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Sunday, January 08, 2012

Launching This Year's Writing Contest for Unpublished Novelists

We’re excited to announce the 2012 edition of our contest for unpublished novelists – LAUNCH PAD: Boosting You Out of the Slush Pile.

Though we haven't varied much from the previous format, there are a few changes. Most notably, we’re now charging a modest entry fee of $35. Every entrant receives a professional critique of their chapters, so even those who don’t win should find it a good investment.

Here's how the contest works:

1 - As before, we'll have seven rounds: one genre per month for six months, June through November (see schedule below), plus the final round for the Grand Prize.

2 - The winning entry in each category will be published on Novel Rocket, and the writer will be entered for the Grand Prize.

3 - Each finalist will be asked to provide the complete manuscript and a book proposal for the final round. (Note: This is a change from previous years.)

4 - You may enter more than one story, and more than one category; however, you may enter the same novel only once.

5 – The Grand Prize is a nifty hand-blown glass rocket award, inscribed and personalized, much like the one pictured at the top of this post, [subject to change] But here's the best part: the winner will have the opportunity to circumvent the slush pile and get his or her submission into the hands of an agent and/or editor. (Our first winner was signed by a literary agent within a day!)

You’ll find the Official Rules on the Launch Pad Contest page (click the tab above by that name), but here’s a synopsis:
Starting today, you can enter your story in any category. The deadline for each is 11:59 PM EST on the dates listed in the schedule below.
  • Historical Fiction (WWII era and before). This includes all historicals, including romance –Submission Deadline May 10, 2012; winner announced June 11, 2012.
  • Suspense/Crime/Mystery/ThrillerSubmission Deadline June 10, 2012; winner announced July 9, 2012.
  • Contemporary Fiction/Women’s FictionSubmission Deadline July 10, 2012; Winner announced August 13, 2012.
  • Middle Grade/Young Adult FictionSubmission Deadline August 10, 2012; Winner announced September 10, 2012.
  • Contemporary RomanceSubmission Deadline September 10, 2012; Winner announced October 8, 2012.
  • Speculative Fiction (SciFi/Fantasy/Horror)Submission Deadline October 10, 2012; Winner announced November 12, 2012.
Download the entry form, fill it out, and email it, along with the first chapter (or 3,000 – 4,000 words) and a one- or two-page synopsis, to NovelRocketContest at
Submit your entry fee using the PayPal button on the bottom of the Launch Pad contest page.
Once the entry and fee are both received, you’ll receive notification that your submission is complete and you’re good to go.

So there you have it in a nutshell. Make sure to dig out all the meat in the Official Rules on the Launch Pad Contest page.
If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask. Emails sent to NovelRocketContest at (typed in the usual email-address format, of course) will be answered promptly.
We look forward to another year of helping you boost your stories out of the slush pile and launch your careers in the publishing world.

Besides writing fiction that takes you out of this world, Yvonne Anderson has been our contest administrator since the event’s inception in 2010. The first novel in her Gateway to Gannah series, The Story in the Stars, debuted last summer, and the next in the series is planned for release this year. Read more of her wisdom on


  1. Y, I love that photo you found of the ice sculpture, at least it looks like an ice sculpture! I'm excited about this year's contest and seeing who rises to the top!!

  2. Wahoo! Love the rocket! Let's get this year's contest going!

  3. Gina found the rocket, but you're right, it looks like ice.

    I'm looking forward to getting this year's event going too. (Rubbing hands with anticipation.)

  4. It is ice to prove how fleeting fame is. Just kidding!

  5. Ooh, better get to editing. This is a really cool-looking competition so I just wanted to say THANKS!


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