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Best Novel Writing Contests in 2024

Showing 50 contests that match your search.

Genres: Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Non-fiction, Novel, Novella, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Short Story, Thriller, and Young Adult

The Reader Views Literary Awards program helps level the playing field for self-published authors, recognizing the most creative and exciting new books in the industry. Our awards program is recognized industry-wide as one of the top literary awards programs for independent authors.

Top Prize:

$2,500

Additional prizes:

Several marketing prizes (e.g. book review)

💰 Entry fee: $89

📅 Deadline: December 15, 2024

2025 Book Prize

Unleash Press

Genres: Fiction, Novel, Novella, Poetry, and Short Story

Details: $1,000 advance and standard contract from Unleash Press for one winning manuscript. Novels, poetry collections, short story collections, and creative nonfiction manuscripts are accepted. We'll reopen for our 2025 competition in July.

Top Prize:

$1,000

Additional prizes:

Publication with Unleash Press

📅 Deadline: December 02, 2024

Bridport Novel Award

Bridport Arts Centre

Genres: Fiction and Novel

Your novel doesn't have to be finished. We initially need only 5,000 to 8,000 words plus a 300 word synopsis. If you're long listed we'll ask for a total of 15,000 words, including your original word count. Shortlisted? Then we need a total 30,000 words, again including your original entry and long listed word count. It all adds up to an incredible opportunity.

Top Prize:

£1500

Additional prizes:

£750 for the runner up and three prizes of £150

💰 Entry fee: $29

📅 Deadline: May 31, 2024

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Genres: Novel

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards recognizes outstanding works that contribute to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of cultural diversity. Awards are given for fiction, poetry and nonfiction. For books published this year, the submission period begins January 1, 2024 and the deadline is December 31, 2024. The winners are announced in the spring.

Top Prize:

$10,000

📅 Deadline: December 31, 2024

The Big Moose Prize

Black Lawrence Press

Genres: Fiction, Novel, Poetry, and Short Story

Each year Black Lawrence Press will award The Big Moose Prize for an unpublished novel. The prize is open to new, emerging, and established writers. The winner of this contest will receive book publication, a $1,000 cash award, and ten copies of the book. Prizes will be awarded on publication. The Big Moose Prize is open to traditional novels as well as novels-in-stories, novels-in-poems, and other hybrid forms that contain within them the spirit of a novel.

Top Prize:

$1,000

Additional prizes:

Publication, 10 copies of your book

💰 Entry fee: $27

📅 Deadline: January 31, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction and Novel

The Dzanc Books Prize for Fiction recognizes daring, original, and innovative novels (generally over 40,000 words, but there is no hard minimum). A $5,000 advance and publication by Dzanc Books will be awarded to the winner. Finalists will be compiled in-house and passed along for evaluation to this year’s judges: Alan Michael Parker, Chika Unigwe, and Sarah Yahm, author of The Moveables, which was chosen as the winner of last year’s Prize for Fiction.

Top Prize:

$5,000

💰 Entry fee: $25

📅 Deadline: September 30, 2024

Genres: Fiction, Novel, Novella, Science Fiction, Science Writing, and Young Adult

We're looking for original ideas, a fresh voice, a diverse range of entries and stories that children will love! To enter, you must have written a full-length novel suitable for children/young adults aged between 7 and 18 years. We suggest a minimum of 30,000 words and ask that manuscripts do not exceed 80,000 words. The IET 150 Award will be awarded to a manuscript that celebrates Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

Top Prize:

A worldwide publishing contract with Chicken House & royalty advance of £10,000

Additional prizes:

An offer of representation from a top literary agent

💰 Entry fee: $25

📅 Deadline: June 01, 2024

Genres: Novel

Open to all poets over 18 years old writing in English. Collaborations, hybrid works, and simultaneous submissions are welcome. Please notify Diode Editions if your manuscript is accepted elsewhere.

Top Prize:

$1,500

💰 Entry fee: $15

📅 Deadline: July 15, 2024

Genres: Essay, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Memoir, Non-fiction, Novel, Novella, Poetry, Script Writing, and Short Story

Literary or genre works accepted. Winner receives $500 plus publication, while runners-up and finalists are offered publication. No restrictions on theme or category. Closes: February 29. Entry fee: $12.50. Enter as many times as you like through Submittable or Duotrope

Top Prize:

$500 + publication

Additional prizes:

Runners-up and finalists are offered publication

💰 Entry fee: $12

📅 Deadline: February 29, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction, Non-fiction, Short Story, Essay, Memoir, and Novel

Established in 2018, the Women’s Prose Prize is for previously unpublished, original work of prose. Novels, short story collections, memoirs, essay collections, and all other forms of prose writing are eligible for consideration. The awarded manuscript is selected through a biennial competition, held in even-numbered years, that is open to all writers who identify as women.

Top Prize:

$1,000

Additional prizes:

Publication by Red Hen Press

💰 Entry fee: $25

📅 Deadline: February 28, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Crime, Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Novel, Novella, Poetry, Science Fiction, Science Writing, and Young Adult

We aim to assist writers in the completion of an important literary project and vision. The Unleash WIP Award offers writers support in the amount of $500 to supplement costs to aid in the completion of a book-length work of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Writers will also receive editorial feedback, coaching meetings, and an excerpt/interview feature in Unleash Lit.

Top Prize:

$500

Additional prizes:

Coaching, interview, and editorial support

💰 Entry fee: $35

📅 Deadline: July 15, 2024

Genres: Fiction and Novel

Every year, the Killer Nashville Claymore Award assists new and rebranding English-language fiction authors get published, including possible agent representation, book advances, editor deals, and movie and television sales. While we cannot guarantee that winners and finalists of this award will receive publication, dozens of winners & runners-up of the Claymore award have gone on to find great success in their careers and many of them attribute that success to this award.

Top Prize:

Publishing contract

Additional prizes:

Discounted admission to Killer Nashville, introductions to agents/editors

💰 Entry fee: $40

📅 Deadline: April 01, 2024 (Expired)

The 2022 First Chapter Book Contest

TheNextBigWriter, LLC

Genres: Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Novel, Science Fiction, Thriller, and Young Adult

Have a book or a novel idea you've been noodling? Enter your first chapter into the Booksie First Chapter Contest and see how it does. You don't need to have finished the book. You don't even need more than the first chapter. We're looking for a start that will grab our attention, that is original, that is well written, and that makes us want to beg you to see what comes next. And for those we find, we'll provide some awards to inspire you to finish writing the book or, if finished, to help get it published.

Top Prize:

$500

Additional prizes:

Gold contest badge.

💰 Entry fee: $5

📅 Deadline: May 14, 2022 (Expired)

Claymore Award

Killer Nashville

Genres: Crime, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Novel, Science Fiction, and Thriller

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 fee: $40

📅 Deadline: April 01, 2025

Genres: Essay, Memoir, Non-fiction, and Novel

Small presses have potential for significant impact, and at Vine Leaves Press, we take this responsibility quite seriously. It is our responsibility to give marginalized groups the opportunity to establish literary legacies that feel rich and vast. Why? To sustain hope for the world to become a more loving, tolerable, and open space. It always begins with art. That is why we have launched this writing competition.

Top Prize:

$1,000

Additional prizes:

Book publication

💰 Entry fee: $25

📅 Deadline: July 01, 2024

Debut Dagger

Crime Writer's Association

Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Novel, Novella, Suspense, and Thriller

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 fee: $41

📅 Deadline: February 29, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction, Memoir, Non-fiction, and Novel

We are a boutique publishing company that is dedicated to amplifying the voices of contemporary writers who are nomads and explorers of language, form, and the psyche. High-quality “unpublished” manuscript submissions of memoir, fiction and non-fiction entrusted to us will be read, sorted and pondered by our esteemed author, Jacqueline Gay Walley.

Top Prize:

$1,000

Additional prizes:

Possible publication

💰 Entry fee: $35

📅 Deadline: October 01, 2024

Genres: Fiction, Non-fiction, Novel, and Novella

We are seeking fiction and creative nonfiction of every genre. The contest is open to authors who have not been published by a major press. We publish in English, but the contest is open to writers from anywhere in the world. The early-bird entry fee (December 15th-February 15th) will be $25.

Top Prize:

$1,500

Additional prizes:

Two runner ups will be selected, each receiving $700.

