Avon x Mushens Entertainment Prize
FOR COMMERCIAL FICTION WRITERS OF COLOUR
Avon Books UK are partnering with Silé Edwards at Mushens Entertainment to launch a competition that’s exclusively open to un-agented, unpublished writers of colour. The winner will receive a two-book publishing contract with Avon with an advance against royalties of £10,000 (£5,000 per book), an additional £3,000 grant to support their writing, and representation from Mushens Entertainment.
The competition is OPEN to writers from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds who are writing a commercial novel – whether in the crime, thriller, women’s fiction or historical genre. Avon publishes page-turning, entertaining fiction with clear pitches that immediately engage the reader. You can find examples on our Twitter feed.
Entrants are invited to submit the first three chapters or 50 pages of their unpublished novel (up to 10,000 words) to email@example.com between 11th January-28th February 2021, along with a synopsis and author biography. Full details of how to enter are outlined in the terms and conditions.
Entered novels do not need to be complete at the time of submission, as the competition is intended not only for writers with finished manuscripts but those who might not have previously considered commercial fiction. Longlisted entrants will be informed in June and invited to take part in an online seminar demystifying publishing and offering advice on finishing first novels and shaping an author brand. Entrants who are shortlisted will be informed by 1st July at the latest and must be prepared to submit a full version of the novel, and idea for their second novel, no later than 1st August 2021.
The winner of the competition will be selected by Avon Senior Commissioning Editor Tilda McDonald, Mushens Entertainment literary agent Silé Edwards and guest author Imran Mahmood, based on their assessment of the work’s quality and strength of pitch. Initial evaluations will also be made from readers drawn across HarperCollins including the Elevate and HC All In networks.
Whilst Avon maintains an open submissions portal for all authors, this competition is designed to offer an exclusive opportunity to writers of colour, who are particularly underrepresented in commercial fiction publishing.
Resources you might find helpful:
See full terms and conditions below, including more information on how to submit:
- TERMS AND CONDITIONS
- This competition is promoted by Avon Books UK, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (“HarperCollins”), The News Building, 1 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9GF.
- This promotion is open to all UK residents and British Citizens (including those residing abroad) without a literary agent except employees of HarperCollins or Mushens Entertainment (or their parent, subsidiaries or any affiliated companies) and their immediate families, who are not allowed to enter the competition.
- Entrants must be of Black, Asian or minority ethnic background, and will need to describe how they define their ethnicity in their submission in their author biography.
- You must be aged 18 or over to enter this competition.
- Conditional on signature of contracts, the winner will receive a £10,000 two-book publishing contract (being an advance of £5,000 per book) with Avon Books, plus a £3,000 grant to support their early writing career, and representation from Mushens Entertainment.
- All submissions must be sent by email to the designated Open Submission email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Submissions must be sent between the hours of 00:01 11th January 2021 and 23:59 28th February 2021. No entries received after this date will be accepted. No purchase necessary.
- Submissions that have been sent by post or means other than email to the correct email address will not be accepted.
- Any work submitted to the competition must not have been submitted to Avon through Avon’s general open submissions channel previously, though authors may submit subsequent works in that way after the competition closes.
- Any work submitted must not have been submitted to any other writing competition within HarperCollins Publishers or to any other publishing company or anywhere else that will lead or might be likely to lead to that work being in the public domain. In the event the work has been shared with any other third party in this manner, that will automatically render the entrant ineligible for the opportunity.
- Each submission should contain:
– The first three chapters or fifty pages, in either case no more than 10,000 words, of a novel with sequential page numbering included, with the first page being the title page;
– Synopsis of whole book*, including the complete plot and the story’s end (maximum 500 words); a one paragraph summary of the book’s pitch;
– Author biography, to include how the author defines their ethnicity, as well as any blogs and/or social media information, any creative writing courses attended, short stories published, prizes won, literary or media mentors and contacts, etc. (maximum 1 page).
- The submission must be in Word format throughout all documents; all documents must be submitted at the same time, attached to a single email (the attachments each to be clearly individually marked as ‘manuscript’, ‘synopsis’, and ‘author biography’); the chapters of the manuscript are to be in one document, not sent as separate documents. In addition, each of the three documents should be marked in the file name with the author’s name and the title of the novel and this information should also be marked on every page of each document.
- In the ‘Subject’ area at the top of an entrant’s submission email, entrants should put the title and their (pen) name.
- In the body of the email, authors must provide their full name, ethnicity, address, and phone number.
- Submissions that do not meet requirements of these Terms and Conditions shall not be read.
- Any submission containing incorrect, false or unreadable information will be rejected.
