The Best Mystery Writing Contests of 2022

Writing competitions curated by Reedsy

Showing 53 contests


Stringybark Open Short Story Award 2023

Stringybark Publishing

Our annual flagship competition, the Stringybark Stories Open Short Story Award 2023, is now bigger than ever! Thanks to Graeme Simpson and Anne Buist, a record prize pool of over $1300 is on offer. The theme is open, the only constraint is that there must be a reference to Australia somewhere in the story. It doesn't matter how small a link there is (it could be a jar of vegemite on the counter), there just needs to be one!

Top prize

$560

Additional prizes

2nd: $360 | 3rd: $210 | 4th: $110

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $15

Deadline: February 12, 2023


Genres

Fiction, Mystery, Short Story, Crime, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Science Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult

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Elegant Literature's Contest For New Writers

Elegant Literature

One of the largest awards open to unpublished writers, and the only one closed to professionals. We are the first magazine to pay pro rates and only accept submissions from new writers, paying new authors over $50,000 this year. One new writer receives the grand prize. We also choose the best stories, pay the authors above-professional rates, and publish them in our magazine. December's head judge is Creag Munroe.

Top prize

$3,000

Additional prizes

Paid publication, 25 x $20 USD | Free entry to Novelist Accelerator

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $10

Deadline: January 01, 2023


Genres

Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller, Young Adult

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The Screw Turn Flash Fiction Competition

The Ghost Story

We’re interested in flash fiction pieces of between 250 and 1,000 words. We’re seeking the finest work we can find that incorporates an uncanny element. Ghost stories are welcome, of course—but your submission may involve any paranormal or supernatural theme, as well as magic realism. What we’re looking for is superb writing, fresh perspectives, and maybe a few surprises.

Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

print and online publication

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $15

Deadline: January 31, 2023


Genres

Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Short Story, Thriller

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NOWW 25th International Writing Contest

Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop (NOWW)

A Canadian contest with an international flair. As part of our 25th anniversary celebration, we have increased the prize total to $1800 over six major categories: poetry, short fiction, creative non-fiction, crime fiction, literary critical writing, and The Bill MacDonald prize for prose (A Northwestern Ontario setting must be central to the work).

Top prize

$150 CAD

Additional prizes

Publication in NOWW magazine

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $10

Deadline: February 28, 2023


Genres

Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Non-fiction, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller, Young Adult

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The Goldilocks Zone

Sunspot Lit

Inspired by the search for Goldilocks Zone planets, Sunspot Lit is looking for one short story, CNF, artwork, poem, graphic novel, or script that combines excellence with appeal. Literary and genre works accepted; feedback available.

Top prize

$200

Additional prizes

Publication

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $9

Deadline: December 19, 2022


Genres

Crime, Essay, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Poetry, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Script Writing, Short Story, Thriller, Young Adult

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Pulp Fictional Writing Competitions

Pulp Fictional.com

Our Flash contest is now open and will run until 1st January 2023. The Short Story contest begins on the same date and will run until 31st May 2023.

Top prize

$452

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $10

Deadline: May 31, 2023


Genres

Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Short Story, Thriller

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Debut Dagger

Crime Writer's Association

The Debut Dagger is a competition for the opening of a crime novel by a writer who isn’t represented by an agent by the time the competition closes, and who has never had a traditional contract for any novel of any length, or who has never self-published any novel of any length in the last 5 years. Writers submit their opening 3,000 words and a 1,500 word synopsis. Entries from shortlisted writers are sent to UK literary agents and publishers. Every year, authors find representation this way.

Top prize

$577

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $41

Deadline: February 28, 2023


Genres

Fiction, Mystery, Novel, Novella, Suspense, Thriller

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CWA Margery Allingham Short Mystery Competition

Crime Writers' Association

Every year since 2014, the CWA and the Margery Allingham Society have jointly held an international competition for a short story of up to 3,500 words. Our mission is to find the best unpublished short mystery, and not only that, but one which fits into Golden Age crime writer Margery Allingham’s definition of what makes a great story. Entries are invited from all writers, published or unpublished, writing in English.

