2021 Unpublished Contest

Deadline: August 20th, 2021

$55.00

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

The 2021 Book Pipeline: Unpublished competition is exclusively for unpublished manuscripts across 6 categories of fiction and nonfiction:

Literary
Mystery / Thriller
Sci-Fi / Fantasy
Young Adult
Middle Grade
Nonfiction

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

Winners and Runners-Up 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 review of other books for potential circulation
  • Invitations to annual writer and industry events hosted by Pipeline Media Group

Entries also accepted via Coverfly or Submittable:

       

- ABOUT BOOK PIPELINE -

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 Through two submission platforms--Unpublished and Adaptation--the company seeks both new and established authors and playwrights.

For 21 years, 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 $8 million in scripts sold to studios and networks since 1999, most recently the seven-figure sale of Script Pipeline finalist Bring Me Back to Legendary Entertainment. In total, across Film, Book, and Script Pipeline, approximately 25,000 pieces of creative material are reviewed annually, with over 4,000 entries submitted to Book Pipeline in 2020.

Learn more about Script Pipeline and Pipeline Media.

Unpublished fiction and nonfiction may be submitted to the following categories.

One (1) Grand Prize Winner and one (1) Runner-Up 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 (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 (Mystery / Thriller)

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

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

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

Fiction (Sci-Fi / Fantasy)

Subgenres include but are not limited to: Dystopian, Steampunk, Supernatural, Post-Apocalyptic, LGBTQ+, 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: Italia Gandolfo & Renee Fountain, Agents (Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary Management)

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, LGBTQ+, Romance, and Mystery/Thriller.

Sample Titles: The Hate U Give, The Hunger Games, The Fault in Our Stars, You Should See Me in a Crown, Thirteen Reasons Why, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Winner Reviewed By: Ben Rosenthal, Executive Editor (Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Children's) - publisher of the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth.

Fiction (Middle Grade)

For readers between the ages of 8-12, Middle Grade (MG) subgenres include but are not limited to: Contemporary, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, LGBTQ+, Action/Adventure, and Mystery/Thriller.

Sample Titles: A Wrinkle in Time, Bridge to Terabithia, Wonder, Because of Winn-Dixie, Out of My Mind, The Crossover.

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

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, The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill.

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

Grand Prize Winners (1 in each category) - announced October 10th, 2021

  • $15,000 ($2,500 to each category winner)

Runners-Up (1 in each category) - announced October 10th, 2021

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

  • Additional review of other books or works-in-progress for potential circulation
  • Development assistance on future material from Book Pipeline execs
  • Consideration from producers seeking projects for film and TV adaptation
  • Invitations to annual writer and industry events hosted by Pipeline Media Group

Guidelines:

  • Submit approximately the first 5,000 words only + full synopsis (1-3 pages).
  • Writers may register early if their work is in-progress. Fiction entrants must have a completed manuscript by the time results are announced on October 10th, 2021, in the event they are selected for industry circulation. For nonfiction entrants, it is acceptable to just have a full proposal---although having a completed manuscript is very beneficial, particularly for memoirs.
  • All entries are final once they have been submitted. No updates or revisions permitted.
  • 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 20,000 to 120,000 words. Please ensure that your manuscript fits within the typical standards of your submission category.
  • Entries must fall into one of the aforementioned categories.
  • Authors may submit multiple entries, but each entry can only compete in a single category.
  • 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. Self-published and traditionally published material can be submitted to Book Pipeline: Adaptation. Screenplays, pilots, and film or TV pitches 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 will pull the submission from competition and refund your entry fee.
  • Co-written works are acceptable, only one writer needs to register.
  • Must be at least eighteen (18) years of age at time of entry.
  • All former semifinalists, finalists, runners-up, and winners from any Book Pipeline competition, from any year since 2014, are ineligible.

