The Great Novel Contest 2020

We are pleased to confirm the details for the Great Novel Contest 2020!

Learn more at NovelContest.OhioWriters.org.

This year’s contest (our fifth year!) will revert to our original schedule, and offer the contest during the month of January. Mark your calendar for January 1 and get ready to submit!

This year’s winner will take home a publishing contract with Bellwether and $1,000 cash!

Bellwether Publishing

Our 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.

All ten finalists will receive public recognition for their achievement, as well as a $50 voucher to take an OWA class in 2020.

This contest is open to all previously unpublished manuscripts, with the exception of children’s books and erotica. Manuscripts must be between 50,000 and 125,000 words in length.

You can also stay in the loop with news and reminders by joining the event on Facebook and marking yourself “going”: https://www.facebook.com/events/1150335305167637/

The Great Novel Contest 2020 is sponsored by Columbus Publishing Lab, which provides production, marketing, and consultation for small presses and self-publishers. Learn more at www.ColumbusPublishingLab.com.

Columbus Publishing Lab

We welcome new sponsors for this contest. If you would like to sponsor this event, please contact us at info@ohiowriters.org.

Polish off your manuscript and get ready! Mark your calendar for January 1, 2020.

Get all of the details at NovelContest.OhioWriters.org.

Winners of The Great Novel Contest 2019

We had so many amazing submissions to The Great Novel Contest 2019. Thank you to everyone who submitted your work.

Find our full list of Finalists here.

With so many great submissions, our judges took their time to pick this year’s winner. In the end, the decision was unanimous:

Fellow Travelers by Jesse Bethea is the Grand Prize Winner of The Great Novel Contest 2019!

From one of our judges: “Fellow Travelers is a fast-paced trip through time and into a world where everything has happened, is happening, and will happen. This science fiction tale combines world building and clever characters to craft a story that will keep readers engaged until the end. Amazing manuscript!”

Congratulations Jesse! You’ve won a publishing contract with Bellwether, the publishing imprint of the Ohio Writers’ Association, as well as $3,000 in author development services from Columbus Publishing Lab.

We can’t wait to see Fellow Travelers in print!

Thank you to Columbus Publishing Lab for sponsoring this contest and making it possible. Columbus Publishing Lab provides publication and marketing services for authors and small presses. They help self-publishers make smart decisions and see a return on their investment. Learn more at www.ColumbusPublishingLab.com.

Columbus Publishing Lab

Becoming Nora by Margaret Kirby is the official Runner-up of The Great Novel Contest 2019!

From one of our judges: “Becoming Nora explores the intricacies and complexities of relationships. Through tight prose and exceptional character development, Margaret Kirby reveals how closely our identities are entwined with those we care about the most.”

Congratulations, Margaret! You’ve won $1,000 of services from Columbus Publishing Lab, to be used as you see fit!

The remaining eight finalists will receive a letter of recommendation for agents and publishers, as well as a publishing consultation from Brad Pauquette.

All submissions were judged “blind”—no names, history, demographics, or identifying information was shared with the judges.

Learn more about The Great Novel Contest here, and mark your calendar for next year!


Ready to improve your writing? Don’t miss our fall retreats!
Learn more here:
Retreats.OhioWriters.org

Master Copywriting – 3 Reasons This Skill Is Essential to Every Writer

The Art of Copywriting retreat is coming up on Saturday, September 7, 2019. This one-of-a-kind experience will provide instruction and support from established industry experts.

This retreat will be held from 9am to 3pm in Zanesville, Ohio.  Zanesville is less than an hour from Columbus, and is also convenient to Newark, Lancaster, Mount Vernon, and Southeastern Ohio. This retreat will be worth the drive.

Learn more and register here: Retreats.OhioWriters.org. The cost of the retreat is only $50. OWA Writer and Patron Member pay only $40.

Copywriting is the process of writing content for businesses, primarily for marketing and advertising.

There are bona fide opportunities in copywriting. Businesses pay real money for good content every day.

There are a lot of scam “opportunities” for writers out there as well, so a little guidance is helpful. But if you have the skill set and you know where to look, you can absolutely get paid to write this content.

Copywriting is a different skill than narrative writing or poetry. Just because you can do the one doesn’t mean you can do the other. Our retreat will teach you the specific skills and techniques you’ll need to effectively write copy.

If you intend to write professionally, you should master copywriting, even if you absolutely abhor the idea of being an advertising hack. Here are three reasons why:

1. Get Paid to Be Present. If you can write excellent copy (and we’ll show you how), you’ll get paid to do it, and you’ll be stepping into the world of real professional writers. You will now be a peer among people who are getting paid to write, and who know how to find opportunities. It’s one thing to network at the local writers group (which you should do!), but it’s another league to network with people who make their living in words.  Opportunity follows opportunity.

