Did You Get the Word?

Hear ye! Hear ye!

Calling all unpublished novelists: have you heard about Novel Rocket’s Launch Pad Contest: Boosting You Out of the Slush Pile?

Now in its fifth year, the contest offers a number of opportunities for one and all to:

1) Practice the submission procedure.
If a writer ever hopes to be published, she’ll have to submit her work about a gazillion times. And you know what they say about practice leading to perfection.

Even when we understand that no manuscript is ever perfect, the submission process is an intimidating to the fledgling writer. Contests like this are a great way to break the ice. If you mess up, you won’t ruin your chances at publication; you’ll simply be contacted with a friendly suggestion as to how to correct the problem, and then you can try again.

2) Acquire valuable input from writing professionals.
This is where our contest shines. Every entrant will receive two careful critiques from people who have been around the block enough times that Novel Rocket got tired of seeing them traipse by, so we invited them in to get them off the streets. That means they know the craft and they know the industry, and they enjoy sharing what they’ve learned with new writers. Why? Because at one time, they were each where you are now: passionate about writing, but struggling to break through.

If you’d like confirmation of what you’re doing right as well as suggestions for ways to improve, this is your chance to receive two (2) knowledgeable and unbiased opinions from people who don’t know you.

3) For those who win a genre category, it offers the writer the opportunity to draw attention to his work.
The winning entry in each monthly category will be published right here on Novel Rocket for thousands to see. This comes with no promises, but on at least one occasion, an agent read the chapter, liked what she saw, and contacted the writer with an offer of representation.

Even if that doesn’t happen, it gives you bragging rights and a chance to send links to your chapter to everyone you know. Who wouldn’t want that?

4) For the Grand Prize Winner, it gives the writer’s an opportunity to have her manuscript offered directly to an agent, circumventing the slush pile.

The trophy we presented our
2012 winner.

The winner of the whole shebang will be matched up with an agent, or possibly an editor, based on the story’s genre and the writer’s submission history. (That is, we won’t introduce you to someone who’s already seen it and decided she can’t use it.) That’s what the “Out of the Slush Pile” slogan is talking about. But it’s not idle talk; we mean it!

5) The Grand Prize Winner also wins an über-cool rocket trophy, each of which is hand-made of blown glass and engraved with the winner’s name.
There may be some writers who’d consider this nothing but unnecessary clutter and would want no part of it. I don’t know anyone like that, but anything’s possible. If that describes you, then don’t bother entering.

However, if you’d like to put a trophy like this on your desk or shelf — if you’ve got a hankering to see your writing showcased on our site — or even if you’re just looking for a little submission experience and professional input on your writing — click on the Launch Pad tab to see the complete rules.

We’re currently open to entries in all categories. However, although the contest runs throughout the rest of the year, each genre category has a different submission deadline. Here’s a quick overview of the categories and the entry dates:

Suspense/Crime/Mystery/Thriller: Submission deadline is April 10, 2014.
General Fiction: Deadline is May 10, 2014.
Historical Fiction: Deadline is June 10, 2014.
Middle Grade/Young Adult Fiction: Deadline is July 10, 2014.
Contemporary Romance: Deadline is August 10, 2014.
Speculative Fiction: Deadline is September 10, 2014.

Tool for polishing manuscripts

Read the complete rules carefully; polish up your manuscript. Download the Entry Form and fill it out; click on the PayPal button at the bottom of the Launch Pad Contest page to pay the entry fee; then email your completed Entry Form, your novel’s synopsis, and the first 3-4000 words to us at NovelRocketContest at gmail.com.

Questions? Comments? Send them to that same email address. A real-live human being (not necessarily an Earthborn one, but at least she’s not an android) is waiting to provide a prompt and personal reply. In English.

We look forward to receiving your entry and visiting your story world!

Yvonne Anderson, when she’s not overseeing the Launch Pad Contest, writes fiction that takes you out of this world. Fly through the Gateway to Gannah for some serious sci-fi adventure.