General Guidelines
Welcome to Winning Writers, established in 2001. We are one of the "101 Best Websites for Writers" (Writer's Digest, 2015-2016) and one of the "100 Best Websites for Writers" (The Write Life, 2016).

Writers of all ages and nations may enter. The works you submit should be in English. You may submit simultaneously to our contests and to other contests. Please do not submit work that has previously received recognition at Winning Writers.

Your privacy is assured. We will not rent your information to third parties.

Submit one humor poem, up to 250 lines. First prize of $1,000 and second prize of $250. Ten Honorable Mentions will receive $100 each. The top 12 entries will be published online. There is no fee to enter. Judge: Jendi Reiter, assisted by Lauren Singer.

In addition to English, your poem may contain inspired gibberish. You may submit published or unpublished work. Please omit your name from your entries. We prefer 12-point type or larger. Please avoid fancy, hard-to-read fonts.

Please submit only one poem to this contest.
$20.00
Submit stories and essays on any theme, up to 6,000 words each. The winning story and essay will each receive $2,000. Ten Honorable Mentions will receive $100 each. The top 12 entries will be published online. Judge: Dennis Norris II, assisted by Lauren Singer.

For this contest, a story is any short work of fiction, and an essay is any short work of nonfiction. You may submit published or unpublished work. This contest accepts multiple entries (submit them one at a time). Please omit your name from your entries. We prefer 12-point type or larger. Please avoid fancy, hard-to-read fonts. Double-spacing is recommended.
$60.00
Submit self-published books in the following categories, up to 150,000 words in length:
  • Mainstream/Literary Fiction
  • Genre Fiction
  • Creative Nonfiction & Memoir
  • Poetry
  • Children's Picture Book

PRIZES

  • One grand prize winner will receive $3,000, a marketing analysis and one-hour phone consultation with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, a $300 credit at BookBaby, and 3 free ads in the Winning Writers newsletter (a $450 value)
  • The top winner in each category will receive $1,000, a marketing analysis and one-hour phone consultation with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, a $300 credit at BookBaby, and one free ad in the Winning Writers newsletter (a $150 value)
  • One honorable mention in each category will receive $250
  • We will publish online excerpts (1,000-6,000 words) from all entries that win a prize, along with critiques from the judges
Judges: Jendi Reiter and Ellen LaFleche, assisted by Lauren Singer and Annie Keithline.

All contestants will receive a copy of The Frugal Book Promoter by Carolyn Howard-Johnson (PDF), and free guides to successful publishing from BookBaby.

Any year of publication is acceptable. You may submit a collection of short stories or essays as a single entry. You may submit multiple books (one at a time). For multi-author books, please email Winning Writers to determine eligibility. All themes are welcome except works portraying pedophilia, bestiality, necrophilia, and/or snuff as acceptable sexual practices.

For the purpose of this contest, a self-published book is one where the decision to publish the book was the author's alone, the transaction involved the author paying any upfront costs for services, and the book is currently available for viewing and/or purchase. This includes books created through e-publishers (e.g. BookBaby, Smashwords, CreateSpace), book printers, and vanity presses.