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Announcing the Winner of the 2020 Writing Contest

We at love a good blurb that compels us to read the book. Capturing people’s attention in as few words as possible is the name of the game.

A few months ago, we launched a writing contest that is all about book blurbs. The basis of the competition is simple: Write a blurb about a completely made-up, nonexistent book that would make people want to read the story. The person with the best blurb would win $500.

The prompt

To take part in the contest, all every participant had to do was...

Write and submit a back cover blurb of 100 words or fewer that sets the stage for a novel, establishes the characters, and raises the stakes in a way that makes readers want to find out more.

As it turns out, there are many of you out there whose inner writer had been waiting for an opportunity to share your creativity. We received a whopping 3,847 submissions from all over the world! From thriller and horror to romance and coming of age, we read blurbs of every genre imaginable.

Our team of judges evaluated each blurb based on its creativity, writing style, and ability to get readers hooked. With so many blurbs to go through, finding the best one was like looking for a needle in a haystack (or your car keys when you’re rushing out the door). Thousands of blurbs later, we’re happy to say that we’ve found the winner of the Writing Contest.

And the winner is...

Julia Kiger from the United States!

Julia’s blurb takes us into a future in which Earth has been destroyed. Besides setting an intriguingly dystopian atmosphere for her story, she piqued our interest about Cycle the robot and what it would discover regarding the state of humanity a couple hundred years after the annihilation of our planet.

Congratulations, Julia, on being the winner of the 2020 Writing Contest. We really hope you’ll turn your blurb into a novel of your own one day.

The top 10 blurbs

Want to read our favorite entries? We’ve compiled the top 10 blurbs below for your reading pleasure. In order, they are...

1. WINNER: Julia Kiger, United States (Science Fiction)

M.A.R.S. Cycle was launched into space in 2030 with the sole purpose of exploring uncharted territories. It was programmed to be naturally curious, yet cautious, and able to take care of itself. But after the destruction of the Earth in 2052, Cycle shut down, unable to operate any longer. Days, months, decades passed. Cycle remained unresponsive. Over time it grew to be buried under the sands of Mars. It was a lonely life, even for a robot. That is, until Cycle came back online after 268 years, now with a burning question. What happened to the humans?

2. Christy Swift, United States (Science Fiction)

The Lost Star Dance Troupe are putting the “super” in “supernova”! It’s all fun and nebulas for Captain Footwork and his crew... until they discover why this sugary-sweet chunk of the galaxy is so easy to entertain. Escapism is extra tempting when reality includes sub-par dining options in a drone dystopia controlled from the other end of a wormhole. What this system does have going for it: a legitimate ruler jonesing for a chance to prove herself, a people-pleasing high-end replicator with abandonment issues, alkaline water, and six dancing fools who may have finally found a way home.

3. Theron Arnold, United States (Fantasy)

The ultimate vacation? How about living another person’s life for, say, a month? For conventional middle school math teacher Tabitha Drift, the concept isn’t just another enjoyable daydream but a literal reality, as she spends her otherwise uneventful summers passing harmlessly from one body to another. That is, until she infiltrates the form of Dr. Gabriela Thorn, a celebrated federal judge and, unbeknownst to Ms. Drift, her beloved father’s mistress.

4. Emily Bulfin, Ireland (Crime)

I’m sure you know how it goes. The murders, the detective, the suspects. The bad guy that loses and the good guy that wins. Don’t you get sick of it? Winning all the time? It’s time to rebel. Sleep on the floor instead of your bed. Put the milk in before the cereal. Commit murder. It’s all the same. I’m not crazy. I’m normal. I think that’s what scares them the most. The world doesn’t fear people who have everything. It fears people who have nothing, and nothing to lose. I hope you’re ready to see the bad guy win.

5. Donald J. Bingle, United States (Horror)

Now that you’ve started reading this blurb, it’s too late for you. The death horror has attached. I know—it’s gotten me. I’ve found no way to escape it. My last chance is to pass it to you as I die to save my own soul. Please don’t blame me; I’m not evil. You can’t conceive what it will do to you, what it will make you do. Not yet. The only hope I can offer is this chronology of my last unholy days of horror and desperation. Read carefully. I pray you can find some clue I missed.

6. Melissa Maize, United States (Science Fiction)

Dylan has given up. After a decade of struggling to make it as a writer, he’s decided to throw in the towel and go to law school. Drowning his sorrows on the night of his decision, he’s jumped while walking home. But Dylan’s attacker looks like an older, rougher version of someone he once knew—his imaginary childhood friend, Tom Atoketchup. Feeling he’s been cheated out of the childhood dream he and Dylan shared, Tom is out to change Dylan’s mind—by whatever means necessary. Dylan might be ready to let go, but Tom has decided it’s time to hold on.

7. Hannah Burgess, Australia (Coming of Age)

How many people do you need to kill to make your parents proud? I’m asking for a friend.


Some shoes are too big to fill. Mortem’s parents together have the highest death count in the Northern Hemisphere. As a kid, that can be a lot to live up to. Nothing is ever good enough for them, no amount of money, murder, or manipulation. If he is going to prove himself worthy, he’ll need to start thinking big. He’ll need a plan more ambitious than anything the world has seen before, and he’ll need to execute it with surgical precision.

8. Sarah Robin, United Kingdom (Thriller)

Alexander James—an ordinary name for an extraordinary young man. A nineteen-year-old first-year student at Oxford University, England, Alexander had successfully carried out three murders. Nothing was going to stop him achieving his ultimate goal—to become the most notorious serial killer of all time. He was doing things nobody had ever done before, and his strategy and sophistication made him confident he would never be caught. With the nation in fear of a murderer roaming free, they put out desperate measures to find him. If only they knew what was to come.

9. Taylor Macoritto, Canada (Mystery)

Downtown Chicago. In the heart of the city’s upscale shopping district, Michigan Avenue, Veronica Melnyk suddenly drops dead during broad daylight, much to the shock and confusion of the thousands of bystanders around her. The police investigation uncovers an ever-revealing web ravelled through family secrets of sex, addiction, alternate identities and criminal pasts. It becomes apparent that not only is Veronica’s death no accident, but members of the Melnyk family may not know who each other really are. Some of them, more so than others, want to keep it that way.

10. Eir Mist, Sweden (Mystery)

It’s late, and Erin is on her way home from her son’s funeral. Stumbling along a hill’s ridge, she’s startled when a faint light suddenly appears in the middle of the lake below. Grief overpowering fear, she decides to swim out and have a look—the worst that could happen is that she drowns, so who cares? But she doesn’t drown. Breathing in water as if it were air, she watches her son play inside the cottage standing on the bottom of the lake. She steps inside. He runs into her arms... Why doesn’t it feel like a reunion?

Umm… wow. These top 10 (out of 3,847!) were phenomenal. Thank you to all who participated.

Want more?

There are more gems from other participants that you may enjoy. Let us know by sending us a message if you would love to read them. If there is demand, we’ll find a way to display more great blurbs.



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