Writer’s Digest’s 90th Annual Writing Competition

***Please note, there has been an uptick in publishers that are not accepting unagented submissions. Too many presses and publishers are getting mass submissions that do not fit their catalogs. DO NOT submit your work if it doesn’t fit the publisher’s guidelines.

It is that time of the year again! Writer’s Digest has opened its doors for submissions to its ever-popular 90th Annual Writing Competition.

In the words of Writer’s Digest:

Writer’s Digest has been shining a spotlight on up and coming writers in all genres through its Annual Writing Competition for more than 80 years. Enter our 90th Annual Writing Competition for your chance to win and have editors and agents see your work! Almost 500 winners will be chosen. This writing contest’s top winning entries will also be on display in the 90th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition Collection.

The deadline is June 7, 2021!

Before you submit, you should check out who won last year’s contest to get an idea of the type of stories that win. Plus, it’s nice to support your fellow authors.

Banner for the 90th Annual Writing Competition

How to Enter Writer’s Digest’s 90th Annual Writing Competition

All of your submissions must be submitted online and in English through Submittable. There is no snail mailing it in. They’re also looking for works that have not been published before. However, that comes except for self-published works like blogs or social media posts.

Don’t go over the word count for each category. If you do go over the limit, you will be disqualified! 

There is also going to be a submission fee for entering:

Early-Bird Deadline: May 7, 2021

  • Poetry entry—$20 for the first entry; $15 for each additional poetry entry.
  • Manuscript entry—$30 for the first entry; $25 for each additional manuscript entry.

Deadline: June 7, 2021

  • Poetry entry—$25 for the first entry; $20 for each additional poetry entry.
  • Manuscript entry—$35 for the first entry; $30 for each additional manuscript entry.

There are additional links on the competition’s homepage for more information on the application process, FAQ, submission guidelines, etc. I just wanted to highlight the big ones for you.

The Grand Prize: 

  • $5,000 in cash
  • An interview with the author in Writer’s Digest
  • A paid trip to the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference, including a coveted Pitch Slam slot
  • and more

There will also be prizes award to those coming in first through tenth place in each category. Honorable mentions also receive benefits.

The Categories

  • Inspirational/Spiritual
  • Memoirs/Personal Essay
  • Print or Online Article
  • Genre Short Story (Mystery, Romance, etc.)
  • Mainstream/Literary Short Story
  • Rhyming Poetry
  • Non-rhyming Poetry
  • Script (Stage Play/Television/Movie Script/Short Film)
  • Children’s/Young Adult Fiction

Writer’s Digest has made it available to those wishing to participate in the competition to receive email reminders about deadlines, other competitions, and winners. The sign up for that is at the bottom of the page.

Good luck to all of you who choose to submit. I’ve got my fingers crossed for you.

And if you are accepted, please let me know! I’d love to read your work and pass it along to a friend.

Want more publishing opportunities delivered straight to your inbox? Then please consider signing up for my weekly newsletter!

Stay safe, everyone.

Until next time.



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Danielle Adams

Danielle Adams

Danielle Adams is a writer and editor for a local marketing agency. She has formerly worked as a writer for the Investing News Network and as an editor for Whetstone, a bi-annually published literary magazine. Aside from writing, Danielle has an unabiding love for all marine life and the outdoors. She loves taking long hikes with her husband and cooking delicious meals in the kitchen.


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