Monday, May 4, 2020

First Page Novel Contest - ACFW-SC Chapter

First Page Novel Contest ACFW-SC Chapter

First Page Novel Contest Guidelines and Judging Criteria 


Any author (chapter member or non-member) whose work has not been previously published in fiction (in ANY print or online form) is eligible, with no limit to the number of entries that may be submitted, however, a manuscript may not be entered into multiple categories. The manuscript should not contain profanity, graphic sex, or other objectionable material and must otherwise conform to generally accepted standards of the CBA (Christian Booksellers Assoc.) as determined by ACFW. Judges may request submissions not meeting this requirement be disqualified.


  • The contest will begin on May 8, 2020. 
  • The deadline for entries is June 1, 2020, 8 PM EST 
  • All entries will receive a confirmation e-mail indicating receipt of the entry. If an entrant does not receive an emailed confirmation, please e-mail the contest coordinator, Tracy Fredrychowski, 
  • Entry Fee for current ACFW-SC members and Low Country-SC members is $15 per entry. For non-members, it is $20  per entry. Fee must be paid before sending the entry(s). 

  • You may pay the fee through PayPal. (See Paypal links below.) This is our chapter preferred way. 
  • You may also mail a check (do not mail cash), made out to ACFW-SC Chapter 
  • Mail to Tracy Fredrychowski, 5323 Ninety Six Highway, Ninety Six, SC 29666

MEMBER FEE - $15.00



Submit the first page of your novel or novella manuscript. Indicate in your email what genre your novel manuscript targets. (General Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance, Romantic Suspense, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Women’s Fiction, Speculative, New Adult, Young Adult)


  • Manuscripts may only be submitted by email as an attachment. 
  • We will only accept a .doc or .docx format. No other formats are admissible. 
  • Email submissions with “ACFW-SC First Page Novel Contest” in the subject line to: Tracy Fredrychowski, 
  • Do NOT place your name, pseudonym, or any other personal identifiers anywhere on the manuscript. Also, be mindful of not posting to your online profiles the name or other identifiers of your contest-entered manuscript(s) since judging is to be anonymous. 
  • ONLY in your email, include your full name, the title of your entry, target genre, email address, and phone for the contest coordinator (Tracy Fredrychowski) to note. Required Submission 

FORMAT: (not just suggestions)

  • Use 12 point font, double-spaced, with one-inch margins. 
  • The contest requires the use of Times New Roman or Courier New. 
  • Include a header on each manuscript with the title, genre, entire manuscript word count (or estimate if ms not finished) and page numbers. 
  • NO entrant's name or pseudonym should be in the header. 
  • Start your first page one double-space down the page from the header. (Not the usual extra spaces) 
  • Send the first page of your manuscript. Prologue first pages are acceptable. DO NOT send more than one page of your manuscript. Important Note: Entries not fulfilling the above specifications will be disqualified. Entry fees will not be refunded. 


The contest will be judged by an anonymous Acquisitions Editor who has years of experience in writing, editing and judging. See below for the Judging Criteria.

  • First Place Prize: $50 
  • Second Place Prize: $30 
  • Third Place Prize: $20 
  • An Honorable Mention Certificate may also be awarded at the judge’s discretion 
  • The judge will also give each entrant a short note about the strength and/or weakness of their first page. 
  • The winners will be announced and prizes awarded at the June 27, 2020, ACFW-SC Meeting. Absentee winners will have their awards mailed. 
May the Lord bless you as you hone your craft and prepare for this contest is our prayer.

Tracy Fredrychowski, Contest ChairmanElva Cobb Martin, President ACFW-SC

First Page Novel Contest Judging Criteria 

Entrants in the First Page Contest will be judged on:

  1. HOOK: Presenting a compelling first sentence, first paragraph and first scene that will make the reader want to keep reading. 
  2. CHARACTERIZATION: Introducing a believable main character with whom the reader can empathize. Is he/she someone the reader will care enough about to want to follow through to the end of the story? 
  3. SETTING: Creating a sense of time and place for the story. Does the reader know from the outset where the story is taking place and in what era? 
  4. CONFLICT: Though it takes some time to fully introduce the plot and its conflicts, does the reader in the first page at least have a sense as to what will be the overarching problems faced by the main character? Does the plot promise to be gripping rather than predictable? 
  5. VOICE: Has the author begun to develop his/her own voice in the use of diction, sentence structure and word choice?