The Writers' League of Texas
2017 Manuscript Contest

Congratulations to our 2017 Manuscript Contest Winners and Finalist! View the full list here.


UPDATE: For those who entered the contest and requested a written critique, all critiques have been sent. If you DID NOT receive your critique, please send an email to our contest coordinator, Sara Kocek, with "Have not received my critique" in the subject line and she'll get back to you as soon as she can. Her email:

Have you been working hard on an unpublished manuscript that's finally ready to see the light of day? Are you looking for some professional feedback on your work-in-progress?

Well, here's your chance! You are invited to submit a short synopsis and the opening pages of your unpublished work to the Writers' League’s 17th annual Manuscript Contest. (And no, you don't have to live in Texas to enter this contest. It's open to everyone, everywhere!)

The winner in each category will meet individually with a top literary agent (and the final judge in their category) at the 2017 Agents & Editors Conference in June. All entrants—whether winners or not—will receive written feedback on their submission from an experienced editing professional.

Best of all, you do NOT need to have a complete, finished manuscript to enter this contest. All you need are the first (roughly) ten pages of the manuscript plus a synopsis that describes the rest of the book you have planned.


This contest gives you the chance to…

• Meet one-on-one with a top literary agent in your category or genre (in person at our June conference or via phone call)

• Have your work professionally critiqued

• Be recognized during the opening session of the 2017 Agents & Editors Conference and in the printed program



 How to Enter:

  1. Carefully review the complete list of contest rules and formatting instructions.
  2. Fill out out our online entry form and submit your payment online via credit card or PayPal.
  3. The entry form will prompt you to upload your file. Please upload only one file. It should include both your synopsis and the opening of your manuscript. (Acceptable formats: .doc, .docx, and .pdf)
  4. Once you upload your documents and submit your payment, you will receive an automated confirmation email. There is nothing further you need to do at this time. 


Deadline: January 15, 2017 

Online entries must be submitted by midnight CST on January 15.


Submission Categories:

Fiction Categories
• General Fiction (including Literary Fiction)
• Thriller/Action-Adventure
• Mystery
• Romance
• Science-Fiction/Fantasy
• Historical Fiction

Nonfiction Categories
General Nonfiction
• Memoir

Children’s Categories
• Middle Grade (chapter books and novels only; no picture books)
• Young Adult



Winners in each category will receive a one-on-one consultation with a literary agent at our 2017 Agents & Editors Conference. Winners who cannot attend in person can opt for a phone call with a literary agent.

Entrance Fees

$55 Writers' League of Texas members / $65 nonmembers (INCLUDES A WRITTEN CRITIQUE)


$25 Writers' League of Texas members / $35 nonmembers (DOES NOT INCLUDE A WRITTEN CRITIQUE)

Note that your membership must be current in order to receive the member discount. As proof of current membership, you will be asked to provide your member number. If you’re not sure where to find your member number, log into and click on “my account." If you can't locate your member number or if you're not sure whether your membership is still current, you are also welcome to call our office, (512) 499-8914.


Optional Critique

Our standard contest entry fee of $55 (for Writers' League of Texas members) and $65 (for nonmembers) includes a 1-2 page written critique of your submission. Critiques will be written by independent professional editors hand-selected by the Writers' League of Texas, many of whom are available for hire as freelance editors and writing coaches. Our goal is to give you helpful feedback and, should you so desire, connect you with qualified independent editors who can be a resource for you on your writing journey.

Of course, we recognize that not everybody is interested in receiving written feedback on their work, which is why we're adding a second option this year. You may elect to pay a lower entry fee ($25 for Writers' League of Texas members and $35 for nonmembers) for a "straight entry." Straight entries are judged with all of the other entries and have an equal chance of winning the contest, but they do not receive a written critique.


Multiple Entries

You may enter this contest in as many categories as you like, with up to four entries per category. Each entry requires separate payment. For each one, please supply a separate entry form and payment.



Deadline to enter: January 15, 2017


We expect to notify winners and finalists and have critiques back to all entrants by mid-May. Check back here for any updates.



Questions about the contest?


If you've submitted to this contest in the past, you'll notice that we've made a few changes this year (all for the better, we hope you'll agree). If you have questions on anything, please do reach out -- we're always happy to hear from you and we'd much prefer to answer your questions (or talk through anything) before you submit rather than after.



Read our Frequently Asked Questions

or email



Archives of Winners & Finalists from Previous Years: