Cascade Writing Contest & Awards
Frequently Asked Questions
The rules state children’s unpublished picture book entries should not include art or illustrations.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Art and illustrations will not be accepted as part of the children’s unpublished entry (or any unpublished entry).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 To be fair to those who will be submitting only text, we ask that all children’s books in the unpublished category contain text alone.
For children’s unpublished picture book (age 2–10+), instructions say to submit the entire manuscript (without art or illustrations).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?
Picture books’ text per page is rarely more than a paragraph consisting of approximately three to five lines. Format your text in block paragraph style, with each block representing a page. Leave four blank lines between each block paragraph.
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 For an unpublished novel, does the page limit reference only concern the synopsis and the 15 pages of manuscript?
An unpublished novel submission would contain 16 pages: a single-spaced one-page synopsis and the first 15 pages (double-spaced). The entry form is not counted as a page.
In the one-page synopsis for the unpublished nonfiction book, do you want a strict linear chapter-by-chapter summary?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 usually calls for a chapter-by-chapter summary. Memoir is more like fiction and the following tips apply:
Include only major plots points that move your story along, and only major characters. You must tell the ending. Use an active voice.
The synopsis is the same thing you would provide when you submit a manuscript for review by an editor or agent at the OCW summer conference. The directions for those manuscript submissions are here:
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 Would this make my entry ineligible for “unpublished” categories?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.”
If I have published a poem on my website, am I considered a “published writer”?
Yes, if the poem you are entering in the contest has been published on your website, that poem would be considered published.
I would like to enter my unpublished book in the contest, but I am about to sign with an agent. Will I have to withdraw from the contest if I sign with a publisher this year
Any author contracted for publication before March 31, 2014, would have to withdraw his/her entry. After that date, if an entrant signs a contract on a manuscript entered in the contest, the manuscript may remain in the contest.
If I have published short stories, am I still eligible to enter the unpublished novel category?
Yes, you may submit your novel in the unpublished category if you have not previously published in that particular category. Our rules state that contestants can’t have been published in the category they are entering.
Do you accept e-books in the contest? If so, do you need printed copies, or may I email you the novel from one of the online retailers?
Yes, books published for the first time during 2013 are welcome and must be submitted in one of the following ways:
1) A Kindle, ePub, and .doc version to make sure that any judge can read it on their e-reader or computer, OR
2) Three paper copies (if the book is chosen as a finalist, two more copies will be required).
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?
If you have self-published a book in any genre, you may not enter an unpublished book in that category. However, you can enter the self-published book in the “published book” category as long as it was published during 2013.
Do I have to attend the conference to win?
Contestants need not attend the summer conference to win.
Can I submit two different works in the same category?
Yes, you can enter two works in the same category. The exception would be you may not submit an unpublished work in the same genre as a published work.
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 unpublished book entries. If it’s an article or story, it should be indicated where and when it was published (if it was published) and the headline/title. If it wasn’t published, please indicate what it is—story, devotional, column—and list a title.
Do I need to double space scripture, or can I just indent w/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.
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 onto the first page of the next chapter. You will not be penalized for submitting only 14 pages.
Can I submit these entries in the contest and then submit them to editors for their review?
Yes, by all means. The judging will be completed before the summer conference, so please feel free to submit to the editors for review.
One of the submission rules says to submit electronically attached to the email. What email should I use?
Please direct the submissions to email@example.com
Does payment also need to be made by March 31?
Yes. The entry will not be forwarded to judges until the payment (by check or PayPal) is received.
Do I have to mail each entry form separately with its own check or can I mail them together?
You can mail them together with one check covering the entire cost.
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?
You must submit your published book exactly as it was originally published. Only unpublished books can be submitted electronically. Published books must be submitted in printed form.
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?
On the entry form, you have the option to enter your name and pen name if you choose to use one. Enter the contest with your real name and then use your pen name in the space provided (the second line in the entry form).
For a published article, would you like three magazines in their entirety submitted?
A single copy of the original published article must be sent electronically. Do not send the entire magazine or magazine cover. Nothing is to be sent to the mailing address except checks and 3 copies of a published book.
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?
Your published children’s article and your unpublished middle grade nonfiction book are considered different genres, so you may enter your unpublished book.
If a submission has been edited or acquired by one of the judges, does that disqualify its entry?
Of course, with published books/articles the judge will know the identity of the author but unpublished entries will be submitted blind to keep the identity of the author unknown. If a judge recognizes an unpublished manuscript, the judge would recuse himself and the entry would be given to a different judge.
Children’s narrative nonfiction goes in the nonfiction category, even when written as a novel . . . correct?
Narrative nonfiction belongs in the nonfiction category.
Can I talk about my entry on my website, Facebook, and Twitter?
Before, during, and through the conclusion of the contest, PLEASE be careful not to mention the title of your unpublished manuscript online in a blog post, Facebook status, or Tweet that mentions you entered the Cascade Writing Contest. It’s fine to share that you’ve entered, but our goal is to keep the entries/entrants anonymous.