Christian Novel Contest Overview

[this is an archived page.  For the updated webpage, please go here.]

2013 Christian Novel Contest Details

Deadline:  Sept 1st Sept 4th, Noon

WINNERS of the 2012 Christian Writing Contest:

  • 1st prize:  Derek Elkins, for his story Life Unworthy of Life.
  • 2nd prize:  Chris Morrow, for his story The Devil’s Choir.

ACM has extended a publishing deal to both!  More info on the 2012 Christian Novel Contest Winners, Derek Elkins and Chris Morrow.

Winners of the 2012 Short Story and Poetry Contest were recently announced and will be posted on this page soon.

The next short story and poetry contest will begin taking submissions on Sept 5th, 2012. View last year’s details.

ACM’s 2011 grand prize winner of the Christian novel contest, Shirley Tucker, had her winning story, Diamonds in the Dust, published in December of 2011.   Visit her web page to learn more:

Contest Details

  • $1,500 first prize! $1,000 second prize! Plus possible publication!
  • Deadline: Sept 1st., 2012.  Sept 4th, noon
  • Winners to be announced in March-May 2013.
  • Winning authors’ books to be published Summer/Fall of 2013.

RULES BELOW – Scroll Down!

2012 Grand Prize winner Derek Elkins writes:  “… thanks again for putting on the contest in the first place and your desire to see God put first in every realm of the arts.  This contest and the last two I participated in have opened my eyes just a bit more as to what God wants me to accomplish, and I appreciate that more than I could possibly express.      You know, I’ve been a real, acting Christian for about sixteen years now. ….  But, throughout all of that, I haven’t felt like I’ve made much of an impact or that I’m at a place that really fit.     I don’t want to sound like an advertisement, but thanks to the encouragement I’ve received through Athanatos Ministries, I think I’ve finally got a grip on what God wants me to do and it feels great to finally know.  Been waiting a long time.”

The next short story and poetry contest will begin taking submissions on Sept 5th, 2012. View last year’s details.

Book Length Novel Contest Deadline: Deadline:  Sept 1st Sept 4th, Noon

View past short story and poetry winners: 2009 | 2010| 2011 | 2012

View past novel contest winners: 2011 | 2012

Suggested Readings for Succeeding in this Contest

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2011 Second Prize winner Robert Abernathy writes: “My experience with Athanatos Ministries and the 2011 Novel Contest was one of the most valuable and rewarding experiences I have encountered as a writer. The knowledge, expertise and friendly advice throughout the editing process added dimensions to the book that filled in the holes where needed. (ACM assistant) Debbie Thompson was instrumental in helping me communicate an overall message in the book that wasn’t quite reaching the reader in the manner that I had hoped. I recommend this contest to anyone that has a message, a book, or an idea that they would like to see grow into a completed work with real practical and professional advice along the way.”

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Athanatos Christian Ministries (ACM) wants to inspire young Christians to take up the pen and promote the Christian world view through fiction. ACM believes that the the secular world is constantly promoting itself through the arts and that Christians should be prepared to fight back. Thus, the Gospel of Christ should be communicated through music, movies, plays, art … and literature. The purpose of this writing contest is to create a culture of quality writing reflecting a Christian world view.

Contest Details and Guidelines


  • 1st Prize: $1,500 and possible publishing contract offer.
  • 2nd Prize: $1,000 and possible publishing contract offer.
  • Published winning authors receive 15% commission on net profits of the sale of their books.
  • Manuscript length: recommend between 40,000 and 90,000 words.
  • Contest Submission/Reading Fee: $69.95.
  • Up to 3 submissions per author accepted with discounts for second and third entries
  • English only.
  • FICTION only.

—-> Top 10-12 entries will be invited to revisit their entry in order to revise it for a final round of judging in light of judges’ feedback.

—-> All entries will receive a copy of the winning books- if the offers to publish the entries are extended and accepted. (This is a $20-$30 value!).  International entries will receive their copies as digital editions.  Shipping costs are included for US entries.

—-> All entries will receive at least a 1 page document providing feedback from one or more of the contest judges. You may decline receiving the feedback.

—-> In the unlikely event that a winning entry is one that ACM, in its sole discretion, doesn’t want to publish, ACM reserves the right to not offer a publishing contract. Cash awards will, of course, still be disbursed.

