Enter the 2016-17 Free Edit Contest: Rules and Guidelines

Win free novel editing!

**Update: Results will be announced on November 10, due to the high volume of excellent submissions. Stay tuned!**

In honor of my business’s upcoming birthday on February 1, 2017, I am proud to offer a chance to win free novel editing from me. No strings attached–just submit your query and first two chapters by October 15, and one manuscript will win free editing services worth $1,700 from The Threepenny Editor.

First, why? When I started The Threepenny Editor in 2003, the ink on my creative writing degree was barely dried. I founded the company with a simple idea that has helped it grow into the robust, respected editing service it is today: I would give writers the kind of service I’d like to receive if I were in their shoes. That meant being responsive, constructive, and attentive to what a manuscript could be rather than limiting my attention to its flaws.

As a young writer, I wanted help in my writing, but the cost of hiring an independent editor was out of my reach. I’ve always wished I didn’t have to charge for the service I offer to aspiring authors. And to celebrate many years of success, I offer this writing contest annually. Read about last year’s winner.

The Writing Contest Rules

Please read all of the following with care before submitting work to me.

  1. The contest is open to novels of any genre.
  2. You must be a first-time client of The Threepenny Editor.
  3. You can be a published author, as long as your submission is not in the genre and category as your previous novels. For instance, if you are a YA paranormal author writing your first adult thriller, you are eligible.
  4. Send your first two chapters and a query letter as an ATTACHMENT to sarah [at] threepennyeditor [dot] com. Simple, 12-point, Times New Roman, double-spaced formatting is appreciated. Word and Pages documents only, please.
  5. I will open the contest to the first 100 manuscripts I receive before midnight PT on October 15, 2016.
  6. I will review submissions beginning October 16 and choose the five strongest ones. The winner will be chosen at random from among the finalists and notified by November 1, 2016.* That way, if you want to revise (or finish) your manuscript, you can piggyback on NaNoWriMo’s collective energy to get it done.
  7. The winner’s full manuscript will be read February 6-14 2017. You will receive a critique letter of at least 8,000 words that evaluates your novel’s strengths and weaknesses and offers a strategy for revision. I will also make scene- and line-level margin notes using Track Changes (usually at least 400 per 80,000-word novel). These support the critique’s ideas and also point out awkward ideas, scene flow problems, and questions about character, plot, and world-building. You will receive a free follow-up hour to talk about the editing work on your novel.
  8. The legal stuff: The spirit of this contest is to offer independent editorial feedback to a talented writer, and to help improve his or her novel. Participation is in no way an understanding of any promise to publish, offer literary representation of, or provide services to the novel beyond those ones expressly described above. The winner may not exchange proceeds for cash.

* = Frankly, I’m running the selection process this way because I regret having to tell 99 other writers they didn’t win. So if you don’t win, it might be because I already received 100 manuscripts. It might be because you were a finalist, but I didn’t draw your number. Keep writing, and submit your best work to me the next time I hold the contest.

Please drop me a line at the address above or via my contact form if you have any questions. Good luck, and thank you for your interest! Tell your friends about it, too, either on Facebook or Twitter. I am @threepenny.

(And if you live in the Bay Area, get a leg up on the competition by attending my class on query letter and first pages September 24. More info here!)


More articles: