The 2019 Leapfrog Fiction Contest will open January 15
- May 1.
Click on the links above to read about
our past winners.
A first-place winner (or two) will be chosen soon from among the
finalist manuscripts by the 2019 finalist judge, Ramona Ausubel
Ramona Ausubel is the author of two novels and two story
collections. Her books have variously been named a
Francisco Chronicle and
Best Book of the Year, a
magazine Book of the Week and a
Times Notable Book.
Winner of the PEN Center
USA Literary Award for Fiction and the
VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, she has also been a
finalist for the
New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award,
and long-listed for the
O’Connor International Story Award and the
Impac Dublin Literary Award.
says of being a contest judge, "Judging a contest feels like a
huge privilege—I get to peek in on the strange, beautiful and
sometimes heartbreaking worlds that writers are making—and I try
to be the warmest possible set of hands to receive the piece,
even if I never know who wrote the story."
interview with Ramona in The Masters Review.
Read an interview with
Leapfrog's Lisa Graziano in Ploughshares' Indie Spotlight. Click
How to Enter
What to Enter
Questions We Are Frequently Asked
How to Enter
We will accept all entries through our
Submittable page, which you can find here
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"unpublished" if fewer than about 200 copies were printed.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.
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.
Manuscripts 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 am unable
to send the entry fee through Submittable? If you prefer to pay
the reading fee by physical check, please contact us by email at
firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can direct you
around the fee system.
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. What if many of
the stories in my collection were previously published in
journals? That is fine, as long as much of the collection as a
whole has not already been published as a book. A list of
acknowledgments is also fine to include.
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. Our 2016 winner lives in the UK.
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 manuscript arrives. If we see it when we log in on the
morning of May 2, it has made the deadline. Sometimes there are
unavoidable delays and submissions arrive after May 1. Please
keep to the May 1 deadline unless there is an unavoidable issue.
Any other questions? Please email us at
email@example.com 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.