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Book & Novel Writing Competitions

Last updated 1st February 2024

Below is a list of book and novel writing competitions. These are for full length books, novelettes or novellas. I am not including details of short story competitions here as I have a separate page for short fiction awards which you can see by clicking here.

PLEASE NOTE: Most of the competitions listed on this page accept entries from writers living anywhere in the world. The country each competition is run from is listed so you know which global market you are submitting to.

Some of the competitions listed accept work that has been previously published (either by a publishing house or self-published) and some are looking for original, unpublished works. I will try and keep all the information on the competition calendar up to date, but please visit the various contest websites and read (and make sure you fully understand) the rules and the terms & conditions before entering.

If you run a book or novel competition and would like to be listed on this page, please contact me and provide ALL of the following information:

  • How often you will be running the competition (eg, annually, quarterly, one-off)
  • The name of your competition
  • A link to your website
  • The country you run the competition from
  • Closing date
  • Date you announce winners
  • Maximum word count of novels
  • Entry fee
  • Top prize
  • Any other details, including how winning writers' books will be published and any theme or limitation on style/genre of stories accepted

Short Story Course

If you are an author and have won or been shortlisted in any book competitions in the past and would like to share your experiences by writing a blog post about it or being interviewed (by moi), please get in touch with me.

Poetry Competitions

This page is updated regularly throughout the year. I undertake an in-depth update, checking every link, during January each year.

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Featured Novel Competitions

Here I present details of the most exciting novel contest opportunities available today. If you run a competition and want it featured at the top of this page, please get in touch. This page recieves thousands of visits each month.

Featured Competition 1: FanStory

At FanStory you will get feedback for every book chapter that you write. Yes, every book chapter!

FanStory Writing Competitions

You'll Enjoy

  • Contests. Share your first book chapter in the A First Book Chapter writing contest for a chance at the cash prize. Continue posting and you will get feedback for every chapter in your book.
  • Feedback. After you write a chapter you can share it for feedback. Get feedback on everything you post in as little as five minutes. All skill levels welcomed.
  • Keep your copyright. You keep all rights to your writing. You are free, and encouraged, to sell your work to others, post it with others or do whatever you wish. That includes your contest winning contest entries! Click here for info.

View the full writing contest listing.

Featured Competition 2: Fiction Factory

First Chapter + Synopsis Competition

Fiction Factory First Chapter and Synopsis Competition

Fiction Factory's First Chapter and Synopsis Competition is open until 29th February 2024. The key details:

  • Wordcount: 5,000 words maximum (excluding the synopsis) - if the first chapter is very short, entrants can send more chapters, but are asked to clearly mark the 5,000 word point
  • Deadline: 29th February 2024
  • First Prize: £500 + an appraisal - all short-listed entrants will receive a free appraisal
  • Entry Fee: £18

The winning entry will be read by literary agent Joanna Swainson of the Hardman & Swainson Agency. Joanna is looking for originality and distinctive voices. For complex, larger-than-life characters and stories that will stay with the reader forever. Stories that surprise, and keep on surprising. As Joanna says, she will know what she's looking for when she sees it!

Other info:

  • For an extra fee, the judges will write a comprehensive appraisal of the chapter
  • Winning entries will be published on the FF website, subject to the author's permission
  • Results will be announced in July 2004

Featured Competition 3: Inkitt

Inkitt run a regular novel writing contest.

Inkitt Logo

Inkitt's platform is free to use. Authors can upload their novels to the site and instantly gain access to a wide readership. The novels that prove most popular with Inkitt's readers win the competition.

Prizes vary, but include cash (up to $20,000 in the past), promotion and publication with Galatea. The Galatea team comprises more than 20 Hollywood screenwriters. They adapt the author’s stories and bring them to life. This process includes a combination of text, sound effects, visual effects and haptic feedback, which is perfect for the shorter attention spans of modern audiences. Galatea is free to use and is available in both the App Store and Google Play Store. You can find out more about Galatea by reading this article published by Forbes.

Self-publishing a book is easy. Successfully marketing it and generating sales is not. Because of the professional marketing offered by Inkitt and Galatea, this competition has been able to launch careers.

Inkitt now have millions of members, meaning any author uploading their book to the Inkitt platform is exposed to a huge audience. You can learn more about that on Inkitt's blog.

You can learn more about Inkitt in this guest post by Simone Elise. Inkitt publishes her books and, by working with them, she has become an Amazon bestselling author.

Australian author, HR Kemp, has also written two posts about her experiences of using Inkitt for my blog. She has not won the competition but talks candidly about the pros and cons of using the platform. You can read HR's first post here, which focusses on the Inkitt platform. You can read her second post here, which explains why she decided to move away from Inkitt and self-publish her book.

Below are some quotes from Inkitt authors.

Layla Knight (username _illuminating_) said: "I've been on Inkitt for 2.5 years now. I joined on a whim, thinking that nothing much would come of it. I was wrong. It very quickly became my favourite writing platform, and I haven't looked back since. From a reader's perspective, there are lots of amazing books to read, and they're easily located using the various different shelves and libraries available on the Inkitt app. There are also no ads when reading, and it's completely free! You don't have to pay coins to unlock chapters or anything like that. From a writer's perspective, the monthly incentives are great, the support from the Inkitt team is even greater, and the readers are the best!"

RavenElizabeth said: "I joined the program in May 2021, and I've enjoyed every minute. The Inkitt team listens to you when you need something and the community of writers is so kind and uplifting toward one another. As a whole, I absolutely love being a part of this program and I look forward to what's coming next for Inkitt." 

There have been some discussions about Inkitt in the comments at the bottom of this page. You can read the discussions here and here.

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Book & Novel Competitions List

Book / Novel Competition Country Closing Date Winners Announced Word Count Entry Fee Top Prize
Adventure Writer's Competition USA April October 50,000 min / 200,000 max $35 $1,000
Notes on Adventure Writer's Competition: Adventure themed, but it's pretty broad so check their website for full details - winner considered for publication by Braveship Books
Amazon Kindle Storyteller Contest UK Varies Varies no min / max stated FREE £20,000
Notes on Amazon Kindle Contest: Any style or genre - upload your book to the Kindle platform, enroll it in the KDP Select program and use a keyword specified in the rules
Arch Street Press Meet Me @ 19th Street Competition USA Quarterly Quarterly no min / max stated $15 $100
Notes on Arch Street Press Competition: Any style or genre but themes / prompts vary, so check website for full details - winners considered for the Arch Street Prize, which includes $1000, professional editing of the manuscript, a book contract and publication by Arch Street Press
Aspects of History Unpublished Historical Novel Award UK June September 40,000 min / 120,000 max £10 £500
Notes on Aspects of History Award: For historical novels in a variety of genres: crime, literary, timeslip, romance, mystery, action and adventure - winner offered a contract by one of the UK's top publishers - to find the award details, put 'award' into their website's search function
Australasian Association of Writing Programs 'Chapter One' Prize Australia July September See notes $20 $500
Notes on AAWP Prize: Any style of poetry collection, literary novel, short story collection, or a hybrid, genre-crossing work - must be an AAWP member to enter - send in first chapter only (up to 5,000 words) or first 50 lines for poetry collections -  in addition to cash winner receives fully subsidised conference fees for the AAWP’s annual conference and a written appraisal of their work from an established literary author and a letter of recommendation to UWAP, which could lead to a publishing contract
A Woman's Write Novel Contest USA November January 60,000 min / no max stated $40 $500
Notes on A Woman's Write Competition: Any style / genre - writers are asked to submit first 50 pages of their book - every entry receives critique
Bardsy’s Anthology Contest USA Triannually Triannually 3,000 $20 $1,000
Notes on Bardsy’s Contest: Any style or genre - send in your first chapter - all finalists will receive $50 and anthology publication - all qualified entrants will receive professional feedback and have the opportunity to revise their story prior to judging
Bath Children’s Novel Award UK Varies Varies First 5,000 words £28 £3,000
Notes on the Bath Children's Novel Award: For emerging novelists writing for children or teens - submit first 5,000 words and a synopsis - judged by a top literary agent - previous winners have gone on to land a £100,000 publishing deal with Penguin Random House - deadline for submissions is usually around November / December
Bath Novel Award UK Varies Varies no min / max stated £29 £3,000
Notes on the Bath Novel Award: Novels in any genre, written for adults or young adults - submit first 5,000 words and a synopsis - judged by a top literary agent - usually closes May / June
Bath Novella-in-Flash Award UK January April 6,000 min / 18,000 max £16 £300
Notes on the Bath Novella Award: Any style or genre - 2 runner-up awards of £100 - all winning stories published in print and digital format - individual chapters should be less than 1,000 words

Betty Trask Prize and Awards

UK November ? no min / max stated FREE see notes
Notes on the Betty Trask Prize: Any style or genre - for authors aged under 35 on 31st December - prizes fund totaling £25,000 which must be used for foreign travel - run by the Society of Authors - look in the 'Prizes' section of the website
Blue Pencil Agency Pitch Prize UK November December See notes £12 See notes
Notes on Blue Pencil Agency Pitch Prize: Open to unrepresented writers of any adult fiction genre with a minimum of 10,000 written words - send in 500-word extract and 300-word synopsis - up to 10 winners receive one-on-one meetings with a literary agent
Blue Pencil Agency First Novel Award UK May September no min / max stated £24 £1,000

Notes on Blue Pencil Agency First Novel Award: Any style or genre except children's - entrants must be previously unpublished - submit first chapter up to 5,000 words and 300 word synopsis - winners receive cash prizes and introduction to literary agents

'Book Pipeline: Adaptation' and 'Book Pipeline: Unpublished' Competitions USA Varies Varies no min / max stated Varies Varies
Notes on the Book Pipeline Competition: Any style or genre - they run a variety of competitions, some of which are themed, so check website for full details - prizes have ranged from $5,000 to $15,000 in the past - winners receive lots of marketing assistance, including project development to prepare a film or TV series pitch
Bridport Prize 'Peggy Chapman-Andrews' First Novel Award UK May ? min / max stated £20 £1,500
Notes on the Bridport Prize Award: Any style or genre - for British authors only - winners have extracts of their novel published in anthology
Caledonia Novel Award Scotland November February 50,000 min / no max stated £25 £1,500
Notes on the Caledonia Novel Award: Any style or genre for adults or Y/A - entrants must be previously unpublished or self-published - extract of winner's novel published on website - writer of best novel from UK/Ireland also receives a free residential writing course at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre

Chanticleer Int'l Book Awards (CIBAs)

USA Varies Varies See notes See notes $1,000
Notes on the Chanticleer Awards: They run 24 different awards annually - most word count minimums are around 50,000 words and most entry fees are around $75, but it does vary so check website for full details - total prize pot is over $30,000 and there are lots of extra bonuses for winners
Chillzee KiMo: Tamil, English Novel Competition India Varies Varies 30,000 min / no max stated FREE INR 50,000 ($700)
Notes on the Chillzee KiMo Competition: Any style or genre - all entries published on Chillzee KiMo - open to novels written in both English and Tamil (South Indian language)
Cinnamon Press Prize UK Varies Varies Varies Varies Varies
Notes on the Cinnamon Press Prize: Any style or genre - they run a variety of competitions - check website for current details
CWA Debut Dagger UK February July see notes £36 £500
Notes on CWA Competition: Crime - submit 3,000-word extract plus 1,500-word synopsis - shortlisted entries presented to publishers and agents
Daisy Pettles Writing Contest USA Biannually Biannually no min / max stated $45 $1,000
Notes on Daisy Pettles Contest: Any style or genre - for women over 40 years old only - they accept fiction and non-fiction - in addition to cash prize, winner receives a one month writing retreat
Darling Axe Competitions Canada Varies Varies Varies $5 $700
Notes on The Darling Axe Contests: Any style or genre - they run three competitions throughout the year: Clash of the Query Letters, The First Page Challenge and The Synopsis Skirmish - opening and closing dates vary, so check website for current details - generous prizes for runners-up - winners published on the Chopping Blog and receive complimentary access to one of DA's self-paced courses
Dynamo Verlag Book Contest USA June October see notes $18 $500
Notes on Dynamo Verlag Contest: Any style or genre - open to prose and poetry - 7,000 words min / 75,000 words max for prose, 80 pages min / 250 pages max for poetry - entry fee includes a copy of the winning title or a title of entrant's choosing from back catalogue - $500 prize is an advance against royalties and publication
Dzanc Prize for Fiction USA Varies Varies min 40,000 / no max $25 $5,000
Notes on Dzanc Prize: Any style or genre - winner awarded $5,000 advance  and publication by Dzanc Books - they also run other comps with big prizes, including one for short stories
Exeter Novel Prize UK January Spring no min / max stated £20 £1,000
Notes on Exeter Novel Competition: Any style or genre
Eyelands Book Awards Greece October ? 8,000 min / no max stated $35 See notes
Notes on Eyelands Awards: Any style or genre - multiple categories, so check website for full details - winners considered for publication by Strange Days Books and translation into Greek - winner receives a holiday in Athens
Farnham Literary Festival's "Farnham's First Five Thousand" UK February March 5,000 £5 £100
Notes on Farnham Literary Festival Competition: Any style or genre - send in the first 5,000 words of your novel - winners also receive a literary critique - shortlisted works will be published on the Farnham Literary Festival website
Fiction Factory 'First Chapter & Synopsis' Competition UK Bi-annual Bi-annual 5,000 £18 £500
Notes on Fiction Factory Competition: Any style or genre - submit first chapter up to 5,000 words plus a synopsis - optional assessment available at a reasonable price - all short-listed entrants receive a free appraisal
First Novel Prize UK May July min 50,000 / no max stated £25 £1,000
Notes on First Novel Prize: Any style or genre aimed at adults
Flash 500 Novel Opening and Synopsis Competition Spain October December no min / max stated £10 £500
Notes on Flash 500 Competition: Any style / genre - submit first 3,000 words plus synopsis
Florida Authors and Publishers Association (FAPA) President's Book Awards USA April August no min / max stated Varies See notes
Notes on FAPA Book Awards: Any style / genre - multiple categories, so check website for full details - no cash prize, but winners gain exposure, prestige and kudos
Green Stories Novel Writing Competition UK June Varies min 50,000 / max 100,000 but see notes FREE Varies
Notes on Green Stories Competition: Any style / genre but stories should be inspired by positive green solutions - submit 1st 3 chapters (10,000 words max) and synopsis - winning entries sent to literary agents for their consideration - top prize has been up to £1,000 / $1,200 in the past
Grindstone's International Novel Prize UK October December 50,000 words min / no max stated £20 £1,000
Notes on Grindstone Prize: Any style / genre - submit first 5,000 words of a finished or part-finished manuscript, accompanied by a brief synopsis - shortlisted entries will be sent to agents
Gutsy Great Novelist Chapter One Prize for Novelists USA March March See notes $20 $1,000
Notes on Gutsy Great Novelist Chapter One Prize: Any style / genre - no max word count, prize is for full first chapter
Gutsy Great Novelist Page One Prize USA June July See notes $20 $1,000
Notes on Gutsy Great Novelist Page One Prize: Any style / genre - no max word count, just submit the opening page
Historical Novel Society Awards UK Varies Varies no min / max stated FREE Varies
Notes on Historical Novel Society Awards: Any style / genre - they run a variety of awards, so best to check the website (the "Awards" section) to see what is currently open - prizes have been up to $50,000 in the past (some prizes are paid in USD, some in GBP)
IBPA Benjamin Franklin Book Awards USA Varies Varies no min / max stated See notes See notes
Notes on IBPA Competition: Any style / genre - entry fee is $95 for IBPA members, $229 for non-members - multiple categories, so check website for full details - every entry receives feedback - winners receive lots of kudos as this is a well regarded contest, again see website for full details
Indie Novella "The Watson, Little x Indie Novella Prize" UK February May first 5,000 words FREE See notes
Notes on Indie Novella Prize: Any style or genre - top prize is mentorship from literary agency Watson, Little - if winner's work is suitable, Watson, Little Literary Agents will have first option to represent the winner and to offer book to a recommended publisher
IndieReader Discovery Awards USA February Varies no min / max stated $150 See notes
Notes on IndieReader Awards: Any style or genre - winning books reviewed by Dystel, Goderich and Bourret Literary Management who consider signing them for representation - winners receive cash, lots of exposure, reviews and goodies, so check website for full details
Inkitt's Novel Writing Contest Germany Varies Varies min 10,000 / no max FREE Varies

Notes on Inkitt's Contest: Any style or genre except fan-fiction - there is a monthly cash prize determined by how many likes the author has received (has been up to $300 in the past) - if you want to learn more, please read this post by Simone Elise, who has won the competition and become an Amazon bestseller or this post by HR Kemp who talks candidly about her experiences of using Inkitt's platform

Kelpies Prize For Writing Scotland February August
no min / max stated
FREE See notes
Notes on the Kelpies Prize: Any style or genre, but aimed at children - prize has been up to £2,000 in the past, but does vary - winners are considered for a publishing contract with Floris Books - link to prize info is sometimes in the FOOTER of the website, so right down at the bottom (author Annemarie Allan won the competition in 2007 and has written about her experiences of winning and having her books published by Floris Books - read Annemarie's advice and a chapter of her winning book 'Hox' here )
Leapfrog Press Fiction Contest USA Varies Varies min 22,000 / no max stated Varies Varies
Notes on Leapfrog Contest: Any style or genre - two categories: adult fiction and YA/MG fiction - winners receive publication contract offer from Leapfrog Press and Can of Worms Press, with an advance payment against royalties - there are usually nice prizes (sometimes cash) for runners-up
Letter Review Manuscript Prize Australia Bi-Monthly Bi-Monthly 5,000 $20 $333
Notes on Letter Review Prize: Any style / genre, open to novels, short story collections, nonfiction, and poetry collections - there are three winners who each receive the $333 top prize - winners have a brief extract published at Letter Review and receive a letter of recommendation from the judges for publishers - they also run a prize for reprints with the same criteria so check website for full details
Lindisfarne Prize for Debut Crime Fiction UK Varies Varies no min / max stated FREE £2,500
Notes on Lindisfarne Prize: Crime or thriller - open to writers who are from, or whose work celebrates, the North-East of England
McKitterick Prize UK October ? no min / max stated FREE Varies
Notes on the McKitterick Prize: Any style or genre - for authors aged over 40 - prize fund varies, but top prize has been £4,00o in the past
Memoirist / Dogberry Books Writing Prize UK May June 70,000 min / 90,000 max £25 £500
Notes on Memorist Dogberry Books Prize: Any style or subject - for full length novels, memoirs and autobiographical novels - winner offered publication
Miami Book Fair de Groot Prize for the Novella USA Varies Varies 17,000 to 40,000 FREE $6,000
Notes on the Miami Book Fair Prize: Any style or genre - in addition to cash prize, winner is published by Melville House and offered an expenses-paid trip to the Miami Book Fair, plus a chance to read at the fair - deosn't run every year
Miami University Novella Prize USA Varies Varies 18,000 to 40,000 $25 $750
Notes on the Miami University Novella Prize: Any style or genre - winner receives $750, a contract, publication, marketing and 10 copies of their book
Mslexia Women's Novel Competition UK Varies Varies no min / max stated Varies Varies
Notes on the Mslexia Competition: Style and genre vary, so check website for current details - women only - usually closes around September / October time - they run novel and novella comps, not always every year - top prize has been up to £5,000 in the past - best bet is to check website for current details as they seem to change quite regularly
Nan Shepherd Prize for Nature Writing UK Varies Varies no min / max stated FREE £10,000
Notes on the Nan Shepherd Prize: Nature writing - for authors living in the UK and Ireland only - prize is an advance for a book deal with Canongate that includes editorial mentoring - runs biennially (every other year - 2019, 2021, 2023 etc.)
New England Readers' Choice Awards USA March May no min / max stated $30 See notes
Notes on the New England Readers' Choice Awards: Romance books and novellas published in the previous calendar year - top prize is free access to writing classes
Omnidawn Fabulist Fiction Chapbook Contest USA October March Varies $18 $1,000
Notes on Omnidawn Contest: Any style or genre - you can submit 1 story or a collection of shorter stories - winner is professionally published and promoted in a chapbook
Page Turner Awards UK Varies Varies no min / max stated Varies See notes
Notes on Page Turner Awards: They run a variety of awards, so best to check the website for current categories - in the past, winners have received a publishing contract, a literary agent, a publishing book package or an audiobook production
Peirene Stevns Translation Prize UK Varies Varies See notes Varies Varies
Notes on Peirene Stevns Prize: Translation of a short section of a specific book, so see website for current details - top prize has been up to £4,000 in the past - the winner's translation of the full book will be published
Pen/Hemingway Award For Debut Fiction USA Varies Varies no max stated $85 $10,000
Notes on Pen/Hemingway Award: Any style/genre - entries only accepted from publishers and literary agents - for a debut novel - for US residents only
Retreat West First Chapter Competition UK Varies Varies Varies Varies See notes
Notes on Retreat West Competition: Any style / genre - top prize varies, so best to check website for current details
Rubery Book Award UK March July no min / max stated £39 £2,000
Notes on the International Rubery Book Award: Any style or genre, including fiction and non-fiction - any book entered MUST be published, but this includes self-published novels - eBooks and printed books accepted for entry
RWA Kiss of Death 'Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense' USA March May Varies $30 See notes
Notes on the RWA Kiss of Death Award: Mystery, suspense and thrillers - multiple categories, so check website for full details - winner in each category receives an engraved bookmark, award certificate, digital medallion and a voucher for one COFFIN online class
Scottish Book Trust New Writers Awards Scotland Varies Varies Varies FREE £2,000

Notes on the Scottish Book Trust Awards: Any style or genre - there are 3 categories; 1: Fiction and non-fiction, 2: Poetry, 3: Children's and young adults - in addition to prize money, winner will receive mentoring, advice and a week long writing retreat - you must be based in Scotland to enter this competition

