Writing Contests

I’ve done a lot of searching online for writing contests… and it turns out there are LOTS of them. Here are a few you may be interested in.


Deciding what to enter really depends on what your end goal is. Mine is to be traditionally published. That weeds out quite a few of these contests, because many of them, commonly university presses, award cash prizes along with a publishing contract with their press, and an opportunity to speak to the student body. Well, I don’t want to sell the rights to my book to a small university press. I’m not a lawyer by any means, so maybe it’s fine to do that, but it scares me. A lot.

Then there are contests for self-published authors, and contests that are only for traditionally published authors. Or contests specifically for residents of your state where your book has to be influenced by the state’s history. Or there are contests specifically for women or for a specific ethnic background. Or, the contests are only going to publish your work in an anthology (like poetry.com, for example). I didn’t want any of these (okay, well I am a woman, so maybe those).

So, here is a list of contests I would be interested in entering, whose deadlines haven’t passed yet. For any other authors who read this blog, maybe these will be helpful to you as well. Good luck!

  • A Woman’s Write “Good Read” Fiction Book Competition
    • AWW is a resource for creative women. We want to encourage work by, for and about women, but stories about men will not be overlooked. Just be sure that your viewpoint rings true and the experiences you portray are authentic to the character and setting. Be natural.
    • Entry fee is $40.00 for all submissions and includes a thorough, thoughtful critique with up to ten pages of line editing comments and corrections. You will be given an opinion and suggestions about character and plot development/ logic and rationale.
      You then have the option to resubmit the entire book, having applied changes based on our comments and suggestions. This resubmission will be accompanied by a $20 reading fee and represents your final entry into the competition.
    • Deadline: November 30, 2015
    • $500 prize and bragging rights (because that’s what it’s really all about, right?)
  • Writers Digest Annual Writing Competition
    • Entry fee is $25-$30
    • Early Bird Deadline: May 4, 2015
    • Varied prizes for the top 10 ($5000 top prize)
  • Reader’s Favorite 2015 International Book Award Contest
    • We accept manuscripts, published and unpublished books, ebooks, audio books, comic books, poetry books and short stories in 100+ genres. We do not have a publication date requirement or word count restriction. Entries are accepted worldwide as long as the work is in English.
    • The contest entry fee to enter your book in one genre category by the April 1st Early Bird Registration deadline is $89, by the May 1st Regular Registration deadline is $99.00, and by the June 1st Late Registration deadline is $109. You may enter that same book in up to 3 more genre categories for a fee of $65.00 for each one. You can enter as many books as you like, but you will need to complete a separate entry form for each book you wish to enter.
    • Various prizes and a chance at winning a drawing prize just for entering
  • The Colorado Gold Writing Contest
    • This contest is for unpublished writers of commercial fiction. You must not have had any novel-length fiction accepted for publication at the time of entry.
      Self-published and vanity press published novels are eligible.
      This contest focuses on commercial fiction. Literary fiction is discouraged; poetry, short stories and non-fiction are not eligible.
    • $30 per entry or $55 per entry to receive a critique from one of the first two judges.
    • April 1, 2015 at midnight: Contest opens
      June 1, 2015, 11:59 PM MST: Contest closes

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