Monday, November 24, 2008


We’re excited to announce a new contest for readers and writers alike. Here is the skinny:

Why the Novel Matters Essay Contest.

What you do: Write an essay on the topic Why the Novel Matters. Send it to us by the closing date of midnight, March 2, 2012.

Three winners will be chosen:
Third place wins a copy of Sally Stuart’s 2012 Christian Market Guide.
Second place wins a copy of Sally Stuart’s 2012 Christian Market Guide and a copy of Novel Matters Tips on Rice Cookbook.
First place wins: A NEW KINDLE TOUCH! Plus, the winning essay will appear on the Novel Matters blog. Winners will be announced April 2, 2012.

Here are the specifics about the essay:
Entry Guidelines: Maximum 750 words; Header: Name top left; Page # top right; 1” margins, double-spaced, 12 pt. font; submitted as a Word doc attachment

Essay Criteria: You can write about a specific novel, or about novels in general; Need good supporting evidence; Clarity; Good conclusion; Will be critiqued for punctuation, spelling, grammar etc.

Type in the subject line of your email: Why the Novel Matters Essay.

Send your entry to:

Remember to “like” Novel Matters on Facebook. It’s not a requirement of the contest, but when you connect on Facebook, you have access to lots of immediate conversations and ideas from the Novel Matters community. It’s like family that you don’t have to clean your house for!

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Teeth and Bones Editing Contest

This contest is for writers who are looking for a "real to life" editing experience with their manuscript. Keep in mind, this isn't a warm fuzzy contest (it is called Teeth and Bones, after all!). Entering means you're ready to have your work bit into, maybe even ripped into - with the goal of making the manuscript the best it can be. Sound like something you are up for? Here's how it will work:

How to enter: Comment on the Novel Matters blog anytime between Monday, September 6th, and Friday September 17th, 2010. At the bottom of your comment type TABEC (short for Teeth and Bones Editing Contest). Only comments with these letters at the bottom will be eligible to win (we understand that not all our readers are interested in this level of editing, but would still want to be free to comment and discuss editing - that's the reason we require interested people to please use the TABEC letters at the bottom of their comments)

You many enter as many times as you like over the two weeks. Each comment counts as an entry (but don't forget to type TABEC at the bottom of each comment).

Winner: One winner will be announced on Friday, September 17th, 2010 at 5:00 PM pacific time.

The prize: A teeth and bones edit of your first chapter and synopsis by Bonnie Grove. The edit will be on the substantive level (the overall concepts, characters, and themes, etc. of the novel). It will be Bonnie's teeth on the bones of your manuscript.

The winner will work one on one with Bonnie Grove via e-mail. The winner will consent to having the first paragraph of the work posted on Novel Matters in a before and after comparison. This means the winner will agree to have the first paragraph of your WIP appear on the blog, first as it was originally written, then in its edited form.

Audience with an Agent Contest

Our new Audience with an Agent Contest begins February 1, 2010. Submissions must be received at Novel Matters by April 15.
Finalists will be announced on May 15, and Janet Grant of Books & Such Literary Agency will announce a winner from the finalists on June 15.

You won't want to miss this remarkable opportunity. We look forward to your submissions. Please follow carefully the Guidelines below.


  • Open to US and Canadian novelists

  • 1 submission per person, fiction only

  • 1 chapter, up to 20 pages, plus 1-2 page synopsis

  • 1" margins, double spaced, Times New Roman 12 (synopsis may be single spaced)

  • Books & Such Guidelines apply


Lisa Karon Richardson said...

Thanks for providing this opportunity again!

Do we e-mail submissions? Also does the format matter? .doc or .rtf?

Thanks a lot!

Kathleen Popa said...

Lisa, either .doc or .rtf will work. Yes, please email submissions to novelmatters at gmail dot com.

Anonymous said...

I am new to the site-when the contest rules state 20 pgs plus 1-2 pg. synopsis and then further notes that "rules apply". When visiting that link there are directions to send in longer manuscripts etc. Which other 'rules' apply? The manuscript cannot be attached to the e-mail? Must it be able to fit in the body? Just getting clear. thanks C. McLean

Alexandra said...

Yes, I would like to know as well. No attachments? It is a bit confusing as C. pointed out...the guidelines are for longer manuscripts, etc. I am excited about this opportunity!

Kathleen Popa said...

C. McLean and Alexandra, You're probably referring to the following dictum from the Books & Such website:
"We do not accept e-mail queries with attachments, or unsolicited phone or postal mail queries."

See, that is exactly why this is such a great opportunity for writers trying to break into publication. Our agents accept first proposals only by mail, and only when they have asked for them ahead of time. That means you have to get them to ask, and that takes doing.

