One way for aspiring authors to get their name out there is to enter writing competitions. The prizes vary, depending on the specific competition. Many offer cash, publication, endorsement, and personal feedback from judges to their winners. Winning adds oomph to a writer’s resume and may give that agent the final push to request a full manuscript.

Here are a few I know of:

St. Martin’s Minotaur/ Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition

Length: Full Book/Manuscript  –  Genre: Mystery/serious crime or murder

This is a yearly competition that is free – let me repeat that FREE – to enter. Seeing that it’s cost is so reasonable, there is no reason NOT to enter, except, of course, if your manuscript is not complete. If that is the case, don’t fret, the entry deadline isn’t until December. You have plenty of time to finish it up, send it out to beta readers, and make it sparkle before the big due date comes around.

Link to Contest:

Red Hen Press Fiction Award

Length: Book/Manuscript  –  Genre: Any Fiction

This award is open to all writers except a select few (which appears to be for ethical reasons). The winner of this award receives a $1,000 cash prize and publication by Red Hen Press. The entry fee is $20.00.

Link to Contest:


Open to: Works of any length  –  Genre: Any

This contest is available to anyone over the age of 18. There is a $30 entry fee, but the winner leaves with $1,500 and an offer for traditional publication – no strings attached. This means the winner will take home $1,500 with or without agreeing to sign the publication contract and also retain all rights to their manuscript. In addition, two runners up will receive $1,000 in cash.

Link to Contest:

IFERS 1st Annual International Writers Awards

Length: Any  –  Genre: Fiction & Non-Fiction  –  Deadline: September 30, 2017

IFERS is a Non-Profit organization, which makes this competition all the more worthwhile. The entry fee is $50.00, but the top 13 receive cash prizes. First place receives an $1,000, second $500, third $250, and ten honorable mentions receive $25.00. Additionally, since the organization is Non-Profit, all entry fees are TAX DEDUCTIB

Link to Contest:


Writer’s Digest Short Story Competition

Length: 1,200 words or less  –  Genre: Any Fiction  –  Deadline: November 15, 2017

This competition is a great opportunity for resume building, and it isn’t too shabby when it comes to the pocketbook. The first, second, and third place winners stories will appear in Writer’s Digest as well as a cash prize. First place receives $3,000, second place $1,500, and third place $500.

Link to Contest:

UNO Press Publishing Lab

Length: Book  –  Genre: All Fiction   –  Deadline: August 15, 2017

The winner of this competition receives publication and $1,000 in advance. It is open to all authors, which means it’s a great opportunity to get that unpublished manuscript out there. The submission fee is $18.00.

Link to Contest: