which will take your skills to the next level.
  • The opportunity to showcase your book at Thalia and other prominent platforms. At story.one, anyone can make it onto Thalia’s shelves independently of the Young Storyteller Award and jury decision. With 300+ copies sold in stores, your community will immediately find your book in six selected Thalia flagship stores (Berlin, Vienna, Hamburg, Cologne, Leipzig, and Düsseldorf).
Illustration of a woman standing on top of a book

This is what the jury will rate:

Your book should have an original idea, an appealing theme, a captivating title, a professional cover, a concise book description as well as a meaningful author photo and an inspiring biography.

All genres and languages are welcome. Don’t think in terms of patterns, but how you can inspire the jury and readers. Be creative.

On 26.09.2024 at 11:00 a.m., all participants will receive written information as to whether they have made it onto the shortlist. These +100 books will then be ranked internally according to our own points system and the points system published here. You can achieve a maximum of 100 points – 30 for the idea, 30 for story quality, 20 for writing style and execution, 10 for book description and author biography and 10 for cover design and title.

After the award, all longlisters won’t receive their individual ranking, but will receive personal feedback on their book with tips on how they could have made their book even better and thus made it to the final.

New: 50% of all finale spots are reserved for non-influencers (no account with more than 2,000 followers). We want to ensure equal opportunities regardless of the jury voting.

Point system:

30 points
Evaluation of the creativity and uniqueness of the book concept
Book idea and originality
30 points
Evaluation of the narrative technique (narrative, suspense), coherence and emotional impact.
Quality of the story
20 points
Evaluation of the quality of writing, including use of language and narrative techniques.
Writing style and execution
10 points
Evaluate the visual appeal and relevance of the book’s cover and title.
Cover design and title
10 points
Evaluate the effectiveness of the book description and author biography in terms of context and interest in the book.
YSA 23
Book description and author biography
Join now

What story.one founder Hannes Steiner says about the
Young Storyteller Award 2024

Woman chatting online with other people illustration

Listen in and find out all the important news.

To the podcast

Ingo Kretzschmar, CEO Thalia

“I am delighted that we at Thalia are once again part of the Young Storyteller Award this year and that we will be enriching the book market with creative and unique books together with story.one.

Books that touch and inspire their readers in a very special way. Books that have bestseller potential. Let’s start this journey of discovery together! What does it take?

An outstanding story that inspires us all, that moves us and makes us see the world through different eyes. Are you ready?”

“I am delighted that we at Thalia are once again part of the Young Storyteller Award this year.”

The Jury

Ingo Kretschmar
Tabea Grunert
Andreas Rainer
Markus Breitenecker
Elke Steiner
Mia Eidlhuber
Thomas Becker

This is how you take part

The Young Storyteller Award is for anyone between 14 and 35 who has a story to tell – storytellers, creative writers, influencers, creators, copywriters… We are convinced that young storytellers need to help shape this exciting new phase of the book industry! And that the best and most creative books have yet to be written.
This is how simple the submission process is:

Multiple hands illustration

Additional information

  • All information about story.one can be found in the help center, for a quick start watch our Explainer video. We answer special questions about the Young Storyteller Award 2024 in the FAQ at the bottom of the page. Please do not send us a message until you have read the FAQ. We cannot answer all questions – we are a young startup with a relatively small team. We ask for your understanding.
  • Always up to date: Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media. You’ll be the first to receive all updates, e.g. when a new podcast goes live. The e-book “The story.one Bestseller Formula” will be published on May 15.
  • After a short review, your book will be published, and you are an author. Your book with ISBN is available in online and bookstores and you receive an author’s fee of 10% (from the 11th copy sold in retail).
  • Take part in the book promotion contest. While we wait for the jury result, we will award a prize to the best book promotion video. Enter the hashtag #storyonebookpromo in your promo video on social media.

This is what last year’s authors say!

They did it. You can do it too!

Vanessa Gerbeth

Top3 YSA 23

“I grew so much beyond myself during the YSA and I was able to take a lot with me as a young author. It was definitely an exciting time and a worthwhile experience.”

Vanessa Gerbeth

Judith Lahfeld

Participant YSA23

“Participating in the Young Storyteller Award was an absolute life changer for me. Not just because my current book is now available at Thalia. I found the courage to finally work as a freelance copywriter. Story.one has opened a lot of doors for me and I promise you, this format is addictive. You made me an author!”

