The Crime Writers' Association


Difficulties submitting? Here’s what to do!

Something’s gone wrong when submitting for a CWA competition? Please read on before panicking!

OK, we know it can be fraught when it’s coming up to the deadline for the Debut Dagger or the Margery Allingham.

And then what happens? You finally submit and despite all your checks, you realise you’ve left your name on your MS, or that you can’t work out what to do about the word count, or that – horror of horrors – you can’t get PayPal to play ball.

What to do?

First off, please be reassured: we want your entry, we want to help you and we will do everything we can to make your submission happen. The really important thing is, if you hit a hitch, you let us know before the deadline. There will be somebody manning the CWA inbox (OK, me) until well after 6pm on Thursday but even so, if you’ve sent an email explaining the situation before 6pm and you don’t hear that evening, we’ll be in touch as soon as possible afterwards and will accept your entry if at all possible. Email us.

If you don’t get an answer on that one, and in any case from Friday 1 March use:

So, let’s take those scenarios above for a start.

  • You’ve left your name on your manuscript, or some other blooper to do with the MS.

Oops. Probably not irredeemable, though, as long as you let us know asap after submitting, please.

  • You’re not sure whether you’ve put in the total word count, just the novel section word count or indeed which you should have put in!

Relax. We don’t mind which. The important thing is that the word count for the MS itself isn’t even a word over 3,000 excluding the title and any chapter headings. For the synopsis you have 1,500 words this year.

  • PayPal problems
    If you think your payment has gone through, but you haven’t an ID number, then in that field write something without spaces, all in caps, to indicate you’ve paid. We check every entry against actual payments anyway. The reason the field is there is to make it easy for us to confirm your payment if you’ve submitted using a different name from the PayPal account used. Especially if that’s the case, please send a separate email letting us know what’s happened and what name the PayPal account is in, the title of your entry and the day you submitted it. The important thing is that you do pay before the deadline. The PayPal account to pay if you get separated from the website is .
  • If you can’t pay through PayPal for whatever reason, and we do want you to try that avenue first, please, then you can pay direct by bank transfer. Details:
    Crime Writers’ Association
  • Please write in the PayPal id field: PAIDBYBANKTRANSFER and make sure the payment comes through by the deadline. If for some reason that’s impossible, email to let us know. You must email us before the deadline. We’ll take a view over whether we can accept your entry if payment comes after the deadline; we can’t guarantee it but we are predisposed to help!

The deadline is 28 February 6pm GMT, i.e. 18.00 here in the UK.

  • Horrors! You’ve submitted a previous draft, not the latest, lovingly crafted and reworked one.

We’ll do our best to help here, but the important thing is to get in touch asap: If the work hasn’t already gone out to be read, we’ll aim to replace it. If that’s not possible, we’ll let you know and you’ll have the chance to pay for and submit a second entry with the same title, even if it’s after the deadline – provided you submitted the first entry, and told us about the error, before 6pm on 28 February.

  • That’s a point! Can I submit multiple entries?

Provided each is paid for, yes.

  • Can I re-submit an MS from a previous year that I’ve worked on since?

Yes, unless it was shortlisted.

  • My personal submission catastrophe isn’t covered here. What should I do?

Email We’ll help if we can. But we must see evidence that you’ve done all you could to submit and pay for your entry before the deadline.


We wish you all luck in our competition, and hope that your submission at least goes smoothly.

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