Top prize

£500

Additional prizes

Two weekend passes to CrimeFest

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $16

Deadline: February 28, 2023


Genres

Mystery, Short Story

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Mum Life Stories Micro Fiction Writing Competition

Mum Life Stories

Win cash prizes and publication in an anthology. This is the 6th and final round of the second series of micro fiction competitions on the blog 'Mum Life Stories'. Just 500 words around the them 'Empty Nest', which can be interpreted any way you like, as long as it includes a mum somewhere in the story. There will be an anthology release early to mid 2023 including the shortlists (Top 10) from each round.

Top prize

$31

Additional prizes

Publication

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $2

Deadline: November 06, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Humor, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller, Young Adult

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Wenlock Olympian Society Short Story Competition

Wenlock Olympian Society

A prestigious short story competition with a maximum of 2,500 words. Entries can be on any theme in any genre. We are looking for flair and creativity. The competition will be judged by highly acclaimed author Emma Cooper. Winners to be announced in March 2023.

Top prize

$165

Additional prizes

2nd: $55 | 3rd: $27

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $6

Deadline: November 23, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller

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Story Unlikely's Short Story Contest

Story Unlikely

Short Story contest with $1,000 prize package and NO entry fee. Fiction or memoir, up to 4,500 words. Looking for well-written, expertly told stories, regardless of genre.

Top prize

$1,000 total package

Additional prizes

Publication

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: December 31, 2022


Genres

Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller, Young Adult

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Writing MISCHIEF

Sadie Tells Stories

For Sadie's final writing competition of 2022 she wanted to inspire you to have a little fun, mischievous fun that is. One of the definitions of mischief is: irresponsibly playful. Writing MISCHIEF is a 500 word short story contest. The story can be fiction or non-fiction as long as it includes an element of mischief. As usual, it does not need to be about mischief, it just needs to have an element of it somewhere in the story.

Top prize

$500

Additional prizes

2nd: $150

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $10

Deadline: November 15, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Humor, Mystery, Non-fiction, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Young Adult

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Historical Fiction Challenge

Globe Soup

For this short story challenge, all participants will be randomly assigned a period in history. As soon as you receive your assignment, you'll have until the closing time to research, write, and submit a short story of no more than 4,000 words, set during this historical period.

Top prize

$1,131

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $17

Deadline: October 28, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller, Young Adult

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100 Word Writing Contest

Tadpole Press

100 words per entry. Submit as many entries as you’d like. All ages. All genders. All nationalities. All writers welcome. This year's theme is the power of words. The words we write, the words we say, the words we keep to ourselves. They make a difference in the lives of those around us. How can you use your words to instill a sense of calm, of hope, of community? To remind one another of the beauty of diversity. To encourage us to support, love, and inspire one another.

Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

2nd: writing coach package 3rd: developmental or diversity editing package.

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $10

Deadline: November 30, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Thriller, Young Adult

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Post-Apocalyptic Media's 2nd Annual Short Story Writing Contest

Post-Apocalyptic Media

We’re looking for a short story (between 2k-5k words) within the post-apocalyptic genre. Your story can be fiction, non-fiction, past, present, or future, but it MUST take place after some sort of global catastrophe. Contest open to anyone 18 years or older worldwide.

Top prize

$300

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: December 16, 2022


Genres

Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Non-fiction, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller

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She Writes Press and SparkPress Towards Equality in Publishing (STEP)

SparkPoint Studio

The STEP contest awards female BIPOC authors a publishing package to publish on either She Writes Press or SparkPress. The purpose of this contest is to support inclusivity across our own lists, and to fortify our own mission to give voice to women writers.

Top prize

Publishing package valued at $8500

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $0

Deadline: October 15, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Non-fiction, Crime, Fantasy, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Novel, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult

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Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award

Killer Nashville

The Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award is committed to discovering new writers, as well as superlative books by established authors and, upon discovery, sharing those writers and their works with new readers. There are a large number of both fiction and non-fiction categories you can enter.

Top prize

$250

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $79

Deadline: June 15, 2023


Genres

Crime, Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Novel, Poetry, Science Fiction, Script Writing, Short Story, Thriller

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Writing Contest 2023

BooksShelf

We look for an original and captivating work of fiction or nonfiction. The genre is not important - the story is. We're looking forward to reading your amazing books!

Top prize

$200 USD Fiction | $100 USD Nonfiction

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $25

Deadline: January 31, 2023


Genres

Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Novel, Novella, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Thriller, Young Adult

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The Annual Writerwerx University Short Story Contest

Writerwerx University

Submit your piece of 2,000 words or less to compete with writers all over the country for cash, prizes, and bragging rights! There are no theme or topic restrictions. Erotic, religious, and technical shorts are welcome.

Top prize

$2,500

Additional prizes

2nd: $1500 | 3rd: $150

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $25

Deadline: August 31, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller, Young Adult

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Editor's Prize - Work Anthology

Unleash Press

Writers are invited to submit creative interpretations on Work for an upcoming anthology and the chance of winning the editors' prize. Essays, fiction, drama, and poetry interpretations of the theme will be accepted. Submissions should have a total word count of no more than 5,000 words. All authors chosen for the anthology will receive a paperback copy of the book. Only one editor’s prize will be selected.

Top prize

150

Additional prizes

Publication in anthology

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $10

Deadline: December 30, 2022


Genres

Crime, Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Poetry, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Short Story, Thriller

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Seven Hills Literary Contest and Penumbra Poetry and Haiku Contest

Tallahassee Writers Association

The Seven Hills Literary Contest and Penumbra Poetry and Haiku Contest (collectively, “the Contest”) is sponsored annually by the Tallahassee Writers Association. The contest is open to English-language entries from around the world. For the first time, we are open to published entries as well as unpublished entries.

Top prize

$300

Additional prizes

Published in the Seven Hills Review

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $15

Deadline: September 30, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Children's, Crime, Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Non-fiction, Novel, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Short Story, Thriller, Young Adult

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Fiction Factory Flash Fiction

Fiction Factory

We welcome previously unpublished stories (max 1,000 words) on any theme. Our judge is looking for freshness, originality and strongly drawn characters.

Top prize

£200

Additional prizes

£50, £25

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $7

Deadline: November 30, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Flash Fiction, Crime, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Science Fiction, Thriller

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Etched Onyx and the Story Discovery Podcast

Onyx Publications

The Fall Edition Contest is an open, mixed-category contest. In other words, we have no limitations or expectations on which types of works will win awards. Selections are based on originality, voice, and style. Last year's contest had 4 prose winners and 2 poetry winners. (An early bird entry fee of $7.50 runs till July 31)

Top prize

$500

Additional prizes

Second Prize $250 | Third Prize $100 | 3 Honorable Mentions $50 each

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $12

Deadline: August 28, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Non-fiction, Poetry, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller

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Gothic Novella Contest

Briar Press NY

Briar Press NY is looking for a Novella in the Gothic tradition, previously unpublished and set in any historical time period and place/culture up until 1970. We are looking for beautiful writing, an engaging plot, memorable characters, and that authentic Gothic atmosphere (classic tropes are welcomed, but we also want substance and depth!) 75 to 150 pp long (18,000 to 38,000 words)

Top prize

Publication with Briar Press NY in Autumn 2022

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: July 15, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Novella, Romance, Thriller

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Best Indie Book Award

Best Indie Book Award

The annual Best Indie Book Award® (or BIBA®) is an international literary awards contest recognizing self-published and independently published authors from all over the world. Entries are limited to independently (indie) published books, including those from small presses, e-book publishers, and self-published authors.

Top prize

Trophy

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $65

Deadline: October 01, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Novel, Novella, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller, Young Adult

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Oxford Flash Fiction Prize

Oxford Flash Fiction

Write yourself into history and become one of the greats with the Oxford Flash Fiction Prize. For centuries, the greats have come to Oxford to ink masterpieces. Now, in one of the oldest towns, where the history of the English language can be traced back to its ancient streets, we want to celebrate one of the newest forms in literature – flash fiction.

Top prize

$1,300

Additional prizes

2nd Prize: $243 | 3rd Prize: $122

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $8

Deadline: August 31, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Christian, Crime, Fantasy, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, LGBTQ, Mystery, Suspense, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller, Travel

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2nd Annual WCWF Writing Contest

Wine Country Writers' Festival

Fire up those pens and get those unpublished stories and poems submitted to WCWF 2nd Annual Writing Contest. Three winners in each category, publication in Anthology, and your own copy. Entries: $15 or two for $25.

