2023 Unpublished Contest
Special Entry Deadline: March 10th, 2023
$20,000 | industry circulation | executive development
The 2023 Book Pipeline: Unpublished contest is exclusively for unpublished manuscripts across eight categories of fiction and nonfiction:
Mystery / Thriller
Sci-Fi / Fantasy
Romance / Women's Fiction
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
Unpublished fiction and nonfiction may be submitted to the following categories.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 Blue, One Italian Summer, If I Never Met You, The Siren of Sussex.
Winner Reviewed By: Latoya Smith, Agent & Co-Founder (Arthouse Literary Agency)
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)
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)
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 Dinosaur, Stacey's Extraordinary Words, Yasmin the Gardener, Shark 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)
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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.