Fiction Contest


Fiction Contest

Past Winners: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009

The 2016 Leapfrog Fiction Contest will be announced in January 2016

What to Enter

How to Enter


Questions We Are Frequently Asked

the entry fee is $30.

What to Enter

Adult, young adult (YA) and middle grade (MG) novels, novellas, and short story collections are accepted. Minimum word count: 22,000. Individual stories in a collection may have been published in journals. Books that have been self-published will be considered "unpublished" if fewer than about 200 copies were printed.  

We look for literary fiction and mainstream fiction, including science fiction. Generally we are less interested in strict genre fiction, but if a manuscript is good and grabs our attention, we don't care what the genre is.

How to Enter

All entries must be submitted by email to Subject line: "Contest entry Book Title--adult novel." Use your actual manuscript title or part of it, and indicate whether it is a novel, story collection, novella, YA novel, or MG novel. If you are unsure whether it is for adults or young adults, or should be called a novel or a novella, just take a guess. We are not picky about category.

In the body of your email message, please include your name, complete manuscript title, mailing address, and email address. Please do not include any biographical information. Indicate whether your entry fee will be coming by check or via PayPal/credit card. This helps us match PayPal payments to manuscripts.

Attach your complete manuscript to your message as a Word or PDF file. Please REMOVE any identifying information from the file before sending: no author name or address should be included. This includes information in page headers/footers, title pages, and so forth. If you forget, don't worry: we'll remove the information before the manuscript reaches the judges.

We ask that you do not attach a file greater than bout 1.5 MB. If this is a problem, please contact us. You may send larger files by Hightail or some other file-sharing system, but we need to know in advance if you are doing so. However, there is no reason for any manuscript file to exceed a couple of MB at the most. If yours does, it has illustrations that need to be removed or made smaller (lower resolution).

Finally, use the PayPal link below for your entry fee of $30, or send a check to Leapfrog Press 2015 Fiction Contest, PO Box 505, Fredonia, NY 14063.



The 2015 finalist judge was Mark Brazaitis, author of The Incurables, Julia & Rodrigo, etc., and professor of English at West Virginia University. Read an interview with Mark in Prairie Schooner and listen to an interview with Diane Rehm.

All manuscripts will be reviewed by at least two Leapfrog editors, and those that go to the second round of judging may be read by editors at other small presses as well.

Manuscript are reviewed "blind": the judges do not know the authors' names or any other information about them. This is important to our judging process and the integrity of the contest.

All unpublished stories in collections will automatically be considered for publication in our journal of fiction, Crossborder.


1. May I submit more than one ms? Yes, you may submit as many as you choose. Each requires an entry fee, and they will be judged separately. The judges will not know they are from the same author. However, our advice is that you use your resources to explore several contests rather than entering more than a couple of mss into a single contest.

2. May I submit to other contests/agents/presses while waiting for the Leapfrog contest results? Yes. We ask that you let us know when you enter what other contests you have entered with the same manuscript, and inform us if your manuscript receives an award elsewhere. Winning another contest does not disqualify a manuscript from being named for an award by Leapfrog. If you receive a publication contract elsewhere, please let us know as that will disqualify the ms from our first prize.

3. What if I edit my manuscript after submitting and want to resend? That is usually fine until the last month of the contest. Just send the new version by email with a short explanation, and we will make sure all judges receive the new version.

4. What if I send my manuscript close to the May 1 deadline, and my payment does not arrive by May 1? Not a problem. Send your entry fee when you submit the manuscript, and it will arrive when it arrives.

5. What if I decide to withdraw manuscript? If you withdraw before your manuscript has been through several rounds of judging, we will refund your entry fee.

6. May I resubmit a manuscript that I submitted to this contest in the past? We do not encourage that. Even if you feel the ms has been through substantial editing, it is likely to be judged about the same as last time, even by quite different judges. If your ms was named for an award in the past, we cannot name it again. We are happy to take new manuscripts from past contest authors, however.

7. Do you ever publish more than one winner? Yes, we have done that several times. There may be two winners, especially if there are enough MG/YA manuscripts to make a separate category.

8. My computer went belly up and I have only a hard copy of my manuscript. May I send it by mail? In an emergency, we will accept a hard copy, but we need to know that it is coming or it will not be processed for the contest. Please email to discuss this with us before putting a hard copy in the postal mail.

9. Does my manuscript need to be formatted a certain way? No. We are not at all picky about that. Just make it readable. If it was a self-published book, be sure to eliminate title and copyright pages, and page headers, so there is no identifying information.

10. May I include a list of acknowledgements for short stories previously published? Yes, that is fine. We prefer such a list because we will consider all unpublished stories for our journal of fiction, Crossborder.

11. How many manuscripts do your usually receive? It varies between about 400 and 600.

12. What if I live outside the United States? About 10% of our entrants each year are not in the US. We are happy to read manuscripts from any and all countries.

13. My manuscript has illustrations. Is that OK? Well.... if they are essential, it's OK. We do not take picture books, children's or otherwise, and we do not publish in color. B&W images that are crucial to the book may be included. Again, please keep the file size reasonable.

14. Is there a midnight deadline on May 1? We are not concerned about exactly when your manusript arrives. If it is in our inbox when we start work on the morning of May 2, it's on time.

Any other questions? Please email us at or and we will be happy to help. You are doing us a favor by sending us your work to consider, and we'll do what we can to make the process easy.


First Prize: publication contract offer from Leapfrog Press, with an advance payment, plus the finalist awards (see below).

Finalists: $150 and one or two critiques of the manuscript from contest judges; permanent listing on the Leapfrog Press contest page as a contest finalist, along with short author bio and description of the book.

Semi-Finalist: Choice of a free Leapfrog book; permanent listing on the website.

Honorable Mention: listing on the Leapfrog Press website.

We encourage all contest awardees to inform us of any publicity/contracts/reviews of their entries. We will be happy to post that information on our website and in our newsletter.


© Leapfrog Press 2015 | All rights reserved