- Submissions made on behalf of another person (e.g. for reasons of accessibility or disability) must have the author’s permission including some form of proof of that permission.
- Multiple submissions will not be read.
- Novels submitted must be:
- within the commercial adult fiction genre (namely crime, thriller, women’s fiction or historical), which is to say that novels in other genres will not be considered, thereby excluding – among other genres – children’s and Young Adult fiction, science fiction, fantasy, horror and literary fiction. Non-fiction will also not be considered.
- in prose.
- written in English.
- not have been previously published/self-published or posted on publishing websites, forums or access platforms such as (but not limited to) Wattpad, Smashwords, Lulu, FanFiction, Completely Novel.
- not have had an ISBN.
- No correspondence between Avon or the hopeful authors can be entered into, unless at Avon’s request, and we will not respond to unsolicited communications.- In entering this competition you agree that, if you win, in order to proceed with the opportunity you will need to enter into (i) a contract with Avon, HarperCollins on its standard author agreement terms, with an advance on royalties of £10,000 (ten thousand pounds) for World English language rights in two novels (£5,000 per novel), to be paid according to Avon’s standard advance payment schedule and provided the terms of the contract are met (ii) a contract to sign with Mushens Entertainment, on their standard terms whereby Mushens Entertainment – as the winner’s agent – receive 15% of both the contract advance and novel’s royalty earnings. The grant of £3,000 is payable direct to the winner upon signature of their contract with HarperCollins. If more than one entrant is deemed a suitable winner, both or all will receive the same opportunity. In entering, the winner accepts that they must be able to deliver a full version of the novel to HarperCollins and Mushens Entertainment no later than 1st August 2021, in the event that they are shortlisted. They will be notified of their shortlisting by 1st July 2021 at the latest. In addition to the winner(s), some finalists may have the opportunity to discuss their work with an agent from Mushens Entertainment, who may choose to represent them but is not obliged to, and by entering this contest you agree to be contacted by Mushens Entertainment however you can contact us to withdraw your agreement at any time.
- The winner of the open submissions period will be notified by 1st October 2021, and an announcement will be made after this time.
- The £10,000 advance is payable in five instalments: upon signature of the contracts, delivery of each manuscript and publication of each manuscript.
- This is a one-off opportunity, is non-refundable, non-transferable and subject to availability.
- As part of the contract the winning author must be:
- prepared to undertake editorial work on their novel
- prepared to undertake publicity and promotional responsibilities
- There is no obligation on Avon to publish any of the entrants to the Open Submission, in print or in eBook, or to offer any sort of editorial advice.
- Avon’s decision is final; unsuccessful entrants will be notified but no feedback will be provided on unsuccessful entries. Submissions will be judged by a panel made up of staff at Avon and Mushens Entertainment as well as guest judge Imran Mahmood and additional readers drawn from across HarperCollins, and will be judged on quality of writing as well as the strength of the commercial pitch.
- You will retain all copyright in your submission and by submitting your novel you grant HarperCollins and Mushens Entertainment a licence to copy your submission and share it with its affiliates solely for the purpose of reviewing it.
- Neither HarperCollins nor Avon will be able to return any submissions, so make sure you have a copy stored safely before you submit.
- HarperCollins and Mushens Entertainment will not be responsible unless required by law, for any loss, changes, costs or expenses, which may arise in connection with this open submission period and HarperCollins can cancel or alter the open submissions period at any stage.- HarperCollins’ decision as to who has won the competition shall be final, and no further correspondence shall be entered into.
- To obtain the name of the competition winner after the closing date, please write to email@example.com, HarperCollins Publishers, The News Building, 1 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9GF.- The entry instructions are part of the Terms and Conditions for this competition.
- By entering the competition you are agreeing to accept these Terms and Conditions. Any breach of these Terms and Conditions by you will mean that your entry will not be valid, and you will not be allowed to enter this competition.
- By entering this competition, you are agreeing that if you win your name and image may be used for the purpose of announcing the winner in any related publicity with HarperCollins, without additional payment or permission. You can however withdraw your consent to this at any time before we announce the winner.
- All entrants are expected to act fairly and in the good spirit of the competition. HarperCollins reserves the right to investigate any irregularities and disqualify entrants at its absolute discretion.
- Under no circumstances will HarperCollins be responsible for any loss, damages, costs or expenses arising from or in any way connected with any errors, defects, interruptions, malfunctions or delays in the promotion of the competition.
- Any dispute relating to the competition shall be governed by the laws of England and Wales and will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.
*For the avoidance of doubt, ‘the synopsis of the whole book’ should give an outline of the books themes and full plot, including spoilers. It is important to show the full story arc and how the characters develop over the course of the book.