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: Now or Never

This is your shot.

Last-chance warning! You have less than 72 hours to submit a novel to The Great Novel Contest 2019. 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!

Find the contest rules and instructions for entering here.

The 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.

The runner-up will receive $1,000 in credit for author development services, as well as recognition for the achievement!

“One of the advantages of publishing with a small or mid-size press is that an author can find someone that’s really a good fit. Your book doesn’t just make sense on a spreadsheet, but it’s something the publisher can really get excited about and roll with month after month.”

–Brad Pauquette, President of the Ohio Writers’ Association

What’s the holdup? Submit your novel to The Great Novel Contest before it’s too late. Click here for contest rules and instructions for entering.

May the best manuscript win!

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: Halfway to the finish line!

We are halfway through the submission period for The Great Novel Contest 2019.  There’s still time to submit! (We’re looking at you, procrastinators.)

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

You: But it’s not ready.  

Us: It’s easy to get lost in your own mental minefield when you’re polishing your work for a contest. We get it. But at some point you have to let your baby (erm, your novel) stand on its own. You’ve put in the hard work. You know your novel is good.

Submit today, then relax and know that you finished your work early.  Take a long weekend on Ohio Writers’ Association. (Just kidding. We don’t have that kind of authority.)

Don’t get lost in mental debate.  Submit your manuscript, rest on your laurels. Opportunity is rare, so don’t miss it.  Submit here.

The winner will receive the 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.

The runner-up will receive $1,000 in credit for author development services, as well as recognition for the achievement!

All ten finalists will receive recognition of their achievement, a letter of recommendation for potential agents and publishers, and a publishing consultation with Ohio Writers’ Association President Brad Pauquette. Talk about a resume booster!

Don’t quit, don’t wait, submit to The Great Novel Contest today!

Central Ohio Writers’ Workshop – Submit Your Work Now

Our next writers’ workshop (peer-critique) will be in Central Ohio on Wednesday evening, June 5, 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, May 27th.

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 May 28th 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 June 5th 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 June 5th.

If you’re not able to submit and attend the workshop on the 5th, Writer members of OWA have 24/7 access to our online Writers’ Forum.

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.

The Great Novel Contest 2019: How Will You Measure Up?

You don’t find many contests of this size, and that’s a tremendous advantage to participants in The Great Novel Contest.

In the past we’ve set a hard limit of 200 novel submissions.  We’ve lifted that hard ceiling, but we will be monitoring the submissions as they come in and we will stop the contest early if we feel that our judges won’t have time to responsibly and fairly evaluate all of the submissions.

Find the contest rules and instructions for entering here.

Contests that receive tens of thousands of submissions don’t really provide a good feel for where you measure up.  Landing in the top ten finalists is as much about luck as anything else. You may have submitted an exceptional manuscript, but it just didn’t land in the top .001% of submissions that were more or less arbitrarily chosen from all of the exceptional manuscripts submitted. Conversely, there’s a critical mass to this type of thing.  Winning a contest against eight other submissions isn’t going to carry much weight on your resume.

With our expected turnout, if you land in the finalists it’s because your manuscript is in the top 3-5% of submissions.  We have time to honestly and fairly consider every manuscript that comes in, and if yours belongs with the finalists, it will get there.

Roughly 1% of manuscripts actually land a deal with a traditional publisher.  That’s 1% that are good enough to make the grade. With these submission numbers, you can receive some hard data to help you understand whether your work is in that top bracket, or if you need to keep improving.

We’ve worked hard to put together a contest that is fair, honest, transparent, and that is a valuable resource for writers.  

We hope that you decide to submit your manuscript to this contest.  Win or lose, we think you’ll be glad that you participated. You just can’t get good data like this anywhere else.

Learn more about The Great Novel Contest 2019 here.

The Great Novel Contest closes May 31, 2019.

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!

The Great Novel Contest 2019 Opens in Two Weeks

Dust off your work-in-progress, your hopes and dreams! The Great Novel Contest opens for submissions on May 1, 2019.

Now’s the time to finish writing and start editing if you want your manuscript to be contest-ready by May. Every year we have authors who try to finish last-minute what they should have completed months ago. (If your book ends suddenly with a natural disaster, our judges will know you ran out of time.) There are no extensions!

Find all of The Great Novel Contest details here.

This is our fourth novel contest, and we’re going big when it comes to prizes. Let’s face it. You’re writers. We know you need motivation.

The Grand Prize Winner of The 2019 Great Novel Contest will receive a publishing contract from Bellwether, an imprint of the Ohio Writers’ Association, as well as $3,000 in credit for author development services from Columbus Publishing Lab. Credit with Columbus Publishing Lab can be used for a variety of services of the author’s choice, including website design, platform building, social media marketing, e-mail marketing, and consultation. The Grand Prize Winner also receives an infinite number of bragging rights, and public recognition for the achievement.

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

Columbus Publishing Lab provides publishing services for authors and small presses. Their expertise includes marketing, editing, design, distribution, and more. Learn more about Columbus Publishing Lab here.

Contest submissions open on May 1, 2019. We are accepting original novels or nonfiction manuscripts, such as a memoir or creative non-fiction. No children’s books or erotica will be accepted, but YA novels will be accepted.  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.

So get off the internet and get your manuscript ready to be read! (But get back on the internet eventually to keep up with contest developments and announcements.)

Questions? Contact us here.