The Writers' League of Texas 2020 Manuscript Contest

Click here for the full list of this year's winners and finalists. 

Have you been working hard on an unpublished manuscript that's finally ready to see the light of day? Are you looking for some constructive feedback on your work-in-progress? Would you like to chance to sit down with a literary agent in person to discuss your project?

You're invited to submit a short synopsis and the opening pages of your unpublished work to the Writers' League of Texas’s 20th annual Manuscript Contest.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 receive a complimentary registration to the WLT's 2020 Agents & Editors Conference (yes, you heard us right!) to meet individually with a top literary agent (and the final judge in their category). All entrants who opt for a critique—whether winners or not—will receive feedback on their submission from an experienced editor.

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…

Win a free registration to the WLT's 2020 Agents & Editors Conference (June 26-28, 2020, in Austin, TX)

Meet one-on-one with a top literary agent in your category or genre (in person at our annual conference or via phone call) if you're one of our ten winners

Be recognized during one of the general sessions of the 2020 Agents & Editors Conference and in the printed program (if you're a winner or a finalist)

• Receive valuable (and specific) written feedback on your work



 How to Enter:

  1. Carefully review the complete list of contest rules and formatting instructions.
  2. Fill 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: March 10, 2020 

Online entries must be submitted by midnight CST on March 10.


Submission Categories:

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

Nonfiction Categories
General Nonfiction (excluding Memoir)
• Memoir

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



Winners in each category will receive a complimentary registration to our 2020 Agents & Editors Conference and a one-on-one consultation at the event with the literary agent who judged the category (this prize is valued at more than $400). Winners who cannot attend in person can opt for a phone call with the 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. If you're not sure whether your membership is current, you are 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 experienced independent editors.

Of course, we recognize that not everybody is interested in receiving written feedback on their work, which is why there is a second option available. 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. AN EXCEPTION TO THIS: If you are writing nonfiction, you must choose EITHER "General Nonfiction" OR "Memoir." You cannot submit in both categories. 



Deadline to enter: March 10, 2020


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 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