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  • Writer's pictureMegan DiMaria

Opportunity Alert: Writers Contest

You know I love to share good opportunities for writers. The ACFW Virgina 2024 Crown Award is accepting submissions. This is a great contest because industry pros are final-round judges.

Here's the pep talk: Listen, I know it's nerve-racking to put your work out there, but it's good practice, and it keeps you moving forward on your journey. It's good to submit your work where you may get feedback. Criticism is not necessarily bad if it propels you to improve. Keep writing. Keep striving to hone your craft. Besides a low entry fee, you have nothing to lose. Get cracking!

Manuscripts are not required to be complete in order to enter, but it is strongly suggested as industry professionals will judge the finalists. An author whose work has not been previously published in novella* or any book-length fiction (in ANY print or online form, including lead magnets and sites such as Wattpad, Substack, etc.) is eligible to enter The Crown Entering contests is a good way to push yourself and put your work out there. Submissions close July 29 (5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time).

To enter, you'll need a one-page, single-spaced synopsis, followed by your first chapter, up to the first 5 pages of your manuscript. Prologues are acceptable and are included in the 5-page count. The entry will be 6 pages total, including a synopsis. You may send less than 6 pages.

The Crown Award entry fee is quite reasonable. ACFW Virginia Chapter Members pay $20, and non-members: $25

Multiple entries require separate entry fees.

They have several categories to enter your submission:

  • Contemporary: Novels or sagas set in any location with a contemporary setting. This category includes literary fiction, women’s fiction, time-slip, and mainstream fiction. Stories in this category may have romance elements but are not central to the plot.

  • Contemporary Romance: In Contemporary Romance, the love story is the main focus of the novel. These stories in this category can be dramatic or comedic and will have an emotionally satisfying ending for the hero and heroine.

  • Historical/Historical Romance/Historical Romantic Suspense: Novels or sagas set in any location, in which the time frame of the majority of the story is historical rather than contemporary. The time period can be up to and including the Vietnam era. If the entry is Historical Romance, the love story should be a central focus of the novel, and the end of the story is emotionally satisfying for the hero and heroine.

  • Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Romantic Suspense: Novels set in any contemporary location in which suspense or mystery is an integral part of the plot, including those with a strong romance element. Historical romantic suspense stories should be entered in the Historical category.

  • Speculative: Novels in which the science fiction, the future, other planets, a fantasy world, or paranormal happenings are a major element of the plot or setting. This category includes science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, futuristic, allegory, and alternate history fiction. Stories targeted primarily at young adult readers should be entered in the Young Adult category.

  • Young Adult/Middle Grade: Novels targeted toward young adult readers ages 12 through 18. The stories in this category can be dramatic, comedic, romantic, or non-romantic. Science Fiction/Fantasy/Allegory stories targeted primarily at young adult readers can be entered in this category. Stories targeted at Middle-Grade readers are included in this category.

Judges are encouraged to use track changes to leave comments for contestants, but it is not required. Scoresheets are returned to contestants. So this is a good opportunity to get some valuable feedback.

Finalists in each category will receive a Crown Award Finalist badge to use for promotion on your website and social media.

Category winners will receive a Crown Award Winner badge, a certificate, and a crown lapel pin or tie clip.

Winners will be announced on November 2nd at the 2024 ACFW Virginia Royal Writers Conference. Please check the website for updated information in the spring.

Write on, friends!



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