For The Contest Year: 01/01/2023 – 12/31/2023
1. METHOD OF ENTRY: All entries MUST be submitted via the online entry form under the “Contest” tab of CWA’s website (catwriters.com). Entrants may then directly upload supporting document files. CWA must receive the entry fee for an entry to be complete. For more information on how to enter, please see the sheet titled, “How to enter,” later in this document.
2. COMPLIANCE WITH RULES: EVERY ENTRANT MUST COMPLY WITH ALL RULES. Before submitting your entries, please CAREFULLY read ALL the rules, paying close attention to the Category-Specific Rules that apply to your entries. Failure to abide by the contest’s rules may result in the disqualification of your entry (or entries) and loss of the fees paid for those entries. If you are unsure of the meaning of the rules or have questions about following the Contest rules, please contact the Contest Chairperson, Katherine Kern, at email@example.com. Phone calls to the Contest Chair will not be acknowledged or returned. The Contest Chair will notify Entrants of the disqualification via the email provided on the entry.
3. CORRECTING ENTRY DEFICIENCIES: Entries missing any required element (i.e., completed Entry Form, URLs for entries, correct entry fees, etc.) will be considered incomplete. The Contest Chair will attempt to notify entrants of deficiencies so those deficiencies may be remedied. However, entries still deficient at the end of the entry period will be disqualified, and the contest fees are nonrefundable.
4. ADJUDICATION: JUDGES’ DECISIONS ARE FINAL. The Contest Chair, CWA’s President, and the CWA Council will adjudicate situations not explicitly addressed in these rules. However, the Contest Chair, CWA’s President, and the CWA Council cannot challenge, alter, or overturn the judges’ decisions, except in cases where a judge violates the judging agreement. By entering, the entrant agrees to abide by the judges’ scoring decisions, even if they disagree.
5. ENTRY ERRORS: An entrant is assumed to know where best to submit his or her work. If the Contest Chair determines an entrant accidentally entered his or her work in the wrong category, the Contest Chair will attempt to inform the entrant by email. An entrant may then confirm the Entrant-selected category or select another category for that entry. Without the entrant’s express consent to change the entered category, the Contest Chair may not move an entry to another category. However, the Contest Chair is not responsible for verifying the entrant selected the best category for each entry; choosing the best category for an entry is solely the entrant’s responsibility. The Contest Chair is not responsible for entries one or more judges feel are submitted in the incorrect category. Judges will score these entries as best they can in the category selected by the entrant.
6. SELECTION OF JUDGES: Only CWA Professional Members may judge the regular categories in the CWA Communications Contest. Regular Category judging assignments are made by the Contest Chair. A call for judges will be sent out via email so judges may specify which categories they prefer to judge and any categories they prefer not to judge. (Judges will NOT be assigned to any category they enter.)
7. JUDGING – REGULAR CATEGORIES: Entries in the Regular Categories are reviewed and judged independently by three Professional CWA members; these three scores are averaged to determine the results.
8. JUDGING – SPECIAL AWARDS: Entries for each Special Award are reviewed, judged, and selected by a single, independent judge who is neither a CWA member nor affiliated with the Award’s sponsor. The identities of Special Award judges are not disclosed until the Awards ceremony.
9. JUDGING TRANSPARENCY: Judging criteria for each Category are available to everyone (including entrants) as a document downloadable from the CWA website under the “Contest” tab. Judging criteria are used by the judges in scoring and serve as an essential resource for entrants to submit entries according to the contest rules. Entrants should review the judging criteria carefully before submitting their entries!
10. MAXIMUM NUMBER OF ENTRIES: While we recommend only submitting one’s best work, an individual entrant may submit an unlimited number of entries per category and to the contest as a whole.
11. CHOOSE THE BEST CATEGORY FOR EACH ENTRY: Each piece of work (such as a book, article, blog/website, etc.) may be entered in only ONE Regular Contest Category. A work (or substantially the same work in terms of being more than 80% the same) may NOT be entered in multiple categories. Choose the most appropriate category for each entry.
Examples of entries that might be 80% or more similar in content and may only be entered once:
- If the content of a blog and social media page are 80% similar, only one may be entered – preferably where the material was published first (to enter both social media and blog content, they may reflect each other, but not be substantially the same).
- Calendars may be entered in specialty books OR as a series of photographs, illustrations, cartoons, or graphic designs.
- A book of stories (or chapters) may only be submitted as a book OR as individual stories/chapters in the applicable categories, but not both. Only the author(s) may be listed as entrant(s).
The only exceptions to this are:
- All Visual Arts (Image) Category entries (K.1 – K.7), may be entered in both the appropriate image Category and again as an integral part of a writing entry (for example, as part of a print or online article, book, etc.). For example, the illustrations in a children’s book may be entered in the K.6 Illustration Series category, while the book as a whole may also be entered in the F.5 Book: For Children and Young Adults – Illustration-focused category.