Judith Lahfeld

Jakub Debowski

Finalist YSA23

“Impossible. Says the fact. Try it. The dream whispers. And that’s exactly what YSA is all about – making our dreams come true! This feeling of presenting your own book to the world is indescribable. We all have so many dreams but only one life. So what are you waiting for? Try it!”

Jakub Debrowski
Trophy

The Grand Finale

October 11, 2024 – the grand finale event will take place at the newly opened Thalia flagship store at Neumarkt 2 in Cologne. Mark this day in your calendar, everyone is invited. You can either be there as a finalist or as a guest in the audience.

You will be informed on September 26 whether you have made it onto the longlist and on October 3 you will find out whether you are one of the finalists. As a finalist, you can bring two friends with you and seats will be reserved for them.

At the finale, the 11 finalists (10 selected by Jury + bestselling book) will read a story from their books. The jury will decide directly on site – the grand finale is the selection of the winner of the Young Storyteller Award 2024.

Tickets for the finale will be available from mid-September, more information will follow in the newsletter. If you already know that you want to be at the finale event, send an email to [email protected] and we will put you on the list.

Hand with 5 hearts illustration

Thalia Special Prizes

There are Thalia special prizes for the three most beautiful and the most innovative book, each endowed with a book voucher worth EUR 300. Get inspiration in one of the Story Spots in the Thalia flagship stores in Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Vienna.

Stack of 3 books illustration

Timetable for the Jury Decision

  • Until 31.08.: Submit your story.one book with the voucher code “YSA24”.
  • 26.09., 11:00 a.m.: Decision of the jury on the longlist +100. Information by e-mail to all participants (with YSA24 code) whether they have made it onto the longlist or not.
  • 03.10., 11:00 am: Announcement of the 11 finalists and the winners of the special prizes (award ceremony at the final)
  • 11.10.: Live decision at the grand finale in Cologne
Two hands holding up a book illustration

Free book-pdf

Unleash the bestselling author in you – the “Hannes Steiner story.one method”: For years he has published one bestseller after another, but now publisher Hannes Steiner is taking on the role of the author himself. In his first book, he sets out to decipher what for many is a closed book: how to write a bestseller. The “story.one bestseller formula” offers not only theoretical knowledge but also practical instructions that can be implemented immediately – the essence of the many years of experience of the two-time Publisher of the Year and visionary founder of story.one. According to him, there is a great book inside each of us, just waiting to conquer the world, and it has never been easier than it is today. So if you’ve ever dreamed of writing a book, the perfect moment is now.

The book is available free of charge as a PDF on story.one for all registered users and also free of charge on thalia.at and thalia.de. It can also be purchased as a hardcover in bookshops for 18 euros.

The Awarding Night

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
Benjamin Franklin

Any more questions?

What’s new for the Young Storyteller Award 2024?


For 2024, we have a lot of ideas to help you use story.one and enter the Young Storyteller Award. Our goal is to support you and your writing, and give you advice and help to write a great story.one book

Where can I find answers to general questions about story.one? 


You’ll find these in the Help Center on our website. There’s lots of information and resources to help you start on your storytelling journey.

Where can I ask questions about the Young Storyteller Award?


A lot of the answers are right here on the YSA24 website – all the important information about how to take part, how it is judged and the prizes.

Are there any other resources I can use?


Yes – you could start by listening to the story.one podcast on the Young Storyteller Award with our founder Hannes Steiner (e.g. on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast). You will also receive, completely free of charge, an e-book ‘The story.one Bestseller Formula’ on May 15, which will help you perfect your skills. It covers not only writing, but also how you can create an all-round convincing book.

How do I stay informed about award updates?


We recommend you subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Instagram and TikTok. where we regularly share updates, tips and exciting news about the award, and writing.

I haven’t used story.one before. Is there a quick way to start? 


For anyone unfamiliar with story.one, there’s a practical explainer video which outlines how you can get started with story.one and create your own book. Watch it on our website to get a quick start in storytelling.

Can any genre of story win the Young Storyteller Award?

Absolutely – you can win the Young Storyteller Award with any kind of book in any genre. Previous finalists have been impressively diverse, and each year the make-up of the final is different. We don’t give the judges any guidelines in terms of genre. We’re all about finding stories that inspire both readers and our judges.

We encourage you to think beyond traditional genres. The Young Storyteller Award is your chance to reinterpret the concept of the book – think of a story.one book as Book 2.0. Whether your story is set in a fantastical world, is an inspirational biography or presents innovative ideas as a guidebook, the most important thing is that it’s authentic and engages readers.

