Cover Reveal: Fellow Travellers

Jesse Bethea was the 2019 Great Novel Contest grand champion with his winning manuscript, Fellow Travellers. Jesse accepted a traditional publishing contract from Bellwether, the publishing imprint of The Ohio Writers’ Association, and his book is slated to be released later this month. The Bellwether team has been working hard on the publication of Fellow Travellers, and we’re thrilled to host a formal cover reveal here!

Fellow Travellers follows the journey of Bindra Dhar, a young woman who, after being welcomed into the global community of professional time travelers, finds herself targeted by an enigmatic time criminal named Thurmond. As she discovers new allies and adversaries on her mission to stop Thurmond’s agenda — and to survive it — she learns that time travel is more dangerous and morally fraught than she ever could’ve expected. Fellow Travellers is a book about people who happen to be time travelers, their wants, their needs, their feelings, their fears, and their community.

Advance praise for Fellow Travellers:

A whirlwind adventure, fantastical and intriguing, Jesse Bethea has reenvisioned time travel into a force of nature in Fellow Travellers.  When Bindra Dhar meets a mysterious American in her small village in India, she eagerly embraces the wisdom and danger of time traveling. Sci-fi and fantasy readers alike will be swept up in Bindra’s tale.

–Reina Cruz, author of Daughter of Isis

Fellow Travellers adroitly balances the logic of time travel with its fantasy and mystique, and does so with understated depth that leaves me wanting more stories from this universe — and surely it could support as many as you could fit in the whole of time. Add a vibrant, diverse cast (to make the road less lonely) and a gripping, genre-blending plot and you’ve got a stellar debut novel. I can’t wait to see what Bethea does next.”

— AC Stuart, cartoonist, creator of Awoo!

Fellow Travelers is a fast-paced trip through time and into a world where everything has happened, is happening, and will happen. This science fiction tale combines world building and clever characters to craft a story that will keep readers engaged until the end. Amazing manuscript!”

–Great Novel Contest judge feedback

About the author:

Jesse is a journalist, author, videographer, and the winner of the 2019 Great Novel Contest. Born and raised in Fairfax, VA, he moved to Ohio in 2010. 

In 2014, Jesse moved to Columbus and immediately started writing for, where his work has been recognized several times by the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists. By 2015, he was working for The Ohio Channel (Ohio’s version of C-SPAN) as an assistant producer.

On the rare occasions when Jesse gives himself a break from writing, he enjoys hiking, true crime podcasts, and reading, specifically non-fiction disaster/survival narratives. If there’s a situation where people have had to eat each other, he’s interested in reading more about it.

Jesse currently lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife Melissa.

Look for a Fellow Travellers release at the end of this month. We also have a very special second Fellow Travellers announcement coming at the end of next week, so stay tuned to the Ohio Writers’ Association Facebook and Twitter accounts so you don’t miss it!

Writers’ Workshop: Live Online Peer Critique – September 16th

We’ll host a live online writers’ workshop on Wednesday evening, September 16th, 2020 at 7pm ET.

All are welcome to attend. There is no cost.You do NOT need to be a paid OWA member.

If you’d like peer feedback on your work at this workshop, please email it to us at [email protected] no later than Monday morning, September 7th (UPDATE: This deadline has been extended to Wednesday, September 9th). You may submit a short story (up to 10,000 words), novel chapters (up to 5,000 words), essays, poetry, or whatever else you’re working on. Please submit your work as a PDF.

You MUST BE PRESENT (ONLINE) to receive feedback. Please only submit your work if you’re confident that you can attend.

We will meet via Zoom. Everyone who has submitted work will receive a Zoom link about 15 minutes ahead of the meeting on the 16th. If you would like to attend but do not plan to submit work, please send an email to [email protected] to be included on the invite list.

Only those who have been invited to the workshop will be able to view the meeting. It won’t be made available publicly.

As usual, we will make the work we’re discussing available for download one week before the workshop, so that everyone has a chance to download it and read it before the workshop.

If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected] We’ll see you on the 16th!

