Got a finished project you'd like to test in writing competitions? Entering your work into a competition can not only give you an easy-lift idea of how your project might do in the market, but any earned accolades can help tremendously when pitching your project to agents and in marketing materials. Check out the list below to browse top competitions for manuscripts and screenplays

This list is updated each month. Got a competition that should be on the list? Contact Me to let me know. 

If you want to make sure your pages are in the best shape, let's chat to see how I can help.



MANUSCRIPTS


2023 RISING STAR Award for Unpublished Women’s Fiction

This award is designed exclusively for the unpublished, unagented writer of women's fiction. It offers the chance for priceless feedback from three industry professionals, plus the opportunity to break out of the slush pile and land on the desk of five final round judges, all acquiring agents of women's fiction.
The RISING STAR Award for unpublished manuscripts has NO categories. It is open to all unagented writers who have never been published in the book-length women's fiction* of 60k words or more.


AWARDS: Detailed score sheets with comments will be provided to all entrants, and the top five (5) finalists will advance to the final round with an opportunity to update entries based on first round judges’ score sheets. 
OPEN TO: Unpublished, unagented women's fiction
FINAL DEADLINE: May 6th, 2023




The Launch Pad Prose Competition has led to twelve books published, projects set up at AppleTV, Showtime, and with producers and companies that include Scott Free Productions, Michael De Luca productions, Platform One Media, and Laura Dern’s Jaywalker Pictures.
Manuscript not completed, no problem. Whether you have a ten page short story or a 1,000 page fantasy epic, we want to read it! There’s no need to have a finished manuscript. As long as you have sample pages accompanied by a thorough synopsis, you are welcome to enter! Our readers and judges will review up to 50 pages of every submission, as well as a synopsis for book submissions.
We advocate for all of our Top 100 finalists, working with each of them to develop compelling bios and loglines, and sharing their work with targeted industry professionals. Our prestigious industry juries include managers, agents, producers and executives across top companies in film, television and publishing. Our track record speaks for itself.
Enter now to join this tradition of Launch Pad success.

AWARDS: Advocation and introduction to top industry professionals.
OPEN TO: Full length manuscripts
FINAL DEADLINE: May 20, 2023


The 2023 Book Pipeline Unpublished contest is exclusively for unpublished manuscripts across eight categories of fiction and nonfiction.


AWARDS: Select publishers and agents get first look at the top selection for each category, including Katherine Tegen Books, Creative Artists Agency, and Verve Publishing. 
Winners and Runners-Up receive: $20,000 to winners ($2,500 for each category winner). Immediate circulation to publishers, agents, editors, and other execs. Consideration from producers seeking projects for film and TV adaptation. Additional long-term review of other books for potential circulation.
OPEN TO: Literary, Mystery / Thriller, Sci-Fi / Fantasy, Romance / Women's Fiction, Young Adult, Middle Grade, Picture Books, Nonfiction
FINAL DEADLINE: September 5th, 2023


The Page Turner 2023 Writing Award For Unpublished, Completed Manuscripts
is an inclusive writing and book award with one goal – to change the lives of as many writers as possible. The team at Page Turner Awards passionately believes that talented writers can be from any background, age, race, religion, or interest. Page Turner Awards gives unpublished writers the chance to enter unpublished fiction and non-fiction books, to be read by a carefully curated judging panel made up of influential players in the publishing industry. Page Turner Awards has been dubbed the 'Rolls Royce' of Writing Awards. 

AWARDS: Various
OPEN TO: Unpublished, completed manuscripts
FINAL DEADLINE: May 31, 2023


The San Francisco Writers Conference 2023 Writing Contest. 
Entries may have been self-published or not-yet-published but not traditionally published. Entries can be up to 1500 words in length (or less, but not more) and should be the first 1500 words of a novel or book, an essay, article, novella, short story, novelette, etc. For Poetry entries, you may submit up to three poems at a time in one document, as long as their total COMBINED word count is at 1500 or less. 