Searchlight Awards - Best Chapter Book Competition UK February May 1,000 £12 £350
Notes on Searchlight Awards: Chapter books suitable for 5 to 8 year olds - can be a stand-alone story or part of a series - submit the first chapter and a short pitch - winner also receives a one-to-one call with an agent - stories feature in a pitch book sent to numerous literary agents / publishers who have requested it
Searchlight Awards - Best Children’s Picture Book (text only) UK August January 500 £9 £500
Notes on Searchlight Awards: Picture books suitable to read aloud to a young child - prestigious judges (EG, Creative Director from Aardman Animations) - top 10 stories feature in a pitch book sent to numerous literary agents/publishers who have requested it
Searchlight Awards - Best Novel Opening for Children or Young Adults UK August January 1,200 £14 £1,000
Notes on Searchlight Awards: For the opening of a novel for children aged eight to eighteen - you don’t need to have finished writing your manuscript to enter - top 10 stories feature in a pitch book sent to numerous literary agents/publishers who have requested it
Self-Publishing Review Awards USA April April no min / max stated $30 See notes
Notes on the Self-Publishing Review Awards: Any style or genre - winner receives loads of help with marketing from SPR
SI Leeds Literary Prize UK April (Biennial) October no min / max stated £10 £3,000
Notes on the SI Leeds Literary Prize: Any style or genre - entrants must be Asian or Black women and reside in the UK - in addition to the cash prize, the winner receives a free place on an Arvon creative writing course - Peepal Tree Press offer runners-up one-to-one consultancy sessions - runs every 2 years
SMK Contests USA November January Varies $5 $100
Notes on SMK Contests: Any style / genre - they have multiple categories for flash fiction, poetry, short story, non-fiction, novel and more, so check website for full details
St. Martin’s Minotaur/ Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition USA Varies Varies 60,000 min / no max stated ? $10,000
Notes on the St. Martins/MWA Competition: Any style or genre, but themed so check website for full details - cash prize is an advance - there isn't always a winner, it depends on the quality of submitted novels
Staunch Novel Prize UK Varies Varies 50,000 min / no max Varies Varies
Notes on Staunch Prize: A prize for thrillers in which no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered
Stroud Book Festival Competition UK Varies Varies Varies Varies Varies
Notes on Stroud Book Festival Competition: Any style or genre - only open to writers living in Gloucestershire, UK - competition doesn't always run every year and details vary, so check website for current details
TCK Publishing Readers Choice Awards USA Varies Varies no min / max stated FREE See notes
Notes on the TCK Publishing Awards: For previously published books only - multiple categories, so check website for details - winner receives Kindle Fire HD Tablet - first entry is free, additional entries cost $25 - no dedicated award page, so type 'award' into the search function at the top of the homepage and all the current award details will come up
The Booker Prize UK Varies Varies no min / max stated FREE £50,000
Notes on the Man Booker Prize: Any style or genre - must be a book published in the UK, self published books are NOT accepted
The Claymore Award, Presented by Killer Nashville USA April Varies 50 pages $40 Varies
Notes on The Claymore Award: Any style or subgenre of mystery or thriller - winners have been considered for publishing contracts in the past

The League of Poets Prize for Literature

Nigeria January May no min / max stated $10 See notes
Notes on The League of Poets Prize: Any style / genre - prizes include trophies, stickers and interviews that will be published in the T.L.O.P. magazine - open to fiction and non-fiction

The Masters Review Novel Excerpt Contest

USA December March no min / max stated $20 $3,000
Notes on Masters Review Contest: Any style / genre - send in a 6,000 words excerpt - they also run other competitions, like short story, flash fiction etc.
The Silver Falchion Award, Presented by Killer Nashville USA Varies Varies no min / max stated $79 $250
Notes on The Silver Falchion Award: Multiple catergories, so check website for current details, but book must have been published in previous year

The Somerset Maugham Awards

UK November ? no min / max stated FREE see notes
Notes on the Somerset Maugham Awards: Any style or genre - for authors aged under 30 - prizes fund totaling £1,000 which must be used for foreign travel

The Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition

UK Varies Varies 30,000 to 80,000 £20 £10,000
Notes on the Times / Chicken House Competition: For childrens books, written for 7 to 18 years old - the 10K prize is a publishing advance and is part of a world wide publishing contract with Chicken House - if the competition isn't mentioned on the homepage, check the 'Submissions' section of the website

Tim Saunders Publications' "The Paul Cave Prize for Literature"

UK September November 10,000 £25 £100
Notes on the Tim Saunders Publications Prize: Any style or genre - for novellas - winners published on website and receive a free copy of The Paul Cave Prize for Literature book - also open to flash fiction, poetry and short stories
Uncharted Magazine's Novel Excerpt Prize USA Bi-Annual Bi-Annual no min / max stated $20 $3,000
Notes on Uncharted Magazine Prize: For SF/F, thriller / horror and mystery / crime - send in a 5,000 word excerpt
Versal Journal's Amsterdam Open Book Prize Netherlands December March 80 pages $20 See notes
Notes on Versal's Amsterdam Prize: Any style or genre - this is a biennial competition, so it runs every other year - they accept poetry, fiction and nonfiction prose, and especially experimental, hybrid and collaborative pieces - winners receive publication + copies of their book
Virginia Prize for Fiction UK October March 45,000 min / no max stated £25 See notes
Notes on the Virginia Prize: Any style or genre but for women only - winner's novel is published by Aurora Metro Books - contest is run biennially
Wells Festival of Literature "A Book For Children" Competition UK June October no min / max stated £6 £750
Notes on Wells Festival Competition: Any style or genre but must be suitable for readers over 9 years old, which includes young adults - first two chapters or first twenty pages, whichever is the shortest, plus the synopsis
Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize UK Varies Varies Varies Varies See notes
Notes on Wilbur Smith Prize: Any style or genre but themed around adventure - 3 categories: Best Published Novel, Best Unpublished Manuscript and Author of Tomorrow for young writers - each category has different closing dates, word count limits and prizes, all of which vary so check the website for current details - top prize has been up to £15,000 in the past
Winning Writers North Street Book Prize for Self-Published Books USA June February no min / 200,000 words max $70 $8,000
Notes on Winning Writers Prize: Any style or genre but exclusively for self-published books - there are 7 categories - any year of publication accepted - generous cash prizes for winner and honourable mention in each category - winners receive lots of marketing services in addition to cash prize
Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards USA Varies Varies no min / max stated $125 Varies
Notes on the Writer's Digest Award: Any style or genre, including fiction and non-fiction, but there are lots of different categories to choose from to enter your work into (best to check the WD website for those) - top prize has been up to $8,000 in the past
Writers' League of Texas Manuscript Contest USA Varies Varies no min / max stated Varies See notes
Notes on the Writers' League of Texas Contest: Any style or genre - multiple categories for fiction, non-fiction and children's - winners of each category meet with a top literary agent for their chosen genre - current competition details usually in the 'Programs' section of the website
Yeovil Prize Novel Competition UK Varies Varies see notes £14.50 Varies
Notes on the Yeovil Prize: Any style or genre - submit opening chapters up to a maximum of 15,000 words - top prize has been up to £1,250 in the past

Novel Editing Service

Full novel and book copy editing service - prepares your book for publication

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One-Off Book & Novel Competitions List

Free Short Story Course

Book / Novel Competition Country Closing Date Winners Announced Word Count Entry Fee Top Prize
No one-off novel comps to list at present NA NA NA NA NA NA
Notes on no one-off novel comps to list at present: More details coming soon...

How to Write a Short Story book ad

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Other Novel Competition Lists

Below are links to other websites that list book and novel contests. A couple of the lists old, but still have links to competitions that operate.

If you know of any other resources that list novel competitions, please get in touch. I'd be happy to add details to this page.

Elegant Literature

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A History of Closed Novel Competitions

Book / Novel Competition Country Closing Date Winners Announced Word Count Entry Fee Top Prize
Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award USA January May 50,000 to 150,000 FREE $50,000
Notes on Amazon Novel Award: Any style / genre but in these 5 categories: 1, general fiction; 2, romance; 3, mystery/thriller; 4, science fiction/fantasy/horror; 5, young adult fiction - winner receives a publishing contract with a $50,000 advance - four other winners receive a publishing contract with a $15,000 advance - contest limited to 10,000 entries CLOSED 2015, replaced by Kindle Scout which was only open to US residents and is now closed too
Association of Christian Writers Novel Writing Competition UK 1st November 2020 January 2021 No min / max £8 £100
Notes on the AoCW Competition: Any style or genre - submit opening 2,000 words - 3 shortlisted entrants will be asked to submit full novel - CLOSED, was a one-off
Authors.me Operation: Thriller USA 31st March 2016 9th May 2016 no min / max stated FREE $750
Notes on Authors.me Competition: Thriller - winner also receives a developmental edit by Reedsy (worth $1,500) and a book cover designed (worth $600) - generous 2nd and 3rd prizes too - CLOSED, was a one off
Authors.me Writing Contests USA Varies Varies Varies FREE $200

Notes on Authors.me Contest: Genres vary, so check website for current details (in the past they've run humor, romance and YA contests) - winners receive cash prize plus audits and consultations from professionals, check the website for full details

CLOSED, competition page disappeared from site so removed listing Jan 2018

AuthorU Draft to Dream Book Competition USA April ? no max $99 $1,000 + see notes
Notes on AuthorU Competition: There are 5 categories: Children’s, Young Adult, Juvenile, Adult Fiction & Adult Non-Fiction - each category winner receives $1,000 + their book published with $8,000 worth of author services - NOT RUN since 2017, so removed listing 2019
Bardsy’s First Chapter Contest USA 13th March 2023 12th April 2023 3,000 $20 $599
Notes on Bardsy’s Contest: Any style or genre - send in your first chapter - all finalists will receive $60 and anthology publication - CLOSED, was a one-off
Bardsy’s First Chapter Contest USA 7th July 2023 July 2023 3,000 $20 $1,000
Notes on Bardsy’s Contest: Any style or genre - send in your first chapter - all finalists will receive $50 and anthology publication - CLOSED, was a one-off
Bardsy’s 2023 Fall Anthology Contest USA 30th September 2023 October 2023 3,000 $20 $1,000
Notes on Bardsy’s Contest: Any style or genre - send in your first chapter - all finalists will receive $50 and anthology publication - all qualified entrants will receive professional feedback and have the opportunity to revise their story prior to judging - CLOSED, was a one-off but now runs 3 times a year and is listed in main list above
Bluepencilagency Novel Award 2017 UK 30th June 2017 30th October 2017 See notes £15 £1,000
Notes on BluePencilAgency Competition: Any style or genre except children's - submit first chapter up to 5,000 words CLOSED 2017, was a one-off, but has now reopened as an annual award, so see live listing
Bob Rich's Free Book Edit Contest Australia 15th October 2018 23rd December 2018 200 word synopsis + 1st 1,000 words FREE See notes

Notes on Bob Rich's Contest: Any style or genre - every entrant receives feedback on their work - winner receives free edit of full manuscript from award winning editor - CLOSED, was a one off

Chapter One Promotions Novel Competition England February July no min / max stated £20 £500

Notes on the Chapter One Promotions Novel Competition:


Any style or genre - you need to submit the first 3 chapters, OR a prologue and the first 2 chapters, accompanied by a synopsis and biography - you can enter partially completed books into this contest as winners get to work with an editor to complete thier novel - all entries must be previously unpublished

Chapter One Promotions Self-Published Book Award England February December no min / max stated £25 £500

Notes on the Chapter One Promotions Self-Published Book Award:


Any style or genre, including fiction and non-fiction - winning books will be sold on the Chapter One Promotion website

Commonwealth Book Prize England December ? 60,000 minimum FREE £10,000

Notes on the Commonwealth Book Prize:

CLOSED IN 2013 :-(

Any style or genre - authors must live in a commonwealth country, there are 5 regions: 1, Africa; 2, Asia; 3, Canada and Europe; 4, Caribbean; 5, Pacific - overall winner receives 10K prize, regional winners receive £2,500 - entries must be a first published book - self-published novels are accepted

Commonword Diversity Writing For Children Prize UK June October no min / max stated Varies £1,000
Notes on the Commonword Prize: For unpublished authors, writing Middle Grade or Young Adult Fiction, whose writing embraces ethnic diversity - winner will receive professional mentoring - doesn't run every year, but seems to run every 2 years or so - NOT RUN SINCE 2018, so removed listing during 2021 update

Comps & Calls 'The Novel Contest'

