Contest FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions --
Writers-Editors Network Annual Writing Competition

Question: Is there any place in the contest for Q&A interviews - ranging from 2,000 to 4,000 words - with normal prose introductions of 200 to 500 words?

Answer: They would fall under the Nonfiction category. They probably would fight an uphill battle, though, because they would be competing against narrative articles, which generally evoke more conflict, contrast, pathos, humor, etc. Q&A's certainly can do more than simply ask and answer questions, but few do.

Question: How will I know my contest entries arrived safely?

Answer:  Because we do not hold checks until the end of the contest (as some contests do), your canceled check will let you know it arrived safely. If you access your bank records online, you should see that within one to three weeks of mailing it in. If you want to know even sooner, enclose a self-addressed, stamped (34 cents) postcard (an index card will do fine). It will be date-stamped and signed the day it arrives, then returned to you the next mail day. Please do not request a registered postal receipt. Several entrants do this every year. Not only does it cause us delay at the post office, but it costs you money unnecessarily. A postcard will suffice. Emailed contest entries receive verification via email reply.

Question: I am interested in entering the first chapter of a young adult book, but I'm wondering what ages you consider "children."  The term young adult is meant for readers who are ages 12-18, obviously, an older reader. Would you place YA as children or adult for your contest?

Answer: Books for teens fall into the Children's category. The 12-18 age group mentioned needs to be marked on the upper right corner of the entry since appropriateness to readers is a big factor in determining the winners.

Question:  Is there a category for picture books; and if so, could the target age range be for third - fifth grade?

Answer: There is no separate category for picture books, but such manuscripts are welcomed. However, this includes the text only, with no illustrations and, of course, no identification of the writer. The text will then be judged against the other manuscripts for children with the criteria being how well the entry meets the particular requirements of a picture book. For example, age-appropriate topics, ideas, and vocabulary are crucial. Also, each page of text (which usually consists of a mere sentence or two) must be something that can be easily pictured and illustrated. If not, the manuscript may be better suited for a short story or article for young children. Also, you mentioned third to fifth grade readers, but picture books usually work better for preschoolers through grades one or two. By the third to fifth grade, most children prefer "chapter books." Regardless of which manuscript you write, type the target age group and the category of story, article, or picture book on the first page of your manuscript. With a lively pace and an understanding of children, your picture book has as good of a chance as a novel chapter for teens.

Have a question that's not answered in the Guidelines or on this page? Send it along to We will try to answer it promptly, and if it is of general interest, will post it and the answer on this page. Your name will not be used; we are interested only in content.

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