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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Launch Pad Contest: Boosting You Out of the Slush Pile - 2014 Edition

We're pleased to announce that the 2014 edition of our popular Launch Pad Contest: Boosting You Out of the Slush Pile is ready for take-off. It's the contest everyone wins.

We here at Novel Rocket love to encourage new writers and help them find their way through the complexities of the publishing world. We're not rock stars, but now that we've gained a little experience, we're appreciative of those who helped us get to where we are and would like to similarly pay it forward. 

This the fifth consecutive year of this event. We've had a lot of positive feedback from past participants, and several writers found it so valuable that they entered again. 

Moreover, a surprising number have contracted with agents and/or have been published since entering the contest -- and I'm not talking about just the winners. Several past contestants tell us that the critiques and encouragement they received from our judges gave them the boost they needed to keep going.

The Launch Pad contest works a little differently from most other writing contests in that it runs all year. We take submissions beginning in January. Each month from May through October, we judge one of the six genre categories. The winner of each of these monthly mini-contests has the opportunity to move into the final round. A second panel of judges decides which of those finalists should win the Grand Prize.

Oh, by the way: when we announce a monthly winner, we publish the winning entry on the blog, thus giving the writer's work some nice exposure. On at least one occasion, an agent saw a winning entry, liked what she read, and contacted the writer about the possibility of representation. You never know where something like this might lead.

Here are the categories, along with submission deadlines and the date each winner will be announced. Definitions of/criteria for each of these categories can be found at the Launch Pad tab above.



  • Suspense/Crime/Mystery/Thriller. Deadline: April 10, 2014. Winner announced May 12, 2014.
  • General Fiction. Deadline: May 10, 2014. Winner announced June 9, 2014.
  • Historical: June 10, 2014. Winner announced July 14, 2014.
  • Middle Grade/Young Adult Fiction: July 10, 2014. Winner announced August 11, 2014.
  • Contemporary Romance: August 10, 2014. Winner announced September 8, 2014.



  • Speculative Fiction: September 10, 2014. Winner announced October 13, 2014.

  • The Grand Prize will be announced on December 8, 2014.

    The contest is open to all unpublished novelists. That is, a writer who has completed a work of full-length fiction but has no novel published by a traditional publisher. Never mind if you've published poetry, nonfiction, plays, or have had short stories or articles printed in various publications. This is for anyone who's never had a novel published by a traditional publisher.

    We do ask, however, that your novel be complete, because if you win your category, you'll be required to provide the complete manuscript in order to advance to the final round. So if you're just getting started with that novel of yours, you might want to wait until next year before you hop aboard.

    However, if you think you'd like to get in on this now, check out the complete rules at the Launch Pad tab above. In addition to the submission requirements, you'll find a link to the entry form there and a Paypal button for the entry fee.

    We have several new judges this year who are eager to read your entries and offer their feedback. And who knows? We might even have a blown glass rocket trophy, much like the one at the beginning of this post, with your name on it!






    When she isn't overseeing the Launch Pad contest, Yvonne Anderson writes fiction that takes you out of this world.

    Fly through the space fantasy series, Gateway to Gannah, for some serious adventure!









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