💰 Entry fee: $30

📅 Deadline: July 15, 2022 (Expired)

AWP Prize for the Novel

Association of Writers & Writing Programs

Genres: Fiction and Novel

AWP sponsors the Award Series, an annual competition for the publication of excellent new book-length works. The competition is open to all authors writing in English regardless of nationality or residence, and is available to published and unpublished authors alike.

Top Prize:

$2,500

Additional prizes:

Publication by New Issues Press

💰 Entry fee: $30

📅 Deadline: February 28, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Crime, Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Novel, Novella, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Short Story, Thriller, and Young Adult

Free to enter. Seeking 0-5000 word (poetry: 15 pgs) excerpts of unpublished books (Fiction, Poetry, Nonfiction), including most self-published and indie-published works. 2-4 Winners (publication of extract is optional). We Shortlist 10-20 writers. Open to writers from anywhere in the world, with no theme or genre restrictions. Judged blind.

Top Prize:

$500

Additional prizes:

Optional Publication of Excerpt, Letter of Recommendation

📅 Deadline: May 01, 2024 (Expired)

Goldilocks Zone

Sunspot Literary Journal

Genres: Essay, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Memoir, Non-fiction, Novel, Novella, Poetry, Script Writing, and Short Story

Sunspot Lit is looking for the perfect combination of craft and appeal in stories, CNF, novel or novella excerpts, artwork, graphic novels, poems, scripts/screenplays. Literary and genre accepted. Enter through Submittable or Duotrope.

Top Prize:

$500

Additional prizes:

Publication

💰 Entry fee: $10

📅 Deadline: April 30, 2024 (Expired)

First 5 Pages Prize

Stockholm Writers Festival

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

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 fee: $20

📅 Deadline: January 31, 2022 (Expired)

UNO Press Publishing Lab

University of New Orleans Press

Genres: Novel

The Publishing Laboratory at the University of New Orleans seeks to bring innovative publicity and broad distribution to authors. Full length works of fiction (novels and short story collections) only. The work does not have to be regionally focused. There is no word limit. There is no limit on subjects covered. Multiple and simultaneous submissions allowed. The contest is open to all authors from any country, regardless of publishing history.

Top Prize:

$10,000

💰 Entry fee: $28

📅 Deadline: August 31, 2024

Genres: Fiction and Novel

Why not enter the Fiction Factory First Chapter Competition? Send us your first chapter + a 1 page synopsis (if your first chapter is more than 5000 words, send it with the 5000 word point clearly marked). First Prize: £500 + an appraisal and a reading by a top London Literary Agent. All short-listed entrants will receive a free appraisal. Appraisals: For an extra fee, £20, we will write a comprehensive appraisal of your chapter. Results will be published in July, 2024

Top Prize:

£500

Additional prizes:

A reading by a top London Literary Agent plus publication

💰 Entry fee: $22

📅 Deadline: February 29, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction, LGBTQ, and Novel

Dedicated to the memory of author and journalist Jim Duggins, this prize honors LGBTQ-identified authors who have published multiple novels, built a strong reputation and following, and show promise to continue publishing high quality work for years to come.

Top Prize:

$5000 (x2)

📅 Deadline: February 16, 2024 (Expired)

Goldfinch Books Novel Award

Goldfinch Books

Genres: Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Novel, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller, and Young Adult

Goldfinch Books, an independent bookshop, café and event space in Alton, Hampshire, UK has announced a UK nationwide literary competition to coincide with the inaugural Alton Arts Festival. The Goldfinch Novel Award 2024 is a prize for emerging authors (aged 16+) with completed young adult or adult novels. This competition is open to authors in the UK and will have a prize of £300 for the winning novel, chosen by judge Kiya Evans, Associate Literary Agent at Mushens Entertainment.

Top Prize:

£300

Additional prizes:

Goldfinch Membership

💰 Entry fee: $14

📅 Deadline: May 27, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Novel, Romance, Science Fiction, and Young Adult

Have you completed the first draft of your novel? Are you ready to pass it on to a fresh pair of eyes, to see if you are on the right track? Is your all-important first chapter ready for submission to an agent? Whatever your plans, your first chapter must shine – it must grab your readers or quickly lose their interest.

