2020 Unpublished Contest

2020 Winners Now Announced

Next Season Opens: Dec. 7th, 2020

2020 Unpublished Winners

Literary
Vermilion by Vimi Bajaj

Mystery / Thriller
Kill for Love by Laura Picklesimer

Nonfiction
Southside 5: The True Story of Unknown African-American Heroes
by Barbara Osteika

Outsider
The Black Space Behind Our Eyes by John Cosgrove

Sci-Fi / Fantasy
Heretical by Ari Halevy

Young Adult
The Drama Queen Who Cried Wolf by Jocelyn Rish

View Full Results

2021 Season Opens:
Dec. 7th, 2020

Winners Receive:
$15,000 | industry circulation | executive development

The 2020 Book Pipeline: Unpublished competition is exclusively for unpublished manuscripts across 6 categories of fiction and nonfiction:

Literary
Mystery / Thriller
Nonfiction

Outsider
Sci-Fi / Fantasy
Young Adult

Select publishers and agents get first look at the top selections for each category, including Katherine Tegen Books and Verve Publishing.

Winners and finalists receive:

  • $15,000 to winners ($2,500 for each category winner)
  • Immediate circulation to publishers, agents, editors, and other execs
  • Consideration from producers seeking projects for film and TV adaptation
  • Additional long-term reviews of other books for potential circulation
  • Invitations to annual writer and industry events hosted by Pipeline Media Group

- ABOUT BOOK PIPELINE -

Launched in 2014, Book Pipeline connects writers worldwide with publishers, agents, and the film industry. Through two submissions platforms--Unpublished and Adaptation--the company seeks both new and established authors and playwrights.

Previous winners include M Dressler's acclaimed novel The Last to See Me, the true story Veteran's Day from whistleblower Paula Pedene, and the award-winning play Application Pending by Tony Award Winner Andy Sandberg and Greg Edwards.

For 20 years, Script Pipeline has bridged the gap between up-and-coming writers and the industry through a unique, long-term, hands-on facilitation process. The result thus far has been $7 million in scripts sold to studios and networks since 1999. In total, across both Book and Script Pipeline, over 20,000 pieces of creative material are reviewed annually, with over 2,000 entries submitted to Book Pipeline in 2019.

Learn more about Script Pipeline and Pipeline Media.

"Book Pipeline's support and advice in helping develop a compelling package to industry decision-makers has been invaluable. . . . This is a contest that truly delivers what it promises. We are grateful to work with the Book Pipeline team and for the compassion they had for this story of truth about our veterans."
- Paula Pedene & Doug Williams (Veteran's Day), Book Pipeline Winner

Unpublished fiction and nonfiction may be submitted to the following categories. One (1) grand prize winner and two (2) finalists are selected for each category, with the grand prize winner receiving immediate, exclusive "first look" review of the agency/publisher supporting their respective category.

Fiction (Young Adult)

For readers between the ages of 12-18, Young Adult (YA) subgenres include but are not limited to: Contemporary, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, LBGTQ+, Romance, and Mystery/Thriller.

Sample Titles: The Hate U Give, The Hunger Games, The Fault in Our Stars, Wonder, Thirteen Reasons Why, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Winner Reviewed By: Katherine Tegen, Publisher (Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Children's) - editor/publisher of the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth.

Fiction (Sci-Fi / Fantasy)

Subgenres include but are not limited to: Dystopian, Steampunk, Supernatural, Post-Apocalyptic, Time Travel, and Speculative.

Sample Titles: The Martian, Ready Player One, The Handmaid's Tale, Station Eleven, The Power, The Bear and the Nightingale.

Winner Reviewed By: Lesley Sabga, Associate Agent (The Seymour Agency)

Fiction (Mystery / Thriller)

Subgenres include but are not limited to: Psychological Suspense, Crime, Horror, Hard-boiled/Noir, Legal/Medical, and Romantic Suspense.

Sample Titles: The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl, The Long Drop, The Last Mrs. Parrish, The Associate, Sharp Objects.

Winner Reviewed By: TBD

Fiction (Literary)

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

Sample Titles: Less, The Orphan Master's Son, The Goldfinch, All the Light We Cannot See, Where the Crawdads Sing, The Overstory.

Winner Reviewed By: Ian Bonaparte, Associate Agent (Janklow & Nesbit Associates)

Fiction (Outsider)

Anything considered "experimental," Fiction (Outsider) is for novels that don't quite fit into a specific categorization. Novels written in an atypical structural format with unorthodox syntax, or feature subject matters that are considered to be on the fringes, would fall under Outsider.

Sample Titles: A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, C, Dear Committee Members, The Story of My Teeth, Fever Dream, NW.

Winner Reviewed By: Lee Matthew Goldberg, Publisher (Fringe Press, launching 2021)

Nonfiction

Subgenres include but are not limited to: Autobiography, Memoir, Biography, Historical, Creative Nonfiction, and Politics.

Sample Titles: Wave, 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.

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

Awards

Grand Prize Winners (1 in each category, selected from finalists) - announced November 5th, 2020

  • $15,000 (awarding $2,500 to each category winner)
  • Immediate circulation to publishers, agents, editors, and other execs

Finalists (3 in each category) - announced by October 25th, 2020

The Grand Prize Winner and finalists receive:

  • Consideration from producers seeking projects for film and TV adaptation
  • Additional long-term reviews of other books for potential circulation
  • Invitations to annual writer and industry events hosted by Pipeline Media Group

GUIDELINES & CRITERIA

  • Submit approximately the first 5,000 words only + full story synopsis (1-3 pages).
  • Writers may register early if their work is still in-progress, but must have a completed manuscript by the time finalists are selected in October 2020.
  • While there isn't a hard and fast rule for word count, all entries, both fiction and nonfiction, should be at full standard industry length. This typically means, depending on the genre, anywhere from 50,000 to 120,000 words.
  • Entries must fall into one of the aforementioned categories.
  • Authors may submit multiple entries, but each entry can only compete in a single division.
  • What is not eligible: Novellas, Short Stories, Poetry, Plays, Graphic Novels, Screenplays, Pilots, or anything else that is not an unpublished, full-length work of fiction or nonfiction. Published material can be submitted to Book Pipeline: Adaptation. Screenplays and pilots may be submitted to Script Pipeline.

Other details:

  • PDF or Word doc only. 
  • No limit on the number of entries. Each entry is a separate fee.
  • Supplemental documents (illustrations, 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 elsewhere while in competition).
  • Book Pipeline does not take a percentage of any future publication deal, nor do we act as an agent or publisher.

Rules:

  • Entries must be unpublished. Entrant must be the sole author or co-author, or own the rights to the material.
  • If the material is acquired by a publisher after the time of submission, please notify us and we can pull the entry 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.

View complete rules and guidelines

The following agents and publishers will receive an exclusive, 3-week first look window for the Grand Prize Winner in each category.

  • Fiction (Young Adult): Katherine Tegen, Publisher (Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Children's)
  • Fiction (Mystery / Thriller): TBD
  • Fiction (Sci-Fi / Fantasy): Lesley Sabga, Associate Agent (The Seymour Agency)
  • Fiction (Literary): Ian Bonaparte, Associate Agent (Janklow & Nesbit Associates)
  • Fiction (Outsider): Lee Matthew Goldberg, Publisher (Fringe Press)
  • Nonfiction: Liz Parker, Agent (Verve Publishing)

WHAT ARE THE DEADLINE DATES?

Finalists announced by October 25th, 2020. Winners selected on November 5th, 2020.

HOW DO I REGISTER?

Fill out the required fields on the left-hand column of this page, continue to the next page, indicate your payment details, and click "submit." File/s may be sent by email or uploaded during this registration process. You'll receive a confirmation email with further info after registering.

CAN I REGISTER EARLY?

Yes, writers may register at any time and send their material later at no extra fee. All entries must be received by October 5th, 2020.

DO I NEED A COMPLETED MANUSCRIPT?

While entrants may register early if their work is still in-progress, they should have a completed manuscript by the time finalists are announced by October 25th 2020, in the event they are selected for industry circulation.

For those registering early and sending their materials later, a full story synopsis and sample chapters must be submitted by the final deadline on October 5th.

WHAT IF I GET PUBLISHED AFTER ENTERING?

If your book is under agreement to be published, or is later published after entering, it would be ineligible to compete, in which case we could pull the entry and refund the entry fee.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I WIN OR PLACE AS A FINALIST?

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

If you are a Grand Prize Winner, the supporting publisher or agent in your winning category will get first look at the material for a 3-week period. After that period has lapsed, or the publisher/agent has passed on the book, Book Pipeline will go wider with the material to other publishers, agents, and editors in our industry network. If you're a finalist, Book Pipeline bypasses the aforementioned "first look" step and goes straight to other publishers, agents, and editors in our industry network.

We also work long-term with writers and assist them in finding publishers and reps that would be the best fit for their story. Note that Book Pipeline does not take a percentage of any publication fee or advance, nor do we personally represent authors. We're simply helping make introductions to industry.

HOW SHOULD I FORMAT MY SUBMISSION?

We don't have any requirements as far as format, but standard formatting (font, spacing, etc.) is preferable. You won't be disqualified, however, on the basis of presentation. Whatever best suits your submission.

PDF or Word docs only are accepted. Please put your synopsis and text into actual files rather than sending in the body of the email. Just makes it easier for our staff to organize.

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

That's completely fine. If you want to send in selected text--say the first two chapters--and a natural break occurs around 6,000 words, that's acceptable.

WHAT SHOULD I INCLUDE IN MY SYNOPSIS?

The synopsis should be a general summary of the story, hitting on the major plot points, beginning to end.

While we will accept a more detailed outline (5+ pages), it isn't necessary, though this of course depends on the type of material you're submitting (example: if you have part one of a broader series, you could send a full summary of the entire series).

Essentially, for judging, we need to get a sense of the complete project's conceptual and narrative scope. This, combined with the writing sample, full or partial, will help us make the final determination.

WHEN ARE THE WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT DATES?

Finalists announced by October 25th, 2020. Winners announced November 5th, 2020.

CAN INTERNATIONAL WRITERS ENTER?

Yes, applicants outside the US are welcome to enter ANY Book Pipeline contest.

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

Feedback is not included on Book Pipeline: Unpublished contest entries.

WILL YOU ACCEPT PITCHES ONLY?

We'll accept full non-fiction book proposals, however ideas and short "elevator" 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 competition. Further, your material is not sent to industry without the author's consent.

Contact our contest coordinator with any other questions.

Submit

2020 Unpublished Contest

Next season opens December 7th, 2020.