Have you got your manuscript ready to submit for the upcoming Text Prize? Here’s how to put your best submission forward.
Part One: Frequently Asked Questions
Why are submissions open earlier this year than in previous years?
We brought forward the submission dates in order to give ourselves more time for the (demanding!) judging period, so we could read the manuscripts more closely. We also wanted to allow more time for the editorial work on the winning manuscript, which is always published the following year.
Why does it take so long for the book to come out?
The editorial process takes up most of the time between the award announcement and publication, and Text takes its editorial commitment to the winner incredibly seriously. We want to work with the author to publish the best book we possibly can, and that takes time. Most Text Prize-winning books have come out around fourteen months after winning, which is actually a pretty fast turnaround from acquisition to publication.
Why is there a minimum of 20,000 words?
We’re looking for books for middle-grade readers and young adults, which we expect to be longer than 20,000 words. The prize is not open to picture books.
Can I submit non-fiction?
Yes, you can! Our 2014 winner, David Burton’s How to Be Happy, is a non-fiction book.
Can I submit if I’ve been published elsewhere?
Yes! We welcome unpublished and previously published authors, but the manuscript you enter in the Text Prize must not be on submission or under contract or option with any other publisher. Refer to the terms and conditions listed on the entry form for more information on this point.
Can I submit more than one book?
Yes, but they must each be sent in with a separate entry form and fee. To be honest, you should probably submit only one manuscript, two at most. It’s in your best interests to submit only your finest work, so we suggest you save your printer and your cash and send in the best manuscript you have.
Why do you only accept printed submissions?
We have a really thorough judging process for the Text Prize. For every submission there is a printed judging form that must be completed by at least two readers. Call us luddites, but it works best for us to read from a printed copy so we can give the manuscript our full attention.
Do I get feedback on my manuscript?
Unfortunately not: we receive so many submissions that individual feedback isn’t possible. Shortlisted authors may receive some feedback, but this is at our discretion and not guaranteed.
I’ve sent in my manuscript—what happens now?
We will announce the winner at a party in Melbourne in April 2017. Every year so far we’ve emailed all the writers who entered to announce a shortlist a few weeks before the winner is declared. We should caution, though, that since we have no idea in advance how many manuscripts we’ll be reading in this year’s prize, we can’t know how long the judging period will take, so no date is set in advance for that shortlist announcement. We’ll contact you by phone or email if your manuscript has reached the shortlist, and you’ll certainly be invited to the party announcing the winner.
Though it is yet to happen, Text reserves the right not to award the prize at all, as per the terms and conditions on the form.
Where do you announce the shortlist and winner?
The shortlist is published on our website and social media, as well as via press releases sent to media and booksellers. We will also email all the writers who entered to announce the manuscripts that have been shortlisted for this year’s prize.
The winner will be announced at a party in Melbourne in late April, and again via press releases to media and booksellers.
Do you publish books from the Text Prize that don’t win?
We have done this a few times, yes. The Accident by Kate Hendrick and Waer by Meg Caddy were shortlisted for the prize in 2011 and 2013 respectively, and we discovered Mette Jakobsen’s The Vanishing Act in the submissions for the 2010 prize. We also have another book from the 2013 shortlist scheduled for publication in 2016: Elizabeth and Zenobia by Jessica Miller.
Can I ask you more questions?