UK July August no min / max stated £16 £300
Notes on Comps & Calls Contest: Any style or genre - submit first chapter (up to 5,000 words) and synopsis - extract of winners' stories published on website - WEBSITE DISAPPEARED during 2018, so removed listing 2019
Creative Future Spotlight Books Competition UK 24th February 2019 1st April 2019 10,000 FREE See notes
Notes on Creative Future Competition : Any style or genre except erotica or children's - open to writers from under-represented backgrounds (those who face barriers due to mental health, disability, identity or social circumstance) so see website for full guidelines - six writers will begiven 1:1 editorial support to shape their manuscripts and will be published in individual small books with international distribution - CLOSED, was a one-off
Crime & Publishment Crime Writing Competition UK December 2013 ? no min / max stated £4.95

See notes

Notes on Crime & Publishment Competition: Theme is crime - prize, worth £500, is to win a place at Crime and Publishment crime writing master-classes at The Mill Forge, Gretna Green, Scotland in March 2014 and have your novel synopsis assessed by a literary consultant - you are asked to submit 2,000 words of your novel - CLOSED
Daily Mail Penguin Random House 'First Novel Competition' UK Varies Varies no min / max stated FREE £20,000
Notes on the Daily Mail Competition: Style and genre varys, so check website for current details - winner receives a 20K advance and a publishing deal with Penguin Random House - they don't have a dedicated contest page and the competition doesn't run every year; the link takes you to their site search; select 'relevance' and then search for 'first novel competition' to find details - HASN'T RUN SINCE 2019, so removed listing during 2022 update
Devon and Cornwall (DCI) Novel Prize UK December March no min / max stated £15 £2,000

Notes on Devon and Cornwall Prize: Any style or genre - submit opening extract and synopsis - winner receives online publishing contract (royalties: author 50%, DCI Novel Prize 25% and publisher 25% - 2 shortlisted candidates also offered a publishing contract

Note 1: I've had a few users raise concerns about this competition as 'Cornwall' and 'international' were spelt incorrectly on the website, there is no contact information (not even an email address) on the website and their domain registration details are not public.

I contacted Glen Reed, who administrates the competition, about this. Glen said:

We're a multicultural team, I'm Italian and, despite having lived in the UK for 20 years and having married an English man, I still make spelling mistakes at times. Our website and logo designer is from India and our proofreader is Jamaican, both of them hired from Fiverr and Upwork, a very bad decision as I can see now. We have an extremely low budget as we decided to spend most of our monies (basically team members' donations) on the prize. Our identities aren't displayed on our web (so far) as we're just a group of friends with literary interests in common, but basically none on us is a published author, an editor or a recognised literary figure. We fought extremely hard to raise the monies for the prize, domain, design and web hosting, and we're in conversations with a local publisher to get the winning novel published. We're also working with indie authors publishing their works using Draft2Digital and all of this we do free of charge and because we love writing and reading.

Since we had this exchange, all the typos on the website have been corrected, but there still isn't any contact information on the site and the domain details are still hidden. This has led to further messages from users raising concerns about the competition.

I have written to Glen again, asking him to supply contact information, including an address and phone number. I'm waiting for a reply and will update this note when / if I receive the requested information.

In the meantime, here is the email address Glen has been using to contact me:


Note 2: Glen replied after a few days, saying:

First it was the "concerns about 'Cornwall' spelt incorrectly throughout your website"... actually misspelled once, and your very destructive warning note. Now it's the contact details and "domain registration details"?

We answered in detail to your first email then and now we'd like to kindly ask you to delete our entry from your blog, especially as every time I open my email and see that I've got an email from you I get very anxious and feel that all our hard work lives in jeopardy.

Again, please delete our entry from your blog, it'd be really appreciated.

I replied saying:

Hi Glen. 'Cornwall' was spelt incorrectly throughout your website, not just once, both in page copy and in your SEO page titles. So that statement was correct.

These concerns come from my website users. They trust my website and therefore I take their concerns seriously and investigate them. Sorry for any anxiety caused, but I'm just doing my job. It's very unusual for a competition to have no contact details. This is a genuine cause for concern - users cannot contact the administrators if they encounter problems or have questions about the competition. I see you have now added your email address to your website. However, to stop these types of concern, I'd recommend you also add an address and phone number. I hope that helps.

I have retired your listing as requested.

Note 3: I was contacted a few months later, by one of the Devon and Cornwall Novel Prize longlisted writers. They said:

Hi Chris. The folks at DCI have routinely missed their every deadline. They've shifted the goalposts for the long and short list publication (as of today, the site lists that the short list and winner should've been announced in March). [CF: Note, this message was received in May]

The number of prizes and the winner's purse has also been revised since entries for the competition closed. There has not been any communication with the long listed authors to advise or explain any of these changes.  It does appear that the folks at DCI are disorganized amateurs (at best) or scam artists (at worst), but I'd love to be proven wrong. The organizers at DCI have been unresponsive to my emails, but perhaps you can follow up?

I have contacted Glen and asked for an explanation. I will update this information if I hear back from him.

Note 4: It's been months since I contacted Glen and I have not heard back from him. The DCI Novel Prize still haven't announced last year's winners, yet this year's competition is open and accepting submissions. Personally, I would avoid submitting to this contest until there is some proof that they have announced winners and awarded the promised prizes.

Dorchester Literary Festival Local Writing Prize UK Varies Varies no min / max stated FREE £1,000
Notes on the Dorchester Lit Fest Competition: Any style or genre - book length submissions of fiction, non-fiction, or short stories - writers must live in or be closely connected to the West Country in the UK - CLOSED 2024
Dzanc Prize for Fiction USA September November 18,000 min / 40,000 max $25 $1,500
Notes on Dzanc Prize: Any style or genre - winner awarded $1,500 advance  and publication by Dzanc Books - CLOSED, was a one-off
Edit Crowd Fiction Novel Competition UK July August 50,000 words min / 100,000 words max £5 £50
Notes on Edit Crowd Competition: Any style / genre - winners published on the website - WEBSITE DISAPPEARED during 2018, so removed listing 2019
Everything with Words Urban YA Novel Competition UK 30th November 2018 22nd February 2019 min 40,000 / max 70,000 FREE £1,000

Notes on Everything with Words Competition: Any style or genre except fantasy - themed, so check website for full details - send first 5,000 words and 500 word outline - winner considered for publication by Everything with Words - CLOSED, was a one-off

First Edition Children’s Book Writing Contest USA September October 600 $50 See notes
Notes on First Edition Competition: Children's, 0 to 5 years of age - winner's book will be edited, illustrated, published, promoted and distributed to 2,000 kids minimum via Southwest Human Development projects and sold through bookstores both online and offline - winner will receive royalties - CLOSED, not run since 2016
Fresh Books Online Novel / Novella Writing Competition England November December min 3,000 / no max FREE £400
Notes on Fresh Books Online Competition: Any style or genre - five prizes each made up of cash and perks - first prize made up of £250 cash plus £150 worth of perks (see website for full details) - each entrant gets £5 reading credits and there is a chance for all authors who enter to make some money - limited to first 100 entries - CLOSED
Great Stories With Heart - The Write Time Novella & Novel Competition UK June 2014 November 2014 See notes FREE

See notes

Notes on Great Stories With Heart Competition: Accepted genres are family saga, historical, medical, mystery and suspense, and romance (contemporary or historical) - entrants must be over 50 years old and resident in the UK - novellas of 20,000 to 50,000 words, noves of 50,000 to 100,000 words - winner offered publishing deal and book will be published on Amazon & Kobo -CLOSED, was a one off
Hastings Literary Festival Crime Novel Competition UK May September 90,000 £10 £150
Notes on Hastings Literary Festival Competition: Crime - winner's novel published by Crooked Cat - winner also receives copies of their book and a trophy - submit first 3 chapters and synopsis - NO LONGER RUNNING, in 2019 they started running short story and flash comps instead
Harry Bowling Prize England September ? first 5,000 words £10 £1,000
Notes on the Harry Bowling Prize: Any style or genre - winner's book critiqued by publishing industry experts - WEBSITE DISAPPEARED 2016
Historic Novel Society New Novel Award UK Varies Varies min 60,000 / max 150,000 $35 £2,000
Notes on the HNS Prize: Any style or genre, but must be historic fiction - entry fee is dollars, prize in pounds (not a typo!) - seems to run every 2 years - in Jan 2019, wording on awards page references announcing the next competition in 2017, but they have announced winners for 2018 - best bet is to check the 'awards' section of the website for updates - NOT RUN SINCE 2017, so removed listing 2020
Inkitt Horror Contest 2020 Germany 31st March 2020 July 20,000 min / no max FREE $1,000
Notes on the Inkitt Horror Contest: Horror - winner also receives one-to-one coaching with a professional writing coach, social media feature, and an Inkitt badge - CLOSED, was a one-off
Inkitt Thrill Seeker Contest Germany 31st May 2020 August 7,500 min / no max FREE $500
Notes on the Inkitt Horror Contest: Horror, thriller, paranormal and mystery - winner also receives exclusive winner’s book badges and a social media promotional package - CLOSED, was a one-off
Kwill Books Baum Indie Book Prize Spain / USA August October no min / max stated $25 See notes
Notes on Kwill Books Prize: Any style or genre - book deal with Kwill Books valued at $3,999 which includes editing, formatting, a book trailer, cover design and reviews - there's an early bird entry fee of $20, so submit early for reduced price - CLOSED, no longer mentioned on website so removed listing in 2018
L.A. Neo Noir Novel, Film, & Script Fest Competition USA March April see notes $35 $100
Notes on L.A. Neo Noir Novel Competition: Any style or genre - no word count limits, but page limits are: 4 to 30 pages for short stories, 31 to 90 for short script submissions and 91 to 200 pages for novel submissions - prize includes having story made into a short movie that will be shown at the L.A. Neo Noir Festival - WEBSITE IS IMPOSSIBLE TO NAVIGATE and can find no mention of the competition, so removed listing 2019
Library Journal Indie Ebook Awards Competition USA July January no min / max stated FREE $1,000
Notes on the Library Journal Awards: Genre categories are: Romance, Mystery, Science Fiction, Fantasy and Young Adult - $1,250 awarded to the winner of each category - CLOSED, no longer mentioned on website so removed listing 2018
Literary Classics International Book Awards USA Varies Varies no min / max stated Varies See notes

Notes on the Literary Classics International Awards: Any style or genre - winners receive lots of media attention - entry fees vary, but are around the $80/$90 mark - multiple categories, so best bet is to look through the website - NOT RUN SINCE 2019, so removed listing during 2022 update

Local Legend Spiritual Writing Competition England Bi-Annually Bi-Annually 75,000* FREE See notes
Notes on the Local Legend Competition: Mind, body, spirit genre - top prize is publication in paperback and worldwide distribution - 75,000 word limit is preferred, but not strict, so will consider longer works - runners up offered low cost publication - WEBSITE DISAPPEARED 2016
Luke Bitmead Bursary UK August ? min 50,000 / no max stated FREE £2,500
Notes on the Legend Press Bursary: Any style or genre - accepts entries between May and August only - UKs biggest prize for unpublished authors - winner receives a publishing contract with Legend Press - DOESN'T SEEM TO BE RUNNING ANYMORE, so removed listing 2019
Metamorphose Novella Contest USA March ? 20,000 min / 40,000 max FREE $50
Notes on the Metamorphose Contest: Sci-fi and fantasy - winner published in Metamorphose anthology - if over 500 copies sold, a royalty will be paid to contributors - COMPETITION NO LONGER MENTIONED ON WEBSITE, so listing removed in 2017
Neovel Stronger Together Contest France 17th June 2023 20th July 2023 no min / max stated FREE €500
Notes on the Neovel Contest: Any style / genre but the theme is "Love makes us stronger" so write the story about characters who face incredible struggles to be together - CLOSED, was a one-off
Neovel The Mysterious Case Contest France 2nd April 2023 8th May 2022 no min / max stated FREE €500
Notes on the Neovel Contest: Any style / genre but the main character or characters in the novel have to carry out an investigation in relation to a mysterious event - CLOSED, was a one-off
Neovel Time Travelers Contest France 25th May 2022 29th June 2022 no min / max stated FREE €2,000
Notes on the Neovel Contest: Any style / genre but themed around time travel - CLOSED, was a one-off
Next Novelist Competition USA August November