In addition, the more you write, the more you’ll write. When you copywrite, you’ll be acclimating your brain to put words on the page, and you’ll find that living in that space day in and day out will stimulate your personal creative projects.  Imagine if you could replace your full-time income with 3-4 hours a day of copywriting, and apply the remainder of your time to the projects you’re passionate about.

2. Crosstrain. If you want to get better at basketball, and all you ever do is play pickup games of basketball, you’ll get better. But you’ll get better faster if you spend time lifting weights, running, doing drills, and even playing other sports. Focusing on specific skills and abilities will improve your game faster than just playing the game.

The same is true of your writing. If you want to write fiction, you can get better by writing more and more fiction. But you’ll see incredible benefit from mastering other writing skills, which will inform your process and bring new techniques and values to your work.

3. Self-Promotion. It doesn’t matter how you choose to publish, you will need to write effective copy for yourself.  Unfortunately, we know lots of amazing authors who can’t write a query letter, their website is a mess, and they can’t write a compelling Facebook post to save themselves.  As a result, their amazing work fails to attract the attention of agents, publishers, or the public.

Self-promotion is mandatory in every sector of the publishing industry. Mastering the skill to advertise (even if it’s just advertising yourself) will pay off in spades. Copywriting is the same communication skill that makes a great query letter and helps you to grow your audience.

There is real opportunity in copywriting. Whether you see yourself quitting your day job to freelance as a copywriter or not, there is tremendous value in adding these skills to your author’s tool bag.

At only $50 (OWA Writer and Patron members save an additional $10), this is a steal.  You’re going to have a great Saturday on September 7th, and you’ll see dividends from your investment in yourself for years to come.

Register today at Retreats.OhioWriters.org.

Writers Write

The Art of Copywriting – September 7, 2019

We’re excited to bring you four unique retreats this fall. These day-long getaways will compliment your skill set, jump start your creativity, and empower you to reach your goals.

On Saturday, September 7th, The Art of Copywriting will give you the skills and confidence to begin making real money with your writing.

“Copywriting” is the process of creating written content for businesses and advertisements.

Learn more and register for this retreat at Retreats.OhioWriters.org.

We are surrounded by words. Every business, restaurant, or non-profit you enter is covered with text—signs, pamphlets, brochures, menus, and so many other items. Businesses and marketing agencies are in constant need of qualified people to write great content—from postcard mailers, to social media marketing, blogs, and so much more! Every single word of this content is crafted (or should be) by a professional writer.

Copywriter Writing Copy Text Content Class

This retreat, from 9am to 3pm, will provide a crash course in all things copywriting, and give you opportunities to practice and receive professional feedback.

There is real freelance or traditional opportunity for copywriters who produce great work.  We’ll help you put the pieces together so that you can begin capitalizing on your talents.

We’ll provide coffee and water throughout the day, and break for lunch for an hour at about noon.

Zanesville is a quick 60-minute drive from Columbus. Our host for this retreat is right off of I-70. You’ll be far enough from home to feel “away,” but close enough that you can drive both ways in one day.

This workshop will be taught by Brad Pauquette and Emily Hitchcock.  Learn more and register at Retreats.OhioWriters.org.

Announcing Finalists: The Great Novel Contest 2019

This year’s The Great Novel Contest was inundated with exceptional submissions. After much hand-wringing, we’re pleased to announce The Great Novel Contest 2019 finalists!

This contest was open to manuscripts of 50,000-125,000 words, in all genres except for children’s books and erotica. Learn more about the 2020 Great Novel Contest here and mark your calendars for January 1.

Judges considered a variety of factors when choosing finalists, including organization, style, viability of concept, and prose quality.  All submissions were judged “blind”—no names, history, demographics, or identifying information was shared with the judges.

This contest is sponsored by Columbus Publishing Lab, an outstanding company which provides publication and marketing services to authors and small presses. Learn more at www.ColumbusPublishingLab.com.

Columbus Publishing Lab

These finalists are presented in a randomized order:

White Oaks by Jordan King

Fellow Travelers by Jesse Bethea

The Thin Red Jellies Within by Bill Hughes

Breach of the Covenant by Steven Hiller

Paralith by Mike Sieminski

Museum of an Extinct Race by Jonathan Rosen

Earth 2.0 by Shannon Ferretti

A Principle of Light by Janet Irvin

Unfollowers by Leigh Ann Ruggiero

Becoming Nora by Margaret Kirby

These ten finalists will receive further consideration. One of these manuscripts will win a publishing contract with Bellwether, as well as $3,000 in author development services from Columbus Publishing Lab.  The winner will be a published author with the platform to prove it.

One runner-up will win $1,000 in author development services from Columbus Publishing Lab.

The remaining finalists will receive a publishing consultation, as well as a letter of recommendation to publishers and agents.

While the following four titles were not selected as finalists, our judges felt that they deserve recognition for the quality of their work.

Inherent Lies by Alicia Anthony
The Magdalenes by Jeanne Skartsiaris
Girl on the Edge by Kirby Nielsen
Longshot by Jerina Pieri

Thank you to all of the authors who entered The Great Novel Contest 2019.  While only a limited number of manuscripts could be selected as finalists, we were overwhelmed with the quality of the submissions that we received this year.

Thank you again to Columbus Publishing Lab for sponsoring this contest. Please visit www.ColumbusPublishingLab.com to learn more about their services.

Learn more about The Great Novel Contest at NovelContest.OhioWriters.org. Don’t forget to mark your calendar for next year!


Don’t miss our fall retreats! Learn more here: Retreats.OhioWriters.org

Last Call for Zanesville Workshop Submissions!

Our next writers’ workshop (peer-critique) will be in Zanesville, Ohio on Wednesday evening, July 3rd, 2019.  Login to your free Ohio Writers’ Association account to retrieve the time and place details.

If you’d like your work critiqued by the group, submit it now.  All work must be received by Monday morning, June 24th.

Submit your work by emailing it to workshops@ohiowriters.org.  If you’re able, please convert your work to a PDF before sending it.

All of the work that is received and selected for the workshop will be posted to the members-only area of the website by the end of the day on Tuesday, February 25th so that everyone can download it and read it in advance of the workshop.

You may submit short stories, essays, novel chapters, poetry, or any other written work to the group for review.  Note that if your work is accepted for the workshop, we expect you to read and provide feedback to the other writers. If you submit, you must be present at the workshop on July 3rd to receive feedback.

You are welcome to attend the workshop and provide feedback even if you have not submitted any work for review. This workshop is free. While you do need an OWA membership to download the work, it is free and easy to become a member by registering here.

We look forward to reading your work and seeing you on the 3rd!

If you’re not able to submit and attend the workshop on the 2nd, Writer members of OWA have 24/7 access to our online Writers’ Forum.

Last Call: Author Bootcamp

Author Bootcamp starts tomorrow evening (Tuesday!) at 7pm EDT.  This 4-week intensive class will jump-start your writing career and bring some business assets to your already stellar writing.

We still have space left in our live online class.  This class is fully interactive–participants can engage and ask questions just as if they were in the room. Connecting to the class via Zoom.com is super easy and works from nearly any device.

If Tuesday evenings won’t work, you can also sign up to watch the recorded videos in the week following each class.

Sign up for the class here: bootcamp.ohiowriters.org

Author Bootcamp

This class will give writers practical, proven strategies to build their author platform.  No more chasing after the wind with fad advice you find on blogs and Twitter. You’ll be in a position to form a solid plan and move forward with confidence.

Writers will also learn ins and outs of the publishing industry. You’ll learn the most common paths to success in the publishing industry, as well as red flags for common scams.

You’ll also learn how to setup and administrate a small business as a writer. You’ll receive basic instruction on how to setup a legal business with the state, to decrease your liability, and to make sure your taxes are paid correctly.

This one-of-a-kind class has been carefully developed from over a decade of experience. Armed with this information, you’ll be prepared to reach your goals and to control your own destiny as a writer.

Learn more and register for Author Bootcamp here: bootcamp.ohiowriters.org

What Is an Author’s Platform?

When an agent or publisher asks about your platform, what they’re really asking is: If you were to publish a book, who cares?

“Building a platform” is code for increasing the number of people who care what you’re doing.

For most authors, a “platform” includes a healthy dose of social media, a website, a mailing list, etc. But that’s not universally true. For instance, the CEO of a large company may not have any social media at all, but if her job makes people know and be interested in her, that’s a platform.

The key to successfully building a platform is to find a way to engage with more people in a way that you can tolerate, and that your new audience enjoys.

That includes publishing essays, articles, poems, or short stories in magazines, journals, anthologies, or the local paper. That includes speaking to groups, or even joining (or starting!) a new club.  There are a myriad of ways to connect with people—your personality will determine which ways you’re best suited for.

And for those of us that weren’t born with a silver spoon or a famous last name, and who aren’t the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, things like social media present an unparalleled opportunity to leverage our voice and gain a following.

There is never a bad time to build your platform. And you need it regardless of how you decide to publish or distribute your work.

If you’re traditionally publishing through a big or small publisher, they’ll want to see that you know how to connect with people. They’ll want to see that when your book comes out, there’s a big group of people that might make some noise about it.

If you self-publish, you’ll need the same group of people to make noise about your book. You’re the publisher, so you need the same thing out of yourself that any other publisher would need.

Or if you launch a blog, a podcast, a YouTube channel—you need a platform.

It doesn’t matter what you’re doing or how you’re distributing it, if you want to write on a professional basis, you need an author’s platform.

Not all platforms are equal. Just because one author has 10,000 followers on Twitter, for instance, doesn’t mean anyone will care when he has exciting news to share.  How he has built and cultivated that audience will make a big difference.  It’s entirely possible that another author with only 200 followers, half of whom love him to pieces and are super excited for him, can make far more noise.

Author Bootcamp, a 4-week professional development course for authors, will teach you how to build an author’s platform that really works. Numbers are important, but quality is more important.  We’ll teach you how to build and cultivate an audience that really cares what you’re doing and is ready to make noise for you.

Whether you’re starting from zero, or you’ve already built some platform, we’ll give you practical, common sense strategies for productive growth.

We’ll also cover some of the nuances of the business of publishing, so that you can be prepared to make smart business decisions as an author.  We’ll discuss the opportunities in each sector of publishing—traditional (Big Five), Small Press, and Self-Publishing—and how to identify and land good deals in each space.

We’ll also teach you some common sense techniques and strategies for building and protecting your business and your work.

It would be amazing to live in a world in which the quality of an author’s work was the only factor in their success. But in the real world, it takes a lot more than a way with words.

Authors who are successful are indeed talented wordsmiths— and they’ve learned how to work the business side of publishing as well.

You’ve got the words. Author Bootcamp will help you fill the rest of the professional author’s toolbox. Learn more and register to take this class (live or online) at bootcamp.ohiowriters.org.

Central Ohio Writers’ Workshop – Submit Your Work Now

Our next writers’ workshop (peer-critique) will be in Central Ohio on Wednesday evening, April 3rd, 2019.  Login to your free Ohio Writers’ Association account to retrieve the time and place details.

If you’d like your work critiqued by the group, submit it now.  All work must be received by Monday morning, March 25th.

Submit your work by emailing it to workshops@ohiowriters.org.  If you’re able, please convert your work to a PDF before sending it.

All of the work that is received and selected for the workshop will be posted to the members-only area of the website by the end of the day on March 26th so that everyone can download it and read it in advance of the workshop.

You may submit short stories, essays, novel chapters, poetry, or any other written work to the group for review.  Note that if your work is accepted for the workshop, we expect you to read and provide feedback to the other writers. If you submit, you must be present at the workshop on February 6th to receive feedback.

You are welcome to attend the workshop and provide feedback even if you have not submitted any work for review. This workshop is free. While you do need an OWA membership to download the work, it is free and easy to become a member by registering here.

We look forward to reading your work and seeing you on April 3rd.

If you’re not able to submit and attend the workshop on the 2nd, Writer members of OWA have 24/7 access to our online Writers’ Forum.

Writers Workshop Columbus Ohio

Writers’ Workshop – Zanesville, Ohio – Submit Now

Our next writers’ workshop (peer-critique) will be in Zanesville, Ohio on Wednesday evening, March 6th, 2019.  Login to your free Ohio Writers’ Association account to retrieve the time and place details.

If you’d like your work critiqued by the group, submit it now.  All work must be received by Monday morning, February 25th.

Submit your work by emailing it to workshops@ohiowriters.org.  If you’re able, please convert your work to a PDF before sending it.

All of the work that is received and selected for the workshop will be posted to the members-only area of the website by the end of the day on February 26th so that everyone can download it and read it in advance of the workshop.

You may submit short stories, essays, novel chapters, poetry, or any other written work to the group for review.  Note that if your work is accepted for the workshop, we expect you to read and provide feedback to the other writers. If you submit, you must be present at the workshop on February 6th to receive feedback.

You are welcome to attend the workshop and provide feedback even if you have not submitted any work for review. This workshop is free. While you do need an OWA membership to download the work, it is free and easy to become a member by registering here.

We look forward to reading your work and seeing you on March 6th.

If you’re not able to submit and attend the workshop on the 2nd, Writer members of OWA have 24/7 access to our online Writers’ Forum.

Writers' Workshop