The Great Novel Contest is officially open!

The Great Novel Contest is officially open! Here are some Frequently Asked Questions to help you get your facts and figures straight as you prepare to enter the contest.

How long is the submission period?

The entry period runs from May 1, 2019 to May 31, 2019. However, depending on the number of submissions, we may close the the contest early in order to give enough time for our judges to read and rate the entries. It’s better to submit your novel early!

I’m not from Ohio, can I still submit?

Yes indeed! This contest is open to writers around the world, as long as your manuscript is written in English. Where you live will not sway or effect the judging process.

How much does it cost to submit?

The submission fee is only $25! We have found ways to make this contest more efficient, reducing the cost of promoting, judging, and providing awards for this contest. Rather than fall under the sway of a big corporate sponsor, we choose to ask those who benefit from this contest to chip in to the operation. That way we can offer a competitive, legitimate, and rewarding contest for all involved.

Do I need to pay for an Ohio Writers’ Association Membership to submit to the contest?

No! You must register as an OWA Peer Member in order to submit, but this membership level is free. If you’d like to register as a paid Ohio Writers’ Association member that’s great, but in no way will that decision improve your chances of winning The Great Novel Contest.

What types of manuscripts are you accepting?

We will accept original novel or nonfiction manuscripts, such as a memoirs. No children’s books or erotica will be accepted. However, novels with cross-over audiences may be submitted. All manuscripts must be previously unpublished, meaning we will accept no books that have been up for sale anywhere, in any format, at any time. This includes self-published books.

Standard novel word length is 50,000 – 125,000. While the maximum word count is firm, submissions can fall below the minimum 50,000 words. We will only accept novels written in English.

All entries must be submitted electronically in doc, docx, or pdf format via the OWA novel contest form. Each page should be numbered with the title in the footer and no other identifying information from the author. Remember, no names! Please do not send printed copies.

Read the complete contest rules and instructions for entering here.

How do I submit my final manuscript?

You can submit your manuscript to the Great Novel Contest here. (Remember, the contest closes on May 31, 2019!)

Pay your $25 submission fee to ensure your spot. Your manuscript will not be included in the group of submissions until you pay the fee.

What is the judging process like?

A team of OWA judges will review each manuscript “blind.” This means the judge will not be provided with the author’s name, preventing the possibility of any biased judging. Every submission will be reviewed by at least one judge, without exception.

What prizes are up for grabs?

Ten finalists will be selected from the pool of entrants. The names of those ten finalists will be published to the OWA website. Those ten short-listed manuscripts will be read in full by a team of carefully selected judges, who will select the winner and runner-up.

One grand prize winner will receive a publishing offer from Bellwether, OWA’s publishing imprint, and $3,000 in credit for author development services from Columbus Publishing Lab, as well as public recognition of the achievement.

Learn more about Bellwether here.

One runner-up will receive $1,000 in credit for author development services from Columbus Publishing Lab, as well as recognition for the achievement!

Credit with Columbus Publishing Lab can be used for a variety of services, including website design, platform building, social media marketing, e-mail marketing, and consultation. Some restrictions may apply.

Learn more about Columbus Publishing Lab’s services here.

All ten finalists will receive recognition of their achievement, a letter of recommendation for potential agents and publishers, and a publishing consultation with OWA President Brad Pauquette!

When will I know if I’ve won?

We will announce the finalists within eight weeks of the contest close, and we hope to announce the winner and runner-up within twelve weeks of the contest close. However, we reserve up to twenty-four weeks after the contest closes to decide on the winner and runner-up.

I’m already shopping my manuscripts to publishers and agents, can I still submit?

Yes! We take up to eight weeks to announce finalists, so we encourage you to wait before you shop your manuscript elsewhere. Ultimately, it’s up to you. But remember that we only accept unpublished books, so you may not submit your manuscript if you have signed a publishing agreement before submission.

Can the contest be cancelled for any reason, or the prizes changed?

If the contest is cancelled for any reason, a full and immediate refund will be given to those who have already submitted their work. However, it is unlikely that we would ever cancel the contest. The prizes will not change as they are set in stone and confirmed with our sponsor.

Have a question that you don’t see answered here?

Find the rules and guidelines for The Great Novel Contest 2019 here.

Or contact us with specific questions or concerns at, or call 614-805-3982.

May the best novel win!

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