50,000 to 150,000

See notes $5,000
Notes on the Next Novelist Prize: Themed, so check website for current theme - submissions received before June 21st are free, after June there is $20 fee - winner receives $5,000 advance and publishing contract with Atlatl Publishing - CLOSED
New Wrinkle Publishing Writers Contest USA November January 100,000 FREE See notes
Notes on New Wrinkle Contest: Any style or genre except erotica - winner’s novel will be illustrated, edited and published and the winner will receive royalties - an original book soundtrack will also be composed for the winner - CLOSED, not run since 2016, so removed listing 2018
Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society - William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition USA May September See notes See notes $7,500
Notes on Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society Competition: Any style or genre - entry fee varies depending on novel length, but has been $40 to $200 in the past - they also run a non-fiction book prize with a $2,000 prize AND a Novella prize for manuscripts up to 25,000 words in length with a $1,500 prize - winners might be published - NO MENTION OF COMPETITION ON WEBSITE, so removed listing during 2023 update
Premios Literarios Freeditorial USA Varies Varies min 10,000 / no max stated FREE $10,000
Notes on Freeditorial’s Contest: Any style / genre but for stories written in Spanish only - all entrants published on website and stories with the greatest number of downloads win - CONTEST NO LONGER MENTIONED ON WEBSITE, so removed listing during 2021 update
QueryLetter.com Writing Contest USA September October 100 FREE $500
Notes on QueryLetter Contest: Back cover book blurbs about completely made-up, nonexistent books of any style or genre - NOT RUN SINCE 2020, so removed listing during 2021 update
QuoScript NaNoWriMo Challenge UK November March no min / max stated £30 See notes

Notes on QuoScript Challenge: Open to crime fiction and young adult fiction authors only - submit 10,000 words and synopsis - one author from crime category and one author from YA category receive a publishing contract - WEBSITE DISAPPEARED 2021

Shelf Unbound Writing Competition USA October November no min / max stated $75 $500
Notes on the Shelf Unbound: Any style or genre - for independantly published books (any publication date) - winner receives editorial coverage in Shelf Unbound magazine - 5 finalists and more than 100 notable books will also feature in the magazine - CLOSED 2018
Stone Pier Press Environmental Prize USA September October no min / max stated $20 $500
Notes on Stone Pier Press Prize: Any style or genre, but themed so check website for full details - winner considered for publishing contract with Stone Pier Press - no dedicated page for the competition, so put 'prize' into their site search to find the latest details - NOT RUN FOR 2 YEARS, so removed listing during 2021 update
Stroud Book Festival Contemporary Fiction Competition UK 21st October 2016 31st October 2016 See notes FREE £100
Notes on Stroud Book Festival Competition: Any style or genre - submit a 250 word synopsis and the first 1,500 words of your book - winners are invited to read their work at the Stroud Book Festival - CLOSED, was a one-off
SwordyStory Fantastic Life Competition Singapore 2nd June 2020 10th July 2020 60,000 min / no max FREE $5,000
Notes on the SwordyStory Competition: Any style or genre - stories published on SwordyStory online platform, which will officially launch in the latter part of 2020 - CLOSED, was a one-off
The Forestry Commission 'Writers in the Forest' Competition UK 14th January 2019 February 2019 750 FREE See notes
Notes on The Forestry Commission Competition : Nature writing - winner receives a writing residency with the Forestry Commission, £2,500 and development opportunities - submit a video or written pitch outlining their vision - CLOSED, was a one-off
The Impress Prize for New Writers UK Varies Varies no min / max stated Varies See notes
Notes on the Impress Prize: Any style or genre - open to fiction and non-fiction - winner is offered a publishing contract with Impress Books - WEBSITE DISAPPEARED 2022, so removed listing during 2023 update
The Literary Consultancy Pen Factor Competition England 4th June 2018 23rd June 2018 no min / max stated £60 + VAT See notes

Notes on TLC Pen Factor Competition: Any style or genre - £65 + VAT entry includes ticket to TLC Writers' Day event - submit first 2,000 words of novel - 5 finalists pitch their book to panel of judges - top prize is £1,000 worth of professional development, literary organisation memberships & more, so check link for full details - CLOSED, was a one-off

The Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for
New Children’s Writing
England June October no min / max stated FREE See notes
Notes on the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize: Childrens aged 7 to 12 years - winner receives a publishing deal with Scholastic, reprisentation by LBA and a weekend for two in Venice - open to residents of the UK and Ireland only - HASN'T BEEN RUN SINCE 2015, so removed listing 2017
The Ohio Writers' Association Great Novel Contest USA Varies Varies 50,000 to 125,000 Varies Varies
Notes on the OHW Contest: Any style or genre - winner is offered a publishing contract and cash (has been up to $3,000 in the past but it does vary) - entry fee has been between $25 and $50 in the past - CONTEST NO LONGER MENTIONED ON WEBSITE, so removed listing during 2023 update
Webook Writing Competition UK Varie Varies Varies Varies Varies
Notes on Webook Competition: Themes, lengths, styles, genres and prizes vary - check website for current requirements - WEBSITE DISAPPEARED during 2018, removed listing 2019
Writeful Place 'Novel Beginnings' Competition France January February 3,000* £10 £250
Notes on Writeful Place Competition: Any style or genre except children's, romance or sci-fi - first 3,000 words plus synopsis - winner published on website with an author interview - WEBSITE DISAPPEARED during 2018, removed listing 2019
Writers' Village Foundation Award England Quarterly Quarterly 60,000 min / no max stated £14 £500
Notes on the Writers' Village Foundation: Any style or genre - Debut novelists can win £500 plus the chance of representation by international literary agency A.M. Heath - the top eight submissions will also gain personal feedback from the award judge - CLOSED 2016
Wundor Short Fiction Contest UK Varies Varies 45,000 £10 £500
Notes on the Wundor Contest: Any style or genre - extract of winning stories published on the Wundor website - winners work considered for publishing contract - contest page changes focus as they also run short story and poetry comps - NOT RUN SINCE 2018, so removed listing 2020


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Your comments:

Olusola O
Nice site, just want some clarification:

Does the country name in the column  mean it's exclusive to people who live there? And does "first published" really mean first published or does it allow for an entirely new book ready for first publishing?


Chris Fielden
Hi Olusola - most competitions are open to anyone anywhere. The country column just shows where the organisation who run the competition are based.

As for "first published" you will have to check each website as they all have different Terms & Conditions which stipulate their definition of the term. But I would take it to mean an author's first published book.

Denise F
Thank you, Chris, for a most useful reference tool.

Chris Fielden
Welcome Denise!

Looks like a really useful website, just one thing, it would be helpful if magazines were listed under genre, ie crime, fantasy, lit-fic etc. It would make browsing a lot easier.

Chris Fielden
Thanks, good suggestion! I'll consider revising when I have time :-)

Katie M
Awesome site! I was just wondering if you could also make a list of poetry competitions? I can't find many sites like that.

Chris Fielden
Hi Katie, I have considered doing that, and may well do so in the future when time allows. Admittedly, not being a poet myself has meant compiling a poetry resource has been last on my to do list, but I will get to it eventually :-) In the meantime, you could try the Poetry Library.

Bastian R
Very useful site. Thanks very much.

Vicki H
I've been using your site for the last  three weeks as I've found it the most useful and comprehensive  of any of them out there. Including some that you and others  have recommended. It's really easy to use and encouraging, bringing hope I'm sure to many aspiring authors. 

I've written one novel which needs editing and just finished my second. I've also written four short stories as well for the practise. Thanks to you I now subscribe to Scribble and various other magazines.

I had been totally overwhelmed and daunted by how to proceed with things once I'd got beyond writing them , but thanks to this website I'm finding my way through. 


I have just one question today.  I' d love to get the  first 50 pages of my latest story analysed by the editing company you recommend and then trying some competitions, but I'm wary of copy right. Not  that anyone would  want  to steal  any of my ideas but  I would like to be careful and protect the concept. Do you know any other means of copywriting other then sending the stoties to yourself and leaving them unopened?

Thank you  so much for all your hard work with this site and good luck with your latest novels. From your short stories  and sense of humour as well as love of mullets you deserve it. 

Many thanks.

Chris Fielden
Hi Vicki, I wouldn't worry too much about copyright. Basically, as soon as you write anything, you own the copyright as the creator, unless you copy someone else's work. You can send it to yourself in the post as a precaution, but I'd suggest that isn't necessary. If you've written it on a computer, it's in a date stamped file. If you ask friends and family to proof read it (especially via email) that is further proof of when you wrote the work. If you use an editing service like JBWB, that's an email trail with further proof of writing. And when submitting to competitions and magazines, that's even more proof. I'm probably over egging the point here... :-)

In my experience, it's unlikely anyone will copy your work and pretend it's their own. The more you put yourself and your writing out there, the more protection you have should anyone do that. In my opinion you can spend too much time worrying about copyright, so it's best just to get on with it. But I'm no lawyer!

This link is useful, if you want to try and get your head around it a bit more. You could always try sending them an email with any copyright queries, as they're likely to know a lot more about it than me! Maybe you can register with them?

Hope that's useful. Best of luck with your writing :-)

Vicki H
Thank you ever so much for your ultra quick response. It is very reassuring to know and you’ve eased my fears   a lot. Right there’s no excuse now, I’ll get on proof reading to send stuff.

Actually thanks to you. I’ve sent a short story to JBWB as you recommended them on your site and have also taken advantage of their free critique service. It was amazingly helpful. But I did feel a bit  stupid for not seeing it myself :-)  I’m now  considering doing their mini writing course as well as I’m a complete novice.

So from cowering in the corner unsure how to proceed, thanks to your website and your  advice I’m actually doing something and making progress. One happy browser!!!

Thank you so much!!!

Chris Fielden
Great to hear Vicky, and I'm glad you found the critique useful. Sometimes it's hard for a writer to see the obvious errors in their work as they get too close to it. That certainly happens to me! Sounds like you're using the feedback wisely. I wish you every success in the future. Let me know when that first story is published :-)

Moizza S
I would like to know if there are any competitions taking place in the year 2014 for unpublished books. Thank you!

Chris Fielden
Moiza, I believe most of the competitions I list run each year, so check out the links above :-)

Simon M
Re the Bridport Peggy Chapman-Andrews award, there is a min/max requirement: Entry format will be the first chapters of the novel, a minimum of 5,000 words and a maximum of 8,000 words in total, plus a synopsis of 300 words. If the novel is part-written, a minimum of 15,000 words must be available at the longlist stage and a minimum of 30,000 words must be available at the shortlist stage. The winner is chosen by one of the UK's top literary agents, so despite the hefty entry fee, it's worth a try if you are interested in novel writing.

Chris Fielden
Thanks for the info Simon :-) I'm leaving the no min / max info in the list as it is for now as that refers to the overall novel length

Thank you, I'm not very knowledgeable with the net and this has made finding writing competitions so easy.

