• Megan DiMaria

#Opportunity Alert: Scrivenings Press Contests!!

I'm always pleased to share great writing opportunities with you. Contests are a wonderful way to get valuable feedback and this one looks great. (Also, keep reading to enter a contest for a free book.)

Scrivenings Press, a new pub house founded this year, is hosting two writing contests as part of its company launch. One is for completed manuscripts, and the prize is a book contract. The other contest is for partial manuscripts with a prize of feedback and a free writing course.


The Get Pubbed contest is for writers with a completed manuscript not-yet-published. Breaking into the traditionally published world is hard, especially for debut novelists, indie authors, and authors without an agent. Indie publishing is also hard if you do everything yourself. And if you don’t do everything yourself, hiring editors, graphic designers, and manuscript formatters can get expensive! That’s why Scrivenings Press is launching an annual Get Pubbed contest. There are great manuscripts out there — just waiting to be discovered. And Scrivenings Press wants to see them!


The Grand Prize winner of the Get Pubbed contest will receive a publishing contract with Scrivenings Press; paid registration for their annual author retreat to be held April 2021 in Hannibal, Missouri (boyhood home of Mark Twain) PLUS a thorough critique of up to 25 pages* of your manuscript by their senior editor, Shannon Taylor Vannatter (a multi-published, award-winning novelist), AND a $50 Amazon gift card.


Is Scrivenings Press considered a Christian publisher or a publisher of clean fiction? What’s the difference?

We publish both. Our fiction needs to be clean and/or Christian. Clean simply means no sexual content, no foul language (including euphemisms), crudeness, vulgarity, or graphic violence. Christian means the characters are Christians or will be by the end of the book. Our Christian titles are nondenominational so that anyone who embraces a Christian worldview can enjoy them.


The entry with the highest score in each genre will receive a critique of up to 25 pages* of your manuscript by our senior editor – Shannon Taylor Vannatter, a multi-published, award-winning novelist, plus a $25 Amazon gift card. The Grand Prize winner’s genre will not have a separate genre winner, as that entrant will be awarded the grand prize package.


ALL ENTRIES will receive feedback from contest judges with tips to strengthen your writing.


*Note: Do not submit 25 pages when you enter the contest. Get Pubbed entries are 10 manuscript pages plus a 1-2 page synopsis. Winners will be contacted so they can submit more pages for the in-depth critique. For more info, check out the webpage.


The Novel Starts contest is for writers who have started a novel but haven’t yet finished it? Are you wondering if it’s any good? Or maybe you have a great story idea and have written a few pages but you’re not sure how to develop it into a complete novel. If so, Novel Starts is the perfect contest for you!


This contest offers a chance to bypass the dreaded slush pile because the Grand Prize winner will receive head-of-the-line privileges to submit his or her novel once it’s finished.


Novel Starts Grand Prize: Access to the soon-to-be-released (coming December 2020) Scrivenings Press video-based novel writing course; an invitation to submit your novel for consideration by Scrivenings Press once it is finished (this does not guarantee they will publish your manuscript, but it will give your work a head-of-the-line privilege in their submissions review process.); a thorough critique of up to 25 pages* of your manuscript by our line editor/marketing director, Linda Fulkerson (a multi-published author in both fiction and nonfiction); and a $50 Amazon gift card.


*Note: Do not submit 25 pages when you enter the contest. Novel Starts entries are five pages. Winners will be contacted so they can submit more pages for the in-depth critique. You do not have to have 25 pages written to enter the Novel Starts contest, but the winners will be awarded an in-depth critique on up to 25 pages. For more info check out the webpage.


Shannon Vannatter of Scrivenings Press was kind enough to answer some questions about this new venture:


Does Scrivenings Press publish fiction and nonfiction books?

We’re only interested in fiction submissions. My partner, Linda Fulkerson, and I are considering writing books on the craft of writing at a later date, but that will be our only nonfiction venture.


Is Scrivenings Press a traditional royalty-paying publisher?

Yes. We pay royalties, but not advances at this time. We have a small publicity budget and create book trailers for our new releases.


What kind of fiction is Scrivenings Press looking for? Historical? time travel, contemporary, romance, thrillers, etc?

The genres we publish are Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense, Women’s Fiction, Historical Romance, Historical Fiction (may have a romantic subplot), Mystery, and Speculative. Our books range from 55,000 to 90,000 words. The preferred manuscript length for Scrivenings Press is 75,000-85,000 words.


Do you require authors to submit through an agent?

We don’t require an agent, but some of our authors do have one.


What kind of relationship can an author expect if they sign with Scrivenings Press?

We aspire to make our authors feel like a family and encourage them to help publicize each other. We have monthly Zoom meetings where we share news and concerns. If requested, we schedule Zoom meetings with individual authors to discuss their book launch and how to best spend their publicity fund.


Since one of our debut authors, Cindy Bonds, lives an hour and a half away, Linda and I were able to attend her launch party. I wish we could go to all of them. We’re hosting our first retreat for our contracted authors next spring and plan to make it an annual event.

The photo is Linda and Shannon flanking Cindy.


What’s the best advice you can give to writers hoping to secure a publishing contract with Scrivenings Press?

Join a national writer’s group geared toward your genre. It’s about the characters and story. Make sure you have a beginning, middle, and end. Study goals, motivation, and conflict. There should be a story arc and a character arc. Learn when to show (90% of the story) and when to tell (10% of the story). Make sure your dialogue advances the story and makes the stakes high for your character. If you have a fascinating character and a focused, gripping plot, the rest is fixable in the editing phase.

Our schedule is full through 2021 and there are only a dozen slots left open in 2022, but we’ve reserved a slot for June 2021 for our contest winner.

Linda Fulkerson became interested in writing while working as a copyeditor and typesetter at a small-town weekly newspaper. She has since been published in several magazines and newspapers, including a two-year stint as a sports writer. Linda is the author of two novels and seven non-fiction books, four of which are coloring books for writers. In 2020, she purchased Mantle Rock Publishing’s backlist as well as acquiring all MRP’s future contracts and founded Scrivenings Press LLC along with her business partner, Shannon Vannatter.

Linda Fulkerson is the owner of DLF Digital Services LLC (founded in 2013) and has nearly 20 years of experience in digital marketing. She comes from a newspaper background and has been a copyeditor, sportswriter, and online editor. Linda has been an indie publisher for several years. Her role in the new company will be business management, graphic designer, and line editor. Linda speaks to small business owners and writers’ groups on a variety of marketing-related topics, such as blogging, social media management, and website development. To learn more about Linda, visit her website.

Shannon Vannatter is an award-winning, traditionally multi-published author. She is highly sought after for giving thorough manuscript critiques at conferences. Throughout Shannon’s writing career, she has worked with multiple editors, publishing companies, and agents. Her role in the new company will be acquisitions/content editor and author career development. She has completed the process of becoming a credentialed editor through the Christian PEN Institute. Shannon works with authors on marketing their books and teaches a variety of writing and self-editing courses at writers conferences and group meetings. Scrivenings Press plans to have an online writing course in place by January 2021. You can learn more about Shannon at her website.


Best of luck to all you brave writers who take a chance and enter the contest. Keep pushing forward, and don't give up!


Like I had said earlier, you can possibly win a copy of Shannon's book, Hill

Country Redemption. Leave a comment, and a winner will be picked at random.


In other fun news, years ago before my debut novel Searching for Spice was published, I entered a contest that Linda held—and won! So, apparently, she's got good taste.


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© 2020 Megan DiMaria