Write a Query Letter that Works: Live Online Seminar

Write a Query Letter that Works

Hoping to impress an agent or publisher sometime soon? Get your query letter in shape!

A query letter is your first step to solicit the attention of agents and publishers. It is your opportunity to convince someone to consider investing in you and your book.

This Thursday evening, our live online workshop will teach you best practices for crafting query letters that work.

This workshop will be held live online at 7pm ET this Thursday, August 6th. If you can’t make it to the live session, you can watch the recording for 6 days following the event.

Sign up now. Due to the continuing COVID situation, we’ve reduced the price to just $30.

This is the third installment of our four-part Online Summer Seminar Series. Each seminar presents game-changing information to help you capture real opportunities in publishing.

Have questions? Please reach out to us at .

Winners of The Great Novel Contest 2020

We received a great pool of submissions for The Great Novel Contest 2020. Thank you to everyone who submitted work!

Find our full list of Finalists here.

Our judges carefully considered this year’s winner. In the end, the decision was clear:

Threshing of Straw by Kim Catron is the Grand Prize Winner of The Great Novel Contest 2020!

From one of our judges: “Threshing from Straw is a work of historical fiction with excellent dialogue and characters that ring true. It’s obvious that the author has done extensive research, and this contributes to the realistic world she builds and the compelling conflicts her characters face. A must-read manuscript!”

Congratulations, Kim! You’ve won a publishing contract with Bellwether, the publishing imprint of the Ohio Writers’ Association, as well as $1,000.

We can’t wait to see Threshing of Straw in print!

Thank you to Columbus Publishing Lab for sponsoring this contest and making it possible. Columbus Publishing Lab provides publication and marketing services for authors and small presses. They help self-publishers make smart decisions and see a return on their investment. Learn more at

Columbus Publishing Lab

Words Will Never Hurt Me by Toni Wilbarger is the official Runner-up of The Great Novel Contest 2020!

From one of our judges: “Words Will Never Hurt Me is a mystery that shines through its strong writing. The pace is well metered and it’s clear that the author has put in the work to make sure the characters’ motivations read impactfully. She leaves the reader with a deeper message through the vehicle of an entertaining read.”

Congratulations, Toni! Your prize is $500 cash, a publishing consultation with OWA President and publishing expert Brad Pauquette, and a letter of recommendation for agents and publishers.

The remaining eight 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.

Congratulations to all of the finalists, and thank you to everyone who made this another successful contest!

Learn more about The Great Novel Contest here, and mark your calendar for next year!

The Five Key Steps of Book Production: Live Online Seminar

Join us this Thursday, July 16th, for the second installment of our Summer Online Seminar Series.

If you plan to self-publish and you want to compete in the marketplace, your book needs to be as good as the books coming out of the largest publishing houses.

The traditional publishing industry universally agrees on five steps every published book must undergo to improve quality and profitability. As a self-publisher, you can replicate these five key steps to produce a top-quality book.

At 7pm ET Thursday evening, Brad Pauquette will explain these five steps, along with tips and best practices for ensuring quality results. This information will save you time and heartache, and it will make your project dramatically more successful.

Brad is an accomplished publishing consultant and the author of The Self-Publishing Handbook. His work has spanned more than a decade, working with authors of all types, from working parents to New York Times bestselling and award-winning authors.

Sign up for this Thursday’s seminar here. The live, interactive broadcast will begin at 7pm ET via Zoom. You may also watch the recorded video for one week following the seminar.

Due to COVID, we’re offering it at a special discounted rate of just $30 (regularly $59):

Note that we’ll send the link to the seminar to your PayPal address, unless you provide an alternate address at checkout or contact us at [email protected]

If you can’t make it on Thursday, you can watch the video for up to a week after the event. Register now, and we’ll send you the link to the recorded video as soon as it’s available.

If you’d like to save even more money, you can register for the complete series of four summer seminars for just $99. In the series, you’ll learn the Three Publishing Paths, how to write an amazing query letters, and how to identify your next steps to find great publishing opportunities. Use the button below to register. We’ll send you the link to the recording of the first seminar (“The Three Publishing Paths”) as soon as we receive your registration.

The Three Publishing Paths: Live Online Seminar

Are you ready to publish? Getting close? Which path is best for you?

There are so many options—so many different ways to publish. And there’s also so much bad information about publishing on the internet.

This Thursday, July 9th, the Ohio Writers’ Association will present the first of our live online summer seminars. This week’s topic: “The Three Publishing Paths.” Join us.

This is game-changing information. Authors who have attended this seminar in the past have said it’s the most important information they have ever learned on their publishing journey.

Authors come in confused and apprehensive about publishing. They leave clear and confident, prepared to find the right opportunities.

We’ll systematically walk through the types of publishing opportunities you’ll likely find as you begin shopping your manuscript. You’ll receive invaluable tips and best-practices for finding legitimate opportunities and avoiding scams.

The truth is that there are a lot of good opportunities. Traditional publishing, self-publishing, small press…it’s as much about your personality and expectations as anything else. This information will help you determine what will be the best fit.

Sign up for this Thursday’s seminar here. The live, interactive broadcast will begin at 7pm ET via Zoom. You may also watch the recorded video for one week following the seminar.

Due to COVID, we’re offering it at a special discounted rate of just $30 (regularly $59):

Note that we’ll send the link to the seminar to your PayPal address, unless you provide an alternate address at checkout or contact us at [email protected]

If you can’t make it on Thursday, you can watch the video for up to a week after the event. Register now, and we’ll send you the link to the recorded video as soon as it’s available.

If you’d like to save even more money, you can register for the complete series of four summer seminars for just $99. In the series, you’ll learn the 5-key steps to professionally publish a book, how to write an amazing query letters, and how to identify your next steps to find great publishing opportunities. Use the button below to register.

Get Ready to Publish: Four Seminars

We are excited to present four online seminars over the summer to prepare you for professional publication. If you’re serious about publishing, these seminars will bring you the information you need to make smart decisions and move towards success.

Three Paths: Understanding the Publishing Industry (July 9, 2020) – What are the legitimate opportunities in the publishing industry? How do you find them and how do you avoid the scams?

The Five Steps of Book Production (July 16, 2020) – Professional book production is a 5-step process. If you’re intending to self-publish, this is critical information. Books that complete all five steps are far more successful. If you’re intending to seek conventional publication, it will also be helpful to understand what’s happening behind the scenes.

Query Letter Workshop (August 6, 2020) – You have one shot to make a good impression with agents and publishers. In this seminar, you’ll discover winning strategies for crafting great query letters (and classic mistakes!). We’ll also workshop the query letters of a few volunteers as a group.

Finding Opportunities in the Publishing Industry (August 13, 2020) – You have a complete (or soon-to-be-complete) manuscript, and a budding author’s platform. What are your next steps? This seminar will feature an extensive Q&A on all topics publishing and platform-building.

These seminars will be taught by Brad Pauquette, a publishing expert with more than ten years experience in the publishing industry. Brad has consulted with authors at every level, from first-time authors to New York Times bestsellers. Brad is the president of the Ohio Writers’ Association and the director of the School of Kingdom Writers. Learn more at

These seminars normally cost $59 each to attend.  Due to the ongoing COVID situation, we’ve reduced the price to just $99 to attend all four. If you intend to seek out opportunities in the publishing industry, this is the most critical information you need to make good choices and see results.

All of these seminars are held live at 7pm ET. Attendees who wish to do so may participate and ask questions. If you’re unable to attend the live seminar for any reason, you can watch the recorded video for up to 7 days following the event.

Use this button to register for these online seminars at this reduced price right now.

If you’d like your seminar invitation (with the live link) sent to a different email address, please be sure to note that in the order process. By default, we’ll send the link to your PayPal e-mail address.

If you’d like to pay by a different method, please contact us at [email protected]

You can also register for individual seminars at the regular price using our OWA Class portal. Click here.

Questions? Please contact us at .

The Great Novel Contest 2020 Finalists!

We received so many outstanding submissions to the Great Novel Contest 2020. Thank you to all who took a risk and submitted your work for consideration.

After much deliberation, we are pleased to announce this year’s finalists!

