The Carol Awards are ACFW’s recognition for the best Christian fiction published in the previous calendar year.
2023 Carol Award Guidelines:
1. Each title must be the author’s work of original fiction published in print or digital form.
2 The manuscript should conform to traditionally accepted understanding of Scripture and Christian world view. The ACFW Executive Board may order the disqualification of submissions not meeting this requirement.
The book may either be traditionally published or be Qualified Independently Published.
- Traditionally Published: •The author must not participate financially in the production or distribution of their book, including any requirement to buy a certain number of books from their publisher.
- ACFW Qualified Independently Published: If the book was independently published or published by a company where the author paid any publishing costs, including, but not limited to, printing, artwork, distribution, or the requirement to buy books, then that author must apply to be a Qualified Independently Published author (QIP).
QIP applications must be received no later than March 1, 2023.
3. Co-authored entries are allowed. If one of the authors is a current ACFW member, then the title can be submitted for the member entry fee.
4. The title must have an original copyright date (printed on copyright page) between January 2022 and December 2022. In the rare event a book was released in 2022 but has a copyright date of 2021, please provide, a) a letter from the publisher, and b) a .pdf of the publisher’s catalog reflecting the title and release date to the Carol Award Coordinator, email@example.com at least two weeks prior to the deadline to be considered for entry.
5. All entering authors are required to check the “Accept” box on the entry form for the Contest Release, indicating acceptance of terms.
6. Entry may NOT have been previously entered in the Carol Award contest.
7. Publishers may not enter for their authors.
8. Entry must be an English edition.
9. Audio books cannot be entered.
10. Titles must be written from a traditional scriptural Christian world view.
11. Books not meeting the above-defined requirements will be disqualified and the entry fee forfeited.
1. The entering author shall submit an electronic copy in .pdf form of each title entered in the contest. Once book has been submitted, there are no changes allowed. Print copies will not be accepted.
2. The author is responsible for choosing the appropriate Carol Award category for their title.
3. Please note, if entering the Novella category, please list the name of your novella AND the name of the collection on the entry form. For example, My Story from This Great Novella Collection.
4. All authors will need the following in order to complete the online entry form:
- high resolution photo of book cover – must be no less than 300 dpi and at least 4” x 6” in size.
- editor names (up to 2)
- publishing house name and contact phone number or check QIP box
- electronic copy of the book(s) being entered in .pdf form
5. Entrants are responsible for submitting the .pdf entry in the correct category. Payment will be required to be paid via PayPal or credit card from the PayPal site (you do not have to have a PayPal account), prior to the contest entry deadline.
6. No title shall be entered in more than one category, with the exception of the Debut Novel category, in which case, the title may be entered in BOTH Debut Novel and the entry’s genre category, but may not be entered in the Debut Novel category alone.
7. Entries in the Debut Novel category are limited to authors who have never published a fiction title. Previous works of fiction, including novellas, and regardless of market, disqualify the author from the Debut Novel category. Novellas may not be entered in the Debut Novel category.
8. There is no limit to the number of eligible titles an author may enter in each category (except only one entry may be made in the Debut Novel category).
1. If less than seven (7) entries are received for any one category, that category will be closed, and the author’s alternate choice category will be used. In this event, ACFW will send the entries to the correct judges. No action is required from the entrant.
2. Authors shall understand and agree that all scores are final once submitted by the judge into the contest system. Scores are determined by each judge according to an established guideline/scoresheet. No altering of scores shall be permitted. The scores for each title will be averaged and the highest 7 scores will be announced as semi-finalists. Of these, the highest 3 scores in each category will be named as finalists. A discrepancy judge will be called upon if a judge feels a book should be disqualified or if the judges’ scores are inconsistent. Scores will not be returned.
3. The top three (3) titles in each category will continue to the final judging round. In the event of a tie, previous round scores will be used to break the tie.
- Debut Novel
- Historical (through Vietnam era)
- Historical Romance (through Vietnam era)
- Novella (15K-45K)
- Romantic Suspense
- Short Novel (45K-70K)
- Young Adult
Fee of $45 for ACFW Members per entry must be paid online via PayPal or credit card, or mail a money order or check made out to ACFW and sent to:
ACFW, P.O. Box 101066, Palm Bay, FL 32910-1066
DO NOT SEND CASH.
Authors who are not ACFW members will pay a fee of $115 per entry. You may join ACFW at the time you enter the contest, then pay the $45 per entry fee.
There are no refunds.
Completed entry forms, payment and electronic book submissions must be RECEIVED by March 15, 2023 at 4:00pm central.
Final round judges are subject to change. All judging is blind. Entrants’ names are only known by the coordinator.
Under no circumstances should comments given by a judge be used for publicity or promotional purposes.
• January 2, 2023 – Contest officially opens.
• March 15, 2023 – Contest closes at 4:00pm CENTRAL**. (Completed entry forms, payment and electronic book submissions must be RECEIVED by this date)
• June 2023 (DATE TBA) – Semi-Finalists announced. The top 7 entries from each category that has a minimum of 7 entries will be announced as Carol Semi-Finalists.
• The top 3 Carol Finalists for each category will be announced at the Thursday evening Milestone Dinner during the ACFW Annual Conference.
• Winners will be announced during the Awards Gala at ACFW’s national conference. The 2023 Conference will be held in St. Louis Missouri at the Hyatt Regency at The Arch, August 24-27, 2023.
**All contest entry information, appropriate fees, and books must be received by the contest coordinator no later than 4:00pm CENTRAL March 15, 2023. Failure to meet the appropriate deadline shall result in disqualification, and the entry fee shall be forfeited.
Questions may be directed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Each finalist will receive a silver pin.
Each winner will receive the Carol Award and a gold pin. Winning editors will receive a certificate.