The Great Novel Contest: Submission Checklist

We’re just eight days away from the start of The Great Novel Contest 2020!

Find prize information, submission guidelines, and our FAQ here.

Our submission form will open on January 1, 2020. Submissions will close on January 31, 2020. We reserve the right to close the contest early if we receive more submissions than our team can responsibly judge. Be ready to submit early rather than late!

The winner of this year’s contest will take home $1,000 in cash money, as well as a publishing contract from Bellwether, a publishing imprint of the Ohio Writers’ Association.

One runner-up will receive $500 cash, a publishing consultation with OWA President and publishing expert Brad Pauquette, and a letter of recommendation for agents and publishers.

Whether the contest has been on your radar for months or you’re just now hearing about it, here’s a simple checklist to make sure you’ve got your manuscript ready and your mind right to get that prize money.

  • Edit your manuscript now. This deadline waits for nobody. Take the remaining time before the contest starts to edit, polish, spit-shine, hem up plot holes, beef up your characters–whatever you have to do to get your manuscript ready for the judges. Somewhere, another future entrant is putting in the work. Don’t let procrastination cost you your shot at winning.
  • Review the submission guidelines, frequently asked questions, and prizes on the contest page here: Ask any lingering questions to an OWA administrator directly by emailing When you’ve finished educating yourself, bookmark the page so you can come back and submit your manuscript on January 1.
  • Plan how you’re going to laud your victory over your friends, enemies, and casual Facebook acquaintances. Also plan to spend your prize money on something totally ridiculous. Themed riverboat cruise. Discount taxidermy. A banana taped to a wall (fine art). Have your first draft bronzed. You’re a writer. You’ll think of something wild.

Submissions open January 1. Mark your calendars, or join the Facebook event here to stay in the loop as the submission period gets underway.

This is the fifth year we’ve held this contest, and each year exceptional manuscripts rise from the pool across all genres. Will this be the year you’re discovered? 

Questions about the contest? Contact us directly at