Cascade Writing Contest & Awards
Frequently Asked Questions
The rules state children’s unpublished entries should not include art or illustrations.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Art and illustrations will not be accepted as part of the children’s unpublished entry. 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 To be fair to those who will be submitting only text, we ask that all children’s books in the unpublished category contain text alone.
For children’s unpublished, instructions say to submit the entire manuscript for birth to age six (without art or illustrations). Each page of my book has just four lines. Do I send, to you, 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 the text in block paragraph style, with each block representing a page. Leave 4 spaces between each block paragraph page.
Contest rules say to indent 5 spaces. Is this literally 5 spaces or the default .5″ setting of the first line spacing option of Word? I’d hate to be disqualified for this. Thanks.
The default .5″ setting of the first line of spacing option on Word is the preferred formatting. Thanks for your question, which will help us refine our contest rules.
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 For an unpublished novel, does the page limit reference only concern the synopsis and the 15 pages of manuscript?
An unpublished novel submission would contain sixteen pages: A single-spaced one-page synopsis and the first 15 pages (double-spaced).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In the one-page synopsis for the unpublished nonfiction/memoir, do you want a strict linear chapter-by-chapter summary?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. Some tips: 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 online is widely considered “previously published.” Anything you don’t wish to be considered published should be removed from your website.
If I have published a poem on my website, am I considered a “published writer”?
For the purposes of our contest, you would not be considered published because you have posted a poem on your website. However, if the poem you are entering in the contest has been published on your blog, that poem would be considered published since blogs by their definition are 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 April 30, 2013, 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?
E-books published in the previous year are welcome, but the entrant must send three printed copies of their book. If the book is chosen as a finalist, two more printed copies may 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?
You are not eligible to enter the “unpublished nonfiction” category because you have already published a book in that same category. You can enter the self-published book in the “published nonfiction” category as long as it was published in the previous year.
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.
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 if you will submit 14 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 April 30?
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 thecontest 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 may be sent electronically. It isn’t necessary to send the entire magazine or magazine cover.
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 Cascades Writing Contest. It’s fine to share that you’ve entered, but our goal is to keep the entries/entrants anonymous.