Christian Novel Contest Rules

 Novel Contest Details

  • $1,500 first prize! $1,000 second prize! Plus possible publication!
  • Deadline: Sept 2nd, 2014 — Noon
  • Winners to be announced in March-May 2015.
  • Winning authors’ books to be published Summer/Fall of 2015.
  • Must join ACM’s writing community, but whether or not the novelist submits their work for community feedback is optional.

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Suggested Readings for Succeeding in this Contest

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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–it is essentially a ‘traditional’ publishing arrangement at that point.
  • Manuscript length: recommend between 40,000 and 90,000 words.
  • Contest Submission/Reading Fee: $74.95 if by Paypal/Credit Card, $69.95 if by Dwolla.  Entrants must first become part of our writing community;  the $20 fee is deducted from the amounts listed above.
  • 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.  Entrants can also opt to receive their edition as an Ebook.

—-> 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.

—-> 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. 2nd 2014, but authors are strongly encouraged to enter their submissions as early as possible to ensure that their stories receive adequate time for consideration.  Submitting the novel for community feedback, though optional, may nonetheless be a good use of any ‘spare’ time before the contest officially begins.

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. 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, 2015. 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 2nd, 2014 — 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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