Deadline: February 29, 2024
Entry fee: $20
About the competition
The Novel Opening Contest lets you pit the first 1,000 words of your published book against the openings of books by authors all over the world in any genre. If you have what it takes to grab a reader’s attention within your first few pages, you’ve got a shot at winning one of three prizes that include cash awards!
1 – Read the contest terms and conditions. By entering, you are agreeing to these terms.
2 – Prepare for submission by making sure that each opening you plan to enter meets the following criteria:
- Is for a live book. Your book should be live and available for sale upon submission. Any entries submitted that are for a book that is out of stock, discontinued, no longer in print, or not yet released, will be disqualified. If your book is releasing in the month of February, be sure to wait until it is published and available for purchase before submitting your entry.
- Is in PDF format. Not Word, not Docs, not Dropbox, etc. You can create a PDF by simply selecting the “Save As” or “Download As” option and then selecting “PDF” or “.pdf” as the file type (works in most word processors, including Google Docs and Word). Adobe also offers free conversion services at this link.
- Contains ONLY the ISBN of the book and the opening itself. If the PDF does not contain only these two things, the entry will be disqualified (no pictures, email addresses, illustrations, etc.). Your ISBN is a series of 10 to 13 numbers. This is not a UPC, ASIN, or serial number. You either purchased your ISBN directly from Bowker (or a similar agency outside the US), or you got a (free) ISBN from your publishing platform. Examples: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms: 9780316162609, It Ends With Us: 9781501110375.
- Contains the first 1,000 words of your book. Entries that are more than 1,000 words long will be disqualified. It’s okay to stop in the middle of a sentence. That’s to be expected. If your book has a prologue, the entry needs to begin from the prologue. You can often find your word count for a file in the bottom left corner of your screen when you open the file in your word proecssor. If not, you can copy the text and paste it at WordCounter.net or a similar online counter. Your ISBN and chapter number / heading are not included in this limit. There is no topic focus or content restriction for this contest. Books of memoir, bizarro erotica, steampunk romance, and business self-help all have equal chances of winning. It’s all about how gripping the opening is, regardless of genre.
3 – Complete the form below and upload the openings you’d like to enter into the contest. You can enter as many openings as you like, as long as they have not won 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place in the past. If you’re attempting to be the first writer to win all three awards in a single contest of ours, remember that you’ll need to submit at least three openings (1st, 2nd, and 3rd). The entry fee for each opening is $20 USD. There is a small payment processing fee added to each submission.
5 – Read the whole guideline and join the contest here.