The Mslexia 2012 Children’s Novel Competition (For unpublished novelists. £25 entry fee)

The country air has gone to my head: I’ve just bought a Pashley bike on Ebay for £500*!!! Eek!

This particular model normally costs £645 and the one I’ve bought has only been ridden once so, at the risk of sounding like Becky Bloomwood in the ‘Shopaholic’ books – it was a BARGAIN!

The seller bought it for his Mum and she couldn’t ‘take to it’ (there’s a story there somewhere!), which is why it was for sale. I hadn’t intended to bid that much but I got a bit carried away. Aw, what the heck! I’ve always wanted one, I WILL ride it and it will probably last me for ever, as long as I don’t collide with a tractor on the way back from the pub!

But enough of that. If you write, or want to write for children AND you are a woman (sorry, but them’s the rules!) AND you are prepared to fork out £25 for the entry fee, then you might be interested in this Children’s Novel competition, which Mslexia magazine is running as a bit of a ‘one off’ (ie: it’s not going to be an annual event).

First prize is £5000 but there are opportunities for shortlisted writers to meet agents and stuff, so it’s probably worth a look. There are some details below (all taken from the Mslexia website) – and here are the rules.

The competition is open to children’s novels in any genre by previously unpublished women novelists, but it must be for children who are able to read for themselves or for young adults. Crossover fiction (i.e. that aimed at children and adults) is eligible. Nonfiction, and fiction intended for adults is not eligible. To qualify as a novel, your book must total at least 30,000 words.

Closing date: 10 September 2012

Who is the competition aimed at?

• Women who’ve always wanted to write a children’s novel, but could never find the time. You only have to write 30,000 words minimum for this competition, so even starting from scratch, there’s plenty of time.
• Women with an unfinished manuscript languishing in a bottom drawer. (Could this be the impetus you need to finish it?)
• Women who took up the write-a-novel-in-a-month challenge with NaNoWriMo and have a rough first draft. (Why not polish it up and send it to Mslexia?)
• Women who’ve submitted their completed novels over and over, and have despaired of finding an agent. (If you reach our shortlist, they’ll all sit up and take notice.)

SOME REASONS TO ENTER

• Being shortlisted will put your novel at the top of any agent’s or editor’s in tray
• We guarantee an anonymous reading, so your book will be judged on the same basis as those by ‘a friend of a friend of the editor’
• We will work with the future publisher of the winning entry to chronicle the book’s progress in the magazine and on our website
• 12 shortlisted authors will be invited to a networking event and introduced to a specially invited group of literary agents
• £5,000 – need we say more?

*please do not email me and say “Oh, I’ve got one of those Pashleys tucked away in my garage. Never rode it. You could’ve had it for £250!

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15 Responses to The Mslexia 2012 Children’s Novel Competition (For unpublished novelists. £25 entry fee)

  1. Julia says:

    I have just read your story in this week’s The Weekly News, loved it.
    I was in the same edition – but as their star letter of the week.
    I keep trying but I’ve not yet managed to crack their short story slot!

  2. Thanks Julia – I haven’t seen the story myself yet! Hopefully they’re sending me a copy in the post. Story based on ‘ex’ of mine – although I never was quite brave enough to do THAT! Well done on the Star Letter.

  3. Shelley says:

    Why are Mslexia comps so expensive? I’ve asked them but they don’t answer. Don’t they realise they are cutting out talented women who can’t afford the £25 entry fee? Shocking.

  4. Reb says:

    I felt the same about the entry fee for the adult novel comp last year – but it was worth every penny. The longlist was huge, and several people I know got agents off that alone. I was lucky enough to be shortlisted and was a runner up. No prize, just a mention in the magazine. Oh, and a load of editors and agents had read my whole book, and an agent immediately signed me up. It’s a fantastic way to get noticed, and something to put in your query letter that says ‘don’t chuck me on the slush pile, I was longlisted/shortlisted for Mslexia…’ Cheap at the price. The winner, Rosie Garland, picked up an agent, and a 6 figure book deal, within months.

    • Rebecca, thanks for your comment – that’s really useful to know and congratulations to you on doing so well in such a prestigious competition! You’ve certainly inspired me to think I might have a go at this competition!

  5. Hi Becky, oh sorry Helen, that bike is lovely, and think of all the gym membership you’ll save!! If you ride it of course. That £25.00 is a pound stretch too far for me. If I was massively confident, wouldn’t be so bad. Glad to see you going all country fare. You’ll be wearing a red and white checked dress next….. and splashing through puddles….

  6. Tracy Fells says:

    Thanks for highlighting this one. Yes £25 is high but as someone commented above getting shortlisted or even long-listed could give your writing a boost. Also loved your Paperchase story in Writers’ Forum – the reference to the Chopper bike took me back…

  7. Prue says:

    What a wonderful bike! Does yours have a basket too? I’ve had plenty of bikes in my time but never one with a basket and I’m a sucker for wicker-work.
    Happy cycling! Have fun :)

  8. Thank you so much for this post. I started my first Young Adult book recently (as displacement activity from editing my chick lit novel) and I shelved it at 30k words because I couldn’t figure out where the story was going. I am now inspired to pick it up again and see if I can hammer it into shape before September. I love a deadline. Yes the entry fee is steep, but I’ll probably spend that in postage sending manuscripts out just to have them shredded!

    • yes, definitely go for it, Amanda. You’d spent £25 on a meal out and this could be a much more valuable way to spend it!

      • As it turns out it was a very valuable £25 because I got longlisted (still waiting to hear about the shortlist). I also discovered it costs about £10 to send out a full manuscript (paper, print and postage) so I think the competition is great value! Thank you a million times for reminding me about the competition – when I heard about it the first time I didn’t have a YA novel half written and dismissed it out of hand! Will update you if I get shortlisted, I find out in a month… (I have no fingernails left!)

  9. Sonicstarfish says:

    25 squid definitely worth it – I am not working at moment and it is a lot for me to fork out. but worth it for the potential opportunities. If nothing else it has givern me the incentive to crack on and finish my novel.

    • Me too! I really struggled with finishing and editing my novel but knowing I had entered the competition and might be asked for the full manuscript in November really forced me to work on it. I finished my last page of edits the day I got the email saying I had been long-listed! Did you enter?

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