—-> ACM reserves the right to modify the terms of this contest, including the cash award amounts. Cash award amounts may be decreased if the number of entries are low. If, however, it appears that the award would be less than $500/1st prize and $250/2nd prize, the contest will be canceled and all entries fees refunded in full. We reserve the right, but this has NEVER happened!

—-> Except for the possibility stated immediately above, no refunds are possible.

—-> Furthermore, it is the author’s responsibility to read all of the rules and requirements and format their entry correctly. Entries that do not may be disqualified from consideration- without a refund or even notification. In light of the fact that you are paying a reading fee and with the high number of entries this contest receives, why wouldn’t you make sure you follow the rules?

—-> ACM reserves the right to add additional prizes at its sole discretion.

—-> ACM will take submissions through Sept. 1st 2012, but authors are strongly encouraged to enter their submissions as early as possible to ensure that their stories receive adequate time for consideration.

Copyright: Entrants grant ACM the right to distribute the story to anyone that they please for the purposes of judging. Authors otherwise retain copyright, with some obvious exceptions if ACM is to publish their story.

Discounts: Second entry is an additional $55.95. Third entry is an additional $35.95. Be sure to select the appropriate options when submitting your entries. It is possible for the same author to win both prizes!

Content: Manuscripts should be fiction, but can be in any genre: action/adventure, fantasy fiction, young adult, historical, etc. Stories can be written even for young people, say junior high, but illustrated books for children would not qualify. Think: Chronicles of Narnia, Wrinkle in Time, etc. If you have a specific audience in mind for your story please indicate as much in the story summary which must accompany your submission.

Submission Format Requirements: Each submitted manuscript should have:

  • 1 inch margins
  • be single spaced
  • font size 12.

The first page of the submission should include:

  • the title of the entry
  • author’s name
  • phone number
  • email address

The next page should have a ONE PAGE summary of the story.

The third page should have a ONE PAGE outline of the story.

After that, the entire book should follow.

Obviously, if the story is chosen as a winner and for publication, it will be formatted differently.

Manuscript should be written in English, but foreign submissions are ok.

Previous Publication and Age Requirement: Manuscript must be one that has not been previously published (but self-published is ok) and one that you have the full copyright to. Winner must be at least 18 years old by March 1st, 2013. There is no maximum age limit.

Criteria ACM judges will use for judging:

  • First and foremost, is it an interesting story that is well written with few grammatical and spelling errors?
  • Does it, implicitly or explicitly, reflect a Christian worldview or promote a Christian perspective?
  • Does it do something new and fresh, showing creativity?
  • Can ACM see itself publishing it?

Judges will not necessarily read the entire book! If the first 10-20 pages do not catch and keep their attention, they may stop reading it, and in their feedback page- if you desire to receive it- explain why. It is the author’s job to do what it takes to make the story interesting from the beginning. If this is a story that ACM may eventually publish, it is obvious that it must be interesting! If your story has a ‘slow’ beginning then the summary and outline becomes all the more critical. If we know where your story is going that can help us keep the opening pages in perspective.

Judging Process: ACM’s editorial staff will divide the submissions between them. The top 10-12 stories will then be scrutinized by the entire staff and authors will be invited to revise their stories in light of feedback received. Back and forth between ACM staff and the authors can be expected during this time. Authors will have a short period of time to perform the revision(s) and then will re-submit their stories, at which time all of the judges will determine which of the stories shall be the winners.

Timeline: (this is tentative, and may change as circumstances require)

  • Deadline:  Sept 1st Sept 4th, Noon. Submission deadline
  • October 1 – November 31. Second round entrants announced.
  • November 1 – Jan 15. Third round (our semi-finalists) are announced: Top 7-12 stories are chosen and stories are sent back for revision with our feedback in mind.
  • February 1 – February 28. Revised stories are due; final deliberations begin.
  • Feb/March/April/May. Winners are announced.
  • May/June/July. Contracts negotiated and signed.
  • June/July/August. Awards Disbursed.
  • August-December. Winners’ books released.

Skin Thickness Requirement: 1 inch. This is a contest that attempts to give the author honest, fair, helpful feedback- win or lose. We are as interested in building up writers who do not win, or even make it to the semi-finalists, as we are in the winners. Not giving our honest assessment of your story would not be helpful. If you do not desire our honest assessment do not ask to receive your assessment at all!

Moreover, if there is anything about the terms or nature our contest that you do not like, the time to decide that is before you submit your entry.


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