Cover Reveal: Fellow Travellers

Jesse Bethea was the 2019 Great Novel Contest grand champion with his winning manuscript, Fellow Travellers. Jesse accepted a traditional publishing contract from Bellwether, the publishing imprint of The Ohio Writers’ Association, and his book is slated to be released later this month. The Bellwether team has been working hard on the publication of Fellow Travellers, and we’re thrilled to host a formal cover reveal here!

Fellow Travellers follows the journey of Bindra Dhar, a young woman who, after being welcomed into the global community of professional time travelers, finds herself targeted by an enigmatic time criminal named Thurmond. As she discovers new allies and adversaries on her mission to stop Thurmond’s agenda — and to survive it — she learns that time travel is more dangerous and morally fraught than she ever could’ve expected. Fellow Travellers is a book about people who happen to be time travelers, their wants, their needs, their feelings, their fears, and their community.

Advance praise for Fellow Travellers:

A whirlwind adventure, fantastical and intriguing, Jesse Bethea has reenvisioned time travel into a force of nature in Fellow Travellers.  When Bindra Dhar meets a mysterious American in her small village in India, she eagerly embraces the wisdom and danger of time traveling. Sci-fi and fantasy readers alike will be swept up in Bindra’s tale.

–Reina Cruz, author of Daughter of Isis

Fellow Travellers adroitly balances the logic of time travel with its fantasy and mystique, and does so with understated depth that leaves me wanting more stories from this universe — and surely it could support as many as you could fit in the whole of time. Add a vibrant, diverse cast (to make the road less lonely) and a gripping, genre-blending plot and you’ve got a stellar debut novel. I can’t wait to see what Bethea does next.”

— AC Stuart, cartoonist, creator of Awoo!

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!”

–Great Novel Contest judge feedback

About the author:

Jesse is a journalist, author, videographer, and the winner of the 2019 Great Novel Contest. Born and raised in Fairfax, VA, he moved to Ohio in 2010. 

In 2014, Jesse moved to Columbus and immediately started writing for ColumbusUnderground.com, where his work has been recognized several times by the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists. By 2015, he was working for The Ohio Channel (Ohio’s version of C-SPAN) as an assistant producer.

On the rare occasions when Jesse gives himself a break from writing, he enjoys hiking, true crime podcasts, and reading, specifically non-fiction disaster/survival narratives. If there’s a situation where people have had to eat each other, he’s interested in reading more about it.

Jesse currently lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife Melissa.

Look for a Fellow Travellers release at the end of this month. We also have a very special second Fellow Travellers announcement coming at the end of next week, so stay tuned to the Ohio Writers’ Association Facebook and Twitter accounts so you don’t miss it!

The Three Publishing Paths: Live Online Seminar

Are you ready to publish? Getting close? Which path is best for you?

There are so many options—so many different ways to publish. And there’s also so much bad information about publishing on the internet.

This Thursday, July 9th, the Ohio Writers’ Association will present the first of our live online summer seminars. This week’s topic: “The Three Publishing Paths.” Join us.

This is game-changing information. Authors who have attended this seminar in the past have said it’s the most important information they have ever learned on their publishing journey.

Authors come in confused and apprehensive about publishing. They leave clear and confident, prepared to find the right opportunities.

We’ll systematically walk through the types of publishing opportunities you’ll likely find as you begin shopping your manuscript. You’ll receive invaluable tips and best-practices for finding legitimate opportunities and avoiding scams.

The truth is that there are a lot of good opportunities. Traditional publishing, self-publishing, small press…it’s as much about your personality and expectations as anything else. This information will help you determine what will be the best fit.

Sign up for this Thursday’s seminar here. The live, interactive broadcast will begin at 7pm ET via Zoom. You may also watch the recorded video for one week following the seminar.

Due to COVID, we’re offering it at a special discounted rate of just $30 (regularly $59):

Note that we’ll send the link to the seminar to your PayPal address, unless you provide an alternate address at checkout or contact us at info@ohiowriters.org.

If you can’t make it on Thursday, you can watch the video for up to a week after the event. Register now, and we’ll send you the link to the recorded video as soon as it’s available.

If you’d like to save even more money, you can register for the complete series of four summer seminars for just $99. In the series, you’ll learn the 5-key steps to professionally publish a book, how to write an amazing query letters, and how to identify your next steps to find great publishing opportunities. Use the button below to register.

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