August 2016 Contest Roundup

SIC Contest RoundupThere’s quite a variety of contests coming up within the next couple of months and beyond. In this month’s Roundup you’ll find pitch opportunities, short story competitions, and more. Some offer agent opportunities, some have nice monetary prizes, and some offer publication. If you’re a romance writer be sure to check out Harlequin’s two listings where editor feedback is guaranteed. Illustrators, don’t miss the Scholastic Graphix listing at the end. As always, contests are listed in order by closing date. I hope you find a contest that’s right for you. Good luck my friends!


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.”

8/5: Costa Short Story AwardsOpen to residents of the United Kingdom or Ireland. Story not to exceed 4,000 words. Submit via entry form. Winner to receive £3,500, second place £1,500, third place £500.

8/12: Blue Earth Review Flash Creative Nonfiction Contest – Open to creative nonfiction pieces of 750 words or less. Winner to receive $500 plus publication in Blue Earth Review

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.

8/16: Pitch America – Open to fiction, all genres and age groups, written by Latinx. Enter your 35 word pitch and the first 500 words of your manuscript via email. A list of participating agents to come.

8/29: Dragonfly Tea Short Story Competition – Open to UK residents only. Must be a “non-professional” writer. (Non–professional writer is defined as: “a person who has never received a fee for their work, whether it be fiction or non-fiction. Prize money received as a result of entering work into a competition is not considered a fee.”) ADULT COMPETITION theme: Discovery. 3,000 word limit. 3 prizes of £1500, £750 & £250 respectively. CHILDREN’S COMPETITION theme: Adventure. Age categories: 4-7, 8-11, 12-15. 500 word limit. Prizes of £50 voucher for each winner plus £100 school vouchers. See rules & terms for more details.

8/31: The Rotting Post Humor Contest – Enter your humorous piece of 1,000 words or less. Winner will receive $250 and publication on The Rotting Post blog. Second prize will receive $100 and possible publication.


9/1: Madeline Milburn Agency Summer Writing CompetitionOpen to adult novels.  Unagented writers only. ‘Make Us Scared’ is the theme of this competition. Entries can be “anything from gritty crime and suspenseful thrillers to dark narratives, it’s completely open to your interpretation and can even cross genres”. Enter a cover letter, one-page synopsis, and full manuscript (or a minimum of 30,000 words if the novel is nearing completion). The top five entries will receive “comprehensive written feedback” from the agency.  One winner will receive a cash prize and an offer of representation.

9/8: #Pitmad – Open 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.

9/12: Harlequin’s Oh Canada! BlitzOpen to Romance featuring a Canadian romantic hero. Submit your first chapter plus a 3-7 page synopsis. Editors will respond to all submissions with feedback by 12/1/16. Submit via Submittable.

9/15: Harlequin’s #SexyBlitz – Open to sexy Contemporary Romance. Submit 3 chapters and a synopsis. All submissions will receive feedback by 9/30/16. Read the submission guidelines to see just what they’re looking for.

9/19: Pen/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship – Open to published authors of children’s or Young Adult fiction in financial need. Submit a work-in-progress along with other required documents. See lengthy rules and instructions for details. Chosen candidate will receive a $5000.00 Fellowship.

9/29: The Sunday Times Short Story Award – Open to published authors who reside in the UK or Ireland. Enter your short story of 6,000 words or less. Any genre. Winner to receive a prize of £30,000. Five runners up to receive £1,000.

9/30: New Voices Award – “Open to writers of color who are residents of the United States and who have not previously had a children’s picture book published.” Enter your 1500 word or less fiction, nonfiction, or poetry manuscript for children ages 5-12. Winner receives a publication contract and $1000. Honor Award winner receives $500.


10/31: Tu Books New Visions AwardOpen to Middle Grade and Young Adult manuscripts by writers of color. “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.” Submit a cover letter, synopsis, plus the first 10,000 words. Graphic novels, include the equivalent of 24-30 scripted pages.Please note: “Manuscripts may not be submitted to other publishers, mentorship contests, writing contests, or to TU BOOKS general submissions while under consideration for this award.” Winner receives $1,000 and a standard publication contract. Honor Award winner to receive $500.

11/1: My Real-Life Story Essay Contest – Enter your essay of 2,500 – 3,500 words. Every woman has a moment in life that changes everything. What’s that moment for you? We’d love to find out. Winner to receive $5,000, possible publication in Glamour magazine, and the opportunity to speak with a top New York literary agent. Do be sure to read the contest rules, especially #7.

12/1: #Pitmad – Open to all genres. Pitch your completed manuscript via Twitter using the #Pitmad hashtag betweet 8am and 8pm EDT. Three pitches per project.

4/1/2017: Scholastic Graphix ContestOpen to Graphic Novels for kids. U.S. Residents only. Up to 5 winners will receive an offer to publish their work with Scholastic and a $15,000 advance.

Looking for more contests? I found a list with lots. Looks like there are quite a few poetry contests listed:

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

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