WriteMentor Novel Awards

WriteMentor WriteMentor Novel and Picture Book Awards 2023

Writing award open internationally for writers of completed children’s manuscripts, with the opportunity for your writing to be read by a team of authors and judged by a panel of industry experts, including editors and agents from major publishing houses and literary agencies

The important bits…

Novel longlist judges: Eishar Kaur, Editorial Director, Knights Of | Tom Bonnick, Editorial Director, HarperCollins Children’s Books | Jo Clarke, Librarian 

Picture Book longlist judges: Alice Bartosinski, Senior Commissioning Editor, Picture Books, Nosy Crow | Charlie Castelletti, Editor, Macmillan Children’s Books | Sanchita Basu De Sarkar, Bookseller, Children’s Bookshop, London

Shortlist judges: Christabel McKinley, Agent, David Higham Associates | Rachel Petty, Agent, The Blair Partnership | Lucy Irvine, Agent, Peters Fraser & Dunlop

Entry requirements: Novels (Chapter Book, Middle Grade, Young Adult) – first 3,000 words of your novel and a 1-page synopsis (at the start of your single document). Picture Books – whole, completed manuscript.

1st place prize: 6 months of access to Spark, WriteMentor’s 121 mentoring service with published children’s authors, and 1 year of membership to the Hub, WriteMentor’s online community platform.

Runners-up prize: 1 year of membership to the Hub.

Dates: 1st December 2022 to 31st January 2023, 11.59pm

Entry fee: £12 

Novel Award longlist judging panel

Picture Book Award longlist judging panel

Novel & Picture Book shortlist judging panel

Rules

Entries for complete manuscripts only – Picture Book, Chapter Books, Middle Grade and Young Adult of any genre. You may enter as many novels/texts as you wish.

You cannot be agented or traditionally published. Self-published novels are eligible. 

Independently published writers, who have not received an advance, may enter, but not with the published novel.

For Novel writers, submit a synopsis (single-spaced) and then first 3,000 words (1.5 or double-spaced) in the same word document.

Word limit is not negotiable and if you exceed this, your entry will not be read. We suggest finishing at a suitable point before 3000 rather than mid-sentence. A great 2000 word entry, that finishing on a great cliffhanger is probably more effective than a 2997 word entry that stops in the middle of a scene.

For Picture Book writers, send us the whole manuscript, with a short synopsis at the start (a pitch would suffice). No artwork or illustrations please. Text only. Ideal word count is between 500-1000 words.

Use 12″ and a plain font like Times New Roman. Put page numbers in the footer. 

Name your document in the format of ‘TITLE.docx’ – i.e. ‘THEHOBBIT.docx’ with the title of the manuscript in the header. 

Do not put your name anywhere on the document or in the name of the uploaded document, as entries are read anonymously. The ONLY place your name should be is in the name field on the form. If you notice on your confirmation email that the document title includes your name, do not worry. We will manually rename the file before it’s passed onto the readers.

Use the link at the top of the entry form page to pay your entry fee.

All entries will be sent digitally. We are committed to being green and want to keep costs for writers down, so mail entries will not be allowed.

If you are unable to pay this, simply type CONCESSION in the box on the entry form. You do not need to provide any evidence or explanation for this. However we are limiting the FREE entries this year to 30 and one FREE entry per person.

If you are long listed for the novel award, we will contact you after the announcement to ask for your full manuscript. Please send this within 7 days. If you are shortlisted, we will forward your full manuscript onto our judges.

All announcements will happen via the site, so do sign up to our mailing list and Twitter account.

Independently published writers, who have not received an advance, may enter, but not with the published novel.You cannot be agented or traditionally published. Self-published novels are eligible. 

Award success stories

Louse Finch’s novel, runner-up in the 2020 WriteMentor Novel Award, is now published by Little Island

Aoife Doyle won the 2021 WriteMentor Novel Award and is now represented by Peters Fraser + Dunlop

Sue Cunningham won the 2020 WriteMentor Novel Award and is now represented by The Blair Partnership and is due to be published by Scholastic

Alexandra Page won the 2019 WriteMentor Novel Award and is now published with Walker Books

Kathryn Foxfield’s novel, runner-up in the 2019 WriteMentor Novel Award, is now published by Scholastic

Amy Borg, shortlisted in the 2019 WriteMentor Novel Award, is now represented by Sara O’ Keeffe

FAQs

I entered last year – can I enter again?

Absolutely.

Will I get the same readers?

It’s unlikely, as our pool of readers does change a little, and the odds of getting the same readers as last time are very slim.

Can I enter more than 1 novel/text?

Yes, enter as many as you like, but each one will need it’s own entry form and fee.

Will I get a confirmation email when I enter?

Yes, it will be emailed to the address that you input on the entry form. Do check junk/spam folders before enquiring.

I don’t have word – how can I submit a .doc or .docx file?

If you do not have word, then you can paste your entry into Google Docs, then download the file as a .doc or .docx. We have nearly 50 people judging in total, many of which will not be able to access files sent in other formats.

What happens if I sign with an agent during the reading/judging period?

Send us an email, or a message via the contact form, and you will need to withdraw from the day of signing your contract.

Should I include my prologue?

Simple answer. If your prologue is good, include it! Seriously, this is your call, but our experience is that when you only have 3000 words to grab our attention, and if your prologue isn’t in the main storyline, it might be worth considering leaving it out.

Do I HAVE to do a synopsis?

YES! We understand the agony, but don’t fret – simply hit us with a blow by blow account of the main things that happen in the story – 1 page, single spaced – and that will work fine. Ultimately you won’t miss out on being listed due a poor synopsis, but you will due to a poor chapter 1, so focus on that.

I’m only a few words over 3000, can I just enter them…plllllllllease?

Sorry, but no. Only way to ensure absolutely fairness is to apply this upper limit rigidly. Most writers will spend hours editing and cutting, or choosing to end earlier to make the limit, so you should, too. Worth noting that a 2000 word extract that is great is just as likely to get listed as a 2999 word extract, and it’s unlikely the latter will finish in a place that is perfect for making your reader want more. That is the priority over a few extra words.

Which age category should I put down?

Hard for us to answer, but the general rule is kids tend to read 2 years up. So if your main character is 12, you’re looking at a 10 year old reader.

Am I guaranteed to sign with an agent if I’m shortlisted?

No. But 75% of our shortlisted authors in 2019 and 2020 are now with agents, and we even have a couple of published authors from that group, too. We offer no guarantees, performing well in a novel award means you have impressed many adult and kid readers and is a good sign that your story has appeal.

You used to give feedback – can I pay extra for this?

Unfortunately the time demand and the sheer number of entries (more than 1300 last year) meant we had to take away this option for now. However we will be offering this in our other award, the Novel in Development Award, which opens in February. However if longlisted, our judges will give you short feedback.

I’ve entered. What should I do while I wait?

Take care of yourself. Take a break. Do something else. Write something else. Forget about the competition and set a reminder for the day of the longlist announcement. Casually browse the list when it’s announced, without expectation or hope, and if you’re not there, at least you’ve been working on something new and won’t be too disappointed. If you are on there, then it’s a nice surprise and welcome boost.

This year we will email everyone at the same time with the outcome. We will then publicly announce later, to give those receiving the news time to process this before posts are made on social media etc.

But the absolute priority is you, and your mental health and wellbeing, so please enter, then forget about it. Writing a long game and is not about 1 individual competition or moment in time – keep up the good habit of submitting and moving on and it will benefit you in the long run.

THE ENTRY FORM WILL APPEAR HERE ON THE 12th DECEMBER.

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