First Chapters Contest for Women Writers
The contest is now closed! Thank you to everyone who submitted! Winners are announced and contest participants are notified about 12-14 weeks after the contest closes. Check back at the beginning of January 2022 for the results!
Voyage YA is excited to host a first chapters contest to elevate women writers working on young adult projects. First chapters can sometimes be a challenging part of a novel to write. However, a good first chapter sets the tone for the novel and keeps the reader turning pages! Can you rise to the challenge? If so, send us the first chapter that’s going to make us want to know what happens next! We can’t wait to read your submissions! Submissions are open from July 26, 2021, to September 19, 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 women 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- Previously unpublished work only, please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