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Great Novel Contest 2014

The Great Novel Contest 2015
Win $1,000 and Priority Consideration from Multiple Publishers!

Put the finishing touches on your latest novel and submit it for a chance to earn a cash prize and a publishing contract, as well as bragging rights in Columbus Creative Cooperative's 2015 novel contest!

The contest is currently open for submissions through January 31, 2015. Submit soon as CCC reserves the right to close the contest early to ensure that our panel of judges can devote adequate attention to each novel.

Four independent publishers have agreed to give priority consideration to the winning manuscript and the runner-up, and to consider the manuscript and decline or make an offer within 30 days of the contest close. That means multiple publishers potentially bidding for the top two manuscripts, and it also means that the author can find a publisher that not only has a great offer, but is the right fit and personality for their book.

We've reduced the submission fee from $40 to $25 this year! After running the contest for two years, we've identified ways to improve our process and offer the same great resource at a lower cost.


Find the contest on Facebook.

Jump to Prizes | Publishers | Contest Requirements | How to Enter | Past Winners | FAQ

Prizes & Winners

A team of judges selected by Columbus Creative Cooperative will choose ten finalists from all of the submitted manuscripts. Every manuscript submitted will be reviewed by at least one judge, without exception. All manuscripts will be judged "blind" (the judge will not be provided with the author's name).

The list of ten finalists will be published to the CCC website. All ten finalists will be read in full by a team of carefully selected judges, who will select the winner and runner-up.

The winner will receive a $1,000 cash award, as well as public recognition of the achievement. The winner and runner-up manuscripts will be forwarded to the participating publishers, who will review the manuscripts. All offers and negotiations will be handled by the potential publisher, directly with the author.

The runner-up will receive a $500 cash award, as well as recognition for the achievement!

All ten finalists will receive recognition of their achievement, a letter of recommendation for potential agents and publishers, and a free copy of Columbus: Past, Present and Future!

Watch the blog for more details on the specifics of these prizes in the coming weeks!

Participating Publishers

We are still negotiating with several more publishers. The publishers listed below have made a firm commitment to give priority consideration to the top two manuscripts. That means you bypass the slush pile, and your book will be considered right away by people who have the power to make decisions.

Columbus Press - An independent publisher based in Columbus, Ohio.

Elephant Rock Books - An independent publisher based in Ashford, Connecticut, publishing "Stories You Won't Forget."

PageSpring Publishing - An independent publisher with multiple imprints based in Columbus, Ohio.

Raw Dog Screaming Press - An independent publisher with a mission to publish the unpublishable.

Please support independent publishing and check out some of the great titles from these publishers.

Contest Requirements

We are accepting an original novel or narrative non-fiction manuscript, such as a memoir, that is previously unpublished. Previously self-published novels will not be accepted. Manuscripts by more than one author will be accepted, but should be submitted only once under the name of a single author (submitting author must have permission from all contributors).

No graphic novels, children’s books, or erotica please. Novel word length is from 50,000 to 125,000. We're sorry, but we can not accept submissions that exceed 125,000 words, no exceptions.

Young adult manuscripts will not be considered, but manuscripts with cross-over audiences are accepted.

Book manuscript entries must be submitted electronically in doc, docx,or PDF format using Columbus Creative Cooperative’s Novel Contest form. Please carefully follow all directions. Each page of the manuscript is to be numbered with the title in the footer with no other identifying information of the author.

Please do not send hard (printed) copies.

How to Enter

Entering the contest is very easy. The submission form will be available beginning January 1, 2015.

1. Create an account with CCC (it's free and easy, it helps us keep track of your name, email, address, etc. so we can contact you if you win! Our paid accounts offer cool features, but aren't required for entry). Register here.

2. Confirm your new account via email, then log in at

3. From the member's home page, click "Submit a Manuscript to the Great Novel Contest!"

4. Follow the on-screen instructions, fill out the form and upload your manuscript.

5. Pay your submission fee. Your spot will not be held in the 200 maximum entries until the submission fee is paid.

You're done! If you have any questions, please contact us at and we'll be happy to help.

Past Winners

Drew Farnsworth won The Great Novel Contest 2013. His novel Graham's Charlotte took home a publishing contract from Columbus Press, and his book was released on April 17, 2014! Drew shared some of his thoughts on the contest here, or learn more about the winning manuscript at the book's official website,

John White won The Great Novel Contest 2014, with his manuscript Nisei. John took the $1,000 cash prize and the title of Grand Champion. John contracted an agent and sold his manuscript to an independent publisher (release pending).

Frequently Asked Questions

I don't live in Ohio, can I still enter?
Yes! This contest is open to writers anywhere in the world. Just so your book is written in English, you are welcome to submit. No preference will be given based on where you live.

Do I need to be a member of CCC to enter?
No! You do not need to be a paid member of Columbus Creative Cooperative to enter the contest. The contest is open to everyone. You will, however, need to create a free account on in order to submit your work (this is how we keep track of your contact information).

When will I know if I've won?
We'll announce the finalists within 8 weeks of the close of the contest. We hope to announce the winner and runner-up within 12 weeks of the contest close, but guarantee notification within 24 weeks.

I'm already shopping my manuscript to publishers and agents, can I still submit?
Yes, you may. Our turnaround time for announcing finalists is only 12 weeks, so we encourage you to wait before you shop elsewhere. But it's your call. Note that our contest is only for unpublished work, so you may not submit your work if you have signed a publishing agreement prior to submission.

Can the contest be cancelled for any reason, or the prizes changed?
The prizes will not change. They are set in stone. If the contest is cancelled for any reason, a full and immediate refund will be given to those who have already submitted their work, but it is unlikely that we would ever cancel the contest.

What if I don't like the terms of the contract offered to me by one of the publishers?
Negotiations are between the winning author and the publisher. It's up to you to negotiate terms that you like. If you don't like the terms, you're not under any obligation to take the contract. The $1,000 prize for the winner and $500 prize for the runner-up is theirs to keep, no matter what.

Is the judging blind?
Yes! Per the instructions, please do not include your name in the text of your manuscript. Judges will not be given names of any authors, and no preference will be given based on publishing credits, resume, author's history, etc. Our mission is simply to find the best manuscript, no strings attached.

Other Questions?

Please contact us with any questions.