6th Annual “Promising Beginnings” Christian Writers’ Contest
Because I believe in the power, impact, and influence of Christian writers’ conferences, I am holding a contest again this year in which the prize is a full scholarship to a conference.
This year, the winner will be given a choice between two options:
Full scholarship to the 2018 Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, including meals and economy lodging
Full scholarship to the 2018 SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference, including meals and dorm lodging plus reimbursement of travel expenses
(Note: Not all details are on the websites yet. So check them in the coming weeks/months to find out more about it. You do not have to decide which conference you want to attend before you enter the contest.)
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 It is open to both published and unpublished writers, regardless of whether you’ve previously attended a writers’ conference.
First five pages of an unpublished or self-published book manuscript
(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, 2017.
(Entries received after midnight November 30 will not be considered.)
Submissions will be judged on how much promise is shown in 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 his or her choice of these two options:
- 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 23-27, 2018.
- Full scholarship to the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference, held at Biola University in La Mirada, California, June 21-23, 2018, including meals and dorm lodging plus reimbursement of travel expenses.
The winner will be notified by e-mail no later than January 15, 2018. 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 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 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 first-line indentation, not tabs).
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).
E-mail your entry to me, Kathy Ide. (If you don’t have my e-mail address, use the Contact page of my website, http://kathyide.com/contact-me, to request my e-mail address.)
Put “Promising Beginnings Contest” in the subject line of your e-mail, followed by your first and last name. In the body of the e-mail, please include:
Where you live (city & state or country)
Working title of the manuscript
Target readers’ age range
How you heard about this contest
Which conference you want to attend (if both, list order of preference)
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, www.ChristianEditor.com, and fill out the form for Authors Seeking Editors.
NOTE: 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!
October 19, 2017 @ 9:21 am
I’m only asking because I can never get a straight answer on this, no matter what contest I enter. First five pages = prologue or first chapter? Thank you.
October 19, 2017 @ 12:32 pm
I would consider the first five pages to include the prologue (if there is one) and then the opening pages of the first chapter (if the prologue is shorter than five pages).
October 27, 2017 @ 11:54 am
Ok, thank you! Could you please provide me with an email so I might send an entry?
October 30, 2017 @ 7:48 am
Shared this with several groups. Thanks for all you do for writers.
October 31, 2017 @ 9:03 am
October 31, 2017 @ 7:45 am
Two “technical” questions: (1) Do you want a line space between “Chapter 1” and the title of chapter one, or a single space? (2) Do you mean you want an automatic first line indent of each paragraph, or a hanging indent (which indents the rest of the paragraph)? I’m assuming you just want the first line indented, but my program calls that a first line indent instead of a hanging indent. Thanks for your patience with my questions, and thanks for hosting the contest!
October 31, 2017 @ 9:03 am
Double-space ALL text.
That should read “automatic first-line indent” for paragraphs. Sorry for the “hanging”–that was a typo.
November 1, 2017 @ 6:33 pm
Do the travel expenses with the So Cal option include air fare?
November 2, 2017 @ 9:58 am
Yes. (But only domestic economy flights.)
November 9, 2017 @ 10:01 pm
I would love to do this, and would of course, hope to win, but the problem is that my mother lives with me and, although she is mentally alert, cannot physically stay by herself for the duration of a conference. Bringing her along would not be possible financially, however. The cost is one of the reasons I’ve never attended a writer’s conference. It makes me wonder if submitting an entry is even worth it.
November 10, 2017 @ 3:15 pm
The Mount Hermon conference offers a $500 discount for non-participating spouses. Your mother could get the same deal if she came with you. That would still be a cost. But it might be a nice “vacation” for the two of you.
November 16, 2017 @ 10:53 pm
It would be I am sure, but even with the $500 discount, the price is steep for us. One of the reasons I haven’t been to the conference yet.
November 16, 2017 @ 10:56 pm
I don’t want to sound like I’m begging for a free vacation for my mom and myself. I understand the expense of putting a conference like this on and the reality of cost per person who comes. Going back to Mt. Herman is something both I and my mom would like to do, but we realize it’s not something we can do.
November 13, 2017 @ 10:28 am
I’m getting on this right away! Thanks, Kathy!
November 13, 2017 @ 6:20 pm
This is an incredible opportunity! I really liked all that i read about SoCal this year and wished I could have attended. Definitely will apply for the scholarship. Thank you for the chance!
November 14, 2017 @ 6:56 am
This look incredible, thank you for giving us this opportunity, Kathy! I’m excited to enter :). One question though – if someone were to win, and then something came up and they were unable to accept the prize, would you be able to pass the prize onto another person?
November 14, 2017 @ 9:01 am
That has happened in previous years. And yes, if the winner is unable to accept the prize, it will go to someone else.
November 14, 2017 @ 9:39 am
May I enter an upper Middle Grade manuscript for the Promising Beginnings Contest?
November 14, 2017 @ 10:39 am
Yes, upper middle grade is fine. Just no children’s board books, picture books, etc.
November 22, 2017 @ 9:56 pm
I’ve noticed very similar requirements and rules for Mount Hermon First-Timers Contest. Would it be appropriate to enter both the Promising Beginnings and the Mount Hermon contests?
November 27, 2017 @ 12:09 pm
Absolutely okay! While both contests have similar guidelines, the “target audience” is different. The First-Timers Contest is ONLY for Mount Hermon, and only for those who’ve never been before. The Promising Beginnings contest is open to anyone, and the prize will be EITHER a full scholarship to Mount Hermon (including meals and lodging) OR a full scholarship to SoCal (including meals, lodging, and reimbursement of travel expenses–economy domestic only).
November 28, 2017 @ 11:20 am
Sorry for a dumb question: Are the five pages in an attachment or the actual email?
December 1, 2017 @ 9:15 am
The guidelines on my blog state “E-mail your entry to me, Kathy Ide, as an attachment.”
Florence Monica Richard Atijegbe
December 1, 2017 @ 6:23 am
Hi, I have been looking for something like this and I just stumbled across this now. So sad to see I am late for this contest but am not discouraged looking forward to many more. Will like to know when the next contest will be open
December 1, 2017 @ 9:15 am
I run this conference every year in the fall. So check my blog or my social media, or sign up for my newsletter. (There’s a link on my website, http://www.KathyIde.com.)