Top prize

$150

Additional prizes

2nd Place: $75 | 3rd Place: $50

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $15

Deadline: July 29, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Non-fiction, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Short Story, Thriller, Young Adult

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Beagle North Competition

Beagle North

The theme for Beagle North's short story competition changes quarterly. - Your story must be no longer than 2,500 words (not including the title) - Only one story permitted per person, each quarter - Stories must be in English

Top prize

£20 Amazon Voucher

Additional prizes

£10 Amazon voucher for 2nd and 3rd place

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: June 30, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Crime, Fantasy, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Short Story, Thriller

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Geminga: $250 for Tiny Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, or Art

Sunspot Lit

Authors and artists eligible. Sunspot Lit’s Geminga contest honors the power of the small. No restrictions on theme or category. $250 cash, publication for the winner, and publication offered to runners-up and finalists. Enter as many times as you like, but only one piece per submission.

Top prize

$250

Additional prizes

Publication in digital and print

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $6

Deadline: June 30, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Crime, Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Script Writing, Short Story, Thriller, Young Adult

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The Dante Rossetti Awards

Chanticleer Book Reviews and Media

The Dante Rossetti Awards Categories are: Contemporary Young Adult; SFF & Paranormal; Dystopian/Edgy/Urban; Mystery/Thriller/Suspense; Historical Young Adult; YA Adventure/Romance. The Chanticleer Prize Package includes: A Prize Ribbon to use in promotion at book signings and book festivals Digital Badges for display on your website or incorporation into book covers Book stickers to identify your print books to bookstore shoppers as they browse.

Top prize

$1,000

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $99

Deadline: August 30, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Mystery, Novel, Romance, Science Fiction, Suspense, Thriller, Young Adult

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International Novel Prize

Grindstone Literary

The 2022 Grindstone International Novel Prize is open to authors from all around the world, and is aimed at discovering and elevating new and unsung authors. Authors may submit finished or part-finished manuscripts providing they are not currently represented by an agent. We forward all longlisted works to some of the best agencies in the UK such as Curtis Brown Books, Conville and Walsh, Janklow & Nesbitt, the Paper Literary Agency, the Good Literary Agency, and so many more.

Top prize

£1,000

Additional prizes

Runner Up: £500 | 4x Shortlist: £125 | Longlist: Entries forwarded to affiliated agents.

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $20

Deadline: October 01, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Crime, Mystery, Novel, Thriller

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Claymore Award

Killer Nashville

Created in 2009, the Killer Nashville Claymore Award assists new and rebranding English-language fiction authors to get published, including possible agent representation, book advances, editor deals, and movie and television sales. The contest is limited to only the first 50 double-spaced pages of unpublished English-language manuscripts containing elements of thriller, mystery, crime, or suspense NOT currently under contract.

Top prize

Possible contract with Mystery Writers of America

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $40

Deadline: April 01, 2023


Genres

Crime, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Novel, Science Fiction, Thriller

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Flash Fiction Competition

Globe Soup

Globe Soup are looking for the best flash fiction of no more than 800 words. The competition features a secret location in which all participants must set their story. Participants can get extensive feedback on their entry by joining Globe Soup's writing group and free entry to their monthly micro fiction contests and other opportunities to win cash prizes!

Top prize

£1000

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $16

Deadline: December 31, 2021 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Flash Fiction, Crime, Fantasy, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Science Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult

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Caledonia Novel Award

Caledonia Novel Award

Now in our ninth year of competition, we are an Edinburgh-based, international award for unpublished and self-published novelists in all genres for adults and YA. This year's judge is Charlotte Seymour, literary agent at Johnson & Alcock. On top of the £1,500 top prize, the best entry from the UK and Ireland will receive a place on a writing course at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre.

Top prize

£1, 500

Additional prizes

Free place on a writing course at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre.

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $30

Deadline: November 01, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Novel, Science Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult, Romance, Suspense

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First 5 Pages Prize

Stockholm Writers Festival

SWF is proud to launch the First 5 Pages Prize to mark our 5th anniversary. Dazzle us with your brilliance. Delight us with your wit. Deceive us with your dastardly plot-twists. There will be one Grand Prize winner chosen from all entries. The winner will receive: $1000 cash, a ticket to SWF22, a pitch meeting with an agent conducted over Zoom, two night’s accommodation at a boutique hotel, and a full developmental edit donated by Reedsy, the industry’s leading platform for writing services.

Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

A full developmental edit donated by Reedsy & pitch meeting with an agent

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $20

Deadline: January 31, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Novel, Novella, Science Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult

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