2024 Unpublished Contest

Deadline:
August 20th, 2024

SUBMIT HERE

Winners Receive:
$25,000 | industry circulation | executive development

The 5th Annual 2024 Book Pipeline Unpublished contest seeks unpublished manuscripts across 10 categories of fiction and nonfiction:

Literary | Mystery / Horror / Thriller
Romance | Sci-Fi & Fantasy
General Fiction | Young Adult | Middle Grade
Picture Books | Nonfiction & Memoir
Comics & Graphic Novels

Select publishers and agents get first look at the top picks for each category, including CAA, HarperCollins, and Verve Publishing.

Winners and Runners-Up receive:

  • $25,000 to winners ($2,500 for each category winner)
  • Direct circulation to publishers, agents, editors, and other execs
  • Consideration from producers seeking projects for film and TV adaptation
  • Additional long-term review of other books for potential circulation and promotion
  • Access to exclusive writer events via Pipeline Artists' Symposium

DEADLINES

Regular: August 20th, 2024 - $50
Late: September 5th, 2024 - $55

Platforms also accepting entries:


- ABOUT BOOK PIPELINE -

For 10 years, Book Pipeline has connected writers worldwide with publishers, agents, editors, and the film industry. Through our two divisions—Unpublished and Adaptation—the company seeks both new and established storytellers. Additionally, Book Pipeline's team of professional editors helps authors refine their fiction and nonfiction manuscripts, queries, and more via the The Workshop.

The Book Pipeline team has helped many authors secure literary representation and publishing deals through its unique, long-term, hands-on facilitation process. Recent published winners include the nonfiction book How to Win the War on Truth by Sam Spitale and the thriller Kill For Love by Laura Picklesimer, with others slated for release in 2024 and 2025.

In total, across Book, Film, and Script Pipeline, approximately 25,000 pieces of creative material are reviewed annually, with over 4,000 entries submitted to Book Pipeline in 2023.

Learn more about Pipeline Media Group, as well as Pipeline Artists, a platform designed to educate and support emerging creatives in the arts.

Unpublished material may be submitted to the following categories:

Literary
Mystery / Horror / Thriller
Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Romance
General Fiction
Young Adult
Middle Grade
Picture Books
Nonfiction & Memoir
Comics & Graphic Novels

One (1) Grand Prize Winner and one (1) Runner-Up are selected for each category.


Literary

Typically, literary fiction leans more heavily into rich prose and overarching thematic resonance
rather than plot or action. All subgenres allowed.

Word Count Recommendation: 40,000-120,000 words

Winner Reviewed By:
Amy Moore-Benson, AMB Literary Management

Category Examples:
Less
The Orphan Master's Son
The Goldfinch
All the Light We Cannot See
Where the Crawdads Sing
The Overstory


Mystery / Horror / Thriller

Subgenres:

Crime
Horror
Hard-boiled/Noir
Legal/Medical
LGBTQ+
Psychological

Word Count Recommendation: 70,000-90,000 words

Winner Reviewed By:
Amy Tannenbaum, Agent (Jane Rotrosen Agency)

Category Examples:
The Girl on the Train
Gone Girl
The Long Drop
The Last Mrs. Parrish
The Associate
Sharp Objects


Sci-Fi & Fantasy

Subgenres:

Dystopian
LGBTQ+
Post-Apocalyptic
Steampunk
Supernatural
Speculative

Word Count Recommendation: 80,000-120,000 words

Winner Reviewed By:
An Acquiring Editor at a "Big Five House"
Science-Fiction/Fantasy imprint (name withheld)

Category Examples:
The Martian
Ready Player One
The Handmaid's Tale
Station Eleven
The Power
The Bear and the Nightingale


Romance

The story's primary focus should be on the relationship and romantic love between your characters.

Subgenres:

Contemporary
Gothic
Historical
LGBTQ+
Regency
Romantic Comedy
Romantic Suspense

Word Count Recommendation: 50,000-90,000 words

Winner Reviewed By:
Latoya Smith, Agent & Co-Founder (LCS Literary)

Category Examples:

Book Lovers
It Ends With Us
Red, White & Royal Blue
The Bodyguard
If I Never Met You
The Siren of Sussex


General Fiction

Subgenres:

Any fiction not covered in the other categories, including historical fiction, western, humor, women's fiction, and adventure.

