1. The prize for this competition is the opportunity for one person to enter into a publishing contract with Headline Publishing Group Limited (‘Headline’) to have a book published by Headline. The publishing contract will include an Advance payment (as defined below). The prize will be awarded to the writer that submits the Proposal (and, if shortlisted, the Manuscript) (as defined below) for the best original English-language commercial crime thriller novel about a relationship that is not what it seems, judged against the criteria for commercial fiction described in Clause 2 below (the ‘Criteria’). The novel must (in Headline’s opinion) be from one of the following genres: Detective or Spy Fiction, Legal Thriller, Mystery, Police Procedural, Action Thriller, Psychological Thriller or Domestic Suspense.
2. ‘Commercial fiction’ is a publishing term for books which have broad appeal, are extremely accessible, and instantly engaging. Every commercial fiction novel has these three aspects:
– A clear, well-paced plot;
– A well-established main character (or multiple characters if it’s a split narrative) who general readers will connect with; and
– An accessible writing style which the general reader will understand.
3. Entrants to the competition are required to submit a proposal for a novel that fulfils the Criteria consisting of (i) the first 3,000 words of the novel, (ii) a synopsis of the full plot of the novel of no more than 600 words (including details of the main characters and their journey through the novel), and (iii) a succinct one-line pitch for the novel (together the ‘Proposal’). The Proposal must be in English and must be double spaced.
4. Proposals must be submitted via the competition landing page. Entries may only be submitted between 12:01am GMT on Friday 4th February 2022 and 11.59pm GMT on Friday 25th February 2022. Any entries received outside these specified times and dates and any entries that do not meet the requirements of these Terms and Conditions will not be eligible for entry to the competition.
5. Each Proposal will be judged on the quality of writing and storytelling, how well it fits the Criteria, and the potential based on the synopsis for a full-length novel that would fit with books published by Headline. A shortlist of up to six of the best Proposals (the ‘Shortlisted Proposals’) will be chosen and announced by Friday 22nd April 2022 from entries received by Headline in accordance with these Terms and Conditions. The Shortlisted Proposals will be chosen by a selection of Headliners (the ‘Shortlist Judges’).
6. The entrants who submitted the Shortlisted Proposals (the ‘Shortlisted Entrants’) will each receive a one-to-one mentoring session lasting approximately one hour with an editor from Headline on a date to be agreed, including editorial feedback on the Proposal.
7. The Shortlisted Entrants will be contacted by Friday 22nd April 2022 and asked to provide by Monday 1st August 2022 the complete manuscript for the novel, consisting of approximately 80,000-90,000 words (the ‘Manuscript’).
8. One winning entry will be chosen from the Shortlisted Entrants by a second panel of judges comprising 9 Headline editors and the following book bloggers: The Candid Book Club, Shikha Chopra of Unfolding Pages, Amyn Bawa-Allah of LipGlossMaffia and Nicola Soremekun of Booked Up and Busy (the ‘Final Judges’). In the event of a tie, Jennifer Doyle, Fiction Publishing Director, will have the casting vote. The winning entry will be the one that best meets the Criteria, has the best quality of storytelling and writing, and has the most potential to be a full-length novel for Headline. The Shortlist Judges’ and the Final Judges’ decisions for the selection of the Shortlisted Entrants and the Winner, respectively, are final.
9. The entrant who submits the winning entry (the ‘Winner’) will be offered a publishing contract, such contract to be agreed between the Winner and Headline. The contract will set out the terms and conditions relating to publication of the book including but not limited to an advance to be paid against royalties (‘Advance’), the royalty percentages, details of the rights to be granted and other provisions relating to delivery and production of the book. The Winner will be required under the contract to grant to Headline a license of all rights in the novel in all languages throughout the world. In the event that no agreement is reached between the Winner and Headline, Headline will be at liberty to consider and select another of the Shortlisted Entrants to be the Winner. The original Winner may not in such a case refer to themselves as the winner of the prize for this competition.
10. If a suitable entry that meets all the criteria set out above cannot be found, Headline reserves the right not to (i) select any Shortlisted Entrants and/or (ii) select any Winner from the Shortlisted Proposals.
11. By submitting their Proposal, the entrant undertakes and warrants that the Proposal consists of their own original work and will not infringe the intellectual property rights of anyone. If a third party’s material is used, such as lyrics of a song, the entrant will secure the necessary permission and will provide it to Headline on request. The entrant further warrants that neither the Proposal nor the Manuscript will contain any material which is defamatory, private or confidential or which is unlawful in any way. Any entry in breach of this Clause will be disqualified from being considered for the competition at any stage.
12. The name of the Winner will be announced by Monday 12th September 2022 on The Future Bookshelf and Headline websites. The Winner will be informed by email. The Winner’s name may also be publicised in other media or on social media sites. The names of the Shortlisted Entrants may also be published on The Future Bookshelf and Headline websites.
13. As the intention of this prize is to diversify our publishing list, this competition is only open to those who are Black, Asian or Ethnic Minority. Entrants must be aged 18 or over, resident in the United Kingdom and must not have an agent or have had any book previously published by a publisher or self-published in whole or in part in any format or be under a contract to have their work published. The competition is not open to employees of Headline, their families, or to anyone professionally connected to the competition or to the judges either themselves or through their families.
14. An entrant may only submit one entry. Further entries will be disqualified. Entries will not be accepted via agents, third parties or in bulk.
15. Headline is not responsible for contacting or responding to entrants who provide unclear or incomplete information or for entries that are lost, misdirected, delayed or destroyed.
16. Headline reserves the right to (i) cancel the competition and (ii) alter the details of the prizes or judging panels without notice but Headline will try to avoid creating any undue disappointment. No cash alternative or other alternatives to the prize will be provided.
17. Any personal data submitted by entrants, including their names and email addresses (the ‘Information’), will be used by Headline (who is the Data Controller) for the purposes of this competition, including without limitation for the purpose of judging the entries, providing feedback to Shortlisted Entrants and discussing the contract with the Winner, in accordance with these Terms and Conditions and in accordance with Headline’s Privacy Notice which can be found here. The Information will be deleted within six months of the announcement of the Winner.
18. No purchase is necessary to enter the competition.
19. By entering the competition, each entrant agrees to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.
20. These Terms and Conditions and any disputes or claims (including non-contractual disputes or claims) arising out of these Terms and Conditions shall be governed and construed in accordance with the laws of England, whose courts shall have exclusive jurisdiction.
21. This competition is being organised by Headline Publishing Group Limited, Carmelite House, 50 Victoria Embankment, London EC4Y 0DZ.