The Great Novel Contest 2020 — Halfway Mark

The first month of the new decade is now halfway through, and that means we’ve reached the halfway point for The Great Novel Contest 2020! Have you submitted your manuscript yet?

Time is running out! Submit your novel here.

Don’t miss out on your chance to win $1,000 and a publishing contract with Bellwether. We can’t think of a better way to start off the new decade than with cash in my pocket and a published book on the way.

You’ll also be featured in the OWA Contest Winner article to showcase your writing talents and promote your upcoming book.

The runner up will receive $500 and a publishing consultation with OWA President and publishing expert Brad Paquette. Ten finalists will receive a $50 voucher for OWA classes and be featured in a Finalist Spotlight post.

What have you got to lose? Push past your fear and submit here!

Read The Great Novel Contest 2020 guidelines and instructions.

If you have any additional questions, chat with an OWA volunteer at info@ohiowriters.org.


Need some more polish on that story? Check out our calendar of events for workshops, classes, and future submission opportunities like The Great Novel Contest 2020!

Great Novel Contest 2019: Bill Hughes – Finalist Spotlight

Bill Hughes is one of the top ten finalists of The Great Novel Contest 2019 for his thought-provoking manuscript, The Thin Red Jellies Within.

The Great Novel Contest 2020 is here! Check out the details.

Bill earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in English from Ohio State, and he currently lives in the Columbus area with his wife and son. During his free time, he enjoys reading nineteenth-century novels, Samuel Beckett, pulp crime fiction, and watching cheap horror movies.

He’s published multiple stories in a variety of magazines such as The Edge, The Pedestal, Byzarium, and Page and Spine.  After being an editor for the small-press magazine Dread, he took a fifteen-year hiatus from the writing and publishing world, and he feels like he’s “starting from scratch.” The Thin Red Jellies Within is his first novel-length project and marks his return to writing.

The Thin Red Jellies Within walks the line between genres as a man tries his best to handle the bizarre new life he’s handed after his wife disappears. She’s eventually finally found, but something feels off about her. Is this really the person he fell in love with?

The Thin Red Jellies Within is a mystery, one that questions identity and the limits of reason viewed through the prism of historic Ohio.

One of Bill’s earliest writing inspirations was the Hardy Boys series, and he wrote a story about them in the fourth grade. Now he’s influenced by works such as Sister Carrie and American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser, Huck Finn, Joe R. Lansdale’s A fine Dark Line, Gifune’s Deep Night, Little Girl Lost and Songs of Innocence by Richard Aleas, and Tremblay’s The Cabin at the End of the World. He also recommends reading the works of Henry James, Jim Thompson, and any of Richard Wright’s works — especially American Hunger.

Persistence was key to finishing The Thin Red Jellies Within, and Bill believes that persistence is most important for anyone struggling to finish a novel. After his long hiatus, Bill is building up his writing support group. “I’m just starting to share work with people and build new relationships.”

Bill is a long-standing member of OWA, and he spotted The Great Novel Contest 2019’s announcement on the website. At first, he felt unsure about submitting, but then he thought: “What the heck. OWA is a very supportive organization, and I’ve always gotten good feedback when I’ve participated in their workshops. I felt that something positive would come of it.”

To Bill, the ideal situation would be finding a good editor who enjoys his writing style and building a relationship with them. He will continue submitting The Thin Red Jellies Within to small-press editors in hopes that the manuscript will find a good home in the future.


Do you have an unpublished manuscript that deserves recognition?

The Great Novel Contest 2020 is open now! Click here to submit your manuscript.

Not quite ready to submit a piece?

Check out some of our upcoming events, classes, and workshops!

The Great Novel Contest 2019: Judges Be Judgin’

The judging period for The Great Novel Contest is underway!

A special team of handpicked judges is hard at work reading novels. The winning novel could be in front of a judge RIGHT NOW.

We know it’s tempting to email and ask for an update on your submission, but we ask that you respect the time of our volunteers and wait for our official announcement. We will announce the winner, runner-up and finalists soon. No updates will be given before that time.

Thank you to everyone who submitted a manuscript to this contest. So far, we’ve been very pleased by the quality of the books our judges are reviewing.