Word Count Recommendation: 70,000-100,000 words

Winner Reviewed By:
Talcott Notch Literary


Young Adult

Subgenres:

Contemporary
Historical
LGBTQ+
Romance
Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Word Count Recommendation: 60,000-85,000 words

Winner Reviewed By:
Ben Rosenthal, Executive Editor (HarperCollins)

Category Examples:
The Hate U Give
The Hunger Games
The Fault in Our Stars
You Should See Me in a Crown
The Perks of Being a Wallflower


Middle Grade

Subgenres:

Action/Adventure
Contemporary
Historical
LGBTQ+
Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Word Count Recommendation: 30,000-60,000 words

Winner Reviewed By:
Mollie Glick, Agent (Creative Artists Agency)

Category Examples:
A Wrinkle in Time
Bridge to Terabithia
Wonder
Because of Winn-Dixie
Out of My Mind
The Crossover


Picture Books

Illustrated or non-illustrated submissions are both allowed.

Subgenres:

Board Books
Concept Books
Early Readers
Folk/Fairy Tales
Nonfiction
Rhythmic Books

Winner Reviewed By:
Emily Van Beek, Partner/Agent (Folio Literary Management)

Category Examples:
Little Wonder
The Leaf Thief
How to Catch a Dinosaur
Stacey's Extraordinary Words
Yasmin the Gardener


Nonfiction & Memoir

Subgenres:

Autobiography
Biography
Creative Nonfiction
Historical
Politics

Winner Reviewed By:
Liz Parker, Agent (Verve Publishing - the publishing division of Verve Talent & Literary Agency)

Category Examples:
Bossypants
Between the World and Me
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster


Comics & Graphic Novels

All genres accepted. Judging criteria is based primarily on the writing and concept. Art is optional (up to 5 pages allowed, b&w or color).

Winner Reviewed By:
Twisted Comics (Twisted Dark), and other TBD publishers

Category Examples:
Saga
Locke & Key
Stray Dogs
Deadly Class
Y the Last Man
Invincible
Gender Queer
Eight Billion Genies

Grand Prize Winners (1 per category) - announced November 10th, 2024

  • $25,000 ($2,500 to each category winner)

Runners-Up (1 per category) - announced November 10th, 2024

In addition to circulation to publishers, agents, editors, and other execs, the Grand Prize Winners and Runners-Up all receive:

  • Consideration from producers seeking projects for film and TV adaptation
  • Additional long-term review of other books for potential circulation and promotion
  • Access to exclusive writer events via Pipeline Artists' Symposium

Submission Requirements

*please read the instructions carefully for your submission category—but if you have any questions, please email us!

  • Fiction:
    • First 5,000 words only (appx.)
    • A full story synopsis (1-3 pages)
  • Picture Books:
    • Full manuscript (either text-only or with illustrations)
    • A brief conceptual overview/synopsis (1 page max)
  • Nonfiction:
    • A full proposal, which may include:
      • a general overview (the nonfiction version of a synopsis)
      • the book’s potential position in the marketplace
      • the author’s platform
      • the author's bio
      • comparative, already-published titles
      • a chapter-by-chapter outline
      • sample chapters
  • Memoirs:
    • First 5,000 words only (appx.)
    • A full story synopsis (1-3 pages)
  • Comics & Graphic Novels:
    • Comics: full script between 20-28 pages, broken down in comic format (no prose or books)
    • Graphic Novels: the first 20-28 pages of manuscript (at a natural stopping point)
    • A general synopsis of the complete story (1-3 pages). May include character arcs and supplemental details.
    • Art is OPTIONAL, but allowed (up to 5 pages only).

Rules:

  • Entries must (obviously) be unpublished.
  • If the material is acquired by a publisher after the time of submission, please notify us and we will pull the submission from competition.
  • Co-written works are acceptable, only one writer needs to register.
  • Must be at least eighteen (18) years of age at time of entry.
  • Former winners and finalists from Book Pipeline since 2020 are ineligible.
  • PDF or Word docs only,
  • Authors may submit multiple entries, but each entry can only compete in one category and is a separate entry fee.
  • Supplemental documents (additional information or media, etc.) are entirely optional and may be emailed separately after registering.
  • Simultaneous submissions are allowed (i.e., you can submit the material to other contests, or query agents, etc. while in competition).

View complete rules and guidelines

The following agents and publishers will receive an exclusive, three-week first look window for the Grand Prize Winner in each category. Beyond the industry listed here, Book Pipeline's industry network is comprised of over 300 additional agents, editors, and publishers.