- An article/essay/story/image that appears as part of a blog or website may be submitted as an individual entity in its appropriate Category. At the same time, the writer may also enter the complete blog/website in the proper Blog (H.1 – H.2) Category.
12. SPECIAL AWARDS FOR ANY GIVEN WORK. An Entrant may submit as many Entries for Special Awards as they wish. The same entry may be submitted in as many Special Award categories as it qualifies for. To be considered for a Special Award, an entry does NOT have to be entered in a Regular Category.
13. ENTRANT ELIGIBILITY: The Contest is open to ANY person, worldwide, CWA member or non-member, whose work meets the requirements of any CWA Regular or Special Award Contest Category. However, entrants must be the authors or creators (in the case of art) of the entered work. An editor may not be listed as an entrant in any category. Additionally, AI-generated content is ineligible for entry into the contest.
14. SUBMITTING ON OTHERS’ BEHALF: Anyone may submit an entry on behalf of an author, artist, and/or organization. However, Awards are only presented to the author(s), organization and/or artist of the Entry (ie. the entrant). If a submitter (whether a member or non-member) enters an entry on behalf of someone other than the submitter, the fee owed for that entry depends upon the entrant’s membership status, not the submitter’s membership status. Therefore, if the entrant is an organization, and a CWA member isn’t included as an additional author/entrant, the submitter must pay the nonmember rate even if a member of the organization is a CWA member.
15. ENTRY ELIGIBILITY – PUBLICATION DATES: All Contest entries must be originally published work (including self-published work). Entries must have been first published or broadcasted (or for the FINE ART Category, created) between January 1, 2023, and December 31, 2023. Entrants must specify a Publication Venue and a Publication Date for each entry. Verification of an entry’s publication date must be included with the entry (except in cases where the date is provided within the body of the entry). Failure to provide proof of publication within the contest year will result in the entry being disqualified.
16. ENTRY ELIGIBILITY – PREVIOUSLY-PUBLISHED WORK: All Entries must be newly published or broadcast (or, for Fine Arts, created) between January 1, 2023, and December 31, 2023, and NOT previously published in any medium. Entries including reprinted or edited content from another year are not allowed.
17. ENTRY ELIGIBILITY – ENTRY CONTENTS: Entries in all Regular Categories and Special Awards must contain at least two-thirds cat-specific content unless the category-specific rules state otherwise (some regular categories require entries to be more than 80% cat-specific), or it will be disqualified. Please see the, “2024 CWA Communications Contest Descriptions and Category-specific Rules,” for details on how much of an entry must be devoted to cats. In any case, cats must be the focus of the entry (a generic “pet” focus or reference to cats is not sufficient). Additionally, AI-generated content is ineligible for entry into the contest; all entries must be written or created (in the case of art) by the entrant.
18. ENTRY ELIGIBILITY – NON-ENGLISH-LANGUAGE ENTRIES: Entries including content in languages other than English will be accepted, but they must be accompanied by a complete English translation of the portion of the entry written in another language. Please remember that the judges cannot judge the quality of the translation; they will base their determinations solely on the content of the translation. To submit non-English content: Using the online Entry Forms, provide the original (non-English) Entry in an uploaded file, specified on the online Entry Form, plus provide your translated Entry in an uploaded file.
19. AWARD CRITERIA – CERTIFICATE OF EXCELLENCE (FINALIST): To be named a Finalist (winner of a Certificate of Excellence) in a Regular Contest Category, an individual entry must score an average of 90 or higher based on the scores submitted independently by the three judges for that category. COE winners (who will receive their certificates via Mail) will be announced prior to the Awards ceremony. Numerical scores will never be revealed to Entrants under any circumstances.
20. AWARD CRITERIA – REGULAR CATEGORIES: The Finalist(s) with the highest score above 90 in each Regular Category will be awarded the CWA MUSE™ Medallion for that Category. If more than one entry garners the highest score in a tie, all the highest-scoring entries will win a MUSE™ Medallion for that Category. MUSE™ Medallions are presented at the CWA Annual Awards Ceremony. If winners are not in attendance, the Awards are mailed to the winner after the ceremony.
21. AWARD CRITERIA – SPECIAL AWARDS: Special Award winners will not be notified of their win before the CWA Annual Awards Banquet. Special Award winners receive recognition (cash prizes, commemorative items) as specified in the Special Awards descriptions (available for download on the CWA website under the “Contest” tab). Special Awards will be presented at the CWA Annual Awards Banquet. If winners are not in attendance, their Awards will be mailed to them after the Banquet.
22. LIMIT TO CERTIFICATES OF EXCELLENCE/MUSES PER ENTRY: Each multi-entrant entry earning a COE or Muse Medallion will receive a maximum of two copies of that printed COE or Muse Medallion. COEs and Muses will be mailed to the primary entrant listed on the entry – to distribute to the other entrants as they see fit.
