WRITING CONTEST: “Promising Beginnings”

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 in which the prize is a full scholarship to the 2013 Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference (an $877 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 It is open to both published and unpublished writers, regardless of whether you’ve previously attended a Mount Hermon conference.



First five pages of an unpublished book manuscript (self-published OK)
            (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 January 31, 2013.
(Entries received after midnight January 31 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, March 20–26, 2013.

The winner will be notified by e-mail no later than February 15, 2013.


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 lines down from that, type “By” followed by your name (or pen name). Two 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).

Please name the file with your last name, followed by an underscore (_), then the working title of your entry (just the first few words if it’s long).


E-mail your entry to me, Kathy Ide. (If you don’t have my e-mail address, you can use the Contact page of this website.)  

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 Network and fill out the form for Authors Seeking Editors. To get a professional critique of your opening chapters or complete manuscript, check out the Christian Manuscript Critique Service.


NOTE: This contest is not sponsored by the Mount Hermon conference, but it is offered with their permission.

If you have any questions, e-mail me.