2021 Voyage YA First Chapters Contest

The contest is closed. 

The contest is now closed! Thank you to everyone that submitted! Winners are announced and contest participants are notified 12-14 weeks after the contest closes. Check back in June 2021 for the results!

See our contest results here.

We can’t get enough of your first chapters! That’s why we’ve decided to host another first chapters contest! Voyage wants to see the first chapters of your Young Adult novels! It’s no secret that one of the most difficult challenges in writing a book is getting that first chapter right—and we’re asking you to rise to the occasion. Can you write a first chapter that captivates your audience enough to make them want to keep reading? If the answer is yes, then we want to read your first chapter!

Submissions are open from December 15, 2020 to February 28, 2021.

Guest judge, Melissa de la Cruz, will choose three stories from a shortlist.

1st Place winner will receive $3000 and an hour-long consultation with Literary Agent Claire Friedman of Inkwell Management Literary Agency.

2nd Place will receive $300 and publication, and 3rd place $200 and publication.

Finalists will receive written feedback from Literary Agent Claire Friedman.

Bonus: Every entrant will receive access to a pre-recorded mini workshop TBA!


  • Voyage submissions are open to all writers working in English
  • International submissions are allowed
  • Submissions must be the first chapter of a Young Adult novel (full novel does not need to be completed), and from the point-of-view of a young adult, meaning through the lens of a teen protagonist
  • The chapter doesn’t have to be standalone 
  • 5,000-word count maximum
  • We’re open to any genre or style you can throw at us—just send us the best you’ve got
  • Previously unpublished work only, please
  • Simultaneous submissions are fine—just notify and withdraw your entry if it’s picked up by someone else
  • $20 reading fee per entry 
  • Multiple submissions are okay—please submit each as a separate submission
  • Every entry will be considered for our regular publications as well
  • Please: 1) double space; 2) use Times New Roman 12 pt font; 3) have 1-inch margins, and 4) put your last name and the page number in the top right-hand corner
  • Tell us in a brief cover letter your publication history (if applicable, no worries if not)


Voyage Values

Voyage YA is committed to diversity and inclusivity. We do not discriminate on the basis of age, ancestry, disability, family status, gender identity or expression, national origin, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. Voyage has a zero tolerance policy for any work that is discriminatory or harmful in any way, whether intentional or unintentional. Hate speech of any kind will not be tolerated and any work that violates our values will be immediately declined. Voyage maintains the right to further ban authors if problematic behavior persists and/or de-platform authors should there be problematic behavior via other platforms.   

As the landscape of publishing changes, Voyage  acknowledges that there is still much work to be done. Systemic racism and structural inequality has been a problem for a long time, and Voyage will actively work to dismantle them. We have joined the global movement to fight for equality and will consciously work to amplify marginalized voices of authors who have been historically underrepresented in publishing.

We urge authors and readers alike to visit some of the resources we have found helpful—and seek out others.

Voyage accepts submissions year-round and published pieces can be found on our website, accessible to everyone for free.