Do You Write YA Novels? Enter The YA Novel Discovery Contest!

I was so excited when I heard about The 250-Word YA Novel Discovery contest! Not excited for myself, because, unfortunately, none of the novels I plan to work on this year or next are YA novels. The ideas that really fascinate me seem to be either middle-grade children’s novels, or adult novels.

I did start a YA romance earlier this year – those of you who have been following this blog for a while will have heard of it by its project name, HARPER. But it’s not really an idea that’s particularly complete, so to speak – I was, as usual, writing by the seat of my pants, so I only know how the story goes up to the end of chapter 2 (which is how many chapters I’ve written).

So why was I excited? Because a very good writer friend of mine has a WIP that would be perfect for this contest! I actually emailed her from my iPhone when I heard about the contest, I was that excited.

And then I realized, hey! I have a blog, remember? And I know lots of you are writers working on YA projects!

So, if you haven’t heard about it yet, here’s the scoop on The YA Novel Discovery Contest, sponsored by the Serendipity Literary Agency, Sourcebooks and Gotham Writer’s Workshop – and check out the prizes, because they are spectacular, especially the Grand Prize!

If you’ve written a novel for young adults—or have an idea for one that you would like to write—we invite you to enter our contest. Simply submit only an enticing title along with the first 250 words from the opening of your original YA novel using the form below. There’s no entry fee or purchase requirement.


The Grand Prize Winner will have the opportunity to submit an entire manuscript to YA literary agent Regina Brooks and receive a free, 10-week writing course, courtesy of Gotham Writers’ Workshop.

The Top Five Entrants (including the Grand Prize winner) will receive a 15-minute, one-on-one pitch session with Regina Brooks, one of New York’s premier literary agents for young adult books. They will also receive commentary on their submissions by editors at HarperCollins, Penguin, Harlequin, Random House, and Sourcebooks and receive a one-year subscription to The Writer magazine.

The Top 20 Entrants will receive autographed copies of Writing Great Books for Young Adults by Regina Brooks.


YA literary agent Regina Brooks, along with editors at Sourcebooks, will read all of the entries and determine the top 20 submissions. These submissions will then be read by Dan Ehrenhaft, head Acquisitions Editor at Soucebooks Fire; Alisha Niehaus, Editor at Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin); David Linker, Executive Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books; Michele Burke, Editor at Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random House); and Evette Porter, Editor at Harlequin. These judges will whittle the top 20 down to five, and each of the five winners will be provided commentary on their submissions.

Contest entries will be accepted between 12:01AM EST November 1, 2009 and 11:59PM EST on November 30, 2009 – so for those of you doing NaNoWriMo this year and planning on writing a YA novel, you can submit the first 250 words (polished, of course, very polished!) of your NANoWriMo WIP!

That’s right! You don’t have to have a finished novel to enter!

The contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada, ages 13 or older at the date of entry. Only one entry per person, so make sure you choose your best idea/novel! Fill out the entry form here.

Question: I guess there’s no way a novel featuring an 11 year old protagonist would qualify as a YA novel, huh? I’m guessing the answer to that one is “no”. And my NaNoWriMo novel features an 11 year old protagonist. And no, there’s no way I can transform him into a 15 or 16 year old  … Sigh …

But, if I can brainstorm a really awesome idea featuring a YA protagonist in a fantasy sort of setting and write the first chapter before November 30 …! (Why fantasy? Because fantasy/paranormal ideas are the ones I tend to get very excited about.)

What about you? Are you going to enter?

6 thoughts on “Do You Write YA Novels? Enter The YA Novel Discovery Contest!

    1. Belle

      The problem with Harper is that it’s a romance. Cinderella story in a way, but still a romance. I don’t read a lot of romance (so I don’t know WHY I get these ideas in my head) and knowing me, it could very well start out as a romance and end up with Harper on the high seas battling pirates or something. I just have this tendency to go for the fantastic. And a really bad thing might happen – I might look down at what I’m writing and suddenly see that the love interest is looking kind of sparkly in the sunlight …

      But, you’ve just given me an idea. I wouldn’t be able to weave a fantasy element into it, but I might be able to weave it into a mystery, which would inspire me almost as much. Thanks, Jill! That never occurred to me. I’ll have to think about it a bit more.

  1. Jemi Fraser

    What a great sounding contest! I don’t usually write YA, but I’ve been considering writing a YA for NaNo. It’s one of the ideas that’s been floating around in my head, but I haven’t quite decided yet. We’ll see :)
    .-= Jemi Fraser´s last blog ..Gender Games =-.

    1. Belle

      I really do wish my NaNoWriMo novel was YA because this would be even more incentive! But I’m pretty excited about the novel itself, so I’ll be sticking with it (not to mention, I don’t have a YA idea in mind at the moment!).

  2. Erica

    Thanks for sharing :) I’m just starting a YA story for NaNo. Maybe if I’m feeling up to it, I’ll enter. That’s a great grand prize too!

    I too get excited about the fantasy/paranormal and that’s what I’m writing this time!

    I’ll check it out. Thanks again :)
    .-= Erica´s last blog ..How to pick a Title… =-.


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