  • Literary: Amy Moore-Benson, AMB Literary Management
  • Mystery / Horror / Thriller: Amy Tannenbaum, Agent (Jane Rotrosen Agency)
  • Sci-Fi & Fantasy: An Acquiring Editor at a "Big Five House" Science-Fiction/Fantasy imprint (name withheld).
  • Romance: Latoya Smith, Agent & Co-Founder (LCS Literary)
  • General Fiction: Talcott Notch Literary
  • Young Adult: Ben Rosenthal, Executive Editor (Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Children's)
  • Middle Grade: Mollie Glick, Agent (Creative Artists Agency)
  • Picture Books: Emily Van Beek, Partner/Agent (Folio Literary Management)
  • Nonfiction & Memoir: Liz Parker, Agent (Verve Publishing, a division of Verve Talent & Literary Agency)
  • Comics & Graphic Novels: Twisted Comics (Twisted Dark), and other TBD publishers
  • After an introduction from Book Pipeline, 2020 Mystery/Thriller category Grand Prize Winner Laura Picklesimer signed with Natalie Kimber of The Rights Factory for her upmarket satirical thriller novel, Kill for Love, released in 2023.
  • Sci-fi / Fantasy Winner Aaron Brooks signed with Talcott Notch. Book Pipeline execs sent his manuscript Nocturnal Ink direct to lit agent Amy Collins, who signed Aaron in 2023.
  • Michelle Lerner signed with Veronica Goldstein of Fletcher & Co (now UTA) after placing as a finalist in the 2020 Outsider category with her experimental novel Ring. The book is set to release in 2025.
  • Via circulation from Book Pipeline, 2021 Nonfiction category Grand Prize Winner Melissa Duge Spiers signed with Dani Segelbaum of the Carol Mann Agency for her memoir, The Glory Whole. Melissa is currently finalizing her materials for The Glory Whole before going out on submission to publishers.
  • Through meetings facilitated by Book Pipeline, 2020 Sci-Fi/Fantasy category finalists Jessi Honard & Marie Parks signed a deal with Not a Pipe Publishing for their contemporary fantasy novel, Unrelenting, released in 2022.
  • After placing as a finalist in the 2020 Nonfiction category, Samuel Spitale signed with Veronica Goldstein of Fletcher & Co (now UTA) and inked a publishing deal with Quirk Books for his prescriptive work, How to Win the War on Truth: An Illustrated Guide to How Mistruths Are Sold, Why They Stick, and How to Reclaim Reality (fka How to Tell What’s True in a Post-Truth Society: A Guidebook for Identifying Fake News, Alternative Facts, and Other Forms of Propaganda). The book released in 2022.
  • Finalist Kate Evans signed with Cindy Bullard of Birch Literary. Kate placed in the 2022 season with her nonfiction title Ditch Your Sh*t!: How to Declutter the Crap Out of Your Life and Home.”
  • Laura Garrison signed with Erin Clyburn of Howland Literary through recommendation from the Book Pipeline Workshop team. Laura's middle grade horror-comedy novel is now out on submission to publishers.
  • Meg Serino signed with Matthew Carnicelli of Carnicelli Literary Management after placing as the Runner-Up in the 2021 Literary category with her novel, Annapurna.
  • Rowena Leong Singer signed with Alicia Brooks from the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency after placing as the 2021 Literary category Grand Prize Winner for her novel, All Manner of Beasts.

WHAT ARE THE  SUBMISSION DEADLINES?

Regular: August 20th, 2024
Late: September 5th, 2024

Writers can register early and send their materials in later to our coordinator, any time before the final deadline, at no extra entry fee.

HOW DO I REGISTER?

Click SUBMIT HERE at the top of the page and fill out the required fields, continue to the next page, indicate your payment details, and again click "submit."

HOW DO I SUBMIT MY MATERIALS?

Entry files may be sent by email or (preferably) uploaded during the registration process. You'll receive a confirmation email with further info after registering.

HOW SHOULD I FORMAT MY SUBMISSION?

We don't have any specific requirements as far as format, but the industry standard (font, spacing, page numbers, etc.) is preferable.

PDF or Word docs only. We do not accept materials copy and pasted into the body of an email.

DO I GET FEEDBACK ON MY ENTRY? DOES IT COST EXTRA?

Feedback is not included on Unpublished contest entries.

However, contest entrants may request a separate Workshop Evaluation for an additional fee, which is at a reduced rate for entrants (you'll receive a special $25 off discount code in your confirmation email after registering).

Workshop Evaluations are kept separate from the Unpublished judging processfeedback is given by a different executive and have no bearing on contest results.

CAN INTERNATIONAL WRITERS ENTER?

Yes, applicants outside the US are welcome to enter any Book Pipeline contest. However, we only accept works that are written in the English language.

DO I NEED A COMPLETED MANUSCRIPT?

Fiction: you're not required to have a completed manuscript at the time of entry. If you're selected as a winner or runner-up, we can wait until your book is completed before circulating.

Picture Book: must submit your full manuscript.

Nonfiction & Memoir: acceptable to have a full proposal only (although having a completed manuscript is recommended, particularly for memoirs).

WHAT IF I GET PUBLISHED AFTER ENTERING?

If your book is under agreement to be published, or is later published (traditional or self), after entering, it would be ineligible. Please reach out to us to remove your submission in that scenario before the final deadline.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I WIN OR PLACE AS A RUNNER-UP?

Prior to industry circulation, Book Pipeline works with the individual authors to help edit and polish their materials.

If you're a Grand Prize Winner, the supporting publisher or agent in your winning category will get exclusive first look at the material for a three-week period. Once that period has lapsed, or the publisher/agent has passed on the book, Book Pipeline will go wider with the material to others in our industry network and strategize that process with the individual authors.

If you're a Runner-Up, Book Pipeline bypasses the aforementioned "first look" step and goes straight to other publishers, agents, and editors.

Our process is long-term as well, and we work with our selected authors for months (or years) after their placement to various degrees, whether it's helping find representation, promoting their books, considering new material, or giving them feedback on new ideas and new material.

DO YOU TAKE A FEE IF THE BOOK SELLS?

Nope. Book Pipeline does not take a percentage of any publication fee or advance, nor do we personally represent authors or publish books. We simply make direct introductions to agents and editors in our network.

CAN I REGISTER NOW AND SUBMIT MY MATERIALS LATER?

Yes, as long as you send in your materials by the final deadline.

IF I'M SUBMITTING A BOOK AND IT SPILLS OVER THE 5,000 WORD COUNT LIMIT, IS THAT OKAY?

Completely fine. If you want to send in selected text—say the first two chaptersand a natural break occurs around 6,000 words, that's acceptable.

I'VE NEVER WRITTEN A COMIC SCRIPT, WHAT FORMAT DO I WRITE THE SCRIPT IN?

There is no industry standard medium for comic scripts. However, you can find plenty excellent examples here

As long as we can clearly read and understand your story, and it describes specific images the artist can draw with panel breakdowns and dialogue, we'll accept it for review.

WILL YOU ACCEPT PITCHES ONLY?

We'll accept full nonfiction book proposals, however pitches for film and television may be submitted to the Script Pipeline Movie or TV Show Idea Competitions.

DO I RETAIN THE RIGHTS TO MY WORK BY ENTERING?

Yes. All rights to the material remain with the writer, no matter their final standing in the contest. Further, material is not sent to industry without the author's consent.

WHEN ARE THE WINNERS ANNOUNCED?

Winners and Runners-Up are announced November 10th, 2024.

Contact our contest coordinator with any other questions.

"This was my first time seeing the projects from Pipeline. I was amazed at the quality and level of craft I saw from all of their submissions. But Aaron’s work was so high-concept and well-written, I had to make an offer!"

Amy Collins (Talcott Notch)signed winner Aaron Brooks (Nocturnal Ink)

“As debut authors, it's so hard to stand out without someone standing behind you, and that's exactly what Book Pipeline has done for us. They've helped us make important connections, they've advocated for us, and they've made it clear they're investing in our entire careers. We couldn't be more thrilled or grateful for the opportunity to have their support. It's more than we ever imagined when we first entered the contest. We wouldn't be where we are now--with our debut novel set for publication with a publishing house we adore--without them.”

Jessi Honard & Marie Parks (Unrelenting)published winning book "Unrelenting" in 2021

"Winning the Book Pipeline contest was the biggest career turbo-boost I could imagine. The Pipeline team really makes good on their offer to shepherd you and your project through every step of getting repped and published ... I will be forever grateful to Book Pipeline for introducing us!"

Melissa Duge Spiers (The Glory Whole)signed with agent Dani Segelbaum (The Carol Mann Agency)

"Since my debut novel Kill for Love won the Unpublished Contest, Book Pipeline has been instrumental in not only getting my book published, but also investing in my career and championing my writing. The Pipeline team introduced me to my amazing agent Nat Kimber at The Rights Factory, and I am elated to announce that Unnamed Press will be publishing Kill for Love this September! Book Pipeline has been in my corner every step of the way, and none of this would have been possible without their support and enthusiasm."

Laura Picklesimer (Kill For Love)signed with Nat Kimber (The Rights Factory)

"The folks at Pipeline were amazing in their support, helping me navigate my career, hooking me up with top industry professionals, and talking me off cliffs when my anxiety got the best of me. Pipeline's track record speaks for itself, but from first-hand experience, I can tell you: they care. They believe. Make you feel like part of a family. Can't thank the team enough."

Aaron Brooks (Nocturnal Ink)signed with Amy Collins (Talcott Notch)

SUBMIT HERE