The Best Novel Writing Contests of 2023

Writing competitions curated by Reedsy

Showing 86 contests


First Chapter + Synopsis Competition

Fiction Factory

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 requirements

💰 Fee: $22

Deadline: February 29, 2024


Genres

Fiction, Novel

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Letter Review Prize for Manuscripts

Letter Review

The Letter Review Prize for Manuscripts (Fiction, Poetry, Nonfiction) is open to writers from anywhere in the world. Three Winners are awarded and have extracts published. 20 entries are Longlisted. Winners receive letter of recommendation for publishers.

Top prize

$1000 (shared by 3 winners)

Additional prizes

Publication

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $20

Deadline: December 31, 2023


Genres

Crime, Essay, Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery, Novel, Poetry, Romance, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Short Story, Thriller, Young Adult

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Clash of the Query Letters

Darling Axe Editing

Our judge, Michelle Barker, will be asking herself one question: does this query letter convince me that I'm in the hands of an adept novelist with a unique and engaging story to tell?

Top prize

CAD $700

Additional prizes

CAD $200 for 2nd place, $100 for 3rd place

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $4

Deadline: January 31, 2024


Genres

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

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Put Your Heart in a Book Contest

New Jersey Romance Writers

Submissions will consist of a FIRST chapter, not to exceed 30 pages, and a PROJECTED WORD COUNT of the completed manuscript. A prologue may be included as part of the first chapter, if within page total guidelines. An UNJUDGED SYNOPSIS must be included at the end of the submission, clearly defined with a page break and titled "SYNOPSIS". The synopsis will not count toward the page count.

Top prize

$200

Additional prizes

Social media promotion, feedback from 2 published authors

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $25

Deadline: August 01, 2021 (Expired)


Genres

Novel

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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 (Expired)


Genres

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

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Passionate Plume

Passionate Ink

Contest is open to all erotic fiction works published the previous year. Erotic romance stories have HEA and the romantic relationship grows through sexual interaction. Erotic fiction entries do not require an HEA/HFN.

Top prize

Engraved award

Additional prizes

Newsletter/Social Media promotion

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $40

Deadline: March 21, 2022 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Novel, Novella, Romance, Short Story

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Novel Fair 2024

Irish Writers Centre

Now in its 12th 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. Novel Fair has been attended by representatives from: Curtis Brown, Penguin Random House, Conville & Walsh, époque, Fletcher & Co, Poolbeg Press, Harper Collins, John Murray, Hachette, Lilliput Press, New Island Books, The Book Bureau, The Bent Agency, Greene & Heaton, Storyline Literary Agency and many others.

Top prize

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

Additional prizes

Runners up: Critique from the judging panel

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $60

Deadline: September 30, 2023 (Expired)


Genres

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

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I Am In Print Novel Award 2023

I Am In Print Ltd

I Am In Print are excited to be working with Canelo, one of the largest independent digitally focused publishers in Europe and one of the largest UK fiction publishers by volume, to find the best, as yet unpublished, manuscripts. Novels entered must be complete, written in English and be between 70,000 and 100,000 words. The award is open to writers globally and novels written for an adult audience in the following genres are welcome: Action thriller, Cosy mystery, Crime, Historical adventure, Horror, Psychological thriller, Romance, Saga. First prize is £1000 plus a 60 minute online consultation with a Canelo Editor!

Top prize

£1000

Additional prizes

60 minute online consultation with a Canelo Editor

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $0

Deadline: October 09, 2023 (Expired)


Genres

Crime, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Novel, Romance, Thriller

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The Book of the Year Awards

The Independent Author Network

The Independent Author Network presents the 2024 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 requirements

💰 Fee: $0

Deadline: August 15, 2023 (Expired)


Genres

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

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The Masters Review Novel Excerpt Contest

The Masters Review

Each fall, The Masters Review hosts a call for novel excerpts! Writing a novel can be an arduous and lonely process, but we’re here to champion the great work being produced. Whether your book is not quite finished or ready to pitch, we want to read your words. For this contest, we’re looking for self-contained excerpts that display a strong voice, compelling characters, and carefully constructed narrative arcs. You may submit an excerpt from any section of your completed or in-progress novel, but choose wisely: a synopsis should not be required for understanding the excerpt. As always, we have no limitations on genre, though we are primarily interested in literary fiction.

Top prize

$3,000

Additional prizes

2nd: $300, online publication | 3rd: $200, online publication

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $20

Deadline: November 12, 2023 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Novel

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George Garrett Fiction Prize

Texas Review Press

Established in 1998, The George Garrett Fiction Prize highlights one book a year for excellence in a short story collection or novel. Since 2019, the prize comes with a $1,000 advance, a standard royalty contract, and 20 copies of the published book.

Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Standard royalty contract with TRP and 20 author copies of the published book

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $28

Deadline: September 30, 2023 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Novel

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

SparkPoint Studio

Since 2018, we’ve been proud to play a role in the much-needed elevation of writers of color by awarding 2-3 authors of color publishing packages per year as part of our She Writes Press and SparkPress Toward Equality in Publishing (STEP). The purpose of this contest is to support inclusivity across our lists, and to fortify our own mission to give voice to women writers.

Top prize

Publishing package valued at $9500

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $0

Deadline: August 15, 2023 (Expired)


Genres

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

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Inception 2023

Sunspot Lit

Beginnings have the power to spark passion or curiosity. They might immediately connect a specific place and time with an emotional tone. The best openings offer a feeling, atmosphere, action, or image that is gripping, and hints at more to come. For Sunspot Lit’s Inception contest, send your best opening. There are no restrictions on theme, category, or the length of the piece or collection from which the excerpt comes. Word limit is 250 for prose, 25 words for poetry.

Top prize

$500

Additional prizes

Publication in digital and print editions

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $10

Deadline: July 31, 2023 (Expired)


Genres

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

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First Crime Novel Competition

Macmillan Publishers

The Competition is open to any writer, regardless of nationality, aged 18 or older, who has never been the author of any Published Mystery Novel (including self-published works and ebooks.)

Top prize

$10,000 advance

Additional prizes

Publication

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: December 15, 2023


Genres

Fiction, Novel

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Green Stories Writing Competition

University of Southampton

Theme: Microbes to the Rescue! This short story competition is sponsored by the Environmental Biotechnology Network. It may appeal to writers with a scientific bent as it aims to use fiction to raise awareness of Environmental Biotechnology and what microbial systems can do for us. Eligibility: Open to all – we encourage international writers. All submissions must be in English and unpublished. Length: We ask for a short story of between 1000 and 3000 words.

Top prize

£500 prize

Additional prizes

2nd: £200 | 3rd: £100

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: September 21, 2023 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Novel, Short Story, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Thriller

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Page One Prize for Novelists

Gutsy Great Novelist

The Gutsy Great Novelist Page One Prize is awarded for an outstanding opening page of an unpublished novel. The prize is open internationally to anyone over 18 writing a novel in English in any genre for adult or YA readers.

Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

2nd $500 | 3rd $250

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $20

Deadline: July 14, 2023 (Expired)


Genres

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

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Caledonia Novel Award

Caledonia Novel Award

Now in our 10th 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 Ariella Feiner, literary agent at United Agents. As well as the top prizes, the writer of the best entry from the UK & Ireland wins a free place on a writing course at Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre.

Top prize

£1,500

Additional prizes

Highly Commended novel wins £500

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $30

Deadline: November 01, 2023 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Novel, Young Adult

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2024 Book Prize

Unleash Press

Writers are invited to submit novels, short story collections and creative nonfiction manuscripts. The Editors' Prize winner receives a publication contract with Unleash Press and $1000 prize, along with 10 printed copies of the final book. We may also offer publication contracts to additional outstanding manuscripts.

Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

Publishing contract

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $35

Deadline: December 15, 2023


Genres

Essay, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Memoir, Novel, Short Story, Non-fiction

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Reader Views Literary Awards

Reader Views

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 requirements

💰 Fee: $89

Deadline: December 31, 2023


Genres

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

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The Synopsis Skirmish—a contest for querying authors

Darling Axe Editing

Our judge, Michelle Barker, will be asking herself one question: "Does this synopsis convince me that I'm in the hands of an adept novelist with a unique and engaging story to tell?" According to literary agent Sarah Davies, a good query submission can be described in terms of concept and craft. In other words, you want to convey an original idea or fresh take and demonstrate a mastery of narrative structure. These elements are both important in your pitch, but even more so in your synopsis. So lay out your story's chain of consequence, and demonstrate character, context, and conflict—with style but without gimmick. And may the best plot summary win!

Top prize

$700 CAD

Additional prizes

2nd: $200 CAD | 3rd: $100 CAD

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $4

Deadline: May 31, 2023 (Expired)


Genres

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

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Dzanc Books Prize for Fiction

Dzanc Books

The Dzanc Books Prize for Fiction recognizes daring, original, and innovative novels. A $5,000 advance and publication by Dzanc Books will be awarded to the winner.