Chris Fielden
Great, thanks Jo :-)

Penny A
Thank you very much, Christopher. Your no frills competition timetable is just what we need. Now I'll read everything else. Ciao, Pen

Chris Fielden
Thanks Penny :-)

Sunday A
I am a Nigerian, working in Nigeria as a lecturer in one of the nation's polytechnics. I have a manuscript of about 30,000 words and wish to enter it in a writing competition in the US, UK or any other country in Europe. Kindly help me with links.

Chris Fielden
Sunday, there are 2 pages on my website that will help here. One is the Short Story Competitions page, the other is the Short Story Magazines page.

If you look through those, you might find a suitable home for your work. 30,000 words can be difficult to place though. Most competitions have a much lower word limit, so you might struggle. Some magazines will consider stories of this length, and some might serialise the story. So you might have more luck with the magazines.

Anyway, best of luck getting your work published.

Alaa Ali M
I wish there was a chance for novels written in languages other than English. Arab Spring gave Egyptians a great chance to produce great novels but they are written in Arabic.

Chris Fielden
Alaa, I don't know of any novel competitions for books written in Arabic, but there are a few short story competitions listed on my website that accept entries written in English and Arabic.

Best of luck with your writing.

Rennie D
Great site! What a wonderful resource for us aspiring hopefuls to have. It fulfills a real need (that of making our life easier), so I'd just like to thank you for putting it together. Long may it run.

Chris Fielden
Thanks Rennie!

Madeleine P
What a great resource! Thank you!

Chris Fielden
Thanks Madeleine!

Thanks very kindly for this list! Am trying to promote this silly book I wrote and have been having some difficulty. This list will help. Best regards.

Chris Fielden
Welcome KG!

Holly H
Christopher, I'm interested in entering the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Competition in 2015, but can only find dates regarding 2014's contest.Do you know of any 2015 dates or if they plan to have a competition this year?

Also, I'd be interested in advice blogging on your site for writers who are trying to become published; I have extensive writing experience, including published stories (both fiction and nonfiction). I can provide you with a publication list upon request.

Thank you for your time!

Chris Fielden
Holly, I believe Amazon run the competition every year – they certainly have for the past few years. They usually open for submissions in February, so I suspect there will be more information on their site in the New Year.

I don’t usually accept blog posts from other writers on my site. However, I might consider doing so if you can offer advice directly regarding your fiction publishing experience, either through a writing competition or magazine, preferably one that is still open to submissions and listed (or that I can list) on my website. It would also be best for me if the published work has not been published online before, just in print (this stops content duplication issues that Google dislikes).

You can see the format I’d require here.

I’d also need a mug-shot and bio about yourself to accompany the post, detailing your publishing history and reasons why you are experienced enough to be offering advice of this nature. 200 words max on that.

Unfortunately I can’t offer any payment. You would simply have to make do with the fame and glory my website offers :-)

Let me know if that would be of interest to you.

Myles P
So I have a story I'm almost done with. What is it that I have to do to qualify and submit?

Chris Fielden
Myles, you will have to visit each website and review their submission criteria. Then you can see if your work is suitable.

Rex B
Thanks very much Chris for taking the time to create these extremely useful lists.

Cheers, Rex

Chris Fielden
Welcome Rex, glad you find them useful :)

Mark M
Great list! Just wanted to mention that items 20 and 21 both have notes labeled, "Notes on the Scottish Book Trust Awards", probably left over from copying-and-pasting notes for the above entry on the Scottish Book Trust Award.

Chris Fielden
Oops, thanks for letting me know, Mark! Have fixed it :-)

Thank you for putting this list together. Awesome!!

Chris Fielden
Welcome Dede, glad you found it useful :-)

Mohammed F
Thanks for the amazing and helpful list.

Chris Fielden
Welcome, Mohammed, glad you found it useful :)

Rose S
Can kids do these competitions? My daughter who is 11 years old really wants to enter her story, in the USA. Think I found 2 but not sure if she can enter, also these entry fees are killing me! :)

Chris Fielden
Rose, every competition is different, so you'll have to read their submission criteria, but I believe some of them accept entries from young writers.

I list quite a few opportunities for children on the short story competitions page on my website, so you could check that out. Some of them are cheaper or free to enter, so that might save you some money :)

I hope that's helpful.

John C
The Amazon competition for 2015 has apparently not started....what you have on your page pertains to 2014....do you have any information about the 2015 competition?

Chris Fielden
John, so far as I know, Amazon haven't announced the details of the 2015 contest yet (today being 17th Jan 2015). If I rightly remember it was announced a bit later than expected last year.

There is a bit more info on the Amazon forum.

Y Kumar
This is a most useful list. Would you know which competitions will take novels written in Hindi language?

Chris Fielden
Kumar, I'm afraid I don't - you'll have to check the submission guidelines of each competition to see which languages they will accept.

Best of luck with your submissions :-)

Tony C
Amazon have just announced that they will no longer host the breakthrough novel competition, only days before the usual opening date. The announcement is hard to find; look at the breakthrough forums.

Tony aka furious novelist

Chris Fielden
That’s a shame! Thanks for letting me know, Tony.

I’ll update the site accordingly :-)

Susan L
Enormous thank you. I am a new author with a book launching this March (UNLOCKED: A Family Emerging from the Shadows of Autism, Skyhorse Press, March 2015) and your site helped enormously to navigate among all of the many book awards which my publicist and others tell me are a must for new authors! Warm wishes and thanks again.

Chris Fielden
Thanks Susan, I' glad you found the site useful.

Best of luck with the launch of your book :-)

Victoria O
Chris, having recently come upon on the Historical Novel Society’s 2015 New Novel Award, I wondered if you might want to flag it up on your brilliant competitions site. I am not, I hasten to say, involved in its organisation, although I may well enter.

Chris Fielden
Thanks for letting me know Victoria. I’ve added the competition to the lists :-)

Shannon L
I live in the United States. Could I still enter a UK Competition?

Chris Fielden
Shannon, many UK competitions do accept entries from anywhere in the world, but you'd have to read each competition's submission criteria to see which do and which don't.

I hope that's helpful.

Fiona T
Are all the competitions verified as authentic? There are so many scammers out there taking advantage of authors and on reading some of the judging processes I couldn't help but be a little sceptical.

Has anyone entered any of these?

Chris Fielden
Hi Fiona. So far as I know, all the competitions are legitimate.

If you feel sceptical, the best bet is to research what other people are saying about the competitions; are there press releases about previous winners, is there a book you can buy - that kind of thing. The ones with the most exposure tend to attract more entries and are therefore harder to win, but if you have concerns that is the best way to decide if any of the competitions are suitable for you.

I hope that's helpful - best of luck with your writing!

Fiona T
Thanks Christopher, I appreciate your time and reply. I am working my way through options now.

Brian C
A useful resource. Many thanks.

Caroline T
Just a quick note to say I'd change England to UK as these competitions will be open to at least all residents of the UK (Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales).

Chris Fielden
Caroline, thanks for the suggestion.

The reason I separate out England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on all the competition lists on this site is because many writers like to know exactly where the competition is run from - they use this as part of their market research when deciding which publications to target.

So for now, I'll be leaving the format as it is.

But thank you - all feedback is most welcome and considered carefully :-)

Kat A
The Amazon Breakthrough Novelist Award has been discontinued in favour of the kindle scout program which is, unfortunately, exclusive for those living in the U.S. .

Chris Fielden
Thanks Kat, have updated details accordingly :-)

Everlyne B
Good morning. I wish to inquire if the competitions only apply to residents of the said countries or are open to everyone.

Thanks in advance.

Chris Fielden
Hi Everlyne, most of the competitions are open to anyone residing anywhere in the world, but a few do have geographical restrictions. It's best to check the submission guidelines for each competition on their websites.

Michelle H
Chris, as you seem to truly understand, writing can be a thankless art but for those of us blessed (or cursed) with writer's passion we must do it, with or without recognition.  Your site brings us advocacy and support and I thank you.  I hope you continue.

Chris Fielden
Thanks Michelle - I have no plans of stopping, so the site will continue to grow. I have plans to add more free resources next year :-)

Anthony D
Hello. Thank you for all of the useful details and information on your site. I really do not know where to begin though and would love some advice.

I have always wanted to write a children's book (12 - 18yrs) and have finally started. It is going very well and I am really enjoying it, especially with the input from my 2 young daughters. I aim to have 12 chapters in the book and have written 4 chapters so far, with many ideas and plans for the remaining ones. Each chapter is about 2,000 words, but I have not been right back through them yet so this could increase. How would you recommend I proceed and can I enter more than one competition.

Look forward to your advice.

Chris Fielden
Hi Anthony, I'd recommend that you finish the book (including getting it proofread and editing it) and then enter competitions. That way, your writing will be at its best, which gives the story a better chance of success. The young adult and children's market is incredibly competitive, so it's important to put your best work forward.

Each competition will have different rules / T&Cs regarding simultaneous submissions, so I'd just review them and then decide which competitions you want to enter and an order of priority.

I hope that's helpful. Best of luck with your book :-)

Anthony D
Thank you so much Chris for your advice. I will continue writing and complete the book. Do you have any advice on proof reading?

Chris Fielden
Hi Anthony. I offer a proofreading service for shorter stories.

Your story is likely to end up too long for my area of expertise, though, so here’s an alternative. I’ve used JBWB in the past and I found their services very helpful.

If you don’t have the money to invest in paid services, there are groups on Facebook etc. that will offer a critique, but you don’t really know if those undertaking the critiquing are qualified or have the right experience to give you the best advice – just something to be wary of. There is also Wattpad, which I have been told is good, although I haven’t had time to use it much myself as of yet.

Hello Chris. Great list of book and novel writing competitions. Thank you for preparing it.

The Commonword Diversity Writing (no 9 in your list) is not free though. The submission rules state that £10 will be requested by emailed when a submission is received.

Chris Fielden
Thanks for letting me know, PD. I’ve updated the listing accordingly.

Marlene P
Very informative Chris. Thank you.

Chris Fielden
Welcome, Marlene. Glad you found the lists useful.

Kit G
I have to say I have thoroughly enjoyed reading what you have written. Thought and patience has gone into it and for that, WE THE PUBLIC THANK YOU, Chris. Being an aspiring author myself, I find it daunting when I go into sites and they talk in a way that is terrifying to the person who is already unsure of their work. Thank you for taking a lot of the pressure off. Love the comment section, (sounds tripe) but it makes you more human, and instead of reading one or two I read till the end and found it insightful and helpful. High five sir. This is one website I shall return to again and again. Thanks.

Chris Fielden
Thank you for the kind words, Kit - very much appreciated :-)

Di W
Hey Chris, thanks for a great website. I just noticed that you have the Exeter novel comp closing in October and they've recently changed it to January.

Thanks again.

Chris Fielden
Thanks for letting me know, Di - much appreciated :-)

I've updated the listing accordingly. Their entry fee has crept up, so have changed that too.

Gifford M
I was just reviewing your contest list - great job, and thanks for putting so much info together in one place.

I just wanted to let you know the link for the Next Novelist Contest says the domain is unavailable. I haven't been able to find a good link for their site.

Thanks again for your wonderful list of competitions!

Chris Fielden
Thanks for letting me know, Gifford – much appreciated.

I’ve retired the Next Novelist listing.

Glad to hear you find the list useful :-)

Auriel R
The summer before last, a peculiar notion burst into my mind - what if a man in his sixties suddenly finds himself victim to his first ever crush? Spare me, some may think, but I embraced the comic potential. I wasn't a writer, but stuck in a sweltering attic flat in the South of Germany in the middle of a heatwave, I filled the bath with cold water, sat in it and wrote my first short story. I have to say, I rather enjoyed myself. A couple of days later, pleased with the outcome, I thought I'd look for 'home' for my precious little bundle, a literary agent phrase I was soon to become familiar with.

Christopher Fielden's site popped up first on Google - his explanations led me to exactly the right competition for my story and it was closing in a week. I entered my story and two months later it was shortlisted, then I was invited to read from it at the awards ceremony. So sure was I that my story was perfection itself, I was ready and waiting to stand up and make my way to the podium when the winner - not me - was announced.

This small setback didn't rattle my confidence too much, however. Just the fact that my story had been shortlisted and then published in an anthology showed me that I wasn't alone in enjoying my prose. Undaunted, I spun my story into a full blown chronicle, 'Blindefellows Chronicle', about the vicissitudes of a forty year friendship between a timid younger man and an older, worldly-wise lothario. I wrote it in the evenings after work, whilst living on perhaps the dullest university campus ever, and it added laugh-out-loud colour to my life. Six months later, there it was, two-hundred and fifty pages of the book I'd always wanted to read, a witty comedy seamed with delicate stitches of poignancy. This novel is now on the verge of publication. Thanks, Chris, for being something of a catalyst.

Chris Fielden
What a great story - thanks for sharing Auriel. It’s so nice to hear success stories, especially when my site has played a small part in an author’s journey. Congratulations and I wish you the best of luck with publishing your book :-)

Mandy J
Hi Chris, thanks for this overview! I was wondering, do you know if people are allowed to enter several contests simultaneously? I haven't found any restrictions on this matter on the contest websites, but I can imagine it is undesirable that your manuscript is considered for publication by more than one publisher. Thanks!

Chris Fielden
Hi Mandy. It depends on the competition. You will have to read their submissions guidelines and their terms and conditions. Some competitions do accept simultaneous submissions. But many don't. It should state on most websites whether they do accept simultaneous submissions. If in doubt, contact them directly and ask before submitting.

I hope that answers the question :-)

Edwin W
Hi, sorry to trouble you. I've just completed a 250 page travel tale about my excursion to Thailand and Cambodia in 2001, shortly after the death of Pol Pot. The book is full of poetry, art and some very stunning photographs of several Buddhist temples. I've had this book printed out recently as a sort of one off copy and would like to approach some publisher or another for advice on how to go about publishing said book, for people who may be interested in this sort of story. Any useful advice you may have to give me about this would be most gratefully appreciated, Thank you.

Chris Fielden
Hi Eddie. You'd have to research publishers and see who might be interested in this type of book. A good place to start is the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook. Each year they release an updated directory of publishers and agents. This allows you to research potential markets for your book.

I hope that's helpful and I wish you the best of luck with finding a publisher :-)

Sue F
Hi there. I refer to your lists often and take them to be worthy of entry, because I trust you! And I know if you were aware anything wasn't quite as it should be with a competition you would state this in your list.

I am just not quite sure of the Inkitt competition i.e. the one with Amazon, whereby the Novel is uploaded and made visible to many. I would love to give this a go but just not quite sure of its legitimacy However I did notice on your competition page today that you have some information regarding this and you seemed to be o.k. with the contest. I made the mistake of checking the authenticity of this competition a few weeks ago and was not impressed with what I read, 'Hoax', 'money making scam' etc. and it puts one off a little. Of course this could be bitter losers, or unsuccessful entrants, I suppose I just want your approval of this competition, and no I won't hold you to ransome if nothing favourable comes of it, after all it costs nothing....does it?

Chris Fielden
Hi Sue. Platforms like this often receive bad press because sceptics don’t trust them/don’t understand what they do. Like any publisher, Inkitt is a business that’s out to make money – it’s how they survive and what makes them successful. That does not mean they’re untrustworthy. If anything, their success proves they can genuinely help authors.

I deal with Inkitt directly and liaise regularly with some of their staff. They’re lovely people. It’s a legitimate business and has been very successful in launching their competition winners’ books. They run a great launch program, gain authors a lot of exposure and pay them a generous royalty for book sales. If you’re not successful in the competition, you can still gain exposure to their readers which can help you learn the strengths and weaknesses of your novel.

Personally, I think they’re great and recommend them because they offer authors a genuine opportunity. Those who call it a ‘hoax’ or a ‘scam’ are misinformed or making assumptions that aren't true.

I hope that puts your mind at rest, but please let me know if you have any other questions :-)

Susanna K
I thought you might be interested to see this very negative account of  Inkitt on a blog  called Writer Beware. You might like to check it out as you do seem to be giving them a fairly glowing write up on your site.

Personally I have no axe to grind, I just came across this piece and thought you might be interested and care to look a little closer.

Cheers, Susanna

Chris Fielden
Hi Susanna. Thanks for sending me this - much appreciated.

I have seen the Writers Beware post before. In my opinion, it's a bit misleading. At the end of the post, you will see that Inkitt's owner, Ali Albazaz, has engaged with the writer and is trying to deal with his queries.

The writer also talks about working with affiliates. I know Inkitt do this, as I'm one of them. Most successful businesses use affiliate marketing. Amazon is probably the most famous platform that actively uses it (I work as an Amazon affiliate too – and an affiliate with many other companies). You can learn loads more about this in a post I wrote recently showing other writers how to make money blogging. The post explains how to work as an affiliate and why bloggers do it.

Regarding the spam claims in the post: I've seen Inkitt on Facebook etc. as they advertise there and, due to Facebook's algorithm, they can accurately target users with an interest in writing. I do the same with my books. The adverts I've seen have positive interaction and seem to be well received.

I've never experienced any spam from them on Twitter and I've been an active user on that platform since 2011.

By reading the other posts linked to in the Writer Beware post, it seems that Inkitt have used some questionable promotion techniques on Reddit. I don't use Reddit, so can't really comment on that. Most of the posts are years old, so maybe they've stopped now. If they are still using spammy marketing techniques, then it's a shame as it will be detrimental to their brand. I understand how this causes scepticism and negative press.

I've dealt directly with Inkitt and my contacts there are professional, nice people. They seem to be genuinely passionate about publishing and excited to help new authors see their novels in print and selling well. One of Inkitt's published writers, Simone Elise, has written for my blog, detailing how they helped her become an Amazon bestseller.

Some of my users have signed up and submitted to the platform. I've only heard good things about it from them.

If the spam claims are true, I understand and respect where any scepticism has come from. Personally, I believe what Inkitt offer is genuine and of value to writers and my website users, which is why I work with them and give them positive coverage. It's a free platform, so it doesn't cost writers anything to use. While I doubt Inkitt's business model will replace traditional publishing giants like Random House or Penguin, I think it's good that they offer an alternative. That's important, especially now the internet has changed publishing so much. Inkitt are a developing business and everyone makes some mistakes on their journey, attempting to achieve success.

I hope that explains the situation, but please let me know if you have any further questions on the matter. Cheers, Chris

Susanna K
Hi Chris. Thanks for your response - that blog did seem to be quite alarmist, but clearly there have been issues in the past. I reached it through a link on Jessica Davidson's website - again searching for reliable information on getting published. I'm a newbie at this and searching for debut novel competitions, so your website is really useful, thank you. It takes quite a bit of research to target the prizes that suit your work and, actually, unless you have written in a genre, it can be quite tricky to see what box your novel fits in to!

Thanks for all the great stuff on your site and its great to know you are across the black holes in the publishing world!

Chris Fielden
Hi Susanna. No problem :-)

I’m not familiar with Jessica’s site – thanks for making me aware of it. I’ve just seen that she also lists a lot of novel contests, so I’ll add a link to her site as I’m sure my users will find that useful.

Thanks for your kind words about my website – they’re very much appreciated. I’m glad to hear you’re finding it useful.

I wish you all the best with finding a home for your novel :-)

Sophie B
Good afternoon, I have written a children's book for age 3-8 and I have been trying to research and find a literary competition I can enter it in to. I stumbled across your website in the process and see you have a great knowledge on the subject. I could not however seem to find the right competition for my target age group. Do you know if any exsist? I would greatly appreciate your advice.

Chris Fielden
Hi Sophie. I’m afraid I don’t know of any comps for your target age group. There used to be one competition that focussed on this kind of thing, but it stopped running.

Sorry I can’t be of more help. If you do find anything please let me know as people often ask.

Gail A
Hi Chris. I’ve just been looking at your novel list and wondered if you wanted to include details of the Dorchester Literary Festival Prize, for self published novelists in the SW or locally published authors. Best wishes.

Chris Fielden
Hi Gail, thanks for letting me know about this - I've added the DFL prize to the lists :-)

Joana C
Hi, great site! Is this book competition open for writers? And also, because I live in Dubai, UAE right now.

Chris Fielden
Thanks, Joana :)

A lot of the competitions listed on this page are open to writers living anywhere in the world. However, some do have restrictions. You will have to look at the submission criteria for each competition and see if you are able to enter.

Good luck with your submissions!

Teri P
Hi Chris! I'm Teri I'm from California. I'm your biggest fan. I'm a novice writer. What is the most important advice you can give to someone who is beginning to write a novel? And why? I hope you are having a great day. Thank you very much!

Chris Fielden
Hi Teri. Well, I’d recommend writing shorter stories first – working on your style & voice and then getting your stories published so that you have a history of publication on your writing CV. And then try writing a novel. This comes from experience – I did it the wrong way round. Now, I don’t want to put you off if writing a novel is what you really want to do – it can be very rewarding and you will learn a lot from it. But if you try shorter story forms first, you will learn a lot and, therefore, you'll probably write a better first novel.

I hope that’s helpful! I wish you the best of luck with your writing.

Tony T MBE
Brilliant site. I will be using it often for sure. I wish I'd found it years ago...!

Chris Fielden
Thanks, Tony - great to hear you like the site.

If you want to receive updates, please subscribe to my email list. If that's of interest, you can do so here :-)

Mike T
Why isn't the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Book Awards nor the Indie Reader Reviews on this list? I looked and compared them to the ones you have on here. They are quite expensive book competitions, is that why?

Chris Fielden
Hi Mike. Thanks for letting me know about these contests - much appreciated.

They weren't listed as I wasn't aware of them, so thanks for the heads up.

I have added them to the lists!

Marilyn B
I'm looking for a competition I can enter with a published book, a memoir that smacks of the 'Huckleberry Finn' style, illuminating the 1945 Utah west. It is entitled ROAD TO COVERED BRIDGE, published by Utah's small Walnut Springs Press. Can you name a competition that might be appropriate?

I have another manuscript, THE BLACK CANARY about a black man who is lynched at a Utah mine. I am looking for a national publisher for this one. (Though I've published 15 novels with small local Utah presses, I'd like more exposure.) Thank you so much.

Chris Fielden
Hi Marilyn. It’s very hard to say when I'm not familiar with your writing. I'm afraid you'll have to read through the submission guidelines of the different competitions and see what is most appropriate for your work.

Inkitt is quite a popular competition, as it's free and they accept most styles and genres, so that might be a good place to start. Or look at competitions specifically for memoirs. You will find a couple on my non-fiction writing contest lists.

Sorry I can't be of more help. I wish you the best of luck with finding a home for your work.

Marilyn B
So nice of you to take time to answer me! Thank you so much!

