Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Delacorte Contest for a First YA

You're a SCBWI member, aren't you? On p. 39 of their recent BULLETIN there's a Delacorte Contest for a first YA. If not, the info is at www.randomhouse.com/kids/writingcontests.

It's a long shot, but I bet those all the time. Tell your friends!


  1. Though keep in mind the boilerplate on the First Novel contract is pretty basic, and an agent could negotiate a better contract for you outside the contest, and maybe even a better deal than the $5,000 contest prize. BUT ALSO (to keep from being such a Debbie Downer) Joan Bauer got her first book published this way, and now she's doing just fine!

    So caveat emptor and all that.

  2. $7,500 prize, sorry. Haven't been keeping up with the times, apparently!

  3. A former student of mine (at another college), Lara Zeises, won the Delacorte Honor years ago, which also came with publication, and it set her off on a great career--five YA novels to date, plus one made into a TV movie. It's a decent contest!

  4. If you really want a downer read the NYTimes article from last Friday about the decline of picture books--I couldn't even blog about it. Though I happen to disagree.


  5. Lisa, I was bugged by that mom in your news article that was all like, “He would still read picture books now if we let him, because he doesn’t want to work to read," about her 6-year-old kid who reads only Homer or whatever. Geez, lady, let the kid alone. Maybe he also wants to develop an appreciation for art. Maybe a 6 year old needs a little time off once in a while to enjoy a picture book instead of being Mommy's show-off kid to prove what a good parent she is compared to the rest of us schmucks.

    Hey, I didn't say that, that was my evil twin who said it.

  6. Ah, the infamous NYT article. Here's a rebuttal I enjoyed:


    Also, the mom in the article claims she was mis-quoted. Take that, poopypants reporter!


    Still, I always feel like snugging down my blinders whenever I read an article like this. For myriad reasons (and they've been debated endlessly), All Is Not Well in the publishing industry. We all know that. I knew that when I started the Hamline program. However, I also knew that stories aren't going away. Lucrative or not, they are among the oldest things we have, a product of the deepest human impulse: to understand the world and connect with the people who are in it. Stories locate us relative to a larger whole. They will only disappear when we do.

    Anyway, there's your dose of bromidic nonsense for the day. Keep writing, everyone. Besides, worst case, we can set up a refugee camp in Lisa's giant unfurnished house. Right?

  7. Ha! Mother Reader is right! Just because you went to J-school doesn't mean you have actual life experience!

    And ... oops, just because I read something in the NYT doesn't mean it's true. *blush* Sorry, ZenLeaf Momma! 20 lashes with a wet noodle for me.

  8. ETA: Thanks for the linkety-links, Peter!

  9. Certainly worth a try. A friend submitted, did not win, but was offered a contract from them anyway. Now he's on his third book and one is being made into a Disney movie. Get attention where you can.

  10. Peter, I totally LOVE the idea of a refugee camp in my big empty house in podunk NJ. We could start our own press, which is something I've been wanting to do my whole life!

    And by the way, the Times article is out-of-date. Picture books were on the decline, like, years ago...

    Mom makes good points in her rebuttal, though. Hey, my parents read Tolkien to me at age 6, but then they also read Babar and Madeline.

  11. Thanks for the long shot, Ron.
    The odds seem better than the slush pile.

    Kelly and Lisa, it makes a difference knowing your friends had success starting out with this contest. I've actually had it on my calender for a while and debated whether there might be a better deal than a boiler plate contract. The fact of the matter is, though, it is way difficult to get noticed by publishers and agents--or even to get a response sometimes--for newbies.

    A conversation I had with Kathleen Duey on the way to the SCBWI national conference keeps me awake at night. (Ha! Like Ron's troublesome students!)
    She told me how important the breakout book is to launching an author's career.
    But how do you get a foot in the door with someone who could launch a first book with a bang?
    This contest is one way.

    For me, the first book is not about money.
    It is about quality.
    And it wouldn't hurt to have the marketing power of Random House on my side.

  12. Peter, way to go on the side of story! And yes a writers' commune/ press sounds full of inky diatribes.