Top Prize:

£500 + an appraisal

💰 Entry fee: $22

📅 Deadline: February 29, 2024 (Expired)

The Book of the Year Awards

The Independent Author Network

Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Novel, Novella, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Thriller, Young Adult, Crime, and Short Story

The Independent Author Network presents the 10th Annual IAN Book of the Year Awards, an international contest open to all authors with 55 fiction and non-fiction categories. Winners are eligible to receive a share of cash prizes of $6,000 USD. Open to all English language print and eBooks available for sale, including small presses, mid-size independent publishers, university presses, and self-published authors.

Top Prize:

$2,500

Additional prizes:

$6,000.00 USD in total cash prizes

💰 Entry fee: $49

📅 Deadline: August 16, 2024

Genres: Fiction, Non-fiction, Novel, and Poetry

Through this contest, the BCALA honors the best self-published ebooks by an African American author in the U.S. in both fiction and poetry genres. These awards acknowledge outstanding achievement in the presentation of the cultural, historical and sociopolitical aspects of the Black Diaspora. The purpose is to encourage the artistic expression of the African American experience via literature and scholarly research including biographical, historical, and social history treatments by African Americans.

Top Prize:

$2,500

📅 Deadline: February 29, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Fiction, Non-fiction, and Novel

Where talented authors meet publishing professionals with the power to make a difference in the success of their books. Every author who enters a title in the IR Discovery Awards will receive a verdict, written by an IndieReader reviewer and based on their assessment after reading the complete book.

Top Prize:

First look consideration by a top, NYC-based literary agency

Additional prizes:

$500, publicist consultation service, Reedsy credit, custom author website

💰 Entry fee: $150

📅 Deadline: February 14, 2024 (Expired)

Passionate Plume

Passionate Ink

Genres: Fiction, Novel, Novella, Romance, and Short Story

The 2024 Passionate Plume celebrates the best in erotic fiction, both long and short, and features a special category for emerging authors.

Top Prize:

Engraved award

Additional prizes:

Publication in the Passionate Ink Charity Anthology

💰 Entry fee: $40

📅 Deadline: March 21, 2024 (Expired)

The Bath Novel Award

The Bath Novel Awards

Genres: Fiction, Novel, and Young Adult

The Bath Novel Award is a £5,000 international prize for emerging writers of adult fiction. Submit the first 5,000 words plus a one-page synopsis of your novel for adults or young adults. Shortlisted entrants will receive feedback on their full manuscript and all listees will receive editorial director feedback on their extract and synopsis.

Top Prize:

£5,000

Additional prizes:

£1800 for one longlistee

💰 Entry fee: $38

📅 Deadline: May 31, 2024

Novel Fair 2025

Irish Writers Centre

Genres: Fiction and Novel

Now in its 13th year, the Novel Fair is an annual competition initiated by the Irish Writers Centre. Described by The Irish Times as ‘A Dragons’ Den for writers’, each year the Fair introduces twelve up-and-coming writers to top publishers and literary agents, giving novelists the opportunity to bypass the slush pile, pitch their ideas and place their synopsis and sample chapters directly into the hands of industry professionals.

Top Prize:

Present your novel to leading publishers and agents at the Irish Writers Centre

💰 Entry fee: $59

📅 Deadline: September 30, 2024

Genres: Fiction, Novel, Thriller, and Mystery

Any novels between 50,000 and 200,000 words that are in the realm of action/adventure/thriller/mystery - and chocked-full of adventure - are welcome. New and previously published books welcome, though you must have sold or given away less than 10,000 books of the title(s) you enter. We do not accept sci-fi, fantasy, horror or young children's books. See our website for info on rules and entering.

Top Prize:

$1,000

Additional prizes:

Two AWC Finalist Awards: $500

💰 Entry fee: $50

📅 Deadline: April 30, 2024 (Expired)

Genres: Crime, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Memoir, Mystery, Non-fiction, Novel, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Script Writing, Short Story, Thriller, and Young Adult

The Storytrade Book Awards recognizes excellence in small and independent publishing. Open to all indie authors and publishers including self-published authors, university presses, and small or independent presses, our annual awards program spotlights outstanding books in a number of fiction and nonfiction categories.

