Submission Rules


We have online forms!

 You can use the online form even if you choose to pay by cheque.
(We can only accept Canadian funds.)
Crime Writers of Canada – Awards
716 Thicket Way, Ottawa ON K4A 3B5 Canada
 
Need help?
Contact Ludvica Boota, Awards Manager, at

 

2022 Submission Rules for Best Unpublished Crime Manuscript

Sponsored by ECW Press

(Click here for Published Categories Rules)

 Deadline 15 October 2021 @11:59 PM PT

               

Introduction

The first award for Best Unpublished Crime Manuscript was presented by the Crime Writers of Canada in 2007 as part of the CWC mandate to recognize and promote the careers of promising new crime writers.

The competition is open to (1) Canadian citizens, no matter where they are living, and to writers, regardless of nationality, who have Permanent Resident status in Canada; (2) who have never had a novel of any kind published commercially but who have a completed crime novel manuscript. Contestants initially only enter the first 5000 words plus a full synopsis, but must have a completed manuscript (50,000-110,000 words) at the time of entry.

Note: Crime novels include capers, cozies, detective stories, espionage, police procedural, and any other type of mystery, suspense, or thrillers. If you are not certain that your submission qualifies, please contact us at

All submissions should be in digital format only. From the initial submissions, up to ten (10) authors will be asked by the judges to submit their completed manuscripts. A shortlist of up to five (5) finalists will be selected from these completed manuscripts.  Until the finalists are announced at the Shortlist Events on April 20, 2022, authors cannot announce their entry.

ECW will provide an additional judge to the Unpublished jury in the final phase of judging, so all finalists will have been read by the publisher.

The winner will receive the Unpublished Award statue along with a $500 cash prize from ECW at the CWC Awards Gala on May 26, 2022. Details of the event will be sent to the shortlisted authors.

Competition Rules

Definition of a Crime Novel

A crime novel must contain a crime (but not necessarily a murder) that is solved or thwarted or carried out by the main character. The crime must be integral to the plot.

Eligibility

The contest is open to all writers who fulfill the following eligibility requirements:

  1. You are a Canadian citizen, regardless of place of residence, or a writer, regardless of nationality, who has been granted Permanent Resident status in Canada.
  2. You have not had a novel, or novel-length work of fiction (50,000+ words), of any kind, published commercially, whether: in print or electronically (i.e., e-book or published on the Internet) or self-published in any genre, including literary fiction under your given name or a pseudonym, and/or written alone or jointly with another author.
  3. You do not have a contract from a publisher for your manuscript. If you accept a novel contract during the course of the contest, or you decide to self-publish, you must notify us and your manuscript will be withdrawn without refund.

Important Notes:

A novel that has an ISBN or ASIN is considered published commercially.

If you are published in the areas of nonfiction, short fiction (novellas and short stories), poetry, or plays/screenplays, you are eligible to submit.

You are welcome to submit the same manuscript in subsequent years, provided it was not shortlisted for the Unpublished Award and that criteria 1 to 3 are still met.

If you are uncertain whether your manuscript is eligible, contact us at .

The decision of Crime Writers of Canada as to whether a manuscript is eligible for the Unpublished Award is binding.

Submission Procedure

PDF Entries:

All entries are asked to be emailed in PDF format to the Awards Manager

Entrants must submit:

  1. One (1) digital PDF document containing:
    1. an opening 5000 words of their completed crime novel
    2. a 500-word synopsis of the novel. The synopsis should be of the entire novel. The synopsis is a crucial part of the submission; it's the only way the judges can see the plot development, so take time to write it.
  2. A completed entry form and entry fee for each submission.

Manuscript and synopses must be:

  • In English.
  • Single-spaced on 8.5" x 11" page or A4 paper using 12-point Times New Roman or Courier, with 1-inch margins.
  • Each page of the excerpt, synopsis, and manuscript must have a header in the upper left-hand corner containing the title of the manuscript. Do not include your name in the header.
  • Make sure that each page is numbered.
  • Submissions should be saved using the title of the manuscript and in PDF format.
  • Please see the Unpublished Award Style Guide for more details.

