Houston Writers Guild Fall Contest

Open for submissions July 1 – September 1, 2014 

Contest is open to all writers (regardless of publishing status) with original, unpublished work. First place in each category wins $75. Winners will be announced at the 2014 Houston Writers Guild Winter Conference. Everyone will receive score sheets with feedback via email after the winners are announced.

Contest Categories




Romance/Women’s Fiction



Short Story



HWG reserves the right to cancel a category if an insufficient number of entries are received.



Manuscript entry fee: $25 HWG members/$35 non-members (US funds paid through PayPal or by check to HWG, POB 31160, Houston, TX 77231.)

Multiple entries: $15 for subsequent entry. Please note that each manuscript can only be entered once. Additional entries must be from different manuscripts. More than one entry can be entered in the same category or in different categories.

Select from below:

Poetry Entry Fee: $15 HWG members/$25 non-members (US funds paid through PayPal or by check to HWG, POB 31160, Houston, TX 77231.)

Multiple poetry entries: $10 for subsequent entry.

Select from below:


  • Manuscript Entries: the first 3000 words of your original, unpublished work saved as a DOC file. A synopsis or proposal (up to 500 words) should be included at the beginning of the document. The synopsis/proposal will be judged. The entire submission cannot exceed 3500 words.
  • Poetry Submissions: One poem up to three pages in length or a collection of four haiku per submission.
  • One-inch margins, double spaced, font: Times New Roman 12.
  • Header: category, title and page number.
  • File name should be in the following format: GENRE_TITLE (ex: YA_THE FAULT IN OUR STARS)
  • Author’s name must NOT appear anywhere on pages submitted.
  • Failure to follow the contest rules and formatting guidelines will result in disqualification and forfeiture of entry fee.

How to enter

Email your entry to: HWGContest at gmail dot com

In the body of your email, include: author name, title, amount paid and method of payment.

Deadline to enter is September 1, 2014 at midnight CST.

Questions about the contest? Email HWGContest at gmail dot com


2014 HWG Annual Genre MS Contest Winners (below)–Congratulations!


First-place winners will receive a certificate and check via mail as well as an opportunity for a 10-minute phone consult with the judge, if they weren’t at the conference to claim their prize.

1. TIE

Crash Landing: Sharon Morse

Knockdown: Brenda Beem
2. Halfling: Jacqueline Lipton
3. The Campus Turf Wars: Shelley Daly

1. The Indian Half: Alexandra Chasse
2. American Freefall: Sharon Dotson
3. The Oys and Joys: Marcia Feldt Bates

1. Takeover: Millie Naylor Hast
2. Without Issue: P.M. Dietrich
3. The Memory Box: Eva Natiello

Romance/Women’s Fiction
1. Too Hot to Handle: Heather Young
2. A Lie in a Cafe: Rachel Gillett
3. The Life and Crimes of Blue Sheffield: T.L. Sherwood

1. Lisette: John Schwabenland
2. Once a Pirate: Vidya Gopolakrishna
3. Evil’s Unlikely Assassin: Jennifer Windrow

1. Running in Heels: Mary Ann McNulty
2. Between the Knife and the Sock: Inder Sandhu
3. Crossing to the Heart: Chandi Wyant


Fall 2014 Contest Details Coming Soon:

Short Stories, Poetry, and Indie Writer Novels!

Spring 2014 Contest Now Closed.


Claim your share of the prizes and all the bragging rights.



Romance/Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction

Contemporary/Mainstream/Literary Fiction


Young Adult/New Adult/Middle Grade/Children’s (not picture)


See below for January 2014 Cover Contest from Houston Bay Area RWA Chapter too!

Entry fee:

Members $20 for 1st entry and $15 for all others

Nonmembers $25 for 1st entry and $20 for all others

General rules:

1. Previous winners may enter with a different manuscript.

2. You do not have to pay/attend the workshop in order to enter the contest. Membership is not required to attend workshop or enter contests.

3. YOU MAY SEND MORE THAN ONE ENTRY, even in the same category.

4. All entries must be in English.

5. All entries must be from unpublished writers who are not under contract to any publisher anywhere and/or did not receive royalties for a published book in the last five years. Published short story writers may enter new, unpublished novel or screenplay manuscripts. All entries must be unpublished. All entries must be the work of the submitter.

6. Send the first 15 pages only. Leave your name off the MS. Put your Title/Category in a header. All entries must be double-spaced in Times New Roman or Courier 12-point font.  Margins should be at least 1 inch.  Pages must be numbered. Chapter should start 1/3 of the way down the page.

7. Your name should only appear on the cover page. One cover page is sufficient if you detail all your entries on it. Cover pages do not count toward manuscript page totals.

8. Novels require a brief synopsis, no more that one page single-spaced. The synopsis will be judged. It does not count toward your manuscript page total. The title counts as part of the scoring, too.

9. Failure to follow directions costs you points.

10. Entries are due by midnight March 1, 2014.

11. Prizes: $75 for 1st in genre plus a certificate and a 10-minute meeting with the editor who judged your entry. Certificates awarded for 2nd and 3rd place in genre.

12. Pay for your entries here, or mail a check to Houston Writers Guild, P.O.B. 31160, Houston, TX 77231.

Don’t forget to fill out and return your CONTEST FORMS. You may select this option for as many entries as you wish.

Members $20 for 1st entry and $15 for all others

Nonmembers $25 for 1st entry and $20 for all others

13. Download and return this Contest Form, your pages, your synopses, and your cover sheet for your entries to HoustonWritersGuild@hotmail.com.

14. Winners will be announced at the 2014 Annual Conference and posted to this website.

15. Scored manuscripts can be picked up at the 2014 Annual Conference or returned via SASE.

16.  Each category must have five entries for a cash prize to be awarded. Winners in these categories will receive a certificate and meeting with the editor who judged their entry. Entry fees will not be returned.