AWARDS:  Registration to the 2024 San Francisco Writers ConferenceWinners and finalists in each category receive publication of their entry in the 2023 SFWC Writing Contest Anthology. Finalists can, and should, proudly mention their award in query letters to agents and publishers…and on the covers of their books! They will also be acknowledged on the SFWC website and at the 2024 conference. 
OPEN TO: Adult Fiction, Adult Nonfiction (including business and memoir), Picture/Children’s/Middle Grade/YA Books, Poetry 
FINAL DEADLINE: February 20 - June 30, 2023


The Claymore Award is hosted by Killer Nashville. For best first 50 pages of an unpublished manuscript. Created in 2009, the Killer Nashville Claymore Award assists new and rebranding English-language fiction authors to get published, including possible agent representation, book advances, editor deals, and movie and television sales. 


AWARDS:  Probably a traditional publishing contract with a Mystery Writers of America and/or International Thriller Writers-approved publisher if the author has patience with the process. While we cannot guarantee that winners and finalists of this award will receive publication, most winners & runners-up of the Killer Nashville Claymore Award have gone on to find great success in their careers and many of them attribute that success to this award. The top manuscript in each category is recognized at the Killer Nashville Awards Dinner and then is in the running for the overall Top 3 Finalists. The Top 3 Finalists receive heavily discounted admission (up to a $285 value if registered for the conference) to that year’s Killer Nashville where the winners will be announced and introductions will be made to agents and/or editors to kick-start their publishing careers. Breakouts at the conference will be attended and pitching sessions will be set up for those attending the conference.
After the conference, any manuscripts considered of exceptional merit, and if agreed upon by the authors, will be offered by Killer Nashville as suggestions to selected agents and various publishing houses for suggested representation. No guarantees, however, are made that agents or publishers will accept a manuscript simply because it is a finalist. 
OPEN TO:  The contest is limited to only the first 50 double-spaced pages of unpublished English-language manuscripts containing elements of thriller, mystery, crime, or suspense NOT currently under contract. These can include Action Adventure, Comedy, Cozy, Historical, Investigator, Juvenile/YA, Literary, Mainstream/Commercial, Mystery, Nonfiction, Sci-fi/Fantasy, Short Story Collections, Southern Gothic, Supernatural, Suspense, Thriller, and Western manuscripts, and any of their derivatives. (Self-published manuscripts are considered already published and are not eligible.) If you think you’ve got a good full-length, unpublished story or collection on your hands, we want to see it!
FINAL DEADLINE: Currently close, will open for the 2024 contest soon.


We are dedicated to publishing courageous writing that displays literary merit and philosophical or spiritual curiosity (no dogma, please). We are looking for fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and experimental submissions.  

AWARDS:  $1,000 advance and standard contract from Unleash Press for one winning manuscript. Novels, poetry collections, short story collections, and creative nonfiction manuscripts are accepted. 
OPEN TO:  Full-length, completed manuscripts only. Genres accepted include fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and experimental/hybrid.
FINAL DEADLINE: Submissions will be accepted until December 15, 2023. 


Shadows & Knives. The Elegant Literature Award For New Writers. In collaboration with ProWritingAid’s Crime Week. 
Write a story involving Shadows & Knives, and a crow.
Hurry down the street as night falls. Is that movement in the shadows? Don’t look back. Dark figures block your path, steel glinting. No time to think. Do you run, fight, or scream? Murder is as old as time. The lights come on and someone’s dead. Everyone’s a suspect. The genius detective plays cat and mouse with a meticulous villain. Bodies, blackmail, and bloodstained letters. The cozy mystery is anything but for the victim. Prepare your alibi, avoid suspicion, and hope the trail of bodies leads back to the butler. The investigator has a secret, and the killer is working with the police. Conspiracies, confessions, and court intrigue. Assassins and bloody night raids—danger lurks in the dark. So accept the invitation, gather round the campfire, and hope the train doesn’t go through a tunnel. It’s a mystery, and we’re all gathered for the big reveal.
This contest invites you to explore shadows and knives, whatever that means to you. Fantasy, contemporary, romance, crime. All genres are welcome. Contest only open to new writers.

