3rd Annual “Promising Beginnings” Christian Writers’ Contest


Mount Hermon

Because 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 2015 Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference (an $897 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 It is open to both published and unpublished writers, regardless of whether you’ve previously attended a Mount Hermon conference.



First five pages of an unpublished book manuscript (self-published OK)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, 2014.

(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 forthe Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, held in the Santa Cruz Mountains near San Jose, California, March 25–31, 2015. For details about the conference, visit http://mounthermon.org/event/361.


The winner will be notified by e-mail no later than January 15, 2015. 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. Two double-spaced lines down from that, type “By” followed by your name (or pen name). Two double-spaced lines down from that, “Chapter 1” (or “Chapter One” or “Prologue”). On the next line, put the chapter title (if it has one). This should all be centered. Start text two lines down from that.
  • For all other text, use left alignment. (Leave right margin “ragged.”)
  • Indent the first line of each paragraph ½ inch (using the tab key or automatic hanging indentation).


The filename should be your 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, you can send me a message using the Contact page of my website. (Just put “getting address for contest entry” or something like that in the message box.) You will immediately get an automatic response that has my e-mail address in it. Submit your contest entry to that address.
Put “MH Contest” in the subject line.
In the body of the e-mail, please include:

          Your name

          E-mail address

          Working title of the manuscript


          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!)


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. You will receive an automated response from my e-mail address. You can reply to that e-mail to send your entry.)