2017 Cascade Contest FAQs
Cascade Writing Contest & Awards
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: The rules state children’s unpublished picture book entries should not include art or illustrations. Since art is such an important part of a children’s picture book, and I am an artist, can I submit my artwork?
Art and illustrations will not be accepted as part of the children’s unpublished entry (or any unpublished entry). While there are notable exceptions of writer/illustrator, most publishers choose their own illustrators. To be fair to those who will be submitting only text, all children’s books in the unpublished category must contain only text.
Q: For children’s unpublished picture book (age 2–10+), instructions say to submit the entire manuscript (without art or illustrations). Each page of my picture book has just four lines. Do I send a separate page for each page of my book?
The text of picture books is rarely more than a paragraph consisting of approximately three to five lines per page. Format your text in block paragraph style, with each block representing a page. Leave four blank lines between each block paragraph.
Q: In the Do Not section of the contest rules, there is a caution not to exceed page limits or word counts. For an unpublished novel, does the page limit include the synopsis?
An unpublished novel submission would contain 16 pages: a single-spaced one-page synopsis and the first 15 pages (double-spaced).
Q: In the one-page synopsis for the unpublished nonfiction book, do you want a strict linear chapter-by-chapter summary? Or, would it be best to write an overview that captures the heart of the book and its main ideas?
A synopsis provides an overview of the book with highlights to capture the editor/agent/judge’s attention. A synopsis for a nonfiction book may be written in either paragraph form or chapter-by-chapter outline, depending on the type of book. Memoir is more like fiction and the following tips apply: Include only major characters and major plot points that move your story along. You must tell the ending. Use an active voice.
Q: I have published portions of my manuscript on my blog and website. Would this make my entry ineligible for “unpublished” categories?
Yes, anything that has been posted as a blog or on a website is widely considered “previously published.”
Q: If I have published a poem on my website, am I considered a “published writer” in the poetry genre and thus unable to submit an unpublished poem?
Yes, if you have published anything on a blog or your website, you are considered “published” in that category (poetry included), so you may not enter an unpublished work in the same category in the contest. But you are free to submit an unpublished work in another genre.
Q: I would like to enter my unpublished book in the contest, but I am about to sign a contract with a publisher. Will I have to withdraw from the contest if I sign?
Any author contracted before March 31, 2017, for the piece they entered in the contest would have to withdraw that entry. After March 31, if an entrant signs a contract with a publisher for a manuscript entered in the contest, the manuscript may remain in the contest.
Q: If I have published short stories, am I still eligible to enter a work in the unpublished novel category?
Yes, you may submit your novel in the unpublished category if you have not previously published in that particular category.
Q: I’ve published a novel/short story/poem, but I have another novel/short story/poem that is unpublished. Can I enter my unpublished novel/short story/poem in the unpublished contest?
No, for the purposes of this contest, “Published” and “Unpublished” refer to the writer, not the piece. If you have published in a particular genre, you are considered published in that genre and cannot enter an unpublished work in that category of the contest. The same rule applies to all genres. If you have published a poem, you are considered a published poet and cannot enter a poem in the unpublished poetry category. However, you may submit unpublished works in another unpublished category (if you have not published in that genre). You may also enter anything in any published category that has an original 2016 copyright date on it or was published for the first time in 2016.
However, while an author who has published a contemporary fiction book may not enter the unpublished contemporary category, he/she may submit an entry in the unpublished historical fiction category, memoir, or other categories.
Q: I am confused on your contest divisions. The way I read them is: published means that the book is already in print; unpublished means that the author has never been published in that genre. I have a self-published book and would like to enter a different book of the same genre that has not been published. Is that possible? Or am I considered published and unable to enter the unpublished book?
“Published” and “Unpublished” refer to the author in a particular genre and not a specific book, article, etc. If you have self-published a book in any genre, you are considered “published” in that genre and may not enter an unpublished book in the same category. However, you can enter the self-published book in the “published book” category as long as it has a 2016 copyright date. The same rules apply to all genres. If you have published a poem, you are considered a published poet and cannot enter a poem in the unpublished poetry category.
Q: Do I have to attend the conference to win?
Contestants need not attend the summer conference to win.
Q: Can I submit two different works in the same category?
Yes, you can enter two works in the same category. The exception would be that you may not submit an unpublished work in the same genre as a published work.
Q: Can I submit the same work in two different categories?
No. An entry can be submitted in only one category.
Q: Do I include a title page or just begin the story double-spaced after the heading?
You do not need a title page, only a single-spaced one-page synopsis for an unpublished book entry. If it’s an article or story that has been published, it must be noted where and when it was published and the headline/title. If it has not been published, please indicate what it is—story, devotional, column—and list a title.
