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FictionFive Contest for Unpublished Manuscripts!

October 2021 Contest ***NEW FEATURES***

Submit the first 2,000 words of your unpublished manuscript in 5 fiction categories. (The Fantasy, Literary Fiction & Romance categories SOLD OUT).
  • ALL participants get high-level feedback from 3 Pro-Critiquers on CritiqueMatch (~$80 value).

  • The top entry in each category wins a 100-page high level critique by an editor (~$300 value).

  • The top 3 entries in each category receive feedback from one agent, who may elect to request more pages from you (50% of the previous contest finalists received requests from agents!)

Fee: $39

***Only the first 100 entries per category will be accepted!***

- Submissions open: October 1, 2021.
- Submissions close: October 31, 2021 at 11:59p.m. EST.
- Top 3 finalists/category invited to resubmit their entries: November 25, 2021. 
- Finalists and winner announced: December 18, 2021.
- All participants receive their score sheets by December 18, 2021.
***All entries have been returned to participants. If you did not receive your score sheets, first check your spam folder and then contact us at***

Top 1 entry in each category: 100-page high level critique by an editor (~$300 value).
- Top 3 entries in each category: feedback from one agent, who may elect to request more pages!
- All entrants: feedback from 3 Pro-Critiquers* (~$80 value).
*Pro-Critiquers participating in the contest are community-vetted, experienced editors and writers offering paid critique and editing services on CritiqueMatch. 

Fiction Categories:
- Fantasy/Science Fiction SOLD OUT
- Thriller
- Mystery
- Romance SOLD OUT
- Literary Fiction SOLD OUT

Type of Feedback
Contest participants get a score sheet with a high-level critique from all judges. The score sheet is included at the end of your manuscript. Line edits are not required.

Literary Agent Judges
Fantasy/Science Fiction                   Matt Belford, The Tobias Literary Agency
Literary Fiction                                Jon Michael Darga, Aevitas Creative Management
Romance                                          Katie Salvo, Metamorphosis Literary Agency
Mystery                                            Dawn Dowdle, Blue Ridge Literary Agency
Thriller                                             Anne Hawkins, John Hawkins & Associates

Submission: The first 2,000 words of your unpublished manuscript. No synopsis necessary. Your novel can be partially completed at the time you submit the first 2,000 words. 

Payment: Credit Card

First round: Pro-Critiquers
Second round: Literary Agents

View the Score Sheet to be used by the judges.
Do you have questions? Email us here.


CritiqueMatch promotes Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in our contest. Any writers regardless of their race, color, gender, religion, age, disability, or sexual orientation are welcome to enter the FictionFive Contest. Entries are judged anonymously and only on their writing craft merit. 

There are two rounds of judging:
- In the first round (November l to November 20), 3 Pro-Critiquers will judge each entry. The three scores will be added to create the final score of the first round.
- The top 3 entries in each category will advance to the second round.
- On/Around November 25, the top 3 finalists receive the first-round judges’ feedback and have the option to resubmit their entries by November 30, 2021, for the second-round judges (literary agents).
- In the second round, one agent will score each entry. On top of providing feedback, agents may elect to request more pages from the second-round finalists (not guaranteed).
- The agent scores, on top of the first round’s score, will determine the final score and the winning entry for the top prize in the contest.
- If there is a tie for the winning entry or the top 3 entries in each category, we will utilize an additional Pro-Critiquer's score.


October 2021 Contest Rules and Guidelines
  • These rules overwrite any previously published rules for previous contests. 
  • Contest participants must be members of CritiqueMatch (sign-up is free) and use the same email address as registered on CritiqueMatch.
  • Submit the first 2,000 words of your manuscript (no short stories). If more than 2,000 words are submitted, only the first 2,000 words will be submitted to the judges. Please submit a minimum of 1,000 words.
  • Your manuscript can be partially completed at the time you submit the first 2,000 words. 
  • Format: all stories must be submitted by their author in Times New Roman 12 font and double-spaced text. No images or links are accepted.
  • No synopsis is required. 
  • Adult, Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction are accepted, but Picture Books are not.
  • Winners of the 100-page high level critique must submit their work in a Word document formatted with one-inch margins, Times New Roman 12 font and double-spaced text. Winners must submit their 100-page work within 30 days from the notification of their prize. The 100-page, high-level critiques will be returned to the winners within 60 days from their submission.
  • You can submit multiple stories in the contest, one per each $39 fee, but we ask that you do not submit the same story more than once.
  • Prior finalists cannot re-enter the contest with the same story.
  • Contest participants get a score sheet with high level feedback from all judges. The score sheet is included at the end of your manuscript. Line edits are not required.
  • We currently only accept electronic submissions of works in English language.
  • All submissions must be previously unpublished and must be your own work (Fan fiction is not eligible). 
  • Published authors are welcome as long as the work submitted is unpublished.
  • All entries must be received electronically by October 31, 2021 11:59p.m. EST.
  • An entry is considered complete only when the payment has been received.
  • All entries are final. No revisions, substitutions or replacements are accepted or permitted after submission.
  • We cannot process refunds once an entry has been received.
  • We’ll recognize 3 finalists in each of the Five fiction categories: Fantasy/Science Fiction, Romance, Thriller, Mystery, and Literary fiction. If your story crosses over several genres, we ask that you select the genre that is the most important to your plot/characters.
  • Contest participants retain all rights in and to their work.
  • The first and second round of judging will be conducted anonymously. The contest coordinator will submit the entrants’ first 2,000 words to all judges via email.
  • CritiqueMatch reserves the right to replace the final-round judges in case the initially listed agents can no longer participate in the contest.
  • CritiqueMatch reserves the right to cancel the contest or a category unless at least ten (10) entries are received in each of the aforementioned categories. If CritiqueMatch cancels a contest, the entry fees paid for that contest will be refunded.  
  • CritiqueMatch’s Terms of Service apply to the contest's participants.
  • No cash substitution, transfers or assignments of prizes will be permitted. All expenses, including taxes, relating to a prize will be the sole responsibility of the winner. By accepting a prize, the winner releases CritiqueMatch from any and all liability for any loss, harm, damages, cost or expense, including, but not limited to, property damage, personal injury and/or death, arising out of or relating to a contest participant’s participation in a contest or the acceptance, use or disposition of a prize. If, for any reason (including unauthorized intervention, technical failures, or any other cause beyond the control of CritiqueMatch which affects the administration, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of a contest), a contest is not capable of being conducted as described in the Contest Rules, CritiqueMatch reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend that contest.
  • Within approximately thirty (30) days after confirmation of the winners in a particular contest, CritiqueMatch will provide all winners with their prizes. If the winner has not responded to our first email notice after thirty (30) days, the prize will be voided.
  • All participants will be individually notified of the contest results by e-mail.
  • The contest is void where prohibited by law.
Prior Finalists and Winners
  • Click here to view the Mar, 2021 FictionFive contest's results.
  • Click here to view the Oct, 2020 FictionFive contest's results.
  • Click here to view the June 2020 FictionFive contest's results.