Entries are emailed to

Submissions must be emailed by 15 October 2021 @11:59 PM PDT or earlier.

We regret that entries after this date cannot be considered.

Entry fees:

Non-Member Pricing

  • $35 per manuscript

25% Discount Price for CWC Members

  • $26.25 per manuscript

To receive the CWC member pricing:

  • Membership must be in good standing
  • Indicate on the form that you are a CWC member

Option 1 - ECWID

Go to Online Forms, click on Unpub Award and fill out the information for each submission. After completing your payment online, email your PDF submission to

Please include the manuscript title and order number in the subject line.

If entering more than one manuscript, send one email with the order number and one of the manuscript titles in the subject line. In the body of the email, list the titles of all the manuscripts attached.

Option 2 - Cheque

Please make out your cheque or money order in Canadian funds to Crime Writers of Canada. Please include the entry form(s) or confirmation from the online form. For your peace of mind, please request a delivery receipt from your courier or post office as the confirmation of receipt will not be sent by the Awards Manager.

Send your payment to:

Crime Writers of Canada Awards
716 Thicket Way
Ottawa, ON
K4A 3B5

Email your PDF submission to  with the manuscript title in the subject line. In the body of the email indicate that you are paying by cheque and include your online confirmation number if applicable.  

If entering more than one manuscript, send one email and include one of the manuscript titles in the subject line. In the body of the email, list all the titles of the attached manuscripts and indicate that you are paying by cheque.

All payments must be in Canadian funds. No exceptions will be made.

Submissions must be emailed by 15 October 2021 @11:59 PM PDT or earlier.

Authors will be notified no later than 21 January 2022, but potentially as early as 15 November 2021, if they have made the longlist and be required to submit, by email, their complete manuscript, in PDF format, at that time or be immediately disqualified. The semi-finalists will also be asked to provide a 100-word book blurb, a 50-word bio, and an author photo via email. Instructions for longlisted submissions will be provided in the notification email.

Do not advertise that you have made the long list, or publish excerpts from your manuscript, until the shortlist is announced. If you do, you will be disqualified, as this is a blind contest.

Judging & Scorecard

This is a blind judged contest. Scorecards will be used to determine the longlist, shortlist, and winner. In the initial round, submissions will be blind judged and scored by three judges. Those not making the longlist will receive their scorecard on or before 28 February 2022.

ECW will provide an additional judge in the final phase of judging after the finalists have been chosen so that all finalists will have been read by the publisher.

There is no commitment on ECW Press’s part to publish the finalists, nor are the finalists obligated to accept an offer from ECW Press.

All scorecards will be returned on or before 6 June 2022. 

Important

Deadline: Submissions must be emailed by 15 October 2021 @11:59 PM PDT or earlier.

No contract can be accepted until the winner is announced without the withdrawal of the manuscript from the competition.

The Unpublished shortlist, along with the other Awards shortlists, will be announced on Wednesday, 20 April 2022 online.

The winner will be announced at the CWC Awards Presentation on Thursday, 26 May 2022. All shortlisted authors will be sent details about this event.

The winner will receive a special Unpublished Award statue as well as a cash prize of $500 from ECW Press. However, if there is no clear winner, none will be declared.

Contact

For more information about the contest, please email:  

For information about Crime Writers of Canada, please email:

Submissions must be emailed by 15 October 2021 @11:59 PM PDT or earlier.

 

PDF Files

2022 Submission Rules for The Award for Best Unpublished Manuscript

Printable entry form (For those who prefer printed forms, and are paying by cheque.)


We have online forms!

 You can use the online form even if you choose to pay by cheque.
(We can only accept Canadian funds.)
Crime Writers of Canada – Awards
716 Thicket Way, Ottawa ON K4A 3B5 Canada
 
Need help?
Contact Ludvica Boota, Awards Manager, at
 

 2022 Submission Rules for Published Works

(Click here for Unpublished Category Rules)

DEADLINE DECEMBER 15, 2021

The 2022 awards are for books and short stories published in 2021. The awards are presented annually by Crime Writers of Canada in the following categories:

  • Best Crime Novel sponsored by Rakuten Kobo, with a $1000 prize (Min. 50,000 words)
  • Best Crime First Novel sponsored by Writers First, with a $500 prize (Min. 50,000 words AND author’s 1st novel in any genre.)
  • The Howard Engel Award for Best Crime Novel Set in Canada with a $500 prize (Min. 50,000 words)
  • The Whodunit Award for Best Traditional Mystery sponsored by Jane Doe, with a $500 prize (Min. 50,000 words)
  • Best Crime Novella sponsored by Mystery Weekly with a $200 prize (8,001 - 49,999 words)
  • Best Crime Short Story sponsored by Mystery Weekly with a $300 prize (Max. 8,000 words)
  • Best French Crime Book (Fiction and Nonfiction)
  • Best Juvenile or YA Crime Book (Fiction and Nonfiction) sponsored by Shaftesbury with a $500 prize
  • The Brass Knuckle Award for Best Nonfiction Crime Book sponsored by Simpson & Wellenreiter LLP (Hamilton) with a $300 prize.

The Awards are for CRIME WRITING which encompasses a wide range of subgenres. Crime writing includes capers, detective stories, espionage, mystery, police procedural, suspense, cozy, thrillers and crime-themed literary works, as well as fictional or factual accounts of real crimes. If you are not certain that your submission qualifies as a crime book or story, please contact us at

CRITERIA

  1. First publication; whether in English or French, in the preceding year (2021) by a Canadian citizen regardless of place of residence, or by a writer, regardless of nationality, who has been granted Permanent Resident status in Canada.
    • Note 1: The year of publication is determined solely by the copyright date of the book or the short story.
    • Note 2: If a work is co-authored, at least one of the authors must fulfill the citizenship/Permanent Resident requirement.
    • Note 3: If the work was originally published in a language other than English or French, the first English or French translation of the book is still eligible if:
      1. this is translation is first published in the preceding year (2021); and
      2. the author fulfills the above citizenship/residency requirement.
    • Translations from English to French or from French to English that have been previously published in the other official language are NOT ELIGIBLE.
    • New editions or revisions that are substantially the same (60% or greater) as the previously published version are NOT ELIGIBLE.
  2. The book or story fits into the crime-writing genre (see above for our description of "crime genre").
  3. The work must be available in print for purchase in Canada through a Canadian retailer's regular channels (bookstores, Chapters/Indigo online, Amazon.ca, etc.) Word count must be stipulated on the entry form. 

EXCEPTION: Best Novella and Best Short Story Categories where special rules apply (see below).

PLEASE NOTE: A title can only be entered in one category and cannot be changed after submission.

Special criteria for the Howard Engel Award for Best Crime Novel Set in Canada category:

The Howard Engel Award for Best Crime Novel Set in Canada is awarded to an author whose work is set in Canada. The award is in memory of Howard Engel, who was known for creating one of the first mystery series set in Canada and honours his contribution to the Canadian crime genre.

In addition to the general Published Category eligibility rules and criteria, the work must also meet the following special eligibility requirements for Best Crime Novel set in Canada:

  • The majority of the work (60% or greater) must be set in some part of Canada.
  • An author cannot win this category in more than two (2) consecutive years. E.g. an author who has won the award in two (2) consecutive years would not be eligible in year three (3).

Special criteria for The Whodunit Award for Best Traditional Mystery:

In addition to the general Published Category eligibility rules and criteria, the work must also meet the following special eligibility requirements for The Whodunit Award for Best Traditional Mystery:

Whodunit mystery fiction is a puzzle story; it starts with a murder (or crime) and emphasizes the solving of the crime. The protagonist’s job is to discover who committed the crime and why.

Examples:  Classic Golden Age style (Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes), Amateur Sleuth, Cozy, Private Eye, Police Procedural, Historical, Humorous, and Locked Room.

Special criteria for the Novella category:

The work must be published by a traditional publisher or in a recognized periodical. If self-published, novellas must be available in print through a Canadian retailer's regular channels (bookstores, Chapters/Indigo online, Amazon.ca, etc.) to be allowed. Word count must be stipulated on the entry form.