The contest was open to all narrative (fiction and non-fiction) manuscripts of 50,000-125,000 words in length. All genres were accepted except for erotica and books for children.

Judges considered a variety of factors when choosing finalists, including organization, style, viability of concept, and prose quality.  All submissions were judged “blind”—no names, history, demographics, or identifying information were shared with the judges.

The winner of this year’s contest will receive $1,000 cash and a publishing contract from Bellwether!

Bellwether Publishing

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

This contest is sponsored by Columbus Publishing Lab, an outstanding company that helps authors and small presses produce books that compete with the largest publishing houses. Learn more at

Columbus Publishing Lab

If you’d like to enter this contest next year, mark your calendar for January 1, 2021 and join the Ohio Writers’ Association today.

With no further ado, we are pleased to announce the following ten finalists, presented in random order.

Threshing of Straw by Kim Catron

Everything Counts by Marcus Herzberg

Stalked by Sara Condrey

Fightgirl by Tony Clark

Surfing the Linoleum by Michael Batdorf

Devil Strip Musketeers by Michael Clark

She Went Missing by John White

Words Will Never Hurt Me by Toni Wilbarger

Winter Skies by Doug Ramspeck

Rewrite the Stars by Christina Consolino

Congratulations to all ten finalists!

These finalists were selected from a competitive pool of submissions. Our team of judges will now evaluate these ten manuscripts to determine the winner and runner-up.

All finalists will receive a voucher to attend an Ohio Writers’ Association class or seminar this year. Learn more about our classes here.

Thank you to all of the authors who entered the Great Novel Contest 2020.  While only a limited number of manuscripts could be selected as finalists, we were overwhelmed with the quality of the submissions that we received this year.

Thank you again to Columbus Publishing Lab for sponsoring this contest. Please visit to learn more about their services.

Learn more about The Great Novel Contest at Don’t forget to mark your calendar for next year!

Want to stay in the loop for future opportunities? Become a member today.

April Workshop Live Online – Submit by March 23

We are living through an extraordinary time.

Due to the Covid-19 situation, we will not be holding our April workshop in Pickerington. Instead, we will hold a live online workshop on Wednesday, April 1, at 7pm ET.

We will use the interface, which is free and super simple. You can login live with 2-way audio and video from virtually any phone, tablet, or computer.

Typically, our workshops are open to the public. This time, however, the workshop will only be open to authors who submit work for peer critique.

The workshop format will be the same as always.

For those that wish to give feedback but don’t have work to submit, we’ll also encourage the authors to post their stories to the online OWA feedback forum, and you can share your feedback there. The feedback forum is available to paid members 24/7.

To be included in the workshop, simply send your short story, essay, poetry, or novel chapter to no later than 7am Monday morning, March 23.

If you have any questions, please reach out by email.

Web Technology for Authors – Class Starts Thursday

Join us for a 6-week class beginning March 12 — web technology and how to use it as an author.

If you write, you’re probably aware that a web presence is essential for developing an audience for your work (which is sometimes called a “platform”). But what do you really need and what’s the best way to set it up?

Even if you have a website and online presence, you might still be asking those same questions.

The fact is that little decisions you make now can have drastic effects on the cost and effectiveness of your platform in the future.

This 6-week class will help you sort out these questions, and put you in a position to not only know what you need to do, but why to do it and how to do it.

No experience is necessary. We’re going to start from scratch. We’re going to talk about how the internet works, and build up from there.

This 6-week class will cover websites, website building, blogging, mailing lists, and so much more!

Sign up here.

As usual, you can sign up for the full 6-class series, or just sign up for the specific classes that you think will be most helpful for you.

You can attend the classes live online on Thursdays at 7pm ET. Or you can watch the recorded videos. The class size is small, so there’s plenty of opportunity to ask questions.

We’ve received great feedback on this series so far. Here’s what a couple of others had to say:

“Brad has a terrific, conversational way of conveying his concepts.”

“The course delivered! Brad is a great teacher and I enjoyed this course.”

“Thank you so much for providing this class – by far the best class I have taken since college.”

Don’t wait, sign up today. You’ll be glad you invested in yourself. Register here.