Ask Daphne! About a contest

April 23rd, 2009 • Kate

greenshoesNo, not our very own Worst Queries contest! J.P. writes:

I found a contest for MG by Random House’s Delacorte Press and the prize is $1500 cash with $7500 advance toward royalties. Is this common for MG authors? Is it the same for YA? Do you think this is a good contest to get into?

I don’t know that it’s exactly common, but it is a good contest to enter! The winner gets a contract with Delacorte, which is nothing to sneeze at, plus a little green for themselves (which you could use to buy the above shoes!). The full details are here. Worth noting. however, is that the manuscripts submitted to this contest (and you can submit up to two) MAY NOT BE submitted to any other publishers OR literary agents while the contest is ongoing. Which conceivably means you might send something in now, and not hear anything until October. And it is for a FIRST novel, although I don’t know many previously published authors who’d want to enter.

Delacorte also runs a Young Adult contest, with roughly the same guidelines. They’ve been running this for 26 years now, so it’s not some sort of fly-by-night contest. I mean, it’s Random House. If you look at the rules, though, you’ll see that they don’t always declare a winner.

My thoughts? You can try for either of these, certainly, or you could take the same 8 months and pitch agents, or polish your manuscript, and possibly end up with a better deal. Possibly. $7,500 is pretty much around the middle of a nice deal for a debut novel, depending on multiple factors. Either way, like most attempts to get published, it’s a long shot.

If you do decide to enter, good luck! Have any of my readers entered either of the Delacorte contests, or know someone who has? What do you think of them?

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6 Responses to “Ask Daphne! About a contest”

  1. Nicole Says:

    I entered the young adult contest last year. I received my rejection last month. I've learned a lot about writing since I entered it, though, so I'm not that surprised. I'm thinking of entering again if querying doesn't go well for me this summer.

  2. Julie Says:

    Nicole, when you received your rejection, was it a standard form rejection or did it give any help?

  3. Sandy Says:

    What about other contests? I've been looking at a lot of RWA chapter contests this month. All the ones I've seen look like they provide author feedback and get your manuscript – if you're in the top five or so – in front of an agent and/or editor. Sounds good to me, but what if you win a contest and the agent/editor decides not to take you on after reading the full manuscript? Would it still be worth mentioning in query letters that your book won such-and-such chapter contest? Do agents even care?


  4. Nicole Says:

    It was just a form rejection. Telling me how many people enter the contest every year and thanking me entering. So forth and so on. There's actually a whole thread dedicated to the contest over on Absolute Write under the Young Adult heading. Here's the link:

  5. Kate Says:

    Sandy, this is only my personal opinion, but I think there's so many RWA contests that the only one that agents really care about is the Golden Heart — the national contest. The regional contests have an air of big fish in a small pond about them.

  6. Christina Farley Says:

    I adore those shoes.