Let your creativity flow, take the opportunity to use your unique style and voice to create a book which really stands out. Here at story.one, we believe the most exciting and influential books are often the ones which disrupt existing categories and open up new perspectives. A book of poetry came second in 2023, which shows any genre can potentially be a contender.

How long does it take to write a story.one book?

story.one’s unique format has revolutionized the writing process, and the way an engaging book is created – it’s like magic. We have not only simplified the writing process, but also redefined the way books are designed to allow anyone to create a professional looking book quickly and effectively.

The time it takes to write a story.one book can vary, but many of our authors find they can finish their book in as little as 14 days if they have a clear vision and a good concept. The speed of our process allows you to react quickly to current trends and keep your content topical.

It’s always been important to us that books are not only written quickly but can be published quickly. Our flexible way of publishing means authors can respond promptly to social developments and reader interests. Creating a book at story.one is both a creative process, and also a timely and dynamic one, allowing authors to share their stories with the world effectively and without delay.

How much can I earn as a story.one author?

You can start earning commission on your book as soon as the 11th copy is sold in bookstores. We offer a base commission of 10%, which is €1.80 per book sold – double what many other platforms pay out on similar formats.

Our commission model is designed to grow with the sales of your book. As more books are sold, the commission increases as a percentage, meaning your earning potential increases with your book’s popularity. This tiered commission is an incentive for authors to promote their books and reach a wider audience.

We provide all the book creation technology and the use of the platform for free. We’re the only platform in the world that offers the entire process, including a book with an ISBN, free. We did this because we believe everyone in the world should have the opportunity to publish a book and earn an income from it.

Plus, all participants in the Young Storyteller Award receive a free copy of their book, which is a saving for our authors and enables them to publish without financial risk.

By being a part of story.one, you can share your creative works with the world, and have the opportunity to generate income from your books.

Where can I find out more about the story.one book format?

If you’re new to story.one, our explainer video is the perfect place to start. It provides a quick, easy-to-understand overview of the platform, the format and how you can publish your first book. You’ll find it on our homepage.

Help Center:

Our Help Center is a great resource filled with information and support. Here you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions on loads of topics, including:

  • The book format: Detailed explanations of the special features of our format, such as chapter length, cover design and more
  • Publication process: Step-by-step instructions on how to get your book from idea to publication
  • Marketing tips: Advice on how to promote your book and increase sales
  • Legal issues: Information on copyright and other legal aspects of book publishing.

These are all designed to provide you with everything you need to get the most out of story.one and successfully publish your book.

Visit our Help Center and watch the explainer video to get an insight into what story.one has to offer. We’re here to help you share your stories in the best possible way.

Can I take part if I’m not a great writer?

Writing is one aspect of the Young Storyteller Award, but don’t let that put you off. Almost everyone who can tell a good story is a capable of writing a great story – even if they don’t realize it. The most experienced writers and bestselling authors occasionally struggle with doubts about their writing; it’s a normal part of the creative process.

In the Young Storyteller Award, your work is not only judged on the quality of the text, but much more is included in the assessment. Our judging scoring system considers other elements, like the originality of the idea, the emotional impact of the story, the writing style and execution, as well as the cover design and book description. Each of these contributes to how your book is judged overall.

So… if you have a story inside you that’s waiting to be told, then you need to share it. Most people can write much better than they think – sometimes the only thing standing between you and a published book is the courage to take the first step. And who knows? Maybe you’ll discover you’re our next book star!

Don’t let any doubts about writing put you off. Take the plunge and take part in the Young Storyteller Award – we look forward to seeing what you have to say.

Remember: every story you have within you could inspire, comfort, or move someone else – it’s your unique perspective on the world waiting to be read. Take this opportunity to use your voice and share your perspective; it’s more valuable than you might think.

What is important to the jury of the Young Storyteller Awards?

The Young Storyteller Awards jury gives great importance to originality and emotional depth. What will impress them is books based on a unique idea which offer something new and unusual – or tell a compelling story. Contemporary topics which reflect the zeitgeist are also in demand. Emotional resonance is another key to the success of your book. The jury wants to feel real emotions – it could be joy, sadness, amazement, or hope. A book which emotionally resonates with readers will be remembered for a long time.

The author biography gives the jury an insight into you, your credibility, and the authenticity you have in the topic you have chosen. A well-written biography shows how deeply you are connected to the topic and why you’re the right person to tell this particular story.

The book description plays an important role in evaluating your submission. This is the window into your book’s world and should spark curiosity and intrigue – without giving too much away. A clear, engaging description will immediately engage judges and readers and is crucial to generating interest in your book.

Successful authors often say the best books come from a deep personal connection to the subject. Stephen King said: “Write not to make money, but to break the hearts of readers.” This highlights the importance of passion and emotional honesty in the writing process.

So, the jury is not just looking for technical competence in writing, but for stories that are well-told and have a deep meaning or strong emotional impact. Your job as an author is to convey your unique voice and perspective as authentically as possible. Take the chance to show the world through your eyes and create something which moves and inspires both the jury and your readers.

How does the Young Storyteller Award jury work?

The Young Storyteller Award selection process is thorough and multi-stage to ensure each book is judged fairly and professionally. Our jury consists of experts in the fields of literature, publishing and media who bring their expertise to the judging process:

  1. First review of all books: In the first round, we check to make sure each submitted book fulfils the basic requirements. This includes checking the title, the cover, the book description, the biography, the table of contents, the first story and the design. Books that do not meet the requirements – an uninspiring title, a random cover, or an inadequate book description – are eliminated at this stage. About 80% of submissions do not reach the next round. The very good and interesting book concepts are already marked for the final review during this first screening.
  2. A detailed examination of the 100+ longlist: Books which fulfil the basic requirements move to the next round, where there’s an in-depth evaluation of content. The jury reads the books until they form an informed opinion. It is recommended the quality of the book is consistent throughout and not only the final pages. Books which get through this round form the longlist and have a realistic chance of reaching the final. Each book on the longlist is read and evaluated in full, with at least two judges involved. After the awards have finished, each author on the longlist receives individual feedback on their book.
  3. Selection of the shortlist and the final: The shortlist is decided in numerous discussions. This involves intensive consultations under the direction of the preliminary jury and the involvement of the final jury. The shortlist, from which the final jury selects the finalists, looks at how the idea, the text, the overall implementation, and the fit with the author all work together.

The decision on the finalists is the result of a collective, thoughtful process involving the entire story.one team. A lot of emphasis is placed on in-depth meetings and jury meetings to select the best stories that will move and inspire the audience.

Is participating in YSA24 really for free, and what is included in the 100 euro voucher for all participants?

Yes, the participation in YSA24 is free of charge for you. Here’s how to redeem the voucher and the benefits it offers.

  1. Free use of all features: You can use all our platform’s design options free of charge. This includes various layouts for the book cover as well as the option to upload your own image for the cover
  2. No printing or shipping costs: It covers the cost of printing your first author’s copy and shipping. You will receive a free copy of your book, be sent to you without any additional shipping cost
  3. Full design flexibility: You have free access to all the design options offered by story.one, so you can create your book exactly how you want

Redeeming the voucher: Enter the code YSA24 in the corresponding field when completing your book order. Using the code activates the voucher, and also automatically registers you for participation in the Young Storyteller Award 2024. The code YSA24 has two functions: it means you don’t incur any costs for your first author’s copy and registers you in the competition at the same time.

Benefit from lower prices – only for authors: If you would like to order more copies of your book right away, you can do so at reduced prices, because we want to offer all authors the opportunity to make their book accessible to a broader audience.

You can purchase any quantity or choose from 3 packages:

  • Basic, from 7 copies: The price per copy drops to €14. Perfect for surprising Family&Friends with a personalised gift
  • Premium (most popular), from 50 copies: The price drops to €12 per copy, you also get 3 additonal free copies and you can participate in mybook@Thalia. Your book will then be presented in a Thalia flagship store of your choice for at least one month.
  • Professional, from 300 copies: The price is then only €10 per copy and we’ll give you 30 free copies on top for your book promotions (e.g. readings, distribution to media, book bloggers, influencers etc). Participation in mybook@Thalia is of course also possible with the Professional package.

As soon as you enter the voucher code “YSA24” when ordering more than one copy, the costs for the first author’s copy will be automatically deducted from the invoice total.

Important: You Must Use the Code: To benefit from these advantages, you must enter code YSA24 at checkout. The benefits cannot be credited afterwards if the code was not used when ordering. If you do forget the code, you will be able to enter your book for the Young Storyteller Award at a later date. Simply write to the story.one support team and we’ll be happy to help ensure your book is entered.

