2016 Cascade Contest Rules

Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Writing Contest

Rules & Eligibility


Entry deadline: March 31st

Entry fees: Members—$35 for published books; $30 for all other entries

Nonmembers—$45 for published books; $40 for all other entries

Submission: All entries EXCEPT published books should be sent electronically

To: cascade@oregonchristianwriters.org

To begin entry, click HERE

Mail ONLY published books to:

OCW Cascade Writing Contest
P.O. Box 719
Pleasant Hill, OR 97455

Opens 12:01 a.m. February 14, 2016 and closes 11:59 p.m. March 31, 2016

Honoring work published in 2015 and unpublished work

in the following categories

  • Contemporary Fiction Book
  • Historical Fiction Book
  • Speculative Fiction Book
  • Nonfiction Book
  • Memoir Book
  • Young Adult/Middle Grade Fiction and Nonfiction Book
  • Children’s Chapter Book (ages 6–8) and Picture Book (ages 2–10+) Fiction and Nonfiction
  • Poetry: An entry consists of a single poem not to exceed 1,000 words.
  • Devotional: An entry consists of one devotional not to exceed 250 words, including the quoted Scripture.
  • Article, Column, or Blog Post: An entry consists of the article, column, or blog post, NOT to exceed 2,000 words. All Blog Posts are considered Published.
  • Short Story/Flash Fiction: A single entry consists of: A short story of 1,000–2,000 words; flash fiction up to 1,000 words.


Eligibility for entrants/entries

The Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Writing Contest is open to all writers. However, entries should not contain profanity, graphic sex, or any other distasteful or objectionable material. (Committee members will make this determination.) Those that do will be disqualified and the entry fee is nonrefundable. All entries must be original works of the author or authors.

No author who has published in a category may enter an unpublished piece in that same category.

(Example: Someone who has published a devotional may not submit an unpublished devotional. However, that author may submit an unpublished piece/book in any other category in which he or she has not published.)



Entry fees are nonrefundable.

OCW members pay $35 for a hard-copy published book entry and $30 for all other entries.

Nonmembers pay $45 to enter a hard-copy published book and $40 for shorter entries.

Entrants will be instructed to pay electronically whether submitting electronically or sending copies of an already published book.

Note: You may become a member at the time you submit your contest entry form in order to use the member rates.


Three entries in each category will be selected as finalists by the preliminary judges. The finalists will be notified and the list posted on the OCW website and other social media June 1. Then those entries will go to the finals judges who will determine a winner in each category.

Finalists who attend the OCW Summer Coaching Conference August 15–18 will have a ribbon on their nametags identifying them as finalists in the Cascade Awards, increasing their visibility with editors and agents attending the conference. Their names will also be listed in the conference notebook.

Winners will be revealed at the Cascade Awards, Wednesday evening at 7 p.m., August 17, during the OCW summer conference being held at the Red Lion on the River Hotel in Portland. Attendance at the Cascade Awards is not necessary to win, but those in attendance will be presented with an award certificate and be included in the 2016 Cascade Awards photo. Winners will receive an award certificate and a Cascade Awards pin. Certificates and awards will be mailed to those not present.


Deadline: All electronic entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, March 31. Mailed entries must be postmarked March 31 or earlier.

Authors may submit a maximum of three entries. Do not submit the same piece in different categories. If you submit more than one entry in the same genre (example: three devotionals), please complete a separate entry form and payment for each entry.

After we receive (1) the automatically generated notification that you entered the contest, (2) your payment, and (3) the actual entry, we will notify you that you are officially entered in the contest.

Entries will be accepted beginning at 12:01 a.m. on February 14, 2016. Entries submitted before then will be disqualified.

Contest ends at 11:59 p.m. on March 31, 2016.

All entries must be in English.

Authors retain all copyright to their work, but Cascade Award winners agree to let OCW publish a brief biography and their winning entry titles on the OCW website.

Published Books

Traditionally published, independently published, self-published, and E-books published for the first time in 2015 with a 2015 copyright date are eligible.

The only submissions that are to be mailed via USPS are hard-copy published books. Three copies of a book with a 2015 copyright date (the only eligible books) should be sent to Cascade Writing Contest, P.O. Box 719Pleasant Hill, OR 97455. Anything else sent to this mailing address will not be returned and will be deemed ineligible.