We at novel matters of course expect your manuscripts to come attached to emails. We'll try to be more clear in the future.

Carla Gade said...

Are the submissions to be for completed manuscripts only or can they be for manuscripts still being revised or close to completion?

What if my first chapter is under 10 pages?

Bonnie Grove said...

Hey Carla,
Completed is best. You wouldn't want to get that long awaited call and then tell Janet the book isn't finished and she'll have to wait for it.
How close to done are you?

Weronika Janczuk said...

There's always debate about synopses: 1-2 single- or double-spaced? Wouldn't want to be too short or too long.

Carla Gade said...

Hi Bonnie,

I'm about half way done, with two. It's a long story, but I had another "novel" opportunity come up and ended up with two novels going so the one I had thought I was going to submit I had to lay down for a while because I have an opportunity to submit a proposal with two pubbed authors which just fell into my lap from heaven.

Perhaps I should just wait, though that leaves me extremely disapointed. I was looking forward to this so much. I don't want to leave Janet waiting if she becomes interested in my work/me. This is a great lesson to me on how to manage my work.

Carla Gade said...

Wow, rambling there....sorry.

Bonnie Grove said...

Weronika, You're right, synopsis is a beast to write, so many conflicting rules.
It's standard to write your synopsis single spaced. If you can keep it to two pages, that's great. But honestly, you need to write enough to give us the main events of the story (no sub-plots or secondary characters) and the feel of the story.
Great writing trumps the rules! (Am I allowed to say that???)

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gcereporter said...

I'm a little confused about the answer to the "finished manuscripts" question. Does that mean that Janet will only accept or look at finished manuscripts?

Bonnie Grove said...

It is a strong suggestion that the novel be completed or very near completed for this contest.
It's not written in stone, though.

Anonymous said...

Does it have to be the first chapter or can it be any chapter? Thank you

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Woohoo! I found this blog and contest through the ACFW Book Club loop.

Thanks for the opportunity.

Unknown said...

did I miss the entry fee? Or is this free? What a nice opportunity, either way.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, it should be the first chapter.

Kathleen, there is no fee nor obligation.

Can't wait to read what you've written!

Anonymous said...

Can I enter more than one ms? Jan

Bonnie Toews said...

I just became aware of this contest, and I too find the instructions confusing. With the requested submissions, are we expected to submit with a customary covering letter as wewould to any agent in the email, as well as the attachments for the first chapter and synopsis?

Bonnie Toews said...

And a few of these comments suggest we also attach the full completed manuscript. Is that correct? Or does this happen when the top five are selected?

Kathleen Popa said...

Bonnie, no need for a formal cover letter, just send us an email with a 1-2 page synopsis and a first chapter up to 20 pages. We don't want the full manuscript, but we do want you to have the novel completed, because our dearest hope is that Janet will ask to see the winner's full manuscript, and then choose to offer a contract, just as Wendy did for Lori Benton in the last contest.

Jan, sure - if you have more than one novel completed, go ahead and enter them.

Bonnie Toews said...

OK, one more question, if the first chapter is only seven pages, can you include another short chapter say of six pages?

Alexandra said...

Ok. Should I have the synopsis in the same attachment/document as the sample chapter?

Thanks! I'm so excited!!!!

Kathleen Popa said...

Bonnie, sure - if the first chapter is only six pages, go ahead and add another. (Wanna know my dirty little secret? When faced with that dilemma in the past, I melded multiple chapters into "Chapter 1" for the purposes of the entry, then separated them into sections with a "###.")

Alexandra, we're not picky - the synopsis and chapter can be separate attachments or not. Just please put them in only one email.

Alexandra said...

Here I am again. ;-)

ONE more question. What should we put in the subject line/body of the email? "Here is my submission" whatever...

Also. Do you want headers, like name and title, on the sypnosis/manuscript?

Bonnie Grove said...

Alexandra, the subject line should read "Audience with an Agent".

Standard headers are fine.

Anonymous said...

I sent in my submission -- the only e-mail address I saw was under the Guidelines link and then under sending in your query -- I put "audience with an agent" in the subject line but today I got a response like I had sent in a query letter ??? did I send it to the wrong e-mail?? I've read the contest rules ten times and didn't see another address -- please help!

Bonnie Grove said...

If you sent your submission to you sent it to the correct address. With so many entries, the responses were kept short. Just enough to let you know your work arrived.

Bonnie Toews said...

Hello, all you good gals at Novel Matters. After rushing to meet your deadline to enter this contest, I have to withdraw my entry because I've just signed with literary agent Diana Lee Flegal of the Hartline Literary Agency.

This contest is a fabulous opportunity to engage an agent and I wish all the other contestants the best of luck.

May many Blessings be showered on you.