SpecFicNZ/Steam Press Novel Manuscript Contest

SpecFicNZ is thrilled to announce that we will be running a Speculative Fiction Novel Manuscript Contest this coming July in conjunction with Steam Press and editor/publisher Stephen Minchin.
We are letting you know now so you’ll have plenty of time to whip those manuscripts into shape and ask any question you might have.
Here are all the nitty-gritty details:

Who can enter?

Current paid-up SpecFicNZ members. Not a member? It is easy to join HERE.

When can I enter?

Submissions open July 1st, 2012 and close July 31st, 2012 (midnight NZ time).

What do I submit?

A finished, polished, previously unpublished speculative fiction novel manuscript from 30,000 to 200,000 words. This is a SpecFicNZ competition, so please only submit speculative fiction novels. Your romantic comedy may be brilliant, but this isn’t the place for it. Not sure what speculative fiction is? See our handy definition HERE. Please DO NOT submit previously published or self-published novels or anything that has been posted to the internet.

Where to submit entries:

No entry fee to enter. Please send your submission to [email protected] as a rtf (rich text format) file, following the standard manuscript format but without any author identification in the manuscript (no by-line or author name on the pages so your manuscript can be judged blindly). Not sure what standard manuscript format is? There is a good summary HERE.

What to submit:

Your e-mailed entry should have the subject line Novel Contest: (Title of the Work) and the body of the e-mail should contain your name, contact information, specific genre of the work, estimated word count of the work, title of the work, and a short blurb describing your novel (maximum of three paragraphs). Think of your blurb as what you would want to see on the back cover of your published book. This is not a synopsis, but should identify one or two main characters, the genre, and the crisis or turning point the main character faces. It should hook the reader to want to read the full manuscript. Please be advised that your blurb may be used during the course of the contest in promotional posts on the SpecFicNZ and Steam Press websites. You may also include in the cover e-mail a short bio and a paragraph about your writing experience or publications, though these are not required.

Multiple submissions?

No. Only one submission per person accepted.


Be sure that your manuscript is polished, copy-edited, and near ready for publication before sending it to us. If for any reason you feel the need to resubmit your entry, please indicate this by putting the subject line ReSub Novel Contest (Title of the Work) in the subject line. In cases of resubmissions, SpecFicNZ will consider the most recent version as the official entry. Overuse of this feature may annoy us, so just make sure it’s right the first time.

What is the judging process?

All entries received by the July 31st deadline (midnight NZ time) and that follow the submission rules outlined above will be passed on blindly to Stephen Minchin of Steam Press Publishing. Stephen will read submission throughout August and choose the top three manuscripts. The winners will be announced on the SpecFicNZ and Steam Press websites in September 2012, including author information, links and blurbs.

What do I win, if I win?

Each of the three winning entries will receive a free critique of their manuscript by editor and publisher Stephen Minchin with suggestions for improvements and pursuit of publication. In addition to the critique, SpecFicNZ will offer cash prizes of $25NZ, $50NZ, and $100NZ for third, second and first place manuscripts respectively. The critique and cash prizes will be delivered into the winner’s hands no later than September 31st, 2012. Of course, there is always the possibility that Stephen might want to publish one or all of the winners under the Steam Press label, but you’ll just have to wait and see on that one. Publication IS NOT a guaranteed prize.

What is Stephen looking for?

“What I look for in a manuscript is pretty simple – I have to like it. So what do I like? I’d say that my tastes are pretty broad, ranging from traditional fantasy through to experimental science fiction. So far as genre goes, I’m not too prejudiced. Plot and character development are probably the most important thing. I love to read novels that I can’t stop thinking about, ones that keep me awake at night and that I want to get back to when I’m stuck at my desk. The events of the story have to matter to the characters (and, preferably, to me). There needs to be tension, and the story needs to be edited so that it’s reasonably tight – info-dumps, meandering subplots, and easy wins quickly become tiresome. For all of this to work I need to care if the characters make it or not, but that said, I don’t have to like them, so give me anti-heroes if that’s your thing. They have to be believable tough, with realistic motivations – I have no patience for characters being stupid just because that’s what the plot demands, and while bad luck can get characters into a pickle, too much good luck is a weak way to get them back out again. The final thing is that SpecFicNZ has an “NZ” at the end, so while I wouldn’t expect your epic fantasy or space opera novel to include any references to New Zealand, if you’re writing a horror or urban fantasy novel please bear in mind that there are enough Americans writing about America already, and they can probably do it better than a kiwi.”

*Employees and/or staff of Steam Press are NOT eligible to enter. Members of the SpecFicNZ committee CAN enter due to the fact that they will not be involved in the judging except to pass on blind manuscripts to an outside party.

**Thank you Stephen for the fabulous meshed logo for this announcement.



Back to Top
%d bloggers like this: