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Review contest and entry rules

How It Works

Do you have an idea you've been dying to bring to life or a story you've been keeping for a rainy day? The JNC Original Light Novel contest is providing aspiring writers an opportunity to get their work digitally published with artwork and receive a cash prize. There’s even an opportunity to have your work adapted into a manga by Kadokawa. 


The contest will consist of two rounds and then a final selection in which your light novel will be judged by a group from the JNC staff, Kadokawa Editorial Staff, and others to be announced at a later date. If your submission passes the first round of judging, then the second, it is then you will be considered for the Grand Prize, First Prize, Runner Up Prize and BOOK☆WALKER Prize. 


First Round Selection Announcement: March 31st

Second Round Selection Announcement: May 31st

Final Selection: Anime Expo 2024


This is your chance to shine, so go ahead and make your mark on the world of storytelling. Good luck, and happy writing! 

Additional Prizes

  • All submissions that pass first round will receive an evaluation sheet
  • All submissions that pass second round will get their first chapter or two streamed on J-Novel Club and subscribers will be able to vote on their favorites 
  • All submissions that pass second round will get to participate in an online group seminar with Kadokawa light novel editors to give advice on writing


  • Your work must be submitted in English.
  • You must be a legal adult in your country of residence (able to sign contracts)
  • Your work must not have been previously published for profit or posted on websites with monetization enabled.
  • Your work may have been submitted to other competitions, however to be selected for a prize you must be able to sign an exclusive publishing contract.
  • Your work must be at least 35,000 words, and no more than 100,000 words.

Meet our Guest Judges

Carlo Zen

I am Carlo Zen, a light novel author most well known for "The Saga of Tanya the Evil". With a career spanning about 10 years, I often find myself in jobs that demand the creation of stories.

Akiko Fujita

I have been working as an editor for novels and manga at KADOKAWA for about 12 years. Some of my notable works that might be familiar to this audience include "The Saga of Tanya the Evil," "Overlord," and "Log Horizon."

Kim Morrissy (Frog-kun)

My name is Kim Morrissy, also known as Frog-kun on the Internet. My writings about anime and light novels have appeared on Anime News Network, Crunchyroll News, and other places. I’m also a Japanese-English translator; my translation of From Truant to Anime Screenwriter: My Path to “Anohana” and “The Anthem of the Heart” by Mari Okada is published by J-Novel Club. I have a personal blog where I write about light novels and their anime adaptations.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Will I retain the rights to my submissions?

You retain all rights to your submissions, with two exceptions: 1. For your work to be passed through the second round, you must agree for J-Novel Club to be able to stream for free at most 30% of your work as a preview and as part of our reader feedback portion of the judging. 2. If your submission is selected for one of the prizes, in order to receive the prize money, you will need to sign an exclusive publishing contact with J-Novel Club for the work. However that contract will have a limited term of 5 years, which can only be renewed upon agreement of both parties.

How does the prize money work?

The prize money will be considered an advance on royalties paid upon signing of a publishing contract with J-Novel Club, and will be paid out in full upon signing of the contract (minus any required taxes, depending on country of residence).

Is it guaranteed that there will be works selected for each prize?

No. For example, the Grand Prize will only be awarded to a work which Kadokawa is interested in making a manga adaptation of. However we are hopeful that we will receive many worthy submissions! Only the Grand Prize and the Bookwalker Prize has a maximum of 1 prize. There may be multiple First Prize and Runner-up award winners.

My novel is based on another franchise (aka fan fiction), can I submit it?

No. You must own the rights to your novel and any characters that may appear in it. If your submission is deemed to be a derivative work of some other franchise, character, or brand, it may be disqualified.

May I include illustrations in my submission?

No. Please submit only text. More details about the submission format will be provided with the submission form when submissions are opened.

May I submit a story which is incomplete?

It's recommended that your submission be a complete story, with a beginning, middle, and ending. It's great if you can also setup for a longer series, but a submission which does not contain a complete story will be judged negatively.

I've previously self-published my story, can I submit it?

If you published your story in a way where it was sold for money to a general audience, that it is not eligible for this contest. If you published it on a website or personal blog which was not monetized, than you can submit it.

What about if it was a reward for patreons, or other non-traditional monetization methods?

These grey areas can be a tricky judgement call. We may evaluate such things on a case by case basis. In general, if the money was received for the novel specifically, that is not allowed. If the money was received more generally to support your work as a writer but not for a specific novel, than it is probably okay. However in any case, we would require you remove the work from being available upon signing a publishing contract.

Can I submit multiple works?

Yes, you may, as long as each work satisfies the requirements. However each will be judged independently, so you should not submit a series of novels. 

Can I resubmit my work more than once if I want to update it?

No. Once you submit a certain work, resubmissions are not accepted. If you submit a substantially similar work twice, both may be disqualified.

What is the BOOK☆WALKER Prize?

The BOOK☆WALKER Prize is a prize sponsored specifically by BOOK☆WALKER, which will get exclusive promotion and an exclusive sales window on BOOK☆WALKER. BOOK☆WALKER staff will help to select the work which will receive the BOOK☆WALKER Prize in addition to the other judges.


BOOK☆WALKER Global is an eBook store that sells over 35,000 English light novels and manga offered from publishers like KADOKAWA, Yen Press, J-Novel Club, Kodansha Comics, Seven Seas Entertainment, and more. The service not only offers eBooks, but it has also been made a priority to expand the catalog with audiobooks and more, as well as the planning of promotions that cater to international audiences.