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FictionFive Contest for Unpublished Writers!

Julie Weaver’s Romance entry The Payback was the highest rated entry across all categories in the March 2021 FictionFive contest and wins the top prize, a $150 gift card!

Many congratulations to all the finalists in each of the 5 genre categories! We are proud to announce that more than 50% of our finalists received requests for more pages from the literary agents who participated as final-round judges. Congrats!

Save the date: Our next contest is penciled in for October 2021!

March 2021 Contest Highlights
Submit the first 2,000 words of your unpublished manuscript in 5 fiction categories, and get a detailed score sheet with feedback from 3 top-rated writers on CritiqueMatch! Additionally, the top 3 finalists in each category receive feedback from one editor and one agent (agents may elect to request more pages from you--30% of the previous contest finalists received requests from agents!--) Lastly, the top-rated entry across all categories wins a $150 gift card! 

- Submissions open: March 1, 2021.
- Submissions close: March 31, 2021 at 11:59p.m. EST.
- Finalists announced: May 18, 2021.
- Score sheets and agent/editor feedback sent to all entrants within 30 days from the finalists’ announcement. 
***All score sheets have been returned to the participants. Check your email, including your spam folder, and contact us at***

The top-rated entry across all categories: $150 gift card.
- Top 3 finalists in each category: feedback from one editor and one agent (agents may elect to request more pages!)
- All entrants: feedback from 3 top-rated writers.

Critique Partner Matching (Optional): All contest entrants may request to connect or become critique partners with the first-round judges who critiqued their work (pending judge approval).

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

Literary Agent Judges
Fantasy/Science Fiction                   Matt Belford, The Tobias Literary Agency
Literary Fiction                                Jennifer Herrington, Harvey Klinger Literary Agency 
Romance                                          Stephanie Winter, P.S. Literary Agency
Mystery                                            Jackie Williams, The Knight Agency
Thriller                                             Danya Kukafka, Aevitas Creative Management

Submission: The first 2,000 words of your unpublished manuscript.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. 

Fee: $25

Payment: Credit Card

First round: top-rated CritiqueMatch peer writers
Second round: agents and editors

***The March 2021 FictionFive Contest has closed. 
Save the date: Our next contest is penciled in for October 2021!*** 

Volunteer to judge 5 entries and get 20% off the next contest, get more starred ratings for your critiques, and find critique partners
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. Contest entrants can also be judges in the contest.

There are two rounds of judging:
- In the first round (April 1 to April 22), 3 top-rated CritiqueMatch peer writers will judge each entry. The lowest of the three scores will be dropped, and the rest two 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 April 23, the finalists receive the first-round judges’ feedback and have the option to resubmit their entries by April 30, 2021, for the second-round judges (agents and editors).
- In the second round, one agent and one editor 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 and editor 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 the dropped score from the first round and/or an additional editor’s score, if necessary.

Would you like to volunteer to judge 5 entries in our contest?
CritiqueMatch members in good standing with four-star ratings or above can become judges!
The judges get 20% off the next contest, more starred ratings for their critiques, and even find critique partners! Sign up here.

Critique Partner Matching Program (Optional): Once the contest ends, the judges may request to become critique partners with the authors whose work they critiqued (pending author approval).


March 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 synopsis is required. 
  • Adult, Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction are accepted, but Picture Books are not.
  • You can submit multiple stories in the contest, one per each $25 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.
  • 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). 
  • All entries must be received electronically by March 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.
  • The $25 entry fee helps cover the administrative cost of the contest.
  • 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 round of judging will be conducted anonymously via the CritiqueMatch platform per the following: the contest coordinator will submit the entrants’ first 2,000 words to 3 randomly chosen peer judges on CritiqueMatch. The entrants’ work will not be accessible to the first-round judges once judging is completed.
  • For the second round of judging, the entrants’ work (without identifiable information) will be emailed to the agents and editors, who will return their score sheet and feedback in a Word document.
  • CritiqueMatch reserves the right to replace the final-round judges in case the initially listed agents or editors can no longer participate in the contest.
  • CritiqueMatch reserves the right to cancel the contest or a category unless at least five (5) entries are received in each of the aforementioned categories. If CritiqueMatch cancels a contest, the entry fees paid for that contest will be refunded.  
  • If you recognize the submission you were assigned to judge, please let us know and we will reassign a submission to you.
  • 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 Oct, 2020 FictionFive contest's results.
  • Click here to view the June 2020 FictionFive contest's results.