2023 Unpublished Contest

Pre-Register Deadline: January 10th, 2023

Submit

Winners Receive:
$20,000 | industry circulation | executive development

The 2023 Book Pipeline: Unpublished contest is exclusively for unpublished manuscripts across eight categories of fiction and nonfiction:

Literary
Mystery / Thriller
Sci-Fi / Fantasy
Romance / Women's Fiction
Young Adult
Middle Grade
Picture Books
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:

  • $20,000 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

DEADLINES

Pre-Register: January 10th, 2022 - $25
Special Entry: March 10th, 2023 - $35
Early: May 25th, 2023 - $45
Regular: August 20th, 2023 - $55
Late: September 5th, 2023 - $60

Entries also accepted via:

           

- ABOUT BOOK PIPELINE -

Book Pipeline connects writers worldwide with publishers, agents, and the film industry. Through three divisions—Unpublished, Adaptation, and the upcoming Comic Books (launching in 2023)—the company seeks both new and established storytellers. Additionally, through its Workshop, Book Pipeline aids creators in identifying key issues early on in their writing process with an experienced team of professional editors.

Since the division’s rebrand in 2020, Book Pipeline has helped many authors secure literary representation and publishing deals through its unique, long-term, hands-on facilitation process.

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 2022.

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

Unpublished fiction and nonfiction may be submitted to the following categories.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

Adult 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, Agent (Janklow & Nesbit Associates)

Adult Fiction (Mystery / Thriller)

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

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)

Adult Fiction (Sci-Fi / Fantasy)

Subgenres include but are not limited to: Dystopian, Steampunk, Supernatural, Post-Apocalyptic, LGBTQIA+, 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: An Acquiring Editor at a "Big Five House" Science-Fiction/Fantasy imprint (name withheld).

Adult Fiction (Romance / Women's Fiction)

Subgenres include but are not limited to: Contemporary, Regency, Romantic Comedy, Romantic Suspense, Gothic, and LGBTQIA+.

Sample Titles: The Keeper of Lost Things, Wish You Were Here, Red, White & Royal BlueOne Italian SummerIf I Never Met YouThe Siren of Sussex.

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

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, LGBTQIA+, Romance, and Nonfiction.

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)

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, LGBTQIA+, Action/Adventure, and Nonfiction.

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)

Picture Books

For readers between the ages of 2-8, Picture Book subgenres include but are not limited to: Rhythmic Books, Board Books, Concept Books, Early Readers, Folk/Fairy Tales, and Nonfiction.

Sample Titles: Little Wonder, The Leaf Thief, How to Catch a DinosaurStacey's Extraordinary WordsYasmin the GardenerShark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean's Most Fearless Scientist

Winner Reviewed By: Sophia Jimenez, Associate Editor (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster)

Adult 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, 2023

  • $20,000 ($2,500 to each category winner)

Runners-Up (1 in each category) - announced October 10th, 2023

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:

NOTE - a synopsis is required for all submissions. 

  • Fiction: Submit approximately the first 5,000 words only and a full story synopsis (1-3 pages).
  • Picture Books: Submit your full manuscript (either text-only or with illustrations) and a brief conceptual overview/synopsis (1 page or less).
  • Nonfiction: Submit your full proposal.
  • 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, 2023, in the event they are selected for industry circulation. Picture book entrants must submit their full manuscript during registration. 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. Please ensure that your manuscript fits within the typical industry 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 one category.
  • What is not eligible: Novellas, Short Stories, Poetry, Plays, Graphic Novels/Comics, Screenplays, Pilots, or anything else that is not an unpublished, full-length work of adult/children's 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 (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.
  • Feel free to register now and email in your materials at a later date---they just need to be sent in by the final deadline (September 5th, 2023). Just remember that once you have submitted your materials, they are final. No revisions or substitutions allowed.

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.
  • 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 contest, from any year since 2014, are ineligible.

View complete rules and guidelines

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

  • Adult Fiction (Literary): Ian Bonaparte, Agent (Janklow & Nesbit Associates)
  • Adult Fiction (Mystery / Thriller): Amy Tannenbaum, Agent (Jane Rotrosen Agency)
  • Adult Fiction (Sci-Fi / Fantasy): An Acquiring Editor at a "Big Five House" Science-Fiction/Fantasy imprint (name withheld).
  • Adult Fiction (Romance / Women's Fiction): Latoya Smith, Agent & Co-Founder (Arthouse Literary Agency)
  • 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: Sophia Jimenez, Associate Editor (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster)
  • Adult 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, set to be published by Unnamed Press in Fall 2023.
  • Through 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. The book was released on April 19th, 2022.
  • 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
  • After placing as a finalist in the 2020 Nonfiction category, Samuel Spitale signed with Veronica Goldstein of Fletcher & Co 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 was released in 2022.
  • 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. Meg is currently working on revisions of Annapurna before going out wide to publishers.
  • 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.

WHAT ARE THE DEADLINE DATES?

Pre-Register: January 10th, 2023 - $25
Special Entry: March 10th, 2023 - $35
Early: May 25th, 2023 - $45
Regular: August 20th, 2023 - $55
Late: September 5th, 2023 - $60

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.

DO I NEED A COMPLETED MANUSCRIPT?

Fiction entrants must have a completed manuscript by the time results are announced on October 10th, 2023, in the event they are selected for industry circulation. Picture book entrants must submit their full manuscript during registration. 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. Please reach out to us to remove your submission from the contest.

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 two-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 specific requirements as far as format, but industry standard formatting (font, spacing, etc.) is preferable.

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

CAN I REGISTER NOW AND SUBMIT MY MATERIALS LATER?

Yes, as long as you send in your materials by the final deadline (September 5th, 2023). Just remember that once you have submitted your materials, they are final. No revisions or substitutions allowed.

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 chaptersand a natural break occurs around 6,000 words, that's acceptable.

WHAT SHOULD I INCLUDE IN MY SYNOPSIS/PROPOSAL?

For fiction, your synopsis 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, proposals can vary widely in both length and content. But, generally included are (but not necessarily in this order): a general overview; the book’s potential position in the marketplace; the author’s platform/background; relevant comparative, already-published titles; a plan for marketing the book; a chapter-by-chapter outline; and sample chapters. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and it's highly advised to seek out samples so you can properly structure your proposal.

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 and proposal samples so you can properly structure the summary.

WHEN ARE THE WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT DATES?

Winners and Runners-Up are announced October 10th, 2023.

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

Contact our contest coordinator with any other questions.

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