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Monday, June 11, 2012

Launch Pad Contest: Historical Fiction Category

The first round of Novel Rocket’s LAUNCH PAD Contest: Boosting You Out of the Slush Pile has concluded.

The deadline for submitting to the Historical Fiction category was May 10. Once that date passed, the judges went to work reading the entries and giving thoughtful (and, we hope, helpful) critiques of each entry. They studied these submissions with an eye toward determining which, in their opinion, is almost ready for publication.

After due contemplation, they came to a unanimous decision: none of the entries are quite there yet. Therefore, we must regretfully announce that there is no winner this month.

The situation is not unprecedented; the same thing happened in 2010 the second time we ran the Mystery/Crime/Suspense category. (That first year, we took entries in each category twice.)

Then, as now, we saw good potential in the stories submitted. But we don’t feel confident about putting our official stamp of Readiness for Publication on any of the entries in this year’s Historical Fiction category.

If you’ve been contemplating entering your baby in one of the other genre contests, we hope this won’t discourage you. Many who have participated in this event in past years have found it a helpful stage in their launch to publication.

Look at it this way: if you do win, you’ll know it actually means something. The winning stories aren’t the least mediocre of a middling selection; they’re the best of the good ones.

Also, even if you don’t get your first chapter posted on Novel Rocket and your submission entered for the Grand Prize, you get critiqued by a professional.

There are a number of success stories out there by participants who weren’t among the winning few. So don’t be shy. The complete rules, including a link to the official Entry Form, are found on our Launch Pad tab. Check it out.

Two of the category contests are already closed, but here’s the schedule for the remaining submission deadlines:

Contemporary Fiction/Women’s Fiction – submission deadline July 10, winner announced August 13.
Contemporary fiction is all fiction not otherwise categorized, written  
by and for men or women, in which the story takes place from about the 1950s up to the present. Example: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

Women’s fiction is contemporary fiction that centers on a particular woman or on women’s issues. Example: Christa Allen’s Walking on Broken Glass.

Middle Grade/Young Adult – submission deadline August 10, winner announced September 10.
This is fiction written for children aged approximately 8-12 (Middle Grade) and those a little older, about 12 - 20 (Young Adult). Most
writers of MG/YA fiction are adults; however,
sometimes teens will submit stories, and sometimes they’re quite good! Though it was written long before Novel Rocket originated, Eregon is a shining example; Christopher Paolini was fifteen when he wrote it.

Contemporary Romance – submission deadline September 10, winner announced October 8.
As the name says, these are romance novels set in modern times. Examples abound! And I'm running out of room to insert cover art.

Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror – submission deadline October 10, winner announced November 12.
This is a story set in the future or one that involves space travel, time travel, magic, paranormal elements, elves and dwarves, and other such things we don't see every day. If ever. Except in our nightmares.

I hope you’ll forgive me for using my own novel to illustrate. By the way, Words in the Wind, the second in my Gateway to Gannah series, is scheduled for release this summer. (I only mention this because I know you’re dying to get your hands on it.)

So there you go. Every one of the titles shown here was written by a person who used to be a wannabe. All are published now. Who’s to say you can’t be too? This contest is designed to help boost you in that direction.

If you have questions, contact us at, and you’ll receive a prompt, personal reply. No robots live at that address; just a sci-fi writer. And maybe a goblin. Depends on the day.

In any event, we look forward to reading your stories. Bring 'em on!

In addition to writing fiction that takes you out of this world, Yvonne Anderson has been our contest administrator since the event's inception in 2010. Wife, mom, grandma, former legal admin, and now part-time virtual assistant, she spends most of her time on the planet Gannah, researching her books. She writes words of wisdom at her blog,


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