BRIDGET WHELAN writer

Muse, News and Views

Want to be published by Christmas?

creative writing competitionFirst you have to submit a segment of a steamy romance, but you don’t have to stay awake at night worrying about  the plot. The people at Hot Key Books have already done that for you. They announced yesterday that they want a finely polished 20,000 novella ebook called LAST CHRISTMAS ready to sell by December. Entrants to this competition have just two weeks to submit a 2000 word sample based on The Hot Key brief and the winner needs to complete the entire manuscript by mid-November. For that they will receive £1000 advance and royalties on sales.

The novella will be published alongside three other romance shorts – Santa Baby, All I Want for Christmas and Under the Mistletoe – and be sold worldwide.

In 2014 Hot Key will publish ebook novellas in several specific genres targeting readers 16+, starting with romance and continuing with fantasy, history and crime . All novellas will be priced at £1.99 and in each genre there will be a focus on finding new talent to join the list, through regular writing contests.

Full details including publication terms can be found here but here’s a sly peak at the story outline.

This is a flashback in nineteen year old X’s life, remembering her first Christmas away at Uni. In the introduction, it is vague as to whether the outcome of thatChristmas was good or bad.Compared to her outgoing and worldly flatmates, X feels like she is totally square and boring and generally inexperienced. It doesn’t help that X is still missing her childhood sweetheart, having split up with him at the point of leaving for Uni,

knowing that he was starting to outgrow her and that they had become more like brother and sister…On the Friday afternoon close to Christmas, when our story starts, she finds herself meeting someone that suddenly makes her start to forget her old boyfriend completely…

That’s the bare bones – they give more guidance than that,  along with information about the readers they are aiming at. If you’ve ever wanted to be a commercial romance writer this is a way to show that you have what it takes. And I’ve just met a writer of literary fiction who for three years running entered a novel competition run by a publisher she admired. She never won. I don’t think she ever came second, but the publishers noticed her writing and liked it. When she sent them a full length manuscript they published it.

Do you think writing competitions are worth entering?








photo credit: Elin B via photopin cc

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4 comments on “Want to be published by Christmas?

  1. ann perrin
    October 2, 2013

    Yes, absolutely! Any deadline is brill … I can barely do anything without a deadline so used to deadlines from a working life
    Self imposed are OK too e.g I will write a poem’ story or whatever by Friday. then when achieved stick a gold star in ones diary against the day. The ones you buy in stationers.
    May sound pathetic but frankly I will do anything to keep myself going.

  2. bridget whelan
    October 3, 2013

    Love your gold star strategy – think I wlil start using it myself! And competitions are good even if for no other reason they give you a deadline.

  3. Laura Marcus
    October 4, 2013

    Wow, this looks FAB! Thanks so much for bringing it to my attention. Have RT it on Twitter.

    • bridget whelan
      October 4, 2013

      Thanks for the retweet. I’m no expert on publishing contracts but the advance & royalties look to be at the kind of level you’d expect from a proper company & they make a big point of stressing that tehy won’t use anyone’s work unless they win which is nice to see. Wish all competitions had the same respect for copyright.
      Reading through their brief is an education in itself to this particular market. Go for it!

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This entry was posted on October 2, 2013 by in Muse, News and tagged , , , .
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