Mon, March 1, 2021 (midnight ET)


Submissions are now closed – thanks to all who submitted.

Eligible writers from anywhere in the world may enter.

Entrants must be individuals, not a company or organization.

Entrants must submit the work using their real name, not a pen name. A pen name may be used when announcing a win, if requested.

Entrants must be over 18 years of age at the time of entering their work.

Entrants must not be personal friends with or family members of the judge, Joan Dempsey. Writers with whom Joan has worked either in classes or one-on-one are eligible; because the entries are reviewed blind, the judge will not see the writers’ identities until her selections are final.

Entries must be unpublished (including self-published), original work from a novel-in-progress. If you’ve posted the same work you’re entering into the contest on your own website or a critique site like Wattpad, you can consider that work unpublished for this contest. 

Entries may be in any genre of fiction, as long as your work is the first chapter of a novel written for adult readers—this does include young adult novels that adults would typically read, but does not include middle-grade or children's fiction.

Entries must be written in English; translated works are not eligible. 

Entries (or drafts of entries) that have won 1st, 2nd or 3rd place in any other competition are not eligible.

Entrants must abide by the submission guidelines—please read the guidelines carefully! Submissions that don't adhere to the submission guidelines will not be considered and the $20 entry fee will not be reimbursed. 

Have questions? Read our FAQs.