Fiction Contest


Fiction Contest

Past Winners: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009

The 2017 Leapfrog Fiction Contest will open on Jan. 15. Read about our 2016 winners below, and click on the links above to read about past winners.

Read an interview with this year's finalist judge, Sara Pritchard, here.

Read an interview with Leapfrog's Lisa Graziano in Ploughshares' Indie Spotlight. Click here.


"NaNoWriMo winners welcome! If you finished your novel this past November during National Novel Writing Month, we encourage you to polish it up and submit it to our contest, regardless
of whether you have any prior publications. We'd love to read your work!"

What to Enter


Questions We Are Frequently Asked

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 Books that have been self-published will be considered "unpublished" if fewer than about 200 copies were printed.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.


Our 2016 finalist judge was writer Sara Pritchard, author of the novel-in-stories Crackpots, which won the Bakeless Prize for Fiction and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; the linked-story collection Lately; the story collection Help Wanted: Female; and many stories published in literary journals. Read about Sara here,, and read an interview with her here

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.


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