Operation First Novel

Win $15,000 and Get Published

Jerry on OFN


Are you the next new voice in Christian fiction?

Entering Operation First Novel might be the way you’re discovered. This annual contest is open to Christian Writers Guild members who’ve not yet had a book published by a traditional, royalty-paying publisher.

Not a member? Become one here.

The winner, to be announced in February 2015, receives $15,000, plus publication.

Submit Your Novel

2013 Winner

The Covered Deep by Brandy Vallance was announced February 13, at the Christian Writers Guild “Writing for the Soul” conference, as winner of the 2013 Operation First Novel. Vallance receives $20,000, plus publication by contest co-sponsor Worthy Publishing.

2013 OFN winner 350Vallance, a mother of two from Colorado Springs, is the first graduate of the Christian Writers Guild’s Apprentice writing course to win the annual contest.

In her novel, an incurably romantic bookworm from Appalachia wins an essay contest and travels to England and the Holy Land in search of the perfect romantic hero.

Jeana Ledbetter, vice president for editorial at Worthy, says, “A strong narrative voice telling a captivating story is more important to us than perceived marketability or a distinctive genre. We are looking for fiction that moves us.”

Vallance says, “Every summer as a child, I visited family in Southern Ohio and Kentucky. The cadence and beauty of that region planted seeds that became Bianca’s backstory. When I merged that with my love of the Victorian era and all things British, I had the beginnings of The Covered Deep.

“Though I had the beginnings of my novel, I still didn’t have the tools I needed to write it. The Apprentice course taught me to write scenes and the importance of meeting deadlines. I developed a thick skin. I began to understand the business side of writing.

“The Apprentice course led to my first staff writing job and 50 published articles. That led to other writing milestones, which lead to Operation First Novel. But none of it would have happened without the confidence and knowledge the Guild gave me. I can truly say that the Christian Writers Guild taught me how to write.”

2013 OFN winner Brandy Vallance with cover 350CWG president Dave Sheets says writers should be inspired by Vallance’s perseverance. “She rewrote her novel 10 times over the course of 14 years. Learning your craft and perfecting a story take time and dedication.”

Since graduating from the Guild’s Apprentice course, Vallance has served on staff with Miss Kitty’s Journal, a magazine focusing on the Victorian era. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, she won its 2012 Genesis Contest for historical romance.

Find out more about Writing For the Soul.

    Contest Information


    • Must be a member by August 29, 2014
    • Membership must be valid through February 28, 2015
    • Must be between 75,000 and 100,000 words
    Read Contest Regulations