Please note: Our contests are open to Young Adult, Middle Grade, and New Adult submissions. The manuscript MUST be complete. We've had multiple requests for partials and fulls from agent judges, so your manuscript should be ready to send them if they ask.
Pitch+250 Contest (August and February)
We've been trying to run these every couple of months, and Jan Lewis does a great job coordinating them all. We will accept the first 50 submissions and put them through to our first round of judges, who are usually people who blog about books or writing and are writers themselves. They narrow the entries down to the top 25. A round of author judges narrow the entries down to 10, and then agents take over and pick the winner. Each round results in a rated score sheet for each manuscript, with 1-5 scores on categories like voice, characterization, marketability, writing, and so forth, so the entries get a ton of specific feedback as they move along the chain. The top 10 will get critiques from one of our judges. Entries consist of a 100-word pitch plus the first 250 words of the manuscript. Watch for the contest announcements!
First Lines Contest (October and May)
We will accept the first 50 entries. The first line of each entry will be posted on the blog, and our judges will determine which lines they want to see more of. The 2nd line of each entry that is moving on will be posted, and so forth and so on, through line 5 of the manuscript. At that point, the judges will choose the top 10 entries, and we will post their pitches and 1st pages. The winners will be chosen from those entries.
1st Five Pages Workshops
Our monthly 1st Five Pages Workshops begin the first Saturday of every month. We accept the first five middle grade or young adult manuscripts received by email starting at Noon EST. Lisa Gail Green and/or I (Martina) will work alongside a guest mentor to tell each participant what we see in those first five pages with respect to voice, plot, characters, setting, pacing and writing in general. Depending on the mentor's schedule, they may comment only on the initial entries, on the initial entry and one revision, or on all subsequent revisions. Participants also get feedback and comments from peers, and have the opportunity to post two revisions so they can up with the strongest possible beginning.
Here's our upcoming mentor schedule:
July 2013: Susan Dennard
August 2013: Sherry Ficklin
September 2013: Leila Rasheed
October 2013: Maureen Lipinski
November 2013: Stephanie Kuehn
December 2013: K.A. Barson
The rules are simple. We ask that you follow all of them, every week for the duration of the workshop. Properly formatting your entry is critical.
Entries that do not meet all of the criteria below will be disqualified, because we simply don't have time to reformat them for you. Read all the rules and be prepared to follow them each week, otherwise it isn't fair to take up space in the workshop. We always have more entries than we can accept in any given month.
1. Manuscripts must be middle grade or young adult.
2. Manuscripts do not need to be completed, but must be your own, original work.
3. Send us the first five pages, with each page approximately 250 words, max 1250 words.
4. Do NOT send any synopsis or summary information.
5. Make sure your entry is properly formatted, in RTF format, and sent IN THE BODY OF THE EMAIL, single spaced, with a blank line between all paragraphs expect the header information. No attachments.
Before sending it to us, we suggest that you email your entry to yourself so you can see how it will come out.
Your entry MUST look like this:
Name: Your name7. Be prepared to receive honest, constructive feedback EVERY week and to participate through the entire workshop. Not all feedback will be positive. The purpose of the workshop is to help you improve your manuscript, not to tell you that it is wonderful.
Genre: Young Adult XXX or Middle Grade XXX
Title: Your title
The body of the text, max 1250 words, must be SINGLE SPACED. There MUST be an EMPTY LINE BETWEEN paragraphs. (Hit the 'Enter' button twice.)
If your manuscript is formatted in standard manuscript format, double-spaced with indents at the beginning of each paragraph and no extra space before or after paragraphs, then this will not come through correctly for reading on the web. The easiest way to get the formatting the way that we need it is to copy your snippet, put it into a clean MS Word document, select all the text, change the paragraph spacing to single space, then do a search and replace for ^p and replace it with ^p^p. This will take each paragraph break and turn it into two paragraph breaks. Or, of course, you can go through and hit the enter button again a second time after each individual paragraph.
Create a new email through an email provider other than GMAIL and click on the format text tab at the top of the message. Gmail seems to insert AN EXTRA line for every blank line. It may even insert a blank line between the header information, which should have NO blank lines between paragraphs. To get around the gmail problem, the easiest thing to do is use another email provider if you already have one, or to create a free hotmail account.
In your blank email message, set the message format to “Rich Text,” then paste in the text of your entry.
8. Provide honest, constructive, and thoughtful feedback to EACH of your fellow workshop participants in a kind and courteous manner by Thursday night EVERY week.
9. Send the revised version of the manuscript back to us--following all the above rules--by 6:00 PM on Sunday nights, properly formatted, every week until the end of the workshop.
That's it. If it sounds like a pain, remember that you will have to understand email formatting to be able to submit to agents when your entry is ready to query.
We start accepting new workshop entries at noon (Eastern Time) on the first Saturday of the every month. Send entries to AdventuresInYAPub [at] icloud dot com.
Accepted entries will be posted at noon on the first Monday of the month, at which time the workshop will officially begin.