AWARDS: $3,000 grand prize 
OPEN TO:  Full-length, completed manuscripts only. Genres accepted include fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and experimental/hybrid.
FINAL DEADLINE: Submissions close April 30th at 11:59 pm EST. 



Screenplays


Final Draft’s Big Break Screenwriting Contest is an annual, international feature film and television screenwriting contest designed to help launch the careers of aspiring writers. Writers who have entered Big Break have had their screenplays optioned, sold, and have secured high-profile representation. 

AWARDS: $10,000 and other prizes, and a trip to Hollywood for networking events and industry meetings.
OPEN TO: Feature films and TV Pilot scripts
FINAL DEADLINE: June 30, 2023


The Slamdance Screenplay Competition is dedicated to discovering and nurturing emerging screenwriters. Since 1997, the competition has established a strong track record for introducing writers to members of the entertainment industry who have gone on to produce, option, and represent submitted work. Like the Film Festival, the Screenplay Competition is a place for new, bold, and raw voices. We are looking for scripts that take risks, refuse compromise, and go places where Hollywood hacks fear to tread. 

AWARDS: A total of $18,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to the winners this year.
OPEN TO: Feature, TV Pilot, Short Scripts
FINAL DEADLINE: July 24, 2023


The Los Angeles International Screenplay Award is the only screenplay competition founded by a team of working Hollywood professionals with more than 1,000 produced credits and a century of collective industry experience. 

AWARDS: Cash prizes, 1 on 1 meeting with producers, judges, or literary manager, and media publicity.
OPEN TO: Feature, TV Pilot, Short Scripts
FINAL DEADLINE: May 19, 2023


From choosing our judges to creating opportunities, our top priority has always been the writer. We surround ourselves with reputable and successful companies, including the many producers, literary agents, and managers who read your scripts.
Our past winners have won Emmys, been signed by agents, managers, had their scripts optioned, and even made into movies.
But the most important prize of all is this: Scriptapalooza will promote, pitch, and push the Semifinalists and higher for a full year. Competitions include: Screenplay and Television.

AWARDS: Varies according to competition. Cash prizes, meetings with producers, and media publicity.
OPEN TO: TV Pilots, 1/2 Hour, 1 Hour, Reality Shows
FINAL DEADLINE: Closed until next season


Breaking in as a writer should be about how well you can write—not how well you can network. That's why our competitions set out to uncover the best writers out there and help them with an entire team dedicated to launching careers. 

AWARDS: Cash prizes, meeting with industry professionals.
OPEN TO: Comedy, Feature, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Action & Adventure, Film Fund Competition
FINAL DEADLINE: April 30, 2023


The Launch Pad Competitions have led to more signings, success stories, and careers than any other screenwriting competition. We advocate for all of our Top 100 finalists, working with them to share their writing with the exact right industry members. 

AWARDSAdvocation and introduction to top industry professionals
OPEN TO: TV Pilots, Feature Scripts
FINAL DEADLINE: Open next season


Script Pipeline discovers and develops writers for film and television, connecting them to producers, agents, and managers.
Since 1999, several produced films and over $8 million in screenplay and TV pilot spec sales are credited to Script Pipeline’s singular, intensive process of long-term writer-to-industry facilitation.

AWARDS: Cash prizes, script circulation, meetings, additional events
OPEN TO: Pitches, Screenplays, Television Scripts
FINAL DEADLINE: Varies per category, April 20 and May 1


The Southern California Screenplay Competition is based in San Diego, California. It was founded by writer/director/producer Theo Davies, to discover fresh, new writing talent. There are many undiscovered storytellers who have a voice, but that voice is never heard. We want to create a platform where the screenwriters of tomorrow have a place to showcase their talent, today.
We create exposure for screenwriters, getting the best scripts that pass through our competition into the hands of producers who are looking to option, buy and produce scripts. Every North American writer who submits to us receives a phone call. We love meeting screenwriters, so this gives us an opportunity to talk about your background as a screenwriter and the script we're about to read.

AWARDSCash prize, meetings, and script read with leading industry, pitch meetings, and media publicity.
OPEN TO: Feature, TV Pilot, Short Scripts
FINAL DEADLINESeptember 1, 2023



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