Get Your Crime Novel Published

Look at that title!

It’s not a promise, of course, but if you’ve written part or all of a crime novel (and this prize is so good that I’m seriously thinking of starting one – today!) then you might be interested in this great competition on the Stylist website, which is offering publication by Faber & Faber and a £5000 advance*.

I love the picture they’ve used. Because, of course, that’s how we all write, right? Barefoot and sultry (in a kind of Flake-advert sort of way), sitting on the floor of a dusty library, with our trusty laptop!

Thanks are due to Patsy Collins, by the way, for bringing the competition to my attention on her blog.


• The first 6,000 words of your original crime thriller or novel which MUST feature a female protagonist
• An outline, no longer than 300 words, to show how the story will develop but that doesn’t reveal the ending (so it’s not a synopsis, because a synopsis gives away the whole story).
• A 250-word biography of the central character
• A signed copy of the entry form (which you can download from the site).

The deadline is 12th July 2012 – so there’s loads of time! NB: You have to live in the UK, you have to be over 18 and you mustn’t have had a novel published before. Read the t&cs for more conditions!

* An ‘advance’ is, well, what it sounds like. The publishers pay you ‘in advance’ of any royalties the book will earn. Advances are recouped from royalties: the more books you sell, the quicker you pay off your advance and the sooner you begin to receive royalty cheques.

There are a lots of other articles on the Stylist website that you might want to read, even if the Crime Novel competition isn’t for you. There’s advice from Amanda Ross (‘the most powerful person in publishing’ – founder of the Richard and Judy Bookclub) on getting published here.

If you want to be a scriptwriter, advice on how to get an agent here.

How to write a killer script here – much of which could apply to any kind of writing. There’s more! But we haven’t got time to read it all, have we?

I’ve had a couple of ‘near misses’ over the past couple of days. I didn’t win the Write Invite competition. You may remember me telling you I was in the shortlist of 3. Well, I came second. Close but no cigar.

And then today, a story I’d changed and re-submitted to People’s Friend (at their request) back in January, came winging its way back in the post. “I’m very sorry,” the editor said, “but this time it’s a final no.”

I’ve said this before about People’s Friend, but they don’t like anything that even hints at ‘nastiness’ in their stories. And if you’re going to give your character a problem to solve and make the story realistic, that’s quite a tall order.

In my story, the main character had taken a young girl, Donna, under her wing but then had ‘dropped’ her when friends and family criticised her for interfering. I softened what had happened, made my character remorseful and showed her making up for what she’d done. It all had a very happy ending (as, indeed it had in the first version) but the editor of People’s Friend said, “I’m afraid the reader’s abiding impression is that she has been irresponsible and callous and although Donna forgives her I’m not sure our readers could.”

I feel quite hurt, on my character’s behalf! Bloomin’ cheek! She’s not ‘irresponsible and callous’ – she’s just human! *flounces off*

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4 Responses to Get Your Crime Novel Published

  1. Keith Havers says:

    You do have to tread a fine line with PF don’t you? I managed to modify mine to their satisfaction and got it accepted but I’ve just had a few more rejected. They’re the only magazine I know of who give you a second chance.

  2. PF do have very particular requirements because they know want their readers want and expect so the ‘no’ only means the story isn’t right for them, not that it isn’t good. The fact they asked fpr a rewrite shows that it IS good – so I hope you’ll try it somewhere else.

  3. Hi Helen,
    It is hurtful when they don’t want your story isn’t it? Especially when they say, ‘send more’. They have given you a direct reason though, you are so close, don’t give up. People’s Friend are the most popular fiction magazine, and their stories are getting more realistic. For instance, not long ago, a lady planted bulbs (in a story) on a grass verge in a public place, when she went back they’d been pulled up and vandallised, then the locals helped her plant them back. Good luck if you have another go.

  4. Kath says:

    Sorry to hear about your PF rejection, Helen, but enjoying reading your stories in the Woman’s Weekly Fiction Specials. You’re doing really great there. I’ve just had a rejection from PF which was so positive about my story saying it was loved, quirky, entertaining etc, etc, but too off the wall for them. They may not have bought the story but it’s the best rejection I’ve ever had! Good luck with your writing. Kath

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