With these wide-ranging services, story.one guarantees that you can focus entirely on writing and designing your book. Take this opportunity to share your story with the world!

Which languages can I write my book in for the Young Storyteller Award?

You can submit your book in any language which written left to right. This underlines the fact the Young Storyteller Award is a global competition in which authors from all corners of the world can participate, regardless of where they live. To honor the diversity of the participants and to ensure a fair evaluation, the jury will call in translators if necessary to assess the submitted works in other languages.

But. It’s important to note that if you make it to the final, you must present your book or an excerpt from it in German or English. This ensures the communication during the final event runs smoothly and everyone present, including the jury and audience, can fully understand the presentations.

Do I need to write my story.one book on the platform?

Yes, it’s best to write your story.one book directly on our platform. We’ve developed an intuitive editor which makes it easy for anyone to get their thoughts and stories written. The editor is designed so you can see how your text will look in the finished book while you’re writing. This gives you the chance to see what your book’s layout will look like early in the writing process and adapt it if you need to. The story.one editor offers loads of options for formatting and designing your text, which makes the whole process efficient and also enjoyable.

Why is the correct language setting in the editor important?

Your language selection not only affects the display of the published texts on story.one, but also determines what is displayed as the book language in the online shops. It is therefore important to specify the correct language in the story editor. This ensures that your book is presented correctly both on story.one and in bookshops. You can then also use the automatic spell checker for your text.

I ‘m going to be 36 soon, can I still take part?


Yes, you can participate if you are 35 years old or younger at the start of the competition on April 24. This means anyone born on or after April 24, 1988, is eligible to enter the Young Storyteller Award 2024.

Who owns the rights if I publish a book with story.one?

If you publish a book with story.one, the rights of use for the book generally remain with you as the author. story.one receives the distribution rights for the book for as long as you wish, but for at least a period of six months. This means you have the freedom to use text from your story.one book elsewhere.

We attach great importance to offering our authors freedom in all legal matters. It’s important to us you retain control over your creative work and at the same time benefit from our platform to make your stories accessible to a wide audience.

Can I use existing content to create a story.one book?

Yes. You can turn any of your previous text, books, or other content into a story.one book. Be inspired – your story.one book can be based on a variety of content, not just text. You can use content from your videos, audio material, social posts or other sources.

The important thing is that it is a first publication on story.one. This means the specific compilation and editing of your book must not have appeared on our platform before. If you completely revise one of your story.one books and it becomes a new work, you can resubmit it to the Young Storyteller Award. But we recommend taking with first publications.

Are joint submissions also possible?

Definitely – and it’s welcome at story.one. In 2023, a joint submission won the competition.

Funnily, we forgot to put a second chair on the stage for the final. This year we’ll make sure there are enough chairs – just in case creative teamwork triumphs again. Get your stories ready, and don’t worry, this time we’ll make sure there’s plenty of seating.

How do I ensure my story.one book is on sale at Thalia and their flagship stores?

The best way is, of course, to be among the top 3 in the Young Storyteller Award. This not only guarantees high visibility, but also direct attention from Thalia.

There are other chances to be noticed by Thalia outside the competition. At story.one we constantly review all published books and forward interesting titles to Thalia’s purchasing department. This gives every book the chance to attract attention regardless of the outcome of the award.

story.one has another great option: as soon as more than 300 copies of your book have been sold and paid for in stores, it book will automatically be made available in Thalia’s six flagship stores in Berlin, Hamburg, Vienna, Cologne, Leipzig and Düsseldorf and actively promoted by story.one. This allows you to get visibility and recognition through your own sales and success, independent of the jury. Successful books on story.one are promoted accordingly.

How does the most popular book qualify for the final?

For this year’s awards, we’ve created a special way for participants to get into the final: the most popular book. All books sold before September 30, 2024 will qualify. The book with the highest number of sales by that day automatically gets a place in the finals.

The selection of the most popular book is based on verified sales figures in stores worldwide. As with the distribution of author commissions, all books which have been paid for and picked up are included in the final total.

Why should the most popular book qualify for the final? Our goal is to provide a platform which recognizes both creative excellence through our judging panel, and also recognizes a story’s popularity and relevance. In the book market, a book’s popularity is measured by its readers, through sales. By including the most popular book, we open a door for those stories which have won the hearts and interest of readers.

