Good Housekeeping Novel Competition 2012 – Updated 4th May

Updated 4th May 2012:

Good Housekeeping have finisd judging their novel comp. Qute from their Facebook page as follows: We have now notified the winner of our Good Housekeeping Novel Competition! The winner’s reaction when we broke the news was simply: “Oh, blimey!”

Details of the winning author, plus an extract, will appear in our AUGUST issue. Competition was tough – readers at Orion Books saw around 7,000 manuscripts – so if you didn’t win don’t be discouraged, the judges were hugely impressed by the standards of writing. We have also notified 14 runners-up.

As promised, I bring you tidings of great joy! Namely, a free-to-enter* novel writing competition, open to anyone who’s never had a novel published (and who is also not signed with an agent), courtesy of Good Housekeeping magazine and Orion Books.

You’ll need to get hold of a copy of the January 2012 issue of Good Housekeeping for the full details and the entry form but here they are in brief:

• Any genre except children’s fiction is acceptable
• One entry per person
• You have to send a 2 page (max) synopsis of your novel
• Plus 5,000 words of the novel – or a single chapter if it runs to more than 5,000 words (but no more than 10,000 words).
• A 100-word mini biography of yourself
• No email entries accepted – you must post your entry to arrive no later than 31st March 2012.

Now, isn’t that a nice ‘writing goal’ for the New Year? It’s certainly got me thinking… Oops, almost forgot – first prize is a £25,000 advance, help and advice from Orion Books and literary agent Luigi Bonomi, plus you’ll have your book published and featured in GH. There are 3 laptops for runners-up.

What are you waiting for?! Get yourself a copy of Good Housekeeping and get writing!

Oh, and when the time comes, if you want some help writing the synopsis of your novel (ahem, yes, I know, you’ve just got to write the thing first…!) then Nicola Morgan’s blog has been focussing on exactly that just recently. Have a look here.

*you’ll have to buy a copy of the magazine (£3.80) in order to enter though, as you need the entry form.

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30 Responses to Good Housekeeping Novel Competition 2012 – Updated 4th May

  1. Prue says:

    Thanks for that notification, Helen. I have a novel somewhere…revision not yet completed, badly flawed but this might be the carrot to get me running with it again.
    I love the characters, and the story but there are at least two other stories tangled up in there which need to come out. Even if it doesn’t get published, at least it would be finished 🙂
    Cheers – and hope you sort the fridge/freezer problem out soon.

    • Prue Yes, I agree, the GH competition sounds like just the kind of thing you need to focus on, to sort out your tangled stories! Good luck with it. And yes, thanks for your comment about the fridge-freezer. Must admit, I have just left it today. I can’t be bothered with boring stuff like that at the moment! (My eating habits are certainly interesting too..!! I’d never realised how much stuff has to be kept cool!


  2. Thanks for this Helen, sounds good.

  3. I’ll definitely be giving this one a go – thanks.

  4. Will be off to get my copy in my lunch hour tomorrow – it might be just the push I need…

  5. Tracy Fells says:

    This is not a magazine I usually buy so thank you for highlighting the novel competition. I have just finished nanowrimo so have the first draft almost done of a new novel and this sounds like a good opportunity to polish up the first couple of chapters!

  6. Tracy – glad to be of help and yes, I agree, this is perfect for all of you out there who’ve just emerged (battered, bruised and triumphant!) from NaNoWriMo! Good luck in the competition.

  7. Keith Havers says:

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Helen.

  8. Marian says:

    Keep trying to find a way to let that novel inside us all out! This “might” just be the way…

    Thanks for opportunity of trying!


  9. Maureen says:

    Hi, I have a copy of the January 2012 edition of Good House Keeping, but the cover has Paula Dean, and there’s no mention of this contest in it. Do I have the wrong edition? Is there somewhere else I can get the information to enter? Thanks for your help.

