Inklings Book Contest Application

 Congratulations on your decision to submit to the Inklings Book Contest!

To learn more about the contest, see this page.

***Please review ALL information below with your parent or guardian before submitting your manuscript.*** 

Submission Guidelines:

  • Submissions may be made by young authors grades 3-12 (or equivalent grade levels in regions outside of the U. S.).
  • Submissions may be a single poem or a complete short story of any genre.
  • Limit 1 submission per person.
  • Submissions must be by one author only. Co-authored pieces will not be considered for winning slots.
  • Fan-fiction pieces cannot be considered for winning slots. Content must be original.
  • Submissions may be no longer than 3,750 words (about 15 pages double-spaced).
  • Submissions must be uploaded in .pdf format and must be in manuscript format (click here for instructions). Please title your document file Student Name – X Grade – IBC 2024. So, for example, “Percy Jackson – 6th Grade – IBC 2024.”
  • Parents, teachers, or other adult caretakers may assist the youth writer with spelling, grammar, and other editing, but all content and ideas must be the youth writer’s own.
  • Submissions are due March 15, 2024.
  • If submission guidelines are not followed, your submission may not be eligible for adjudication in the contest. 
  • For the 2024 contest year, our funding allows us to accept up to 350 submissions. After 350 submissions, we will provide a waiting list and open up new slots as our funding permits.

Selection Process:

Entries will be reviewed by a committee of Young Inklings staff, mentors, and collaborating artists. The committee will look for writing submissions that have a strong point of view and for writers who demonstrate readiness for the revision process. Up to ten winners will be chosen from grades 3-5, up to ten winners will be chosen from grades 6-8, and up to ten winners will be chosen from grades 9-12.

We are committed to publishing stories and poems that impact the world in positive, transformational ways — works we would be excited to share with the full age range of young writers we serve. We do not publish work that promotes violence, cruelty, prejudice, reckless behavior, or any work containing explicit sexual content.

Other criteria we look for include but are not limited to: originality, interesting, active word choice, and demonstration of readiness for the Inklings editorial mentorship as seen through story/poem and submission form. In stories we look for unique characters, settings, and plots. In poetry, we look for strong imagery, unique metaphors and/or similes, a strong emotional connection.

All applicants will be notified of whether or not they were chosen for publishing by April 5, 2024. Notification will occur via email using the parent/guardian email address provided in the application. Results will also be posted on the blog on our website.

Winners in grades 3-8 will take part in a two-session editorial revision mentorship with a Society of Young Inklings mentor and will be published in our annual Inklings Book anthology. Winners in grades 9-12 will work together on a final revision through a peer editorial process, guided by a mentor. In these mentorship programs, the youth writers and their mentors will prepare the winning submissions for professional publishing. All mentorship sessions take place online via video chat. Details about the mentorships will be provided to winners after contest results are announced.

Winners will receive two copies of the finished book – one for themselves and one for their classroom or school library.

Finalists will receive a revision letter and have the opportunity to be published on our website.

All applicants will receive personalized feedback from our mentor team.

If you have any issues with the submission form, please email us at info (at) younginklings.org.