Chris Fielden
No problem, Marilyn :-)

Hi, I have posted my first novel in the Inkitt competition. It's been a daunting experience. Firstly trying to get enough people to read it and satisfy the analytics, and working out how to stand out from the rest (always an issue for writing). It feels as intense as self-publishing, only there are no sales. I have had a number of great reviews (happily not only from my friends) and gathered some votes, but the analytics need so much more. The hardest thing is promoting the work (and given I'm not a very technologically adept person, I struggle). I have shared the novel with the Facebook groups that  Inkitt recommend, so I'm hanging in there. I think anyone wanting to enter the competition needs to think about how they will promote their book and attract a lot of readers.

Chris Fielden
Thanks for your feedback, HR - very much appreciated.

Congratulations on receiving positive reviews and votes. It sounds like you're doing all the right things. Marketing your work is the toughest part of the job, and actually the biggest part of the job, as it never ends. It’s great that you have highlighted that, so thank you.

Please let me know how you get on with the Facebook groups and any other avenues you pursue with it. I'm always interested to hear about stuff like that.

Good luck with your promoting, I wish you all the best with it :-)

Richard S
Hi. I clicked on your link to Inkitt. What I got was a list of books and book covers all on the subject of erotica. There was also a tab marked 'submit'. I am confused. Does this mean they only take erotica submissions? Or is this just a badly designed web page? Any clues?

Chris Fielden
Hi Richard. The books on the comp page are the ones that are currently performing best on the platform. Romance and erotica tend to be popular, so they often feature on the comp page. However, Inkitt accept all sorts of styles and genres, so read the subs guidelines and see what they are currently asking for. Some of the comps are open, some are themed. I guess they may have just run a romance themed one, hence the types of books on display at the moment.

I hope that helps.

David P
I have published a non-fiction book (Amazon), and have written a short story/novella of about 16,000 words.

What competition or publisher would you recommend I send my manuscript to?

Chris Fielden
Hi David, thanks for your message.

It depends on your writing style/genre. The best bet is to do some research and see which publishers you think would be best suited to your work. You will find lots of short story writing competitions listed here.

In addition to looking online, you can also try The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook and Mslexia's Indie Press Guide.

I wish you the best of luck with finding a home for your manuscript.

Alice H
Hi, thank you so much for providing such a useful resource. Will the information for all of the novel competitions in 2020 be put up here? If so, When?

Thanks for your time, A

Chris Fielden
Hi Alice. No problem, I'm glad to hear you found it useful!

The listings are for competitions that run every year, so they don't often change much.

However, I do an extensive overhaul of the list every year, early in January. If you would like to be notified of when that has happened, the best bet is to sign up to my email list. If that's of interest, you can sign up here.

Gary S
Hi Christopher. Need some clarification on Inkitt. Read some posts about this site accusing Inkitt for being a data mining scheme.

I am interested in feedback by readers.

Chris Fielden
Hi Gary. When Inkitt first started out, they received some bad press regarding their promotional tactics. To the best of my knowledge, they no longer undertake those practices and have a better reputation.

You can learn a lot more about Inkitt by reading this case study. It’s written by HR Kemp, an author who has used Inkitt. She is very candid, giving you all the pros and cons about using their platform. If you read that, you should be able to tell if Inkitt is right for you.

I hope that helps. Good luck with your books.

Fraulein S
Good day! This seems interesting. I am in the Philippines. I just wanted to inquire if all the invitations are within this year (2020), though the months are clear on my sight. How about the entry fees, or maybe its up to us to contact directly to the invitees. Thank you very much.

Chris Fielden
Hi Fraulein, thank you for your message.

The competitions are all current and the entry fees are mentioned in the listings, where available. Many of the competitions accept entries from writers living anywhere in the world, but you will have to check each contest's terms and conditions and review their rules to see if you can enter.

Good luck with your submissions :-)

Festus K
Hey Chris, still here (ref to comment under short story listing)... Great stuff, as usual/expected (as applicable)...

However, I would like to ask for the application of the advice above (the one given to Teri P. from California) in terms of someone who can be quite creative in storytelling but is presently pressed to focus on the monetary compensations of the trade... in terms of awards from competitions.

Would you still recommend following the path of entering competitions for shorter stories first, rather than writing a novel straight-out, particularly if the goal was to pick up something around $2,500 (not much I know, but somewhat significant)?

And I also wonder if writing from the African space (I currently live in NG) would significantly affect your answer... in terms of the availability of such opportunities [with a focus/solely open to Africans/people of Black descent]...

I'm aware of the Miles Morland Foundation Writing Scholarships For African Writers, but that's for published authors only.

Thanks for the help thus far, by the way... and your response, in anticipation.

Chris Fielden
Hi Festus. Thanks for your message. I'm glad to hear you're continuing to find the site useful.

It depends on the writer and where they are in their career... If you're just starting out, then yes, I still recommend starting with shorter works as they're a great learning tool. The short story and flash fiction markets are vibrant - there are hundreds (probably thousands) of publication opportunities in magazines and journals, as well as lots of competitions to enter. So you have more chance of getting a shorter work published than a full length book. And if your aim is to make money from your writing, then having some publication history on your CV can help when you're ready to try selling a novel.

But it depends on the writer really. It's best to write what you feel passionate about writing. So, if you feel drawn to writing a novel first, then do so. Just don't expect it to be a masterpiece. I think it's important to maintain realistic expectations. AC/DC didn't just form as a band and write the 'Back in Black' album in their first jamming session. They gigged extensively for years and honed their craft first. Story writing is the same - you have to practice it and learn the art. Stephen King talks about this very openly in some of his interviews. That's why, in my opinion, the short story is a good place to start. And flash fiction too - you really learn the art of editing and how to make every word count by writing in that medium.

Re money, if you receive $2,500 for a story, you're doing incredibly well. Competitions that offer that much prize money will attract a lot of entries, so the chances of winning are slim. Realistically, a writer's earnings from publication via comps and mags is likely to be much lower than that.

As for your question about African writers, I would advise the same approach, but I have no experience with the African publishing industry. Still, due to the internet, and an ever increasing positive focus on diversity, I think there are lots of opportunities now, no matter where you live / your ethnicity. If you want to find opportunities solely for Africans and people of Black descent, you could try Commonwealth Writers as they will probably have experience in this area. Also, check out Urban Word Collective who are based near where I live in the UK. They focus on poetry, but help support writers and celebrate diversity, so may be able to help you. I also list a couple of African publishing opportunities on my short story magazines page, so you could try contacting them.

I hope that's helpful, and wish you the best of luck with your submissions :-)

Festus K
Thanks for the timely... and detailed response, Chris.

I guess it's all worth a try... Though I must admit the extent to which I've been discouraged by the situation I've surmised from the information gotten thus far... Guess I had rather high hopes.

Nevertheless, I could try to keep up my spirits.

Chris Fielden
No problem, Festus.

It's best to be realistic, I think. It is difficult to make enough money to live from writing, or any creative art form - I have experienced the same in the music industry. That said, it is possible to find success and make a living from writing. Personally, I'm still on that road and believe it's doable. You just have to keep trying. My aim isn't to discourage, just to help set realistic expectations. I hope you keep your spirits up and continue to pursue writing as it can be very rewarding :)

Jeff S
Have you heard of the Madville Publishing 2021 Blue Moon Novel Competition? Have you any insight into its legitimacy? It appears to be a tiny press, and it claims to be a nonprofit organization registered in Texas. Thanks for any information on this contest. I cannot find their rules (they disappeared after submissions closed) though it seems the winner is published and wins $1000 (I do not recall that publication is mandatory or that rights were discussed).

Are there usually many entrants to these small press competitions? Best wishes, Jeff

Chris Fielden
Hi Jeff, thanks for your message.

I haven't heard of Madville Publishing's Novel Competition I'm afraid. I've had a look through their website and it seems professional and legitimate. Their social media accounts are active and they have contact details on their website.

Many small press run competitions, to help establish their brand. And if they only have a small team, it may take a while to complete the judging. I'd just keep an eye on the website and their social media channels for an announcement of the results.

It's impossible to say how many entries a competition receives - it depends on how well known the competition is and the type of prize they offer. In my experience, even small competitions that aren't that well known can receive a lot of entries if they have a decent prize. And publishing deals are always attractive to writers :-)

Sorry I can't be of more help, Jeff, but it all looks legit to me. All the best.

Jeff S
Hi Chris, thank you for your thoughtful response; I greatly appreciate it.

I think they are legit also: their cost to enter seems in line ($35); a professor from a Texas University is the judge; they claim to be a certified non-profit in Texas. I am only afraid (my fears may be unreasonable; it is not based on any knowledge I have) they might keep my manuscript and retain rights after publication. Do they have to give me a contract to publish? Their rules say nothing about what kind of contract they might offer or whether they offer one to the contest winner (although their poetry contest does state standard royalty contract for that winner).

If I win, can they possibly keep my novel and its rights even if I do not sign a contract? Or is there some law that protects me if I choose not to sign with their terms?

Chris Fielden
Hi Jeff, no problem at all.

The laws governing copyright and licensing depend on the country you live in. I’d advise you to look at your government website for copyright law. But to be honest, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. For a publisher to publish your book, they’d have to have a signed contract with you.

Basically, because you wrote the story, the copyright and publishing rights belong to you. Until you sign those rights away, they will remain with you.

Many short story competitions ask for publishing rights (I do that with the competition I run, because I publish the winning stories in an anthology), but that is not common with novel competitions. Sometimes they ask to be able to publish an extract of the winning stories, but I’ve never seen one that asks you to give away the publishing rights to a novel just by entering a competition. And if they offer a publishing contract as a prize, then you would be able to review that prior to accepting it.

Personally, I wouldn’t worry about it. You have to put your work out there to have a hope of enjoying any success and most publishers are ethical and honest – it would be damaging to their brand if they weren’t. However, if you are still concerned, look at the terms and conditions on their website. If they are no longer available, try emailing the publisher to ask. Most competition administrators will answer questions of that nature.

I hope that’s useful and helps to put your mind at rest :-)

Jeff S
Hi Chris, that is amazingly useful. Can’t thank you enough! Be well friend.

Chris Fielden
No problem, Jeff. All the best.

Perry G
Thanks for the blog, but seeing as how more of these contests are closed than are open, isn't it time to take the page down?

Chris Fielden
Hi Perry. Thanks for your message.

Most of the competitions on this list are run annually. The closing dates are listed where available to help you find the ones that are currently open to submissions. If you have spotted any that are not running anymore, please let me know which ones and I'll review the listings.

Perry G
According to your website, the contest is still open, closes May 14,  and your website had no trouble taking my 20 pounds via PayPal. That's The Times/Chicken House Competition.

It's very frustrating to spend 2 hours preparing a mss, arranging a synopsis and bio into a single document per your specs, only to be rejected by your computer. I tried uploading 3 times--a .docx mss. It's 90,000  words.

To expedite, I've attached the entry as well as my proof of purchase. If in fact you've closed 8 weeks early, please refund. Thanks for your help.

Chris Fielden
Hi again Perry. I don't run a novel competition and do not take payments on behalf of other competitions. I simply list novel contests run by other people.

If you have experienced problems with The Times/Chicken House Competition you will have to contact them directly about the problem. According to their website, they are open for entries for another three months. I'm having no problem accessing their submission form.

If you're experiencing problems submitting, I'd recommend contacting them using the email on their website. On there, it says: "If you have any questions regarding entry to the competition, please see our Competition FAQs or, if you can’t find your answer, email hello at chickenhousebooks dot com."

According to their website, the maximum word limit is 80,000 words. You say your manuscript is 90,000 words. Maybe that is what's causing the problem?

I hope that helps.

Perry G
They accept payment, but uploading the mss is impossible. I, too, could access the submission form. Thanks for your help.

Chris Fielden
No problem, Perry. I hope you get a reply from them and sort the problem out. All the best.