4th Annual “Promising Beginnings” Christian Writers’ Contest

4th PB contestBecause I believe in the power, impact, and influence of Christian writers’ conferences, and the Mount Hermon conference in particular, I am holding a contest again this year in which the prize is a full scholarship to the 2016 Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference (a $999.00 value!).

There is NO FEE to enter this contest. It is open to both published and unpublished writers, regardless of whether you’ve previously attended a Mount Hermon conference.


  • First five pages of an unpublished book manuscript (self-published OK)
    — Does not have to be a completed manuscript.
    — Do not send more than five pages, even if the last page ends in mid-sentence.
  • Fiction or nonfiction (any genre except poetry)
  • For YA or adult readership (no children’s)
  • Book does not need to be overtly Christian but must have a Judeo-Christian worldview
  • Must be written in English (If foreign or fictional words are used, they need to be properly formatted and the meaning has to be understandable within the context.)
  • Must follow the formatting guidelines below

There is no limit to the number of entries that may be submitted, but each entry must be sent separately.

Deadline for submission is November 30, 2015.
(Entries received after midnight November 30 will not be considered.)



Submissions will be judged on the quality of the writing, including:

  • intriguing opening “hook”
  • appealing tone/style
  • good flow/pace/smoothness
  • clarity, ease of readability, tight writing
  • application of professional writing techniques
  • cleanness (without typos, inconsistencies, or errors in punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling)



The winner of this contest will receive full payment of conference registration, meals during the conference, and economy lodging for the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, held in the Santa Cruz Mountains near San Jose, California, March 18–22, 2016. For details about the conference, visit http://writers.mounthermon.org.

The winner will be notified by e-mail no later than January 15, 2016. After that, I will post an announcement on my blog with the winner’s name, the working title of the submission, and the information provided about genre and target readers’ age range. Entry in this contest indicates your permission for me to post this information.



Submissions must be formatted according to the following guidelines:

  • All margins 1 or 1¼ inch
  • Times New Roman 12-point font
  • Double-space all text. Do not allow extra space between paragraphs. (Take out automatic paragraph spacing.)
  • Using the header feature, all pages should have your first and last name (real name, not pen name), followed by a slash, then your e-mail address, all flush left, and a running page number in the right corner.
  • At the top of the first page, type the working title of your book in ALL CAPS. If you have a subtitle, type that in Initial Caps on the next line. After skipping one line, type “By” followed by your name (pen name, if you use one). After skipping another line, type “Chapter 1” (or “Chapter One” or “Prologue”). On the next line, put the chapter title (if it has one). This should all be centered (without left indent). Skip one more line, then start the text.
  • For all other text, use left alignment. (Leave right margin “ragged.”)
  • Indent the first line of each paragraph ½ inch (using automatic hanging indentation).

The filename should be your first and last name, then an underscore (_), then the working title of your entry. (If the title is long, just the first few words.)



Send your entry to me, Kathy Ide, as an e-mail attachment in Word (doc or docx). If you have any questions, e-mail me. If you don’t have my e-mail address, you can use the Contact page of my website.

Put “PB Contest” in the subject line, followed by your first and last name. In the body of the e-mail, please include:

  • Your name
  • E-mail address
  • Working title of the manuscript
  • Genre
  • Target readers’ age range
  • How you heard about this contest



To give your entry the best chance of winning, you may want to consider having your writing professionally critiqued, edited, and/or proofread. (NOTE: This is only a suggestion; it is not a requirement for submission to the contest.)

To find a high-quality Christian editor, feel free to check out the Christian Editor Connection, and fill out the form for Authors Seeking Editors. Or go to the Critique section of the website to request an overall critique.


NOTE: This contest is not sponsored by the Mount Hermon conference, but it is offered with their permission and full support. (If you would like to contribute to this contest, please let me know. I would love to be able to offer more than just one scholarship!)