2018 Cascade Contest Submission Rules

2018 Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Writing Contest

Opens 12:01 a.m. (PST) February 14, 2018 and closes 11:59 p.m. (PDT) March 31, 2018

Honoring work published in 2017 and unpublished work in the following categories:

  • Contemporary Fiction Book
  • Historical Fiction Book
  • Speculative Fiction Book
  • Nonfiction Book
  • Memoir Book
  • Young Adult (ages 12–18+)/Middle Grade Book (ages 8–12), Fiction and Nonfiction
  • Children’s Chapter Book (ages 6–8) and Children’s Picture Book (ages 2–10+), Fiction and Nonfiction
  • Poetry: An entry consists of a single poem up to 1,000 words.
  • Devotional: An entry consists of one devotional up to 250 words, including the quoted Scripture.
  • Article, Column, or Blog Post: An entry consists of the article, column, or blog post, up to 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 or 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. Those that do not meet these requirements, as determined by committee members, will be disqualified, and the entry fee is nonrefundable. All entries must be original works of the author(s).

No author who has published in a category may enter an unpublished piece in that same category.

(Example: Someone who has published a devotional may not submit an unpublished devotional. However, that author may submit an unpublished piece/book in any other category in which he or she has not been published.)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


Six entries in each category (three published and three unpublished) will be selected as finalists by the preliminary judges.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 on June 1. Those entries will then go to the finals’ judges, who will determine winners in each category (one for published and one for unpublished).

Finalists who attend the OCW Summer Coaching Conference August 20–23, 2018, will have a ribbon on their nametag identifying them as a finalist in the Cascade Writing Contest, increasing their visibility with editors and agents attending the conference. Their names will also be listed in the conference notebook and awards program.

Winners will be revealed at the Cascade Awards ceremony Wednesday evening at 7 p.m., August 22, during the OCW summer conference 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 a Cascade Awards pin and be included in the 2018 Cascade Awards photo. Certificates and awards will be mailed to those not present.


Entries will be accepted beginning at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, February 14, 2018. Entries submitted before then will be disqualified.

Deadline: All electronic entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time March 31, 2018. Mailed entries must be postmarked by March 31.

Authors may submit a maximum of three entries. Do not submit the same piece in different categories, and you may submit up to three entries in a category.

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.

Contest ends at 11:59 p.m. on March 31, 2018.

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 2017 with a 2017 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 2017 copyright date (the only eligible books) should be sent to the PO Box number that will be posted by February 13. Anything else sent to this mailing address will not be returned and will be deemed ineligible. Entries mailed to the main OCW address in Keizer, Oregon, will also be disqualified.

  • 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 OCW Contest address. 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 EMAIL contact information INSIDE with the books.

Published E-Book Entries

Printed books remain the preference of most judges, but if a book is published only in e-book format, we will attempt to accommodate the submission. The book must be compatible with all e-readers, and judges must be able to 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 cascade@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 2017. 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. PST February 14 but before midnight PDT March 31, 2018.

Unpublished Short 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 category cannot submit an unpublished work in that same category. During the online entry process, entrants will be required to note their compliance with this.

Entries must be generated from a computer in 12-point font (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 or tabbing.)
  • 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.
  • Submit electronically as a Word, jpg, or pdf file attached to an email by 11:59 p.m. March 31, 2018.

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 (single-spaced 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 one-page synopsis may be written in either paragraph form or chapter-by-chapter outline, depending on the type of book.
  • Memoir Book
  • Young Adult (ages 12–18+)/Middle Grade Book (ages 8–12), Fiction and Nonfiction
  • Children’s Chapter Book (ages 6–8) and Children’s Picture Book (ages 2–10+), Fiction and Nonfiction Note: A Chapter Book entry consists of a one-page single-spaced synopsis and the first 10 pages of the manuscript. For Picture Books, 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 per page, 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. Scoring elements are available for review at http://oregonchristianwriters.org/2018-cascade-awards-scoring-elements/.


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