2020 Awesome Openers Writing Contest

How strong is your hook?


Welcome to the annual Rate Your Story Awesome Openers Writing Contest!

**This contest is now closed. Winners will be announced in September 2020**

 

The Charities:

Last year, RYS was proud to raise money for Room to ReadThe Ecological Society of America. This year, a portion of contest proceeds will be donated to We Need Diverse Books and The Environmental Defense Fund. Please read below for more information:

 

We Need Diverse Books™ is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and a grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people. For more, visit: https://diversebooks.org/

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)  is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We address today's most urgent environmental challenges. Working in partnership with others, we focus where we're best positioned to help, based on our strengths. For more, visit: https://www.edf.org/

The Contest:

Our judges will accept manuscripts and award prizes in three categories. Please read below for all contest details, restrictions and guidelines. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at rateyourstory@gmail.com.

Good luck!

The Categories:


Picture Book Fiction - Text only, no art. Fiction only accepted. Rhyme, free verse, or prose accepted. Stories should be geared for today's children. Submit the entire picture book. Judges will evaluate text and choose winning entries that hook the reader from the start, show originality, overall quality, appropriateness for the intended audience, and readiness of submission. Submit as a .doc attachment only. Remove your name from the manuscript and include only the title, category (PICTURE BOOK FICTION), and intended age of audience at the top.

Nonfiction Picture Book - Text only, no art. Nonfiction only accepted. Rhyme, free verse, or prose picture book manuscripts accepted. Stories should be geared for today's children. Submit the entire picture book manuscript. If you have back matter available and you would like to include it in the text, feel free include the back matter. However, please note that back matter is optional and judges will be basing their evaluations on the main text of the manuscript. Judges will evaluate text and choose winning entries that hook the reader from the start, show originality, overall quality, appropriateness for the intended audience, and readiness of submission. Submit as a .doc attachment only. Remove your name from the manuscript and include only the title, category (NONFICTION), and intended age of audience at the top.

Novels - Submit only the FIRST THREE CHAPTERS - of a completed Middle Grade or Young Adult novel (fiction or nonfiction). Judges will evaluate text and choose winning entries that hook the reader from the start, show originality, overall quality, appropriateness for the intended audience, and readiness of submission. Submit as a .doc attachment only. Remove your name from the manuscript and include only the title, category (NOVELS), and intended age of audience at the top.

 

**All entries must be the original work of the author and not previously published or under contract at time of entry.**

 

The Prizes:

First Place winners in each category will receive:

  • One skip-the-slush-pile submission pass for Kelly Delaney, editor at Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

      *To read more about Kelly Delany and her wishlist, click here. ​

  • 2021 Rate Your Story membership (non-transferrable)

  • An editorial critique from a RYS judge (full picture book manuscript or first two chapters of a novel)

Second Place winners in each category will receive:

  • An editorial critique from a RYS judge (full picture book manuscript or first two chapters of a novel)

  • 2 Rate Your Story submission passes

Third Place winners in each category will receive: 

  • 2 Rate Your Story submission passes

The Rules:

  1. Writers are allowed to enter as many manuscripts as they'd like in ONE category. For example, if you are submitting a fiction picture book, you may submit as many as you'd like, but will then be ineligible to submit to any other category. 

  2. Please see our "SUBMISSION GUIDELINES" section below for manuscript formatting guidelines.

  3. To purchase a contest entry pass, read all of the guidelines and then click the button at the bottom of this page. Please note that if you plan to enter more than once, you must checkout separate times for each contest entry. 

  4. If you ARE a current 2020 Rate Your Story Member, you automatically receive 1 free contest entry with your membership. If you wish to purchase more entries, please follow the directions below for non-members. 

  5. If you are NOT a current RYS paid member, we welcome non-members to enter the contest. You must first purchase a non-refundable contest entry pass for $15.00. To avoid confusion, please checkout using the email address you will use to submit your manuscript OR clearly indicate in your email submission that you are using a different email. You may purchase passes and enter the contest as many times as you wish, in one category.

  6. In order to avoid conflict of interest, individuals affiliated with Rate Your Story as a judge (past or present), freelance writer or illustrator, or any other compensated position are ineligible to enter this contest. Exception: Guest bloggers and interviewees who have not been compensated for their work are welcome to enter the contest.

  7. Once you have purchased your non-refundable entry pass (or if you are a member using your free pass), you may submit one manuscript to rateyourstory@gmail.com. Please follow the submission guidelines below.


Submission Guidelines:


In the subject line, put the word CONTEST first. Then, type the category (PB Fiction, Nonfiction, Novels) in the subject line. Then, type the TITLE of your work in the subject line. For example, your email subject line will look something like these:
 

CONTEST, Nonfiction, THE ANATOMY OF AN ATOM
CONTEST, PB Fiction, WITCHY'S BIRTHDAY SURPRISE 
CONTEST, Novels, I'LL JUMP FIRST

2. Do NOT put the word "Submission" or your name in the email subject line! This will cause your submission to go in the wrong filter. Please put the word "Contest" in the email subject line. (See Rule #1)

3. In the email body only, please put your name, the category, title of your work, and preferred contact information (email or phone that we will use to contact you if you are a winner).

4. As an attachment - a .doc file only - please send the the whole picture book (including back matter for nonfiction) or THE FIRST THREE CHAPTERS of your novel. Please do NOT include your name on the manuscript, only the CATEGORY, TITLE, and AGE/GENRE information requested at the top. Please make sure that your title on the manuscript matches exactly the title in your email subject line! Also, only one contest entry per email. We will be checking pass receipts and member lists to the entries to verify eligibility. Do not send a link to a Google or Dropbox document, or any other file format than a .doc or .docx attachment for your submission. Do not submit the same manuscript more than once (or a "corrected" version if you realize later that you had a typo). Email all contest entries to rateyourstory@gmail.com.


5. Please follow all category guidelines above, and read our regular submission guidelines page for best practices in formatting a manuscript professionally. Though we don't want to do so, we reserve the right to disqualify entries that do not follow submission guidelines. We also will not be able to offer refunds for contest entry passes, nor can we accommodate requests to update a version of a manuscript submitted in error, etc.
 

DEADLINE:

All entries must have been received by 11:59pm EST time on August 31st, 2020. Entries received before August 1st, 2020 or after August 31st, 2020 will not be accepted.

READY TO CHECK OUT? CLICK THE BUTTON BELOW:

1 Contest Pass 
Single Entry 

$15.00

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