The 31st Annual Writing Contest is Open!

The Rules

All of these might seem intimidating, but they are standard rules for most writing contests. Please review them carefully. Noncomplying entries will have to be disqualified without refund.

  • Plots, characters and worlds must be original to the writer unless characters are real people.
  • Winning entries from prior SAWG contests are not eligible. Prior non-winners are welcome.
  • Entries previously published or self-published in any medium except for brief samples on authors’ social media or web sites are not eligible.
  • Entries accepted for publication elsewhere before the contest closes must be withdrawn.
  • Entries that do not conform to all submission requirements will be disqualified.
  • Entry fees are not refundable.
  • Unlike other contests, entrants retain all rights. SAWG publishes only an author’s name and the work’s title. A piece that wins does not count as being published.
  • The Guild will retain a copy of each winning entry in case a claim of plagiarism be levied.
  • Submissions will be accepted September through January, with discounted entry fees until mid-December

The Categories

  • Book-length fiction
  • Short story
  • Nonfiction/Memoir (either length)
  • Poetry

The Format Requirements

  •  Book-length: 500-word-maximum synopsis followed by the first 5,000 words starting on a fresh page.
  •  Short: maximum 12,000 words.
  •  Poetry: no size limits.
  •  File type must be .doc, .docx or .pdf.
  •  Font must be Times New Roman 12-point or Courier 12-point.
  •  Author’s name or identifying information must not appear anywhere on the submission.
  •  All text must be double-spaced and must have one-inch margins all around.
  •  Pages must be numbered in the footer section of the page.
  •  Entry category and title must appear as a header on every page, including the first page.
  • Nonfiction must include appropriate sourcing: footnotes, references, etc.

The Entry Fees

9/1/23 through 12/15/23

Book-length fiction, short story or nonfiction/memoir (either length) $25 per entry, poetry $20 per entry

12/16/23 through 3/31/24

Book-length fiction, short story or nonfiction/memoir (either length) $30 per entry, poetry $25 per entry

The Prizes

Every prize includes one year’s SAWG membership, a link to the writer’s web site on SAWG’s web pages, a monetary prize, and a virtual ‘winner’ sticker to display as s/he wants to.

A writer may receive only one prize per category.

The Number of Entries

A writer may submit two entries per category, eight total entries per person.

How The Judging is Done

There are two rounds of blind judging.

  • The first round is done by screened, selected and trained SAWG volunteers.
  • Each entry will be assessed by at least three judges who are familiar with that genre.
  • Volunteer judges will have no contest entries in the genres they judge.
  • Five entries in each category with the highest initial scores will advance to the final round.
  • The final judges are successful professional writers or university-level writing instructors who specialize in the entries’ genres. None are SAWG members.
  • Winners will be notified by email, announced at the SAWG meeting following the final judging, and invited to read at a meeting. Their names and websites will be posted on the SAWG website and Facebook page.
  • All contestants may, if they wish, receive all score sheets for their work, including judges’ comments and advice, via email after the winners are announced.
  • All finalists may correspond with their final judges if they wish to.

Submitting and Paying

Send your entry to [email protected] as a doc, docx or pdf attachment to an email on or after September 1, 2023. Pay your submission fee through PayPal to [email protected] .