    • Maureen – you’ve got a copy of the US edition of Good Housekeeping (we don’t even know who Paula Dean is here!). Are you in the USA? The UK version is the one that has the competition in it – I suspect that you have to be based in the UK to enter, but I haven’t got the magazine rules to hand, so I can’t confirm that. Sorry!

      • Tracy Fells says:

        Just had a quick look at the competition rules printed in the magazine (font exceedingly small for the first day of the year!!) and there doesn’t seem to be any restrictions on nationality etc. Just not to have been published or with an agent etc. I think you do need the entry form from the magazine and not a copy either…
        Hope this helps

  10. Maureen says:

    Oh, I see. Thank you both for the information. I’m not sure how I get my hands on the UK version. That’s disappointing.

    • Maureen I expect you could order a copy of the UK edition and have it sent to you from the GH website but before you do that, it’s worth someone checking whether you can actually enter from overseas! Otherwise you will be wasting your money. I’m not at home until later, but I’ll have a good look at the rules later!


  11. Maureen, I asked the question on the Good Housekeeping Facebook page and this was the answer:

    Hi Helen,
    Good Housekeeping commented on their Wall post.
    Good Housekeeping wrote: “You have to be UK resident to enter, Helen.”

    So, sorry but you can’t enter – but keep an eye on the US version of GH – they do sometimes run their own writing competitions.

  12. Hi Helen – Just added a link to your site to my blogroll at
    Do you know if this competition is only for UK residents or is it open for submissions from Southern Ireland?

    • Louise
      thanks for adding me to your blogroll. I’m afraid the competition is only open to UK residents and unless you have the entry form (which was in the January issue of the magazine), then I think you are out of luck – unless they are publishing any more entry forms. You had to buy that issue of the magazine (out in December) in order to enter.

  13. Julie says:

    Sounds like a real new year resolution. Only thing I can’t discover is if, on entry, the novel has to be complete or can you enter if you’ve just written the first few chapters? Would hate to enter and be told it was supposed to be a complete piece. Can anyone help with this?

    • Julie
      that’s a good question – I wondered about that too but there’s nothing in the rules to say that you have to have finished the novel. I suspect that, if they’re really taken with the 5,000 words you send (ie: they know you can write) AND they like the synopsis, then the agent would be prepared to give you time – and possibly some guideance – in order to actually finish the novel, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

      • Rebecca Hudson says:

        Oh no – until now I thought it would be acceptable to use the entry form I downloaded from a website – its not an original but was sourced via a Good Housekeeping link? Its a ‘cut-out’ copy and it was taken from ‘’
        Can I enter with this or does it HAVE to be an original? Please help as there’s only a week to go!

  14. Rebecca Hudson says:

    Oh no – until now I thought it would be acceptable to use the entry form I downloaded from a website – its not an original but was sourced via a Good Housekeeping link? Its a ‘cut-out’ copy and it was taken from ‘’
    Can I enter with this or does it HAVE to be an original? Please help as there’s only a week to go!

    • Rebecca
      I can’t see a problem. They were encouraging people to download an entry form from their website well after the issue with the ‘real’ form in had disappeared from the shelves! If you’re really worried, why don’t you leave a question on their Facebook page – but I’m sure it’s fine! Good luck!

      • Rebecca Hudson says:

        PHEW – thank you so much for getting back to me so promptly!!!!!!!!!!!
        I REALLY appreciate it! :o)

        Thanks again!

  15. Rebecca Hudson says:

    WOW – Good Housekeeping’s facebook page has just confirmed that there have been in excess of 6,000 entries! What a popular competition!

  16. Kath says:

    I’ve just read the disappointing news that Good Housekeeping have chosen the winner of their novel comp and it wasn’t me! Boo hoo hoo. What I find hard to understand is that they managed to sort through over 7000 submissions in five weeks when most agents don’r receive even half that amount in a year and are still pushed. Did they just read the covering letters and sift on that basis? Well done and good luck to the winner anyway. May you go far.

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