Probably the biggest opportunity getting talked about is the Good Housekeeping magazine novel competition with a £25,000 advance, publication on completion of the novel and introduction to literary agent Luigi Bonomi. (Thanks to Stirling on the Talkback forum for details.)
Obviously the standard required of entries will be tough, especially when you see the judges: Kate Mosse, Bonomi, Orion fiction publishing director Kate Mills and Good Housekeeping editorial director Lindsay Nicholson.
You need to get a copy of the January issue of Good Housekeeping magazine, in newsagents from the 1st December, for the entry coupon. It has Lulu on the front cover.
Read the rules because it mentions it's open to writers who have never had a novel published before. As I haven't seen the magazine yet I don't know if they define this anywhere, so clarification may be needed.
Nor are you eligible to enter if you are already signed to an agent.
You'll need a full synopsis and 5,000 words as well as your entry form. And you'll need to include a 100 word mini bio of yourself.
You have time to work on your entry as the closing date is 31st March 2012. But do give yourself enough time for submission as your entry does have to go by post.
I don't know if the entry form will be available in future issues- I'd assume you will need to get the January issue or miss out.
But before you get too excited, no novels for children...
The good news is, entry is free.
I'm going to get to work on my Dorset novel as soon as I get my synopsis and first three chapters back with the comments from the club competition next week.
Good luck if you enter...
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Another competition you might be interested in is the annual Words with JAM Short Story Competition (2011) with a closing date of 27th January 2012. Your story can be up to 2,500 words- excluding the title. The entry fee is £6, or £10 for two. Entry details here.
The rules can be found here.
You can send by snail mail, but online submission is preferred, which is a plus for most writers as you can give yourself a closer deadline for submission- if needed.
1st Prize - £500
2nd Prize - £100
3rd Prize - £50