Top Prize:

$1,000

Additional prizes:

Medal, Book Stickers, Digital Seal

💰 Entry fee: $75

📅 Deadline: June 30, 2024

Discover the finest writing contests of 2024 for fiction and non-fiction authors — including short story competitions, essay writing competitions, poetry contests, and many more. Updated weekly, these contests are vetted by Reedsy to weed out the scammers and time-wasters. If you’re looking to stick to free writing contests, simply use our filters as you browse.

Why you should submit to writing contests

Submitting to poetry competitions and free writing contests in 2024 is absolutely worth your while as an aspiring author: just as your qualifications matter when you apply for a new job, a writing portfolio that boasts published works and award-winning pieces is a great way to give your writing career a boost. And not to mention the bonus of cash prizes!

That being said, we understand that taking part in writing contests can be tough for emerging writers. First, there’s the same affliction all writers face: lack of time or inspiration. Entering writing contests is a time commitment, and many people decide to forego this endeavor in order to work on their larger projects instead — like a full-length book. Second, for many writers, the chance of rejection is enough to steer them clear of writing contests. 

But we’re here to tell you that two of the great benefits of entering writing contests happen to be the same as those two reasons to avoid them.

When it comes to the time commitment: yes, you will need to expend time and effort in order to submit a quality piece of writing to competitions. That being said, having a hard deadline to meet is a great motivator for developing a solid writing routine.

Think of entering contests as a training session to become a writer who will need to meet deadlines in order to have a successful career. If there’s a contest you have your eye on, and the deadline is in one month, sit down and realistically plan how many words you’ll need to write per day in order to meet that due date — and don’t forget to also factor in the time you’ll need to edit your story!

For tips on setting up a realistic writing plan, check out this free, ten-day course: How to Build a Rock-Solid Writing Routine.

In regards to the fear of rejection, the truth is that any writer aspiring to become a published author needs to develop relatively thick skin. If one of your goals is to have a book traditionally published, you will absolutely need to learn how to deal with rejection, as traditional book deals are notoriously hard to score. If you’re an indie author, you will need to adopt the hardy determination required to slowly build up a readership.

The good news is that there’s a fairly simple trick for learning to deal with rejection: use it as a chance to explore how you might be able to improve your writing.

In an ideal world, each rejection from a publisher or contest would come with a detailed letter, offering construction feedback and pointing out specific tips for improvement. And while this is sometimes the case, it’s the exception and not the rule.

Still, you can use the writing contests you don’t win as a chance to provide yourself with this feedback. Take a look at the winning and shortlisted stories and highlight their strong suits: do they have fully realized characters, a knack for showing instead of telling, a well-developed but subtly conveyed theme, a particularly satisfying denouement?

The idea isn’t to replicate what makes those stories tick in your own writing. But most examples of excellent writing share a number of basic craft principles. Try and see if there are ways for you to translate those stories’ strong points into your own unique writing.

Finally, there are the more obvious benefits of entering writing contests: prize and publication. Not to mention the potential to build up your readership, connect with editors, and gain exposure.

Resources to help you win writing competitions in 2024

Every writing contest has its own set of submission rules. Whether those rules are dense or sparing, ensure that you follow them to a T. Disregarding the guidelines will not sway the judges’ opinion in your favor — and might disqualify you from the contest altogether. 

Aside from ensuring you follow the rules, here are a few resources that will help you perfect your submissions.

Free online courses

On Writing:

On Editing:

Blog posts

Bonus resources

After you submit to a writing competition in 2024

It’s exciting to send a piece of writing off to a contest. However, once the initial excitement wears off, you may be left waiting for a while. Some writing contests will contact all entrants after the judging period — whether or not they’ve won. Other writing competitions will only contact the winners. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind after you submit:

  • Many writing competitions don’t have time to respond to each entrant with feedback on their story. However, it never hurts to ask! Feel free to politely reach out requesting feedback — but wait until after the selection period is over.

  • If you’ve submitted the same work to more than one writing competition or literary magazine, remember to withdraw your submission if it ends up winning elsewhere.

  • After you send a submission, don’t follow it up with a rewritten or revised version. Instead, ensure that your first version is thoroughly proofread and edited. If not, wait until the next edition of the contest or submit the revised version to other writing contests.

Prompts | Prompts Sans Serif | 2024-03

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