American Christian Fiction Writers
Cara Putman

Cara Putman is a woman living a dream. Barbour's Heartsong Presents has released six of her books, including Canteen Dreams, a WWII historical set in Nebraska that won the ACFW 2008 Book of the Year for Short Historical. She also has written romantic suspense for Harlequin's Love Inspired Suspense, contemporary mysteries for Guidepost, a historical romantic suspense for Summerside, and the Complete Idiots Guide to Business Law. Cara is an attorney, wife, mom to four, homeschool teacher, occasional professor at Purdue, active at her church, and all around crazy woman. Crazy about God, her husband and her kids. Visit her at

ACFW Happenings

Awards: Will You Participate?

Fiction Finder

It’s that time of year: contest season. Whether you’re an aspiring writer or already published, ACFW offers contests you want to be sure to enter.

The Carol Award, named in honor of Carol Johnson, is for published authors, while the Genesis Award is for yet-to-be-published authors.

As an unpublished author, I entered the Genesis Award. I wanted to learn how I was doing as an aspiring writer. Had I crafted an interesting story? Were my characters compelling? Did I create a setting that was rich and inviting? Did readers care about the story, or did they race to put it down?

Though I didn’t final, I got feedback that helped me evaluate how I was doing in each of those areas.

Then as a published author, I entered my books in the Carol Award. The reasons differed, because I knew my idea and characters were compelling enough to attract an agent and editor’s attention. Now I wanted to know how my writing compared with my peers. One book tied for first place, another finaled, and others didn’t place.

Should you enter?

That’s something only you can decide. First, evaluate your reasons. If you are unpublished and entering the Genesis just to get your manuscript in front of a certain editor or agent, that might be reason enough. If you want to see how you stack up against other writers and learn areas to improve your writing, that would be another reason. The reasons will be as individual as the writers. For the price of the entry fee, you will receive a minimum of three detailed critiques of your writing.

The Carol Award allows you to get a feel for what readers think―but only if you want the feedback. Because authors are different in what they want, you can choose to receive a scorecard.

Either way, I hope you’ll plan to join us in Dallas on September 22 for the Awards Gala at the ACFW conference.