Getting started on a writing project and sticking with it are difficult. Even when we’re passionate about a topic, we may procrastinate. Consider entering a few writing contests if you need motivation to start or finish your book. A firm deadline and guidelines are powerful motivators. Since these are a part of all writing contests, they inspire you to put in your best effort. Here is a list of some of 2022’s most respected writing contests, each with a different focus. 

Spotlight First Novel Award – deadline February 14, 2022

Adventures in Fiction searches for fresh authors who haven’t yet been published. The company offers services ranging from a manuscript evaluation to mentoring programs for writers. Prizes include a mentoring package worth £1,750 and a webpage devoted to your novel. Submit a synopsis and the first page of your book for the first round. Entry fee: £16

Orison Prizes (Fiction and Poetry) – deadline April 1, 2022

Prizes are awarded for novels (30,000+ words) and poetry (50-100 pp.) with a spiritual (not inspirational) theme. Orison looks for books of genuine literary merit that aren’t yet published. The prize is $1,500 cash and consideration for publication. Electronic submissions only. Entry fee: $25

Adventure Writer’s Competition – deadline: April 30, 2022

This annual competition celebrates adventure writing in all forms. It’s open to unpublished and published fiction with no more than 10,000 copies sold. Genre must be action-adventure. Winners receive $1,000 in addition to marketing assistance and more. You must submit a complete manuscript. Entry fee: $35

Bath Novel Award – deadline: May 31, 2022

This prestigious competition accepts the first 5,000 words and a one-page synopsis in the first round. Short-listed writers submit their complete manuscript for final consideration. The winner receives £3,000 in addition to introductions to literary agents. One long-listed writer receives an online editing course worth £1,800.  Entry fee: £29

Yeovil Literary Prize – deadline May 31, 2022

Yeovil writing contests began in 2002 and are flourishing. They draw international attention in the process. The Yeovil Community Arts Program awards £1,000 to the first prize winner, £250 to the second, and £100 to the third-place writer. Yeovil also includes categories for poetry and speculative fiction under the “Writing Without Restriction” category. Submit a synopsis and the first three chapters via post or email. Entry fee: £12

Chanticleer Book Awards – deadlines vary

Chanticleer sponsors a wide range of writing contests across several genres. They are somewhat expensive to enter, but the prizes are impressive. Most awards include cash, social media advertising, and trade show representation. Among the genres represented are global thrillers, mystery & mayhem, romance, and satire, young adult novels, historical fiction, and Americana. For maximum impact, bes sure you enter your book in the appropriate genre. Entry fees vary from $99-$199

Every year, dozens of writing contests around the world open to the public. Each one has its own merits, particularly the contests for new and unknown writers. If none of the ones listed above capture your interest, do some research online. You may find more prominent as well as smaller competitions. Also, look for writing contests sponsored by individual states or regions of the country. In these contests, there is a reguional focus or specific topic to write about.

Whether or not you win prizes after entering writing contests, you have the satisfaction of finishing your book.  You have the courage to put it out there. Some contest judges will give you feedback on your submission; others won’t. Prior to entering, be sure to check out the full submission guidelines for any writing contests you enter. Also, keep track of where you submit your manuscript. Finally, don’t stop writing once you’ve submitted something. Instead, take what you’ve learned and apply it to your next writing project!

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