Tuesday, May 6, 2008

No-Fee Novel Contest

Though you have to have published one book already to enter this contest, the press is also looking for other original fiction (scroll to the end of the post).

Michigan Literary Fiction Awards

Please note: as of 2007 the Michigan Literary Fiction Awards will be for novels only.

Who may enter? To qualify, contestants must have previously published at least one literary novel or story collection in English.

Why an award such as this? As major publishers become more and more driven by the bottom line, they are willing to take fewer and fewer risks. For many writers of literary fiction, this means they get only one chance. When a first book doesn't sell in the tens of thousands of copies, further book submissions often will get immediately consigned to the reject pile. We expect and desire to attract the work of writers of literary fiction looking for, and deserving, another chance. And because manuscripts are read blindly, our judges enjoy the freedom of being able to pick the best work they can find, regardless of who the author may be.

Are there any restrictions? Current students, faculty, and staff of the University of Michigan may not enter. The contest is also closed to all graduates of the UM Department of English Language and Literature Creative Writing Program. Present and past faculty or staff of the UM Department of English Language and Literature may not enter.

Simultaneous submissions are allowed, but let us know immediately if a manuscript has been accepted elsewhere. Only one submission per author per year.

How? We accept manuscript submissions between February 1 and July 1. Make sure the manuscript is word-processed, double-spaced and single-sided, the pages consecutively numbered. The title of the manuscript must appear on every page. Please remove your name from the manuscript, but identify yourself and the title of your manuscript in a cover letter. There's no need to include publishing credentials.

Is there an entry fee? No entry fee. But, along with your manuscript and cover letter, you must submit one copy of a previous book of literary fiction that you have published. Without it, we will not consider your manuscript. The book will not be returned.

What sort of books will be considered? Literary fiction. Ultimately, it will be up to the judges to determine what is, and what is not “literary," but it's safe to say that genre fiction, such as mystery, science fiction, romance, children's fiction etc., won't qualify.

Are there length limitations? We're unlikely to be able to publish anything under 100 pages, but otherwise there are no length limitations.

When will we know who won? Each year's winners will be announced in November. See this link for information on past winners.

What is the winner awarded? The winner will receive a $1,000 advance, and the book will be published by The University of Michigan Press in the following fall season.

Sending us the manuscript: Due to new USPS safety regulations requiring that packages over 16 oz. be hand delivered directly to a post office worker, we are unable to return manuscripts, even with an SASE. Because we receive so many manuscripts, we're unable to acknowledge receipt. If you desire proof of receipt, please send the manuscript using Registered Mail or Delivery Confirmation services from the post office. Be sure to include a letter-sized SASE for announcement of winners.

Send submissions to:
Michigan Literary Fiction Awards
University of Michigan Press
839 Greene St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-3209

NOTE: The University of Michigan Press is seeking other original fiction too. To learn more, see our guidelines and instructions at our website.

Questions? E-mail: ump.fiction@umich.edu


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.