Annual Writing Contest

SAWG’s 31st writing contest is not open yet. At present, there is no proposed opening date.

In the meantime, draft, proof, draft, proof, and fine-tune your best, keeping in mind the entry rules below: noncomplying entries must be disqualified without refund.

The Basic Rules

  • 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 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  • Entries accepted for publication elsewhere before the contest closes must be withdrawn.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 is levied.

The Categories

Book-Length Fiction

Short Story

Nonfiction/Memoir (either length)


The Submission Requirements

  •  Book-length: 500-word-maximum synopsis followed by first 5,000 words starting on a fresh page.
  •  Short: maximum length 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 document.
  •  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 of each page, including the first page.

The Entry Fees

Poems $10 per entry

All other genres $20 per entry

When paying entry fees, SAWG members may discount theirs by 25%.

The Prizes

In each category:

  • First place $100
  • Second place $50
  • Third place $25

Every prize includes one year’s SAWG membership ($35 value), link to the writer’s web site on SAWG’s Facebook and web pages, 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.

The Judging

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


When the contest opens, you will be able to send your entry to [email protected] as a doc, docx or pdf attachment to an email, and pay your submission fee through PayPal to [email protected] .