Announcement — The Winner of The Great Novella Contest 2018

We are pleased to announce the winner of The Great Novella Contest 2018!  After our judges sorted through a multitude of submissions, publishing director Emily Hitchcock selected the Grand Champion.  Every manuscript submitted was reviewed by at least one judge.

The Busker by Brooks Rexroat is the Grand Champion of The Great Novella Contest 2018!  Congratulations, Brooks!

As champion, Brooks Rexroat will receive a publishing contract with Ragged Crow, imprint of the Ohio Writers’ Association.

Brooks Rexroat was raised near Cincinnati, Ohio at the intersection of the Rust Belt and Appalachia: the crossing point of mountain and farm field, boarded mine and shuttered factory, the water that splits north from south. The importance of place has always surrounded him, and it deeply inhabits his characters. His most recent publication is Thrift Store Coats (Orson’s Publishing, 2018).

You can learn more about Brooks’ published work and his travels here:

Thank you to everyone who submitted a novella manuscript to this year’s contest.  We opened this contest on a hunch that there were short manuscripts out there by writers worth publishing, and your submissions proved us right. As always, we are forever grateful that you trust us with your work.  Running a contest with integrity that presents legitimate opportunities is something that we take very seriously, and it wouldn’t be possible without the participation of so many fantastic writers.

A huge special thank you goes to Columbus Publishing Lab for sponsoring Columbus Publishing Labthis contest. Columbus Publishing Lab provides outstanding production and marketing work for small presses like OWA and Columbus Press, as well as individual authors around the country.  Learn more about Columbus Publishing Lab’s books and services here. 

Thank you to everyone who helped publicize and promote the contest, and to those who served as part of our judging committee.

Congratulations to Brooks Rexroat for this tremendous accomplishment.  Keep an eye out for The Busker in 2019.

The Great Novella Contest – Now Accepting Submissions

The Ohio Writers’ Association is excited to announce the Great Novella Contest, sponsored by Columbus Publishing Lab. This contest opens on August 16, 2018 and will accept submissions through September 27, 2018.

Submissions are open to novellas only (15k–35k words). The winner of this contest will be offered a publishing contract with Ragged Crow, an imprint of OWA and publisher of the Columbus Creative Cooperative series of anthologies.

There is no fee to enter this contest, but you must be a writer with ties to Ohio  (more details below), and you must be a member of the Ohio Writers’ Association (which is free).

Writer and Patron members of OWA may submit up to three novellas to this contest. Peer (Free) and Supporting members may only submit one novella.

Why novellas?

Too short to shop around to most publishing houses, but too long to find a home in a magazine or collection of short stories, novellas are the proverbial middle child. We have a hunch that there are a wealth of novellas languishing in drawers without good homes. The Great Novella Contest is a mechanism to see what short work is out there, and put one great piece of writing on the map.

Attention spans are shorter, people are busy, and there’s an unmet demand for books that can be consumed quickly. We think novellas are the next big (small) thing.

Submission details: A team of judges selected by the Ohio Writers’ Association will choose the winning manuscript. Every manuscript submitted will be reviewed by at least one judge, without exception.

Genres: All genres are accepted, except for erotica and children’s books.  Ragged Crow does not accept erotica or children’s books, therefore there’s no merit to winning the contest.

Minimum Word Count: 15,000 words
Maximum Word Count: 35,000 words

Qualifications for “Ohio Author”: Authors must have ties to Ohio to submit, which can include:

  • born in Ohio
  • achieved a life milestone here (graduation from school, etc.)
  • lived in Ohio for 5+ years at one time
  • presently reside in Ohio
  • presently enrolled in an Ohio school
  • permanent address in Ohio

Compensation: The winning manuscript will be compensated for their work and receive royalties. The specific offer will be made by Ragged Crow upon selection of the winner. Winning author is not obligated to accept the offer.

Publication: Upon acceptance of the publishing agreement, winning book will be produced by Ragged Crow, and distributed to all major markets in print and digital editions. Tentative release date is spring, 2019.

Submission fee: $0. There is no fee to enter this contest, but you must be registered as an OWA member to submit your work for consideration. Becoming an OWA member is free and easy. Click here to learn more.

No preference will be given to members with a “paid” membership. However, by becoming a paid member of OWA, you get access to cool features and resources, and you support future publications, contests and resources for Ohio writers. Writer and Patron Members may also submit up to 3 submissions to this contest.

How to Submit:

  1. If you are not yet a member of OWA, create a free account here.
  2. Login to your OWA account here.
  3. From the members’ home page, click “The Great Novella Contest.”
  4. Fill out the simple online form, and upload your work as a PDF. (Click for instructions on creating a PDF)
  5. Tell others about this contest, in your local writers’ groups, on Facebook and Twitter.
  6. Wait.

Questions: Contact us at, or fill out the form here.

Our Sponsor

Columbus Publishing LabThe Ohio Writers’ Association thanks Columbus Publishing Lab for sponsoring this contest. Columbus Publishing Lab provides outstanding production and marketing work for small presses like OWA and Columbus Press, as well as individual authors around the country. Learn more about Columbus Publishing Lab here.