  • To enter, fill out the online entry form and submit payment electronically.
  • Mail three (3) copies of the published book for each entry (if the book is selected as a finalist, an additional two copies will be requested) to the OCW Contest USPS mailing address postmarked by March 31. Please provide a return address on the outside of the mailing package plus a note with entrant’s real name (not a pen name) and contact information INSIDE with books.

Published E-Book Entries

E-book entries are welcome, but only if the book is compatible with all eReaders and judges can access the book for review at no cost.

Electronic Submission Required for All Other Entries

All entries, except for hard copy published books, must be submitted electronically to cascade2016@oregonchristianwriters.org.

In the subject line of the submission email, list your last name and the category you are entering. For example: “Johnson Unpublished Fiction Book” or “Smith Published Poetry.”

Published Entries Other Than Books

Published short entries must have been published for the first time in 2015. Attach a pdf or jpg file of the scanned article, devotional, poem, etc. as published that includes the name of the publication, publication date, and the title of the piece. Please black out your name or any other identifying information before creating the pdf or jpg. Send to cascade@oregonchristianwriters.org after 12:01 a.m. February 14 but before midnight March 31.

Unpublished Entries

All entries in this category must be original and never have been published in any form, including on the Internet or in a newsletter. They also should not include artwork or illustrations.

Authors who have published previously in a genre cannot submit an unpublished work in that same genre.

Entries must be generated from a computer in 12-point type (Times or Times New Roman) and double-spaced with one-inch margins.

  • For books, include a one-page, single-spaced synopsis.
  • Indent each new paragraph. (Set the half-inch default instead of indenting five spaces.)
  • Use three asterisks for scene breaks in fiction entries.
  • Include the manuscript title (but not author’s name) and category at the top left and the page number at the top right of each page.
  • Be submitted electronically as a Word, jpg, or pdf file attached to an email by 11:59 p.m. March 31, 2016.

Do not:

  • Include your name on any page of the unpublished manuscript—only on the entry form and email subject line.
  • Exceed maximum page limits or word counts. (Check category descriptions for guidelines.)
  • Include any illustrations.

Unpublished Book Entries

An entry in the unpublished book category consists of a one-page synopsis (summary of the book) and the first 15 pages of the manuscript for the following categories:

  • Contemporary Fiction Book
  • Historical Fiction Book
  • Speculative Fiction Book
  • Nonfiction Book: Note: The nonfiction synopsis may be written in either paragraph form or chapter-by-chapter outline, depending on the type of book.
  • Memoir Book
  • Young Adult/Middle Grade Fiction Book
  • Children’s Chapter Book (ages 6–8) and Picture Book (ages 2–10+)                         
  • Fiction and Nonfiction: Entry consists of a one-page synopsis and the first 10 pages of the manuscript for Chapter Books. But for a Picture Book – submit the entire text of the book with no synopsis and without illustrations or artwork. The text of picture books is rarely more than a paragraph consisting of approximately three to five lines per page. Format your text in paragraphs with each paragraph representing a page. Leave four blank lines between paragraphs.

Further Information

OCW claims no responsibility for the outcome of this contest—acting simply as the coordinator for contest entries, sending the entries to the judges, and receiving and tabulating their score sheets.

All monies (after contest processing and awards costs) generated by the entry fees for this contest will go into the OCW summer conference fund.


OCW reserves the right to eliminate a category if it receives fewer than three entries in that category. If a category is canceled, anyone who has entered in that category will receive a full refund. (This is the only instance when an entry fee will be refunded.)


Finals judges are carefully selected from the Christian publishing industry. Preliminary judges include bookstore owners, writers, editors, teachers, librarians, pastors, and others interested in the written word. Judges will not know the names of the authors whose manuscripts are submitted electronically. They will, however, be aware of the author’s name of each published book they review.

Names of the judges will remain anonymous during the contest, but their background/qualifications may be noted on score sheets—e.g., published novelist, book editor, etc. The names of the judges will be listed in the conference notebook.

Score sheets will be returned to contest entrants to provide feedback and suggestions for improvement. Although judging is subjective, the decisions of the judges are final.


Please direct questions to the OCW Cascade Writing Contest and Awards co-chairs at cascade2016@oregonchristianwriters.org.




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