May 2016 Contest Roundup

SIC Contest RoundupI’m late! I’m late with the Contest Roundup! But hey, life has been busy. Luckily you haven’t missed out on any contests yet. The first listing is on May 3rd!

There are lots of new contest listings this month, and lots of opportunities for diverse writers. Here’s hoping you’ll find at least one contest that’s right for you. Happy contest hunting my friends!


5/3: Pass or Pages – Open to Middle Grade Speculative. Five entrants will get agent feedback on their query letter and first page.

5/12: #PitDark – A new Twitter pitch party event “to highlight literature of a “darker” nature. Importantly, this is not limited to horror works; however, any pitched manuscript must contain an element of horror or darker writing. Examples of such categories include pure horror novels, dark fantasy, murder mysteries, psychological horror stories, non-fiction works about darker subjects, etc. YA, NA, and adult age categories are welcome.” See lengthy guidelines, hashtags, and participating agent list on link

5/15: WNDB Walter GrantOpen to unpublished diverse authors and/or illustrators of children’s books. U.S. residents only. Submit a cover letter, essay, statement, and summary of work sample or illustrations. 5 grants of $2000 each will be awarded.

5/16 – 21: Query Kombat – Enter your query and first pages to compete to move onto a final round. Check submission guidelines for details. 21 agents and editors are signed up to participate so far including New Leaf Literary, the Bent Agency, TriadaUS, Sky Pony, and the Knight Agency. You can enter to win a free pass until 5/6.June:

6/?: Tu Books New Visions Award – Contest to open in June. Last year’s contest was open to open to writers of color who are residents of the United States and who have not previously had a middle grade or young adult novel published. “Manuscripts should address the needs of children and teens of color by providing stories with which they can identify and relate, and which promote a greater understanding of one another. Themes relating to LGBTQ+ topics or disabilities may also be included. Submissions may be any fictional genre novels for children ages 8 to 12 or young adults ages 12 to 18. We are particularly interested in fantasy and science fiction, but also welcome contemporary, historical, mystery, and suspense.” Watch for updates.

6/9: #PitmadOpen to any genre and category. Pitch your completed manuscript on Twitter using the #PitMad hashtag from 8am – 8pm EDT. Tweet 3 pitches per project for the day.

6/12: WCNV – Open to native authors and authors of color. Open to Adult, New Adult, Young Adult, Middle Grade, and Picture Books. Enter your query and the first 300 words. See submission guidelines. Participating agent list to come. There is a F.A.Q. page with more details.

6/16: #PBPitchOpen to picture book manuscripts. Pitch your picture book via Twitter using the #PBPitch hashtag between 8am and 8pm EST. Pitch manuscripts twice only; once before 2p.m. and once after. Illustrators may attach an illustration to their pitch.

6/21: Roll of Thunder Publishing Contest – (Entries open on 4/16.)  Open to people of color (or those who self-identify as other than white). U.S. residents only.  Must not have any published fiction. Enter your original fiction aimed at readers ages of 8 to 14 and between 25,000-75,000 words. Winner to receive a publishing contract from Penguin Random House LLC, with an advance of $35,000, plus royalties.

6/23: #SFFPit – Pitch your Science Fiction & Fantasy via Twitter. Open to All age categories, PB, MG, YA, NA, and adult. 8am to 6pm EST.

6/30: Drue Heinz Literature Prize –  Open to writers who have published a novel or a book-length collection of fiction with a reputable book publisher, or a minimum of three short stories or novellas in magazines or journals of national distribution. Winner to receive $15,000 and publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press under its standard contract.Eligible submissions include an unpublished manuscript of short stories; two or more novellas (a novella may comprise a maximum of 130 double-spaced typed pages); or a combination of one or more novellas and short stories. Novellas are only accepted as part of a larger collection. Manuscripts may be no fewer than 150 and no more than 300 typed pages.”


7/1 – 3: #pg70pit –  Entry on 7/1 is for MG, 7/2 is for YA, 7/3  is NA & Adult. Enter the 70th page of your novel along with additional details. The top 7 entries in each category will move onto an agent round.

7/15: Future Scapes – Open to short fiction of up to 8,000 words written to the contest’s prompt regarding the future.  1st places receives $2,000, 2nd – $1,000, and 4 runners-up $500 each. See rules.

8/3: Pitch Wars – “Published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer suggestions to shine it up for agents. The mentors also critique the writer’s pitch to get it ready for the agent round. Writers send applications (query and first chapter of manuscript) to the four mentors that best fit their work. The mentors then read all their applications and choose the writer they want to mentor for the next two months. Then we hold an agent round with over a dozen agents making requests.”

8/15: Pockets Fiction ContestOpen to fiction for ages 6-12. 750–1,000 words. Winner to receive $500 and publication in Pockets magazine. General submission guidelines state that submissions should support the purpose of the magazine to help children grow in their faith, though all submissions do not need to be overtly religious.

8/24: PITCH AMÉRICA – Open to fiction, all genres and age groups, written by Latinx. Enter your 35 word pitch and the first 500 words of your manuscript. A list of participating agents to come.

Know of a great, no fee contest that I missed? Please, please, please link us up in the comments!

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