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Welcome to The Literary Pig's blog - a safe haven for all those afflicted with
the unbearable urge to write.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Novel competitions

Are you writing a novel, or perhaps you've just finished a first draft, then have you thought of entering a Novel Competition? There are various competitions running throughout the year. Some require a finished manuscript, whereas others are for openings and you just need to have completed the opening chapters. Winning or even making the shortlist can start to nudge open those publishing doors and maybe a chance to leapfrog the slush piles. It's often rumoured that literary agents check out the shortlisted writers for these competitions. Several competitions offer publishing deals as the top prize, others have cash prizes of the chance to receive expert mentoring and possible representation. A friend of mine was shortlisted in the Myriad Writing Retreat Competition (run annually) and then approached and signed by a literary agent. Last month's Writing Magazine also featured an interview with author Lisa Cutts, who again found success with the Myriad competition. Winning this in 2012 led to her signing with agent Catherine Summerhayes (William Morris) and also signing a two book-deal with Myriad Editions. Her debut novel 'Never Forget' is out in July.

The Indoor Writer recently entered her children's novel into a novel opening competition for adults and children's writing. She didn't make the longlist of 20, but she did make the final 32 (so the final 16 for the children's category). Out of >400 submissions this was a positive endorsement for the story and a serious nudge to do SOMETHING with the completed manuscript! (I keep nagging...)

Here are some competitions for novels on my radar, in order of closing dates.
But be warned these competitions are not cheap to enter...

Cinnamon Press NOVEL Competition: click here for details
Closes 30 June 2013

  • Prize: Publication & advance (on royalities) of £400
  • Fee £12
  • Need to submit first 10,000 words

Lightship Publishing FIRST CHAPTER Competition: click here for details
Closes 1 July 2013

  • Prize: 3 mentoring sessions with publishing experts (author, agent, publisher), chance for representation.
  • Fee £16
  • Need to submit 5,000 words of opening + 400 word synopsis
Mslexia NOVEL Competition (for women writers only!): click here for details
Closes 23 September 2013
  • Prize: £5,000
  • Judges: Kirsty Lang, Val McDermid, Charlotte Robertson
  • Fee £25
  • Need to submit first 5,000 words (adult or YA), but you need to have a finished novel of minimum 50,000 ready if shortlisted.
Harry Bowling NOVEL Competition: click here for details
Closes 30 September 2013
  • Prize: £1000 & critique from publishing experts of finished novel
  • Fee £10
  • Need to submit first chapter(s) up to 5,000 words. The novel MUST be set in a city or town.
NEW - Exeter Novel Prize 2013: click here for details
Closes 31 October 2013
  • Prize: £500, plus 5 x £50 runners-up
  • Fee £12
  • Need to submit novel opening (adult or YA) of not more than 10,000 words including a synopsis of max 500 words.
Do share if you have a go at any of these...


  1. Thanks, Tracy, for the good idea. I'll bear it in mind. I've almost completed the first draft of my novel and need to start thinking about publication.

  2. I think these competitions are a great way of getting your novel noticed - Patsy Collins is someone who won publishing of her novel in a competition (I hope I've got this right Patsy, if you're reading this.

  3. Yes, competitions are definitely worth entering if not too expensive. Some of the e-publishers run special comps now and then. Well done on your achievement, Tracy - great to get so far through the comp.

  4. My novel Escape to the Country was published after I won a novel writing competition so you can guess I'm a fan of them.

  5. Thank you Sharon, Wendy, Rosemary and Patsy for popping by. Sorry for late response - been away feasting on chips, chocolate and beer (Bruges!). Yes, entering one of these can definitely gift you a boost of a leg up. And Patsy is the best advert of them all! I just need to get on with the novel next...