writing-contest-FB-badgeANNOUNCEMENT:  2015 Finalists and Semi-Finalists

2014 Novel Contest Winners

2015 Contest is now judging.  Entries for 2016 Contest will be accepted spring, 2015.

One of ACM’s novel contest winners landed an agent in part through his participating in this contest! Read his recommendation letter here

About the Christian Writing Contests of Athanatos Christian Ministries:

ACM has been hosting writing contests for more than 5 years.  This year, it created a writer’s community so that poets, short story authors, and other writers can share their stories, get feedback, and consider carefully how their writing can exhibit a defense of the Christian faith (known as ‘apologetics.’)

The best part is that you can join our community for free!  Visit and join the writer’s community.

At present, ACM only hosts its annual novel contest.  For details concerning its short story, poetry, and children’s book contests, please visit this page.

ANNOUNCEMENT:  2014 Novel Contest Winners

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2015 Novel Contest Details

  • Deadline:  October 6, 2014 — Noon.  New Deadline:  October 20th, 2014 Noon (CST) [No longer taking Entries]
  • Entry Fee:  $75 (Dwolla) / $80 (Paypal, Credit Card, Check)
  • $1,500 first prize! $1,000 second prize! Plus possible publication!
  • Winners to be announced in March-May 2015.
  • Winning authors’ books to be published Summer/Fall of 2015.
  • Manuscript length: recommend between 40,000 and 90,000 words.
  • *Sponsorship available

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Contest Details and Guidelines

READ IN FULL!  — See also, these additional, more general rules.

—-> 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–in digital editions (epub, mobi, or pdf).

—-> 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.

—-> Manuscript length: recommend between 40,000 and 90,000 words.  Compelling stories will not be penalized for their length.  Just make sure your novel warrants whatever length you choose.  When considering whether or not to offer to publish, ACM will take the length in consideration.

—-> 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 October 6, 2014 — Noon, 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 $65. Third entry is an additional $45. 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: Oct 6, 2014 — Noon.

  • Submission deadline November 1 – Dec 31.
  • Second round entrants announced. Jan 1 – Feb 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 16 – March 15. Revised stories are due; final deliberations begin.
  • April/May/June. Winners are announced.
  • June/July/August. Contracts negotiated and signed.
  • July/August/September. 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.

*Sponsorship available

2013 Runner Up Novel Contest winner, Joseph Courtemanche, writes: “I have an agent largely on the basis that I was the runner up in the Athanatos contest. That carried a lot of weight when I pitched myself to the agency. My book is in front of at least five different publishers right now – all of whom have requested the full manuscript. I am convinced that without the mentoring and guidance I received as a result of entering the Christian Novel Contest of Athanatos Ministries in 2012 I would not be where I am today. My book is much better, I am a much better writer. And if the whole purpose of this writing journey is to proclaim God’s message to the world, I am a better messenger as a result of my participation.

2012 Novel Contest 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.”

View past short story and poetry winners: 2009 | 2010| 2011 | 2012 | 2013

View past novel contest winners: 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 — View past Children’s Book contest winners: 2013

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.

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