The Great Novel Contest

Break Out This Year
Win a Publishing Contract and $1,000 Cash

The Great Novel Contest 2020 Submissions will open on January 1!
Mark your calendar. Consider joining OWA today to stay in the loop: Learn more here »

Enter your novel manuscript for an opportunity to win a publishing package that will transform your writing career.

GRAND PRIZE: In addition to infinite bragging rights and $1,000 cash, the winner of The Great Novel Contest 2020 will win a publishing contract from Bellwether!

RUNNER-UP: The runner-up will receive $500 cash, a publishing consultation with OWA President and publishing expert Brad Pauquette, and a letter of recommendation for agents and publishers.

FINALISTS: Eight additional finalists will be publicly recognized for their achievement, and will receive a voucher to take one free OWA class in 2020, good for up to $50.

Bellwether Publishing

This year's contest is sponsored by Columbus Publishing Lab, which provides professional book production, marketing, and consultation services for authors and small presses.

Columbus Publishing Lab

The submission period is open during the month of January. All entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday, January 31st, 2020.

OWA's team of judges will select ten finalists. The grand prize winner and runner-up will then be selected from that shortlist.

The cost to enter the contest is $25 per manuscript for OWA members ($50 for non-members).

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Selection Process & Winners

A team of judges selected by the Ohio Writers' Association 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 OWA website. All ten finalists will be read in full by a team of carefully selected judges, who will select the winner and runner-up.

Check back soon for a finalized list of sponsors and prizes!

Frequently Asked Questions

I'm not in Ohio, can I still submit?

Yes! This contest is open to all English-speaking authors, worldwide.

Will I retain the rights to my manuscript?

Absolutely! At all times. If you win, you will have the opportunity to sign a publishing agreement. You are not obligated to accept the offer. You retain the rights to your work throughout the process.

How soon will we have results?

We do our best to keep things moving along. However, it takes time to evaluate this many manuscripts. Our goal is to post finalists within 90 days of the close of the contest, and announce the winners 90 days after that.

How long should my manuscript be?

Your manuscript should be between 50,000 and 125,000 words.

What genres do you accept?

We accept all genres except for erotica and children's books. Manuscripts of all accepted genres will be fairly and equally considered, without preference for any genre.

I self-published, can I still submit?

This contest is for unpublished manuscripts only. Self-published manuscripts are published, and are not eligible to participate. If your manuscript is or has been for sale from a major retailer at any time, we consider it to be published. In some cases, we can make an exception for self-published books that have 0 (zero) reviews, and that are no longer available for publication. Please contact us to determine if you're eligible for this exception.

My manuscript has more than one author, can we still submit?

Yes! If you have permission from all contributors to submit, please enter the contest. If that's the case, one author should create an account and submit the manuscript on behalf of the group.

How should I format my manuscript?

We don't make you jump through too many hoops. Manuscripts should:
• Include page numbers
• NOT include the author's name on the manuscript
• Be in a normal font, in a normal size. Times New Roman at 12pt is always a safe choice, but any readable font (Arial, Helvetica, Minion, Garamond, etc.) is fine, in size 10pt-14pt. Please no chiller.
• We accept PDFs and Word Docs
Beyond that, the formatting choices are up to you.

How do I submit?

Submitting is easy! All submissions are online. Simply click the button below, and follow the step-by-step instructions.

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