23. PUBLICATION OF WINNERS LISTS: Immediately after the Annual Awards Ceremony, a list of all winners will be published via the Digital Meow newsletter (for CWA members) and on the CWA website (www.catwriters.com). Please do not contact the Contest Chair to ask if you won. You may request a printed copy of the winners’ list by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to the Contest Chair:
10500 Silkwood Court
Saint Louis, MO 63114
24. CONTACTING ENTRANTS BY EMAIL: Should the Contest Chair need to contact an entrant about his or her entry or entries (in cases of deficient entries, issues with the category entered, fees outstanding, etc), the Contest Chair will contact the entrant via the email address entered on the entry form. Entrants, please ensure that you enter an email address you check on a regular basis. If the Contest Chair doesn’t receive a response by the end of the entry period, an entrant’s entries may be disqualified.
25. CONTACTING THE CONTEST CHAIR BY EMAIL: If you are unsure of the meaning of the rules or have questions about following the Contest rules, please contact the Contest Chairperson, Katherine Kern, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone calls to the Contest Chair will not be acknowledged or returned. Additionally, please do not depend upon social media or groups.io (messaging, tagging, etc) to contact the Contest Chair. All inquiries must be directed toward the Contest Chair personally via email (email@example.com).
DEADLINES and PAYMENTS
1. CONTEST DEADLINE: All Regular Category and Special Award Entries and Entry fees MUST BE received by Saturday, May 4, 2024 (except in the case of paper checks, which must be postmarked by May 4), to qualify for the 2024 Contest [For The Contest Year: 01/01/2023 – 12/31/2023]. Late entries will not be accepted: no exceptions allowed. Please note that the Contest Chair will not extend the entry period past May 4th under any circumstances.
2. CONTEST FEES: No entry will be logged or confirmed until the correct fees are received. If you mail a check to pay your entry fees, please keep this in mind! Entries with outstanding fees not received by the entry deadline will be disqualified. To be considered a CWA member and receive the discounted entry fees for the Communications Contest, one must be a member of CWA and current on dues for 2024 as of 03/01/24. Additionally, to receive the judge’s discounted rate, one must be a Professional member of CWA and return the “Judging Expectations and Agreement for Discounted Member Judge Rate,” form to the Contest Chair by May 7th, 2024.
Contest fees for the 2024 Contest [For The Contest Year: 01/01/2023 – 12/31/2023]:
Regular category entry, CWA member as of 03/01/24: $20.00
Regular category entry, Non-member: $30.00
Regular category entry, CWA Pro-member volunteering to judge: $10.00
Special Award entry, CWA member as of 03/01/24: $15.00
Special Award entry, Non-member: $30.00
3. PAYING ELECTRONICALLY: You may pay your entry fees via PayPal, Stripe, or by credit card by the contest deadline. To pay electronically, please follow the instructions for your specific payment method on the payment page.
4. PAYING BY CHECK: If paying by check, please send your check (in US funds, payable to CWA) to:
Katherine Kern, CWA Treasurer
10500 Silkwood Court
Saint Louis, MO 63114
Mailed checks must be postmarked by May 4, 2024. Entries associated with checks postmarked after May 4th will be disqualified.
HOW TO ENTER
This sheet presents a quick overview of how to enter the 2024 CWA Communications Contest. Important rules for entries are contained in the “Official General Rules,” above. Please read the general rules and relevant category-specific rules before submitting your entries. Failure to abide by the rules may result in the disqualification of your entries and forfeiture of entry fees paid for those entries.
Entrants must submit their work with the online entry form! You must submit an online entry form and upload your entry in digital form.
Between March 31 and May 4, 2024, visit CWA’s website (www.catwriters.com) and click on the “Contest” tab. Read the information and instructions (including the document entitled “Category-specific Rules & Descriptions”), and follow the links to the appropriate online form for your Entry or Entries. When filling out each Entry Form, use the “file upload” function to specify the file containing your Entry.
If you submit multiple Regular Category Entries, you must fill out the form separately for EACH entry.
If you submit an individual Entry for more than one Special Award, only fill out the Special Awards Entry Form once for that entry. Click the checkboxes for the Awards you want your Entry considered.
ALL ONLINE ENTRIES MUST BE JUDGE-FRIENDLY: A judge must not be required to set up any kind of account to view an entry. If sign-in credentials are needed to access an entry, provide a username and/or password for access.
Please use https://bitly.com to shorten URLs and test all URLs before submission. For instructions on how to shorten your links using Bitly, please visit https://catwriters.com/bitly. If your submitted entry contains non-functional links, your entry will be deemed incomplete (see #3: CORRECTING ENTRY DEFICIENCIES for details of what this means). If your entry appears on a website other than your own, you may submit a .pdf or .jpg of the entry. This way, your entry may be judged even if your work is removed from the website (weeks may pass between the time you enter and when the judges score your entry).
To access the General Rules in Google Doc (and printable) form, please visit: 2024 CWA Communications Contest General Rules.