Summer 2021 First Chapters Contest
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 at the end of October 2021 for the results!
Bring on your first chapters! We’re back with another first chapters contest for the summer 2021 season! 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 May 24, 2021, to July 18, 2021.
Our guest judge will choose three stories from a shortlist.
The 1st Place winner will receive $3,000 and an hour-long consultation with a literary agent.
2nd Place will receive $300 and publication,
3rd place will receive $200 and publication.
Finalists will also receive written feedback from a literary agent.
Bonus: Every entrant will receive access to a pre-recorded mini workshop!
- 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—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- Previously unpublished work only, please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)
Note: To ensure the protection of our volunteer readers, and to keep Voyage a safe space, please let us know in your cover letter if your work can be triggering in any way. This will have no bearing on your submission or a decision—we just want to ensure the best possible environment for our readers. Thank you for your understanding.
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 have 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.
- We Need Diverse Books and their resources page for writers
- Writing with Color
- Lee & Low 2019 Diversity Survey
- Editors of Color Database & Database of Diverse Databases
- Conscious Style Guide
- Black Lives Matter