Top prize

$5,000 advance

Additional prizes

Publication by Dzanc

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $25

Deadline: June 30, 2023 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Novel

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First Pages Prize

First Pages Prize

This international prize is open to unagented writers anywhere in the world for the first five pages (1,250 words) of a longer work of fiction or creative nonfiction. This year we will award three prizes in BOTH fiction and creative nonfiction! In addition to cash awards, winners receive developmental mentoring, consultation with a literary agent, and publicity.

Top prize

$2,000

Additional prizes

Developmental Mentoring & Agent Consultation

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $20

Deadline: April 10, 2023 (Expired)


Genres

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

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The Mysterious Case

NEOVEL

The theme of this contest is "The Mysterious Case". The main character or characters of your entry must have a suspenseful investigation with a mystery in the plot. This change must occur in the story before the end of the fourth chapter and must be mentioned in your book description.

Top prize

€500

Additional prizes

2nd: €250 | 3rd: €100

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: April 02, 2023 (Expired)


Genres

Crime, Fiction, Novel

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The Bath Novel Award

The Bath Novel Awards

The Bath Novel Award is a £3,000 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 entries will receive manuscript feedback and literary agent introductions.

Top prize

£3,000

Additional prizes

£1800 for one longlistee

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $35

Deadline: May 31, 2023 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Novel, Young Adult

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Chapter One Prize

Gutsy Great Novelist

The Gutsy Great Novelist Chapter One Prize is awarded for an outstanding first chapter of an unpublished novel. The prize is open internationally to anyone over 18 writing a novel in English in any genre for adult or YA readers. Winners will be announced March 31, 2023.

Top prize

$1,000

Additional prizes

2nd: $500 |3rd: $250

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $20

Deadline: March 01, 2023 (Expired)


Genres

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

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Jim Duggins, PhD Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize

Lambda Literary

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)

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: February 17, 2023 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, LGBTQ, Novel

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AWP Prize for the Novel

Association of Writers & Writing Programs

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 requirements

💰 Fee: $30

Deadline: March 03, 2023 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Novel

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Nimrod Literary Awards

Nimrold International Journal of Prose and Poetry

All finalists in fiction and poetry will be published and paid at our standard publication rate. Semi-finalists in poetry will also be published and paid at our standard publication rate.

Top prize

$2000 + Publication

Additional prizes

2nd: $1000 + Publication

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $20

Deadline: April 01, 2023 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Poetry, Short Story, Novel

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The Adventure Writers Competition

Adventure Writers

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 requirements

💰 Fee: $50

Deadline: April 30, 2023 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Novel, Thriller, Mystery

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The 2023 Bloom Writing Contest

The European Society of Literature

The 2023 Bloom Writing Contest is a writing competition that seeks to find hidden talent in the literary scene. The contest will place heavy emphasis on works of deep meaning, aesthetic beauty and literary quality—just as Harold Bloom did. The 2023 Bloom Writing Contest accepts submissions of all types, whether it be an essay, a poem, a short story.

Top prize

$500

Additional prizes

Publication

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $3

Deadline: May 01, 2023 (Expired)


Genres

Essay, Fiction, Memoir, Novel, Poetry

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Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest

Ayn Rand Institute

The Atlas Shrugged novel essay contest is open to all students globally. Atlas Shrugged is a heroic mystery novel written by Ayn Rand. Choose a prompt and write a 800-1,600 word essay.

Top prize

$10,000

Additional prizes

2nd: $2,000 (x3) | 3rd: $1,000 (x5) | 25 finalists: $100 | 50 semifinalists: $50

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: FREE

Deadline: November 06, 2023 (Expired)


Genres

Essay, Fiction, Mystery, Novel, Thriller, Young Adult

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The Big Moose Prize

Black Lawrence Press

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 requirements

💰 Fee: $27

Deadline: January 31, 2023 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Novel, Poetry, Short Story

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Bridport Novel Award

Bridport Arts Centre

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 requirements

💰 Fee: $29

Deadline: May 31, 2023 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Novel

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The Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition

Chicken House Books

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 requirements

💰 Fee: $25

Deadline: June 01, 2023 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Novel, Novella, Science Fiction, Science Writing, Young Adult

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The Kurt Brown Prizes

Association of Writers & Writing Programs

AWP will offer three scholarships of $500 each to be awarded to three first-place winners in the genres of creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. These scholarships must be used to attend a writers’ conference, center, retreat, festival, or residency at one of the AWP member programs in the Directory of Conferences & Centers. All winners and six finalists will also receive a one-year individual membership.

Top prize

$500 scholarship

Additional prizes

one-year membership

Entry requirements

💰 Fee: $10

Deadline: March 31, 2023 (Expired)


Genres

Fiction, Non-fiction, Novel, Poetry, Short Story

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