Writing Contests for Unpublished Novels

There are many contests designed for novels that have not yet been published. Entering your work in writing competitions can be a great way to earn recognition and potentially receive some prize money.

PEN/Bellwether Prize

The PEN/Bellwether Prize is a competition that rewards high-caliber, socially engaged literature that has been previously unpublished. There are some impressive rewards available for the winner, including a $25, 000 cash reward and publishing through Algonquin Books.

3 Day Novel Contest

The 3 Day Novel Contest is of the longest running writing contests for unpublished novels. It began in 1977 and is held every Labor Day weekend. It's one of the most unique writing competitions, as participants are required to write the entire novel they are entering during the three-day weekend.

The competition's organizers are based in Vancouver, but writers from all over the world participate in the annual event. If you'd like to be notified when registration opens for the next contest, see 3DayNovel.com. Many published novels began as entries to the 3 Day Writing Contest.

A Woman's Write

A Woman's Write sponsors a "Good Read" competition where you can submit the first 75 pages of your unpublished novel for editing and a professional critique. The contest is open to fiction only and stories with a female point of view are preferred. There is a cash prize of $500 awarded to one winner, but the chance to receive feedback on your work is the primary reward for the contest.

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A ten-year-old from Harpenden has won a prize in a national contest designed to find the best young writers. Susanna Tredinnick said she had to pinch herself when she was announced winner at the Wicked Young Writers' Award held in London.

Q&A

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What literary contests exist for unpublished first novels in English? - Quora

there's the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest, for one:

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What's the estimated number of unpublished Americans who are currently writing a novel or...?

...have one in the drawer?
I've often wondered about it...
It is said that writing a bestseller is the hidden dream of most Americans (and everyone else, for that matter) and publishers are constantly submerged by thousands of unsolicited manuscripts from would-be Dan Browns or JK Rowlings. It is also said that each one of us has at least one such manuscript hidden in the depths of their drawers.
But what are the numbers? I think they are scary...

You and a million others - when I told him how much better my book was than the stuff on the market.