First-Timers Contest

Never attended the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference but always wanted to go? 

We’re excited to announce the First-Timers Contest for 2018. Ten winners will each receive a full scholarship, including economy double-occupancy lodging and conference meals. 

There is NO FEE to enter this contest. It is open to both published and unpublished writers.

Deadline to enter is December 30 at midnight Pacific Standard Time. 

Winners will be notified by no later than January 15, 2018.


Submission Details

Send a five-page fiction or nonfiction writing sample. Do not send more than five pages, even if the last page ends in mid-sentence.

For articles, blog posts, and short stories, submit the FIRST five pages. 

For poetry, submit ONE full poem (no more than five pages).

For novellas or book-length manuscripts (including young adult, middle grade, and children’s), submit the FIRST five pages of any chapter. Your manuscript does not have to be completed.   

Your submission does not need to be overtly Christian but must have a Judeo-Christian worldview.

Must be written in English.

Must follow the formatting guidelines.

Entry Format

Submissions must be formatted according to the following guidelines:

  • Word document (.doc or .docx). 

  • All margins 1 inch. Left aligned. Double-spaced. Times New Roman 12-point font.

  • Using the header feature, all pages must have a working title, your first and last name (real name, not pen name), e-mail address, and a running page number.

  • The filename should be your first and last name, then an underscore (_), then the working title of your entry. Example: Jane Doe_The Big Sky.


Submissions will be judged in part on the quality of the writing, including:

  • Intriguing opener and keeps reader’s interest

  • appealing tone/style

  • good flow/pace/smoothness

  • clarity, ease of readability

  • cleanness (few if any typos, inconsistencies, or errors in punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling)

To give your entry the best chance of winning, you may want to consider having a fellow writer read your entry for clarity, grammar, and typos. This is only a suggestion; it is not a requirement for submission to the contest

The Prize

The winners of this contest will receive conference registration, meals during the conference, and economy lodging for the main conference March 23–27, 2018. (Pre-conference Next Level Clinic may be added at the winners’ expense.)

Winners will be notified by e-mail no later than January 15, 2018. 

Submission Instructions

E-mail your entry to the First Timers Contest Coordinator, Julie Williams, at

Put “First-Timers Contest” in the subject line of your e-mail, followed by your first and last name. 

Or click on the link below: “Enter the First-Timers Contest.” This will automatically bring up an e-mail box.

In the body of the e-mail, write a one-paragraph answer for each of the following questions: 

       1. Why do you want to attend the Mount Hermon Writers Conference?

       2. Why have you never attended before?

       3. What do you hope to get out of attending in 2018?

In addition to writing quality, winners will be determined based on the answers to these questions.

Once submissions are narrowed down based on those factors, the final decision will be chosen based on prayerfully asking for the Holy Spirit’s leading.