Special criteria for the Short Story category:

The work must be published by a traditional publisher or in a recognized periodical. Self-published short stories will not be accepted. Word count must be stipulated on the entry form. Authors can enter up to three short stories.

Special eligibility requirements for the Best First Novel category:

In addition to the above eligibility rules, an author entered in this category cannot have had any earlier novel of any kind published commercially:

  • in print, electronic/e-book, or self-published; whether
  • in Canada or any other country; whether
  • in any genre, including literary fiction; whether
  • under the author's given name or a pseudonym, and alone or jointly with another author

Note 1: A novel that has an ISBN (or ASIN) is considered to be published commercially.

Note 2: The author may be published in other formats (e.g., short stories, novella, non-fiction, plays/screenplays, poetry) and still be eligible to enter this category.

Note 3: If the author enters two books for consideration, only the first book published is eligible for Best First. The second book can be entered in the Best Novel category.

Entry Fees:

Non-Member Pricing

  • $45 per title for novels
  • $30 per title for the novella category
  • $20 per title for short stories ($50 for 3 short stories by the same author that are being entered or if an anthology then 3 short stories with multiple authors.)
  • $45 per title for all other books (French, Nonfiction, Juvenile)

25% Discount for CWC Members  

  • $33.75 per title for novels
  • $22.50 per title for the novella category
  • $15 per title for short stories ($37.50 for 3 short stories by the same author that are being entered or if an anthology then 3 short stories with multiple authors.)
  • $33.75 per title for all other books (French, Nonfiction, Juvenile)

To receive the CWC member pricing:

  • Membership must be in good standing
  • Indicate on the form that you are a CWC member (price adjustments will not be made after submission)

NOTE: The discount pricing only applies to entries from individual members, not publisher members. However, individuals can submit their payment, form, and have their publishers submit three (3) copies of their books directly to CWC.

Please make out your cheque or money order in Canadian funds for the appropriate amount to Crime Writers of Canada. (See address below.)

Or you can pay online using the online entry form. (For multiple entries, please contact: for instructions.)

If you are sending your books through a third party (publisher, Amazon) please e-mail the Awards Manager

Entry fees that are not paid IN FULL will be disqualified.

If a category has fewer than six (6) submissions in a given year, all books or stories will be held over to be judged in the Awards of the following year.

Submissions must be postmarked, or courier dated no later than 15 December 2021.

For each submission please include:

  • Three (3) copies of each book title OR three (3) photocopies of novella if not published in print

Note: See below for short story submissions

  • An entry form for each title. If the books are being sent separately, please contact
  • A cheque or money order in Canadian funds, made out to Crime Writers of Canada OR online payment via the online form

Note: A title can only be entered in one category and cannot be changed after the submission, so check eligibility requirements on the CWC website before you select one of these categories on this form. 

SUBMISSIONS

Please send your submission to:

Crime Writers of Canada Awards
716 Thicket Way
Ottawa, ON
K4A 3B5 Canada

Submissions must be postmarked, or courier dated no later than 15 December 2021.

Note: CWC is unable to acknowledge receipt of material. A list of entries will available on our website in January. 

NEW Special Submission criteria for Short Story category: PDF Entries

All entries are asked to be emailed in PDF format to the Awards Manager

Entrants must submit:

  • A PDF document of the short story
  • A PDF copy of the table of contents with the story title

Email your PDF submission to   with the short story title and order number in the subject line.

If entering more than one short story, send one email with the order number and one of the short story titles in the subject line. In the body of the email, list the titles attached.

If paying by cheque, indicate in the body of the email that you are paying by cheque and include your submission form or online confirmation number if applicable.

The shortlists for all categories will be announced on Wednesday, 20 April 2022.

The winners will be announced at the CWC Awards Gala in Toronto on Thursday, 26 May 2022.

Details will be announced on the website: www.crimewriterscanada.com

Submissions must be postmarked, or courier dated no later than 15 December 2021.

Details will be announced on the website: www.crimewriterscanada.com

PDF Links

2022 Submission Rules for the Awards

Printable entry form (For those who prefer printed forms, and are paying by cheque.)

Les prix appel de soumission 2022