Does that mean the competition is purely commercial
Not at all. The Young Storyteller Award is an initiative to promote and encourage diversive and creative young authors from around the world. The inclusion of the most popular book in the final highlights another way to measure success and shows how active our community is in making their favourite stories popular. We want to create a balance between artistic recognition by our jury and recognition by readers.

We hope this motivates authors to work on both the quality of the stories and to actively promote them. This competition is a way to celebrate the power of storytelling while discovering new trends and bestsellers.

How do I write a bestseller?

Have you ever dreamt of writing a book that has real impact? Hannes Steiner, the brains behind story.one and a true publishing industry professional with a stellar track record, has packed all his knowledge into “The story.one Bestseller Formula”. This guide shows you how to take your book to the next level.

Download the book:
The best bit? Hannes has decided to make the book available to all story.one users as a free download. Either:

  • Download the PDF directly from the story.one site, available for smartphones and desktop
  • Get the ebook version from Thalia.de

The podcast:
There’s also a podcast in which Hannes delves deeper into the book’s topics. This is your chance to go behind the scenes of writing and marketing bestsellers. Listen now on Spotify.

Get “The story.one Bestseller Formula” absolutely free, right away, be inspired and get started on story.one. The best books have yet to be written. What are you waiting for?

How can I see the sales figures for my book and what will qualify my book as the most popular?

View sales figures:

As a story.one author, see  the ‘Sales Trend’ feature in your profile. Using this dashboard you can see at any time how many copies of your book have been ordered from retailers worldwide and delivered by us. This includes all retail orders, not just those from Thalia. For a detailed explanation of your sales trend data, visit our Help Center.


How we measure the most popular book:

The ranking for the most popular book is based on the number of copies actually sold in stores up until September 30. It does not include copies which have been ordered but not sold or collected.

These precise sales figures come from established retail partners whose data is regularly and thoroughly checked to ensure the accuracy. Please note author copies which you buy at a discounted price directly from story.one aren’t included in the sales figures for the most popular book.

Authors who submit their book earlier may have a slight advantage as their sales figures are collected over a longer period. It can take up to 72 hours around the deadline for your book to be finally checked and published and it about 14 days for the book to be available in all bookstores.

What do I see on the story.one x Thalia bestseller list?

The story.one x Thalia bestseller list only shows sales at Thalia. It’s a good indication of how your book compares to other titles sold through Thalia. Although this does not include all sales of your book, it does provide a valuable perspective on your book’s popularity and market penetration with Thalia.

This will help you to understand the success of your book and give you insights to adjust your marketing to increase your book’s visibility.

What can I expect from the mentoring program for the top 3?

The mentoring program for the top 3 winners of the Young Storyteller Award is an exclusive, enriching opportunity. This six-month program is personally led by Hannes Steiner, the story.one founder.

Mentoring will include regular personal check-ins and individual coaching, and also valuable networking opportunities within the publishing industry. An essential part of the program is our connection with Thalia, one of the world’s largest booksellers. This connection offers a unique chance to make valuable contacts and gain in-depth insights into the publishing and book trade.

Taking part in the mentoring program is not only a way to expand your skills and knowledge, but also opens doors to professional opportunities and allows you to build long-term relationships in the book world.

Is my book only available at Thalia or can it be found in other bookstores and online?


Your book can be found in all bookstores and online stores. This gives you the opportunity to reach a broad reading audience and maximize your reach beyond individual retail chains. By making your book widely available, you increase your chances of visibility and sales.

Do I have to be an influencer with a lot of followers to have a chance of reaching the final of the Young Storyteller Award?

No. In fact, at story.one we’re committed to allow anyone to make it to the final, regardless of the size of their community or follower count. Our aim is to provide a platform where undiscovered talent can be acknowledged and nurtured.

We define “influencers” as people who have a social media account with more than 2,000 followers as of the deadline, September 30. To ensure a mixture of voices, 50% of all final spots decided by the jury are reserved for participants who are not considered influencers. This helps us promote a diverse group of talent and that the focus is on the quality of the stories rather than the popularity of the author.

It’s important to remember this only applies to the 10 places awarded by the jury. It does not apply to the most popular book, for which all sales up to September 30 count, regardless of the author’s follower number.

Do the sales of a book influence jury voting for the Young Storyteller Award?

No. The jury’s decisions are solely based on the stories’ content, their originality, the quality of the writing and their emotional impact. But, it’s interesting that the jury often choose titles which are also popular with readers. Although sales have no influence on the verdict, it is a good indicator if a book sells well. It shows it’s popular outside the jury and that readers are enthusiastic about it.

