As most of you know, we believe in complete transparency in everything we do, and I am always very honest and open about, well, everything.

For the last 2 years, we’ve featured multiple reader feedback on EVERY entry for our novel award, including on all our free entries (which we fund ourselves).

And I have been lucky enough to have had amazing adult and kid readers, who have done all of this for what is, ultimately, a poor return. Though, of course, the fee/voucher is agreed in advance, so it’s all very transparent, and everyone knows what they are signing up to, in that regard.

However, having discussed this with a few readers, both adult and kids (parents), I’ve reached the conclusion that what is being asked of them is too much for how we can reward them. And the income from entry fees simply doesn’t have any room to change that.

So, we’re introducing a new approach to entry.

We are keeping the entry fees the same as we announced (£10 and £5), however if you would like feedback we will have to add £5 to the entry fee.

Feedback includes scores and thoughts of 4 readers (2 adults and 2 children).

The result of this is that we can pay our readers (adult and children alike) a little more for the titanic work they do, and with the kids voucher increasing to £10 (from £5), to increase their book-buying options.

I understand this will make many of you upset or disappointed. You may choose not to enter this year as a result. And I do understand that. However, do consider what I’ve said above, and I hope you’ll agree it’s only fair to operate in this way. Many other novel awards operate a similar system.

It’s worth also mentioning at this time, that while everyone involved gets paid in some way, I myself am a volunteer, so please remember this if there is any thought of this being an attempt by us to make more money. We run a not-for-profit model (while also ensuring we try to pay everyone involved fairly), which is tricky and not perfect, and any small profits we make go back into funding scholarships for low-income and underrepresented writers. As you know, we do a lot of these.

And a reminder that we are offering 30 free places (funded by ourselves), but they are offered on a first come, first serve basis, so enter early if you are a low-income/unemployed writer, and a reminder it’s one free place per writer.

Full details of this year’s award is here.

Making changes is never easy, but on balance, this is the correct way for us to operate and ensure we do the right thing by everyone involved.

If you’d still like to enter, we are looking forward to reading your stories.

Thanks for reading, and have a lovely weekend,

Stuart