Q: Is this the old Paul Gillette contest?
A: The Zebulon replaces the Paul Gillette as the new Pikes Peak Writers Fiction Writing Contest focusing on what it takes to get published.
Q: What if I’m already published?
A: Feel free to enter. The Zebulon is open to published and unpublished writers of novel-length fiction. Anyone may enter regardless of whether or not they have been published and regardless of the format of the publication (self-publication, digital publication, traditional publication, etc.)
Q: Can I enter an old manuscript?
A: Sure, though the entry submitted in the contest must be a previously unpublished manuscript. Entrants must certify that the entry has not been accepted for publication prior to the date of entry. Manuscripts that previously have won first place in this contest are not eligible for entry. Manuscripts that are part of an already published series are not eligible for entry.
Q: Must a manuscript be completed to be submitted?
A: No. The main purpose of the contest is to get feedback on your writing. You do not need to have a completed manuscript to enter the contest. We do advise, however, that you have a completed manuscript if you are seeking an agent or editor appointment at the Conference.
Q: Can I enter my short story?
A: In a word: No. The Zebulon is a contest for novel-length fiction. It does not accept short stories, children’s books below middle grade, screenplays, poetry, or nonfiction entries including memoir and creative nonfiction.
Q: Can I enter my memoir or other non-fiction book?
A: No. The Zebulon is a contest for novel-length fiction. It does not accept short stories, children’s books below middle grade, screenplays, poetry, or nonfiction entries including memoir and creative nonfiction.
Q: What’s this virtual agent stuff?
A: The fictional agents have been created for the purpose of lending depth, realism, and fun to the query letter portion of the contest. Each represents one category of the contest.
Q: What if my virtual agent says he/she doesn’t accept my genre? For example, I have written a YA science fiction novel and the YA agent doesn’t accept SF.
A: While the YA agent doesn’t accept adult science fiction or fantasy or other adult material, any genre of YA including SF and fantasy is acceptable.
Q: Where does paranormal fit into the categories?
A: It always depends on the main thrust of the story. A paranormal romance goes into romance, but other stories involving paranormal elements might go into any of the other categories. Please refer to the genre guide for more information about genre if you aren’t certain which category to enter in.
Q: Can I submit more than one entry?
A: Sure can! The one restriction is no more than two entries in any single category. Each entry must be sent individually, with its own entry form.
Q: Is it acceptable to submit the same work for two different categories?
A: Yes, you may submit the same manuscript in different categories. Just remember, each submission requires its own entry form and entry fee.
Q: Times are tight. What is the entry fee money used for?
A: Mainly, the entry fee pays the costs involved in running the contest: postage and mailing awards for the contest winners in six categories, and a small judging credit to help judges attend the Pikes Peak Writers Conference. Our goal is to bring in more money than we spend on the contest to pay for other Pikes Peak Writer events such as workshops and Write Brains. You can see a list of past and upcoming events at http://www.pikespeakwriters.com/events/.
Q: For the manuscript pages, is the 2500-word guideline a maximum or a firm requirement? I have a natural break in the story slightly earlier, but I don’t want points taken off for submitting fewer than 2500 words.
A: The 2500 words are a maximum; you may have fewer words if it better fits a break in your story. You may also go right to the end of the 2500 words and break in the middle of a sentence, your choice. No words beyond 2500 will be read.
Q: I’d like to clarify the word count requirements for this year’s fiction writing contest. I noted that the word count for synopses will be 500 words, while the manuscript pages should be no more than 2500 words. My question is this: are you considering actual word count or calculated work count (250 words per page)? This could make a difference in the number of pages, and I would not wish to be disqualified for submitting a 3 page synopsis with 450 words, when you’re really looking for a 2 page synopsis.
A: We use the actual word count, not the “calculated” word count or number of pages. Don’t worry about the number of pages anymore. Word count is what The Zebulon uses for the synopsis and manuscript pages.
Q. Do I really gotta have a synopsis?
A. Yeah, you really gotta. But Don’t Panic! The synopsis is perhaps the smallest portion of your entry. But it is still a necessary component, telling a judge about the plot and ending of your story. Remember, your manuscript pages only include the first 2500 words of your story. It may be difficult to get the gist of your tale from those pages. The synopsis fills in the blanks. Here are a few helpful notes:
- Do not start the synopsis where the manuscript pages leave off. The synopsis needs to tell the entire story/plot from beginning to end.
- You must include the resolution of the story/plot. Nothing will get you from the slush pile to the trash can quicker than saying “If you want to know the ending, you’ll have to ask for the whole manuscript.”
- Treat the synopsis with as much care as you do the manuscript. Many well-written and promising entries never place because the synopsis was treated lightly and/or poorly done.
Q: What publishing rights, if any, does The Zebulon Writing Contest or Pikes Peak Writers retain from works entered into the contest?
A: None. We do not ask for nor require any publishing rights of anyone entering the contest.
Q: What if I have a question I can’t find an answer to?
A: Email your question to: firstname.lastname@example.org.