Will I get to know my score – and will I receive feedback?

Unfortunately, entrants won’t receive information about their score. Because of the large number of submissions, it’s not possible for us to provide every participant with feedback.

The exception is those who made it on to the longlist. At the end of the awards, every author whose book made it to this round will get individual feedback. This feedback is based on the points system, which evaluates various aspects of your overall creative. The aim is to provide constructive advice and insights which can help you develop your work and improve future writing projects.

Is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) allowed when writing for the Young Storyteller Award?

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in literature and writing is developing rapidly and raises complex questions. As of April 2024, the technology is so advanced that it’s often no longer possible to tell if a text was generated by a human or AI, especially if the model has been fed with individual samples of an author’s writing. AI systems can generate text that’s almost indistinguishable from human work in terms of style and content, providing a powerful tool for creative professionals.

At story.one, the use of AI is not ruled out in principle. We recognize AI can be a useful tool to support authors in their creative process. However, it’s important to emphasize that the Young Storyteller Award does not only judge writing quality. Our scoring incorporates several aspects, including originality of idea, emotional depth, character development and the overall impression of the work. These reflect the author’s ability to touch and engage readers on a deeper, personal level, which goes beyond what current AI models can.

We encourage all participants to be transparent when AI plays a role in their writing process. This is similar to Pulitzer Prize entrants who disclose when AI technologies have been used to support their journalism. This openness is not only a matter of fairness and ethics, but also helps to maintain the trust of readers and the literary community.

Responsible use of AI at story.one

As a company, story.one is committed to the responsible use of AI. This includes the ethical and thoughtful use of AI systems, always considering aspects such as fairness, transparency, data protection and social impact. Our goal is to ensure the technology is used for the benefit of society while minimizing potential harm to individuals and groups.

It’s essential all participants – authors and organizers – maintain authenticity. A work submitted to a literary competition should reflect personal expression and human experience, which is ultimately at the heart of all great literature.

Overall, we emphasize the importance of the deliberate and thoughtful use of AI in literary creation. It’s crucial all stakeholders use the tools at their disposal responsibly to preserve the integrity and value of literary works.

Do I have to declare myself as the author, or can I publish under a pseudonym?

At story.one, it is possible to write and publish under a pseudonym. This can be useful, especially if there are important reasons for doing so: it could be authors writing about sensitive topics which could affect their privacy or security, or if they have a prominent public role in their profession that’s not compatible with their writing. A pseudonym can be used to gain creative freedom, unaffected by social or cultural expectations.

But, every author should be aware the jury looks to get a comprehensive understanding of the person behind a book, especially when it comes to assessing authenticity and personal expression. It’s therefore important the authenticity of the work is recognizable, even under a pseudonym.

It’s worth remembering, anonymity ends at the final at the latest. If you’re selected as a finalist, it would be necessary to reveal your identity to the organizer to participate in the final event and, potentially, the award ceremony. This ensures the integrity of the competition and a fair and transparent evaluation of all entries.

Can I submit several books to the Young Storyteller Award 2024?

Yes, it is generally possible to submit several books. There is a fair use rule that puts a limit of three books submitted per author. This is to guarantee equal opportunities and that a large number of authors get the chance to present their works.

Plus, we generally advise against submitting sequels to individual works. The competition aims to promote individual, self-contained works that stand on their own. Submissions of sequels can distract the focus from the individual quality of each book submitted and are not advisable. It’s better to choose distinct, independent works that each present their own story and unique character.

Can you correct typos, minor spelling or grammatical errors, in your book?

At story.one, you can. We offer a special feature that allows you to make corrections – particularly useful if you find minor errors after your book has been printed. You can find more information about this in the Help Center.

But the odd spelling or grammatical mistake doesn’t usually have a massive negative impact on the jury’s assessment as long as the overall impression of your work is outstanding. Quality and depth of content, character development and originality of the narrative are often more important than minor spelling mistakes.

For more on automatic spell-checking and proofreading, visit our Help Center where you’ll find resources and tools to help you check and optimize your manuscript before submission. This can help increase the quality of your book and improve your chances of a positive response in the competition.

Do I have to come to the final on October 11 in Cologne to win the Young Storyteller Award?

Yes, taking part in the final in Cologne on October 11 is required to win the Young Storyteller Award and receive prize money (places 1-11). This appearance is an essential part of the competition – it gives finalists the chance to present their work. If a finalist drops out, a replacement nomination will be made (11th and 12th place in the jury ranking will also be informed on October 3) to maintain the fairness and integrity of the competition.

For 2024, we’ve introduced prize money for all finalists to ensure travel costs are covered for everyone.

How the final works – reading competition: Each finalist has 5 minutes to present themselves and their work. This could be, for example, reading out a story from the book. After the presentations, each jury member awards points to their 3 favorites: 3 points for first place, 2 points for second place and 1 point for third place. If there’s a tie, the number of higher rankings will be the tiebreaker. If there is still a tie, the score of the preliminary jury decides.

Significance of live performance in the book market: The tradition of live performance has a long history in the book market that can be seen in events such as the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize, one of the most important literary prizes in the German-speaking area. This type of performance often enables even introverted people to impress with an impressive presentation of their work and win competitions. The direct exchange and immediate feedback from the audience intensify the literary experience and emphasize the importance and impact of the stories presented.

Can I take part if I am younger than 14?

To officially participate in the Young Storyteller Award 2024, you must be 14 years old by August 31, 2024 at the latest. This means that you must have been born before or on August 31, 2010 to be able eligible.

If you are younger, you can still take part, but not be part of the contest. This gives you a way to ‘warm up’ for future years. We encourage young talent to develop their creative skills and are happy to welcome any participant who wants to share their stories and ideas with us. Your early start can be a valuable experience and help develop your talent and prepare you for future competitions.

We appreciate the enthusiasm and creativity of young writers and are excited to see the unique perspectives they bring. So, please submit your stories and become part of our inspiring community!

Do I need a credit card to take part in the Young Storyteller Award?

No, as long as you only order one copy of your book and use the code YSA24. By entering this code when ordering, all costs will be covered, so no further payment is needed. This makes entering easier and ensures everyone has a chance to enter the competition, regardless of their payment options.

Will I receive confirmation my book has been entered in the Young Storyteller Award?

You can check that your work has been entered when you use the YSA24 code when you order your book. After the book has been uploaded and checked you will receive an invoice (even if the amount is €0) showing the free copy made possible by the code. The invoice confirms your book has been correctly registered for the competition.

What should I do if I have forgotten to enter the code?

Simply write to us, [email protected] (subject: Forgotten code). We can add the code up to September 5 and submit your book to the jury. Please note, a credit for costs already incurred (like the voucher worth up to €100) is not possible. So it is important you make sure you enter the code YSA24 at checkout so you don’t incur any costs and your book is entered into the competition.

When will I receive my free author’s copy?

Your free author’s copy will be sent to you about 10-12 days after your book has been uploaded. At the same time as the copy is sent out, your book will be available in stores. This allows you to get your work in your own hands and see how it finds its way to readers.

Please make sure your address and name details are correct when you upload your book. We will not be able to send another free copy if the original does not reach you due to an incorrect address or name. We recommend you check all details carefully before completing the upload. Thanks for your care and attention in this step.

Where can I order books at a discount?

As an author at story.one, you can order discounted author copies if you buy at least 7 copies of your book. This is a great way to get your book at a reduced price and share it with family, friends or readers.

For larger orders, we offer additional discounts and special offers, such as the MeinBuch@Thalia program, which comes into effect if you want to order more than 50 copies. These offers are ideal for authors who want to sell their books at events or plan to distribute their work widely.

If you need more information about discounts or ordering options, visit our Help Center, where you’ll find instructions and helpful tips on how to get the most out of your orders. We are happy to provide advice and assistance in supporting your publishing.

Do I have to pay tax on the prize money and the author’s commission?

As a rule, prize money from literary competitions such as the Young Storyteller Award does not have to be taxed. However, there are exceptions: If you make your living mainly from your work as a writer or author and have a VAT number (UID number), the prize money may be taxable.

The author’s commission, the income from the sale of your book, is generally subject to tax. There are exceptions for small amounts of income which fall under certain allowances. The exact regulations may vary depending on your country of residence.

For information on the taxation of prize money and author commissions, we recommend visiting the Help Center on our website, where you’ll find specific help and guidelines to better understand and comply with your tax obligations as an author.

Can I stop the distribution of my book in the retail trade?

Yes, you can stop the distribution of your book in retail six months after the publication date. There is a one-off fee of €25 for stopping distribution and we will then forward this change to all retail book databases. Further details can be found in our Help Center.

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