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 (Literary): Ian Bonaparte, Associate Agent (Janklow & Nesbit Associates)
  • Fiction (Mystery / Thriller): Amy Tannenbaum, Agent (Jane Rotrosen Agency)
  • Fiction (Sci-Fi / Fantasy): Italia Gandolfo & Renee Fountain, Agents (Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary Management)
  • Fiction (Young Adult): Ben Rosenthal, Executive Editor (Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Children's)
  • Fiction (Middle Grade): Mollie Glick, Agent (Creative Artists Agency)
  • Nonfiction: Liz Parker, Agent (Verve Publishing) - the publishing division of Verve Talent & Literary Agency
  • 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. Laura is currently preparing her materials for Kill for Love to go out on submission to publishers.
  • Through meetings facilitated by Book Pipeline, 2020 Sci-Fi/Fantasy category finalists Jessi Honard & Marie Parks signed a publishing deal with Not a Pipe Publishing for their contemporary fantasy novel, Unrelenting. The book is set for a 2022 release.
  • Via a connection by Book Pipeline, 2020 Outsider category Grand Prize Winner John Cosgrove is in talks for a publishing agreement with Fringe Press for his novel, The Black Space Behind Our Eyes. The book will be aiming for a 2022 launch.
  • Michelle Lerner signed with Veronica Goldstein of Fletcher & Co after placing as a finalist in the 2020 Outsider category with her experimental novel Ring. Michelle is currently preparing a rewrite on Ring to be shopped to publishers.
  • After placing as a finalist in the 2020 Nonfiction category, Samuel C. Spitale signed with Veronica Goldstein of Fletcher & Co and signed a publishing deal with Quirk Books for his prescriptive work, tentatively titled 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 will be Quirk Book’s lead title for release in Fall 2022.

WHAT ARE THE DEADLINE DATES?

Regular: August 20th, 2021 ($55)
Late: September 5th, 2021 ($60)
Extended (Coverfly & Submittable Exclusive): September 10th, 2021 ($65)

HOW DO I REGISTER?

Fill out the required fields on the right-hand column of this page, continue to the next page, indicate your payment details, and click "submit." Files 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 September 10th, 2021.

DO I NEED A COMPLETED MANUSCRIPT?

Fiction entrants must have a completed manuscript by the time results are announced on October 10th, 2021, in the event they are selected for industry circulation. For nonfiction entrants, it is acceptable to just have a full proposal---although having a completed manuscript is very beneficial, 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 to compete, in which case we would disqualify the submission and refund the entry fee.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN 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 are a Grand Prize Winner, the supporting publisher or agent in your winning category will get exclusive 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 Runner-Up, 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 simply help 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. Do not send your synopsis and sample in the body of the email. Attachments only, please.

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?

For fiction, it should be a general summary of the story, hitting on the major plot points, beginning to end. If you have part one of a broader series, you could send an overview summary of the entire series.

For nonfiction, it should illuminate the book's potential position in the marketplace, the author's platform/background, and relevant comparative, already-published titles, in addition to providing the overarching details of your work's subject/narrative.

Essentially, for judging, we need to get a sense of the complete project's conceptual and narrative scope. This, combined with the writing sample, will help us make the final determination. It's highly advised to seek out synopsis samples so you can properly structure the summary.

WHEN ARE THE WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT DATES?

Winners and Runners-Up are announced October 10th, 2021.

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 Unpublished contest entries.

However, contest entrants may request a separate Workshop Evaluation for an additional fee. Workshop Evaluations are kept separate from the Unpublished judging process---feedback is given by a different executive and have no bearing on contest results.

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 competition. Further, material is not sent to industry without the author's consent.

Contact our contest coordinator with any other questions.

Submit

2021 Unpublished Contest

August 20th, 2021 - Regular Deadline

$55.00

Author *

Title *

Submission Method *

You can upload your submission material, OR email it to entry@bookpipeline.com after you’ve completed your order.

Upload Material

Upload a separate synopsis if not included with manuscript document.

Terms and Conditions *

Please confirm that you have read the Book Pipeline Unpublished terms and conditions.