Q: Do I need to double-space Scripture, or can I just indent with single spacing?
Yes, you do. Scripture that is within a sentence is kept within the paragraph and set off with quotation marks. Following the Chicago Manual of Style, if you are quoting several lines of Scripture, you should indent it but maintain the double spacing.
Q: For one of my entries, a chapter ends on page 14. Should I add the first page of the next chapter to make it an even 15 pages?
The maximum page count is 15, but the choice is yours whether to submit 14 pages or continue on to the first page of the next chapter. You will not be penalized for submitting only 14 pages.
Q: Can I submit these entries in the contest and then submit them to editors for their review?
Yes, by all means. You are free to submit your unpublished entry to the contest and also send it to an editor for consideration. In fact, you may send unpublished entries that you have already sent to an editor for possible publication. If you register for the summer conference, you may also submit your contest entry to be evaluated in the manuscript submission program, which will give you feedback and perhaps lead to a meeting with an editor at the conference.
Q: One of the submission rules says to submit electronically attached to an email. What email address should I use?
Please direct all unpublished submissions to cascade2017@
Q: Does payment also need to be made by March 31?
Yes. We must have three (3) things from you before you are officially entered in the contest:
- The submission itself (electronic by 11:59 pm PDT March 31 and published books postmarked by that time)
- The entry form (submitted electronically by 11:59 pm PDT March 31)
- Payment by 11:59 pm PDT March 31 (if you cannot pay electronically, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for an alternate method of payment)
Q: Do I have to submit each entry form separately with its own payment?
You may combine payment for multiple entries, but each entry requires a separate entry form.
Q: I have a self-published book I would like to enter in the contest with a slightly different opening. Is that possible? As I understand the rules, I could enter the contest electronically. Would I need to change the name of the book, since I edited a few changes?
If the book has already been published, you may not submit it with any alteration as an “unpublished” entry. You must submit your published book exactly as it was originally published, and it must have been published in 2016. Only unpublished books (not published books with alterations) can be submitted electronically. A published book must be submitted in hard copy as a bound book. The only exception to this rule is if your book was published only as an e-book; then you may submit it electronically (see Contest Rules for how to submit an e-book).
Q: I am an unpublished author who would like to enter a novel in the unpublished fiction category. I intend to use a nom de plume when the book is published. In this case, should I enter the contest under my name or under the nom de plume?
Enter the contest using your real name and then note your pen name in the space provided on the entry form.
Q: For a published article, would you like three magazines in their entirety submitted?
A single copy of only the article itself in pdf or jpg format is to be sent electronically. Do not send the entire magazine or magazine cover. Please black out your name or any other information that may identify you before creating the pdf or jpg. Please do not black out the name of the publication or the date your piece was published, which probably appear somewhere on the printed page.
Q: How should published books be submitted?
Mail three (3) copies of your hard-copy book to the mailing address given in the Contest Rules. Nothing is to be sent to this mailing address other than three copies of a published book. ONLY published books. Please provide your name (the name you use in the contest) in the return address affixed to the outside of the mailing package.
Q: For an unpublished book, you state that the writer should never have published in that genre online or in print. So, a children’s middle-grade nonfiction book is a different genre than a children’s nonfiction article, correct? Being published in magazines would not disqualify me from submitting a book entry?
Being published in magazines would not disqualify you from submitting a book entry in the unpublished category. Your published children’s article and your unpublished middle grade nonfiction book are considered different genres, so you may enter your book.
Q: If a submission has been edited or acquired by one of the judges, does that disqualify its entry?
No, your entry will not be disqualified. If an entry has been edited or acquired by one of the judges, we will find another judge to review that entry. Unpublished entries will be submitted blind to keep the identity of the author unknown. If a judge recognizes an unpublished entry because he/she has seen it before in a critique group or has edited the piece for possible publication, the judge will notify contest coordinators who will give your entry to a different judge.
Q: Children’s narrative nonfiction goes in the nonfiction category, even when written as a novel . . . correct?
Narrative nonfiction belongs in the nonfiction category.
Q: Can I talk about my entry on my website, Facebook, or Twitter?
Before, during, and through the conclusion of the contest, PLEASE feel free to mention the Cascade Writing Contest and Awards. But be careful not to mention the title of your unpublished manuscript until the finalists are announced. And if you’re a finalist, don’t mention your title until after the Awards (unless it’s a published work). It’s fine to share that you’ve entered the contest, but our goal is to keep the entries/entrants anonymous.
Please direct questions to the OCW Cascade Writing Contest and Awards co-chairs