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Operation: Thriller, a Free Writing Competition

Posted in: Perfecting your Craft, Reedsy News on February 2, 2016 9 Comments 💬

Thriller Writing Competition

A month or so ago, we had a nice chat with Monica Landers, the CEO of Authors.me, a cool startup looking to facilitate the submissions and acquisitions process for authors, agents, and publishers alike.

We’ve been wanting to run a writing competition for a quite a bit, and Authors.me provided the perfect platform for us and our judges to handle the submissions and go through them. So we decided to finally do it and launch our first writing contest, Operation: Thriller, together with them.

UPDATE: As of 2018, we now run a weekly writing competition here at Reedsy! Click here to enter, and check out this directory for 300+ more writing contests around the web! 🏆

How to enter the writing competition

The contest is open to all US and UK authors, and you don’t have to pay a thing because there is no entry fee. The only thing required is that you have written a thriller novel (i.e. a work of fiction of 60,000 to 90,000 words). The story must be for an adult audience and have a thriller intrigue as main component. Cosy crime or cosy mystery novels will not be accepted.. Paranormal or speculative fiction elements are allowed as long as the thriller intrigue stays predominant. For example, if yours is the first book of a dystopian trilogy, we won’t accept it, even if it’s fast-paced. However, we will accept techno-thrillers.

If you have any doubts, feel free to ask here in the comments, or alternatively go ahead and submit, you’ve got nothing to lose after all! To submit, just head over to the writing competition’s landing page and click on “Enter the Competition”. You’ll be using the Authors.me platform to upload your book and fill in the details (metadata) about it, which makes it both easier for you to submit, and for the judges to review!

You have until March 31st to submit your entry.

The judges and the review process

After that deadline, we will give our judges one month to go through the submissions to pick the three winners. You will be evaluated on all the usual elements of your craft by four seasoned professionals who do that for a living (read more about them here).

Of course, special attention will be paid to the first few pages of your manuscript, so make sure that they're as strong as they can be before submitting! We'd recommend checking out our "query boot camp" column for advice on writing a thriller submission.

We’re particularly happy to have two Reedsy editors among the four judges: ex Orion Books editor Joanne Glehill and ex Egmont Books commissioning editor Philippa Donovan, who both have extensive experience in the thriller genre.

The winners will be announced on May 9th, 2016.

Awesome Reedsy and cash prizes

We have the chance to have some of the world’s best editors on the Reedsy marketplace, so we thought we’d allow the writing competition’s winners to benefit from their expertise – for free. We’ll be offering a free developmental edit to the first winner and a free editorial assessment to the runner-up.

On top of this, Authors.me offers a free 1-year subscription to their premium service, Authors Discovery, to all 3 winners. Last but not least, there are up to $1,300 of cash prizes to grab.

Here’s the exact break-out of the prizes for the three winners of the writing competition.

Thriller Writing Competition Prizes

Care to help us spread the word? Here's an easy click to tweet for you 🙂

Enter the contest here! And if you have any questions, feel free to ask us in the comments. An "oh it's so cool you're doing this" will also be accepted in the comments 😉


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Can the novel be over 90,000 words? If not, can it be the first in a series?

Ricardo Fayet

Hi Ladd, ideally it should be under 90,000 words. And it can definitely be the first in a series, yes!

Orville Scott

Can we write a thrilling short story that is under 60,000 words?

Ricardo Fayet

Yes, for sure. The "preferred" format would be something that you could submit to a publishing house, so usually 60k-80k. But if you want to write a novella and submit it, we'll be happy to look at the submission. Craft is always going to matter more in the judges' decision than length.

Orville Scott

So that means I can write a five page story that is thrilling and still submit it with no rejections?

Ricardo Fayet

No, if it's 5 pages, it won't be considered. We're looking for at least a "novella" size, so at least 40k words.

Orville Scott

Well then I can't do this competition. My high score was like 30k. Hopefully you guys will create another competition in the future.

Rolf Rhodes

Can I submit my work even if I don't reside in the UK or the US?

Ricardo Fayet

I believe that if you have the UK or US nationality, then you can. We promise we'll open the next contest to more nationalities/countries.

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