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

The Great Novel Contest: Five-Day Warning

Break out. Get published.

WARNING: Only five days remain before this year’s Great Novel Contest closes forever. The hard and fast submission deadline is this Friday, May 31st at 11:59 p.m.  Someone is going to land a publishing contract, but it won’t be you if you miss this deadline!

Click here to submit your novel, read about the contest, or ask a question.

The Prizes:

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

Ten finalists will be publicly recognized and receive a letter of recommendation from OWA president Brad Pauquette. Talk about a resume booster!

Submit your novel here.

Questions? Get answers before the contest closes. Contact us at info@ohiowriters.org.

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 info@ohiowriters.org, or call 614-805-3982.

May the best novel win!

Submit Your Work for Zanesville, Ohio Workshop

Our next writers’ workshop (peer-critique) will be in Zanesville, Ohio on May 1, 2019.  If you’d like your work critiqued by the group, submit it now. All work must be received by April 22, 2019 at midnight.

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 April 23rd 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 May 1st 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 May 1st.

If you’re not able to submit and attend the workshop on the 1st, Writer members of OWA have 24/7 access to our online Writers’ Forum.

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

Now Hiring: Assistant Project Manager

We are seeking a motivated, organized, self-driven individual to join our team.

As our association has grown, so has the workload. We need someone who can keep all of our ducks in a row, and help us communicate all of our great programs and opportunities to the public.  OWA is currently volunteer run.  You will be the paid glue that keeps all of the pieces together.

While this position will initially be assisting with existing projects, there’s tremendous potential for growth for a candidate that can plug in and take care of business.

This part-time position will start at 10 hours per month.  Hours may fluctuate through the year as our projects change.  Most work may be performed at home or at our office in Zanesville, Ohio.   Candidate must be able to meet in Zanesville or Columbus as needed.

The Assistant Project Manager will assist other staff members with existing projects.  Duties will include social media management, correspondence, and administrative duties.  Strong writing and communication skills are essential.

There are no official requirements for this position. If you can communicate well and execute a task without supervision, please apply!

Interested? Shoot us an introductory email at info@OhioWriters.org, and tell us who you are and why this job could be the perfect fit.

Compensation: $9-12 per hour, depending on capabilities and experience.

Last Call: Year of the Novel Class

This is your last chance to sign up for our “Year of the Novel” class.  This class will provide the instruction, guidance, and support you’ve been craving, and you will finish a novel manuscript in 2019.

Learn more and register here: www.OhioWriters.org/class

This class is designed for busy adults, and this is the only time you can take it. So hurry! Classes start on January 9th!

Year of the Novel Class

Here are the answers to a few questions we’ve heard frequently:

Do I need to have an idea for a novel? Nope! If you already have an idea, great. But if you’re walking in as a blank slate, that’s even better. We’re going to show you how to develop an idea from scratch.

Is this class appropriate for a memoir?  Absolutely! One of the biggest challenges for memoirists is figuring out where the real story starts and stops, and how to organize the events and characters in a way that will keep your reader engaged from start to finish. This class will help you to identify and implement all of these elements, whether your story is fictional or based on your real life.

Can I take part of the class online, and part in person?  Definitely. Just shoot us an email at info@ohiowriters.org after you register to let us know what your plan is, so that we can prepare the classroom spaces accordingly.

Where is the class? The Columbus section of the class will be held at the Ohio University Pickerington Center which is right off of I-70 on the east side of town.  The Zanesville section will be held at our facility in downtown Zanesville, which is also conveniently off of I-70. And the online section can be accessed from anywhere, with a phone, tablet, or computer.

Is there a lot of extra work besides writing, like reading, critiquing, etc? Nope! We’ve kept extra work to a minimum. We know that for busy adults just finding the time to write is hard enough, so we’ve stripped away every potential time waster to keep you on track and moving towards your goal.

Will I really complete a novel? Yes! If you put 2-4 hours each week towards this project and follow the course guidance, you will complete a novel draft in 12 months or less.

We still have space in our classes, but time is running out. So register right now: www.OhioWriters.org.  When you’re looking at a complete novel manuscript 12 months from now, you’ll be glad you did.

Questions? Contact us at info@OhioWriters.org.