How Writing Contests Open Doors for Writers

Serious Writer and Almost An Author Writing Contests 2018 via

Have you ever wondered if you should enter writing contests?

I won my literary agent through a contest.


I entered a writing contest at the Blueridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference.

I won.

This piqued the interest of the brand-new website,

Their founder, Cyle Young, contacted me and offered me a monthly column.

Shortly after, I entered another writing contest sponsored by

I won.

Cyle Young now knew I could at least write well enough to win two contests.

When Hartline Literary Agency offered Cyle a job as an agent, guess who he contacted about representation?


So, yes, I won my agent through a writing contest. (Or actually two.)

If I hadn’t entered Blueridge’s contest, I wouldn’t have caught Cyle’s eye as fast.

I’m thankful I took the risk and entered. All I risked was a little money and my ego if I didn’t win, and it changed my life.

I’ve entered contests I didn’t win, too. And I haven’t won a book contract yet, but that’s coming.

I don’t enter to wallpaper my office with critical acclaim or shout to the world that I’m a great writer.

I enter because God often uses them to open doors. 

Try it yourself. See what doors God may open for you.

Writing Contests Open Doors. Enter these today. @Serious_Writer @A3writers @cyleyoung @BetJett #AmWriting #authors Click To Tweet

Write To Publish Writing Contests

The Write To Publish conference is hosting writing contests open to all writers, whether you attend their conference or not.

Write To Publish Awards


Payment and submissions must be received by May 1 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time. Serious Writer Medal entries must be postmarked by May 1 in order to qualify.

What will you win?

Winning overall entries will receive a prize package of $50-$100 in cash, and a prize package totaling up to an additional $260.

A press release announcing winners and finalists will be submitted to local and regional newspapers, Publishers Weekly, the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, and Christian Retailing.

The Write-to-Publish conference has several awards that Serious Writer is sponsoring.

The great thing is that both categories are open to all writers whether or not you attend the conference in June.

Almost an Author Award:

Unpublished categories are open to anyone who has not published a manuscript in the genre in which they choose to submit. Sponsored by Almost an Author.

Serious Writer Medal:

Published categories are open to anyone published in 2017, both traditionally and self-published. Sponsored by Serious Writer, Inc.

Contest Fees:

Contest fees are $20 per entryEntry fees are nonrefundable.

All entrants will receive a Serious Writer Academy course for free.

Entrants must pay via the following linksAlmost an AuthorSerious Writer Medal.


  • To hold to our standards for promoting Christian and clean writing, no profanity, graphic sex, or R-rated content will be considered. Entries that contain these elements will be disqualified at the award director’s discretion. Entry fees will not be refunded, nor will you be notified.
  • All entries must be original works of the author or authors.
  • All entries must be submitted in English.
  • No author who has published in a category may enter an unpublished piece in that same category. For example, if you are published (traditional or self) in romantic suspense, you cannot enter the Almost an Author award in that category. Conversely, if you are published in romantic suspense, you are allowed to enter the Almost an Author award for speculative fiction.
  • Entries will not be returned.
  • Any category receiving less than the minimum submission requirement will be combined with the closest genre category. The contest director reserves the right to cancel a category if the level of submissions is not up to industry publishing standards.
  • You may enter the contests even if you are entering one of the alumni awards or are not planning to attend Write-to-Publish.

Almost an Author Categories

  • Inspirational: 1,000 words maximum; devotionals, Bible study
  • Nonfiction: chapter summaries and first chapter; self-help, parenting, business/leadership, Christianity, memoir/personal experience, other
  • Magazine article: 1,500 words maximum
  • Flash fiction: 1,000 words maximum
  • Poetry: 1,000 words maximum
  • Romance, western, contemporary, historical novel (no erotica): first three chapters or first 15 pages, whichever is shorter
  • Thriller, mystery, suspense novel: first three chapters or first 15 pages, whichever is shorter
  • Speculative, fantasy (no horror) novel: first three chapters or first 15 pages, whichever is shorter
  • Children: picture book and easy reader, entire work; middle grade, chapter book, first three chapters or first 15 pages, whichever is shorter
  • YA fiction and nonfiction: first three chapters or first 15 pages, whichever is shorter

Serious Writer Categories

  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Children and YA

NOTE: If there are numerous entries in a subgenre, the director has the discretion to subdivide into new categories and award additional winners.

Format Guidelines for Both Contests

If these format guidelines are not followed, your entry will be disqualified with no refund and no notice.

  • 12-point Times New Roman/Times Roman font
  • Double-spaced
  • 1″ margins
  • Title of the manuscript included in the header with page numbers
  • Word (.doc or .docx) or PDF (.pdf) format only

Submission Guidelines for Almost an Author

  • Follow the formatting guidelines above. Include in one document a cover page with your name, manuscript title, category genre, and word count.
  • Your name should not be listed anywhere in the document except on the cover page.
  • Payment must be received prior to the deadline, or the entry will be disqualified.
  • Email your entry to contests @ with the subject line “2018 WTP Contest.” Attach your document in a required format.

Submission Guidelines for the Serious Writer Medal

  • Mail one copy of the book or other published work and a cover page with your name and submission category to: Victoria Duerstock, 2018 WTP Contest, P.O. Box 206, Nesbit, MS 38651.
  • If you are submitting an e-book, email Vicki @ for specifics about submitting it.
  • If your submission falls outside the guidelines, it will be up to the director’s sole discretion if entry will be allowed or not.


Winners will be announced at the conference banquet and do not need to be present to win.


Awards will be presented based on entry numbers: fewer than four entries, first place; five to seven entries, first and second places, more than seven entries, first through third places. If one person wins multiple entries in the same category, only the highest award will be presented.

Serious Writer Medals:

First-place awards include an award medallion, 25 stickers for the winning book, and a certificate and presentation cover. All other places receive a certificate and presentation cover. One overall winner will receive $100 cash, $100 discount for the 2019 Write-to-Publish or a Serious Writer Conference registration, and $160-package of Serious Writer Academy courses.

Almost an Author Awards:

All places receive a certificate and presentation cover. Two overall winners (one nonfiction, one fiction) will each receive $50 cash, $50 discount for the 2019 Write-to-Publish or a Serious Writer Conference registration, and $160-package of Serious Writer Academy courses.

All winners will also receive a graphic for their websites. Social-media graphics will be posted after the conference, announcing winners and winning categories.

A standard press release will be distributed to the winners. After adding award and biographical information, these may be submitted to local newspapers.


If you have any questions about these awards, email Victoria Duerstock at Vicki @

Find all the details on the Write To Publish website at the link below:

What have you got to lose? Enter Today!


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