How to Submit

Midland Authors now accepting submissions for annual literary awards

The Midland Authors is now accepting submissions for its annual literary awards, which will honor books by Midwestern authors published in 2023.

Please read the following rules carefully before submitting.

2024 Competition Rules

The Midland Authors Awards recognize book writing excellence by Midwestern authors. Three judges on each committee will select one winner that is best in that category. Category winners receive $750 and a recognition award. Judges may also deem up to three honorees as worthy of recognition. Each honoree will receive a commemorative award. All honors are given out at the awards banquet on May 14, 2024.  A book may be nominated by its author or publisher. The author must either reside in, be born in, or have strong ties to one of the 12 Midland states SMA represents: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin. If the author lives outside these states, please indicate any connection to the Midwest on the “comments” section of the entry form.

Follow the directions below to submit a book and pay the entry fee.

To enter this year’s competition, fill out the online entry form for each nominated book. A printed entry form must also accompany each book sent to each of the three judges in its category, and the entry form must also be mailed to SMA President Gerry Plecki, at the address listed for him in the judge’s category. Note: If your entry is in the Adult Nonfiction category, you will not need to send him an extra form—the entry form you will be mailing him with your book will suffice. This totals four printed forms per title (one to each of the three judges, and one to Gerry Plecki, Competition Coordinator) in addition to the online form which you will submit electronically. A copy of your book (with the required entry form) must be sent to each of the judges in your category. Entry forms must specify payment information. Books unaccompanied by completed entry forms will not be considered.

  • Each book entry must have a 2023 publication date that corresponds with its copyright date.
  • Each submission requires an entry fee of $30 for SMA members, $35 for nonmembers. The online form allows payment by PayPal or credit card.
  • To pay by a mail service, send a check made payable to the Society of Midland Authors and a printed copy of the entry form to Gerry Plecki, SMA President, 33 King Henry Road SE, Poplar Grove, Il.61065.  If you pay by check or money order, be sure to write the author’s name on the face of the check or money order so we can confirm the paid entry. A copy of the entry form should also accompany each book that you mail to each of the three judges in your category. For your convenience, a printable PDF of the submission form is available here.
  • We do not accept e-books; only print editions will be judged..
  • Books by deceased authors are eligible, providing that at least one of the authors meets the residency protocol and other requirements.
  •  A book may be entered in only one category, not several categories.
  • Submissions must be postmarked by Tuesday, January 30, 2024.  We urge early submissions.  Send entries to the appropriate judges under your category of Contest Judges listed below.
  • Make sure your book entry goes to judges in the proper category. (For example, all children’s books go to children’s categories, rather than Poetry or Biography and Memoir, which are for adult submissions only.) Books submitted to improper categories will be disqualified. Any judge who has a conflict of interest with a submission will be recused from discussion of that entry.

If you are unsure if your book should be entered in the History category or the Adult Nonfiction category, please use this rubric to assist in your decision- making process:

Sometimes authors are unsure about whether to enter a book in the non-fiction category or the history category. There is no clear distinction, but non-fiction books tend to be more about current issues (climate change, politics, social movements, etc.)—that are being debated right now. These books often require historical backgrounding that can sometimes be detailed, but recording and interpreting the events of the past are not their primary goals. Non-fiction books can also be informational—how to identify mushrooms, for example, or how to acquire a skill. History books do not generally refer to current events in detail and often not at all. A book of essays can be difficult to categorize because the contents can be part history, part nonfiction. In general, unless every essay is historical, essays more easily fit into the nonfiction category.

  • For your convenience, a printable PDF of the submission form is also available here.
  • For comments, questions, or to confirm an entry has reached the judges, contact Gerry Plecki at [email protected]


SMA 2024 Competition Judges

Children’s Nonfiction

Marlene Targ Brill (Chair), 314 Lawndale, Wilmette, IL 60091

Jingmai O’Connor, 600 S Dearborn Apt 904, Chicago IL 60605

Jill Esbaum, 5545 270th St. Dixon, IA. 52745

Children’s Fiction

Sandra Renner, (Chair) 420 Summit Ave., Suite 401, St. Paul, MN 55102

Laura Hirshfield, 3318 Noyes Street, Evanston, IL 60201

W. Nikola-Lisa. 4908 N. Paulina Street, Chicago, IL 60640-3419


Joseph Gustaitis (Chair), 1824 West Erie St., Chicago, IL 60622

Greg Borzo, 520 S. State St, Apt. 1009, Chicago IL60605

David Witter, 4417 N. La Porte, Chicago Il. 60630

Adult Nonfiction

Gerry Plecki (Chair), 33 King Henry Rd. SE, Poplar Grove, Il 61065

Kathleen Hale, 1656 Sargent Place, Los Ángeles CA 90026

James Dunlap Nowlan, 938½ N. Main St., Princeton IL 61356


Bob Remer, (Chair) 5840 N. Kenmore, Chicago, IL 60660

Hugh Eakin, 1041 Grand Avenue, Box 130, Saint Paul, MN 55105

Donna Urbikas, 33 W. Ontario St., Unit 19E, Chicago, IL  60654


Sun Yung Shin (Chair), 5245 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55417

Nandi Comer, PO Box 211064, Detroit, MI 48221

Emilio Degrazia, 211 W. Wabasha St. Winona, MN 55987

Adult Fiction

Rita Woods (Chair), 13925 Acorn Ridge Dr, Homer Glen, IL 60491

Andrew Graff, PO Box 706.Cedarville, OH 45314

Wendy Schuchart, 1690 Forest Glen Drive, Green Bay, WI 54304