Some weeks before Christmas, a couple of pals alerted me to Good Housekeeping’s forthcoming competition. “Have you got a best-seller in you?” the magazine asked. If so, the winner could see a £25,000 advance, their book in print and get introduced to a top literary agent. Come to that, free laptops to the runners up isn’t to be sneezed at.
The competition’s in association with Orion Books and literary agent, Luigi Bonomi. Such credible, professional involvement is even more encouraging, especially when there are so many sharks and charlatans preying on aspiring writers in the murkier shallows of the creating writing biz.
So far so good. Until I read… “We’re looking for entries from any grown up genre whether it’s historical romance, whodunit, comedy or international spy thriller.”
No mention of SF& Fantasy. What does that mean? Was this intentional? Do they perhaps not consider SF & Fantasy grown-up? It wouldn’t be the first time. Or do they not think the magazine’s readership would be interested in our genre? Once again, the outdated stereotype of the teenage fanboy might be lurching around in zombified fashion.
But this seems all the more puzzling when we consider Orion/Victor Gollancz are one of the longest-established and currently strongest SF&F lists in publishing.
So I decided to ask, courteously rather than table-thumping which would hardly help. Not that finding out who to contact and how was particularly easy, and there was also the Xmas/New Year rush/hiatus being typically unhelpful.
Anyway, I’ve just got a reply, from which I quote –
I would like to stress that science fiction and fantasy are by no means excluded from the competition – the only genre excluded was children’s.
Gollancz is part of Orion Books, and even if the winning entry isn’t SF (and it may be!), a good entry could still find its way onto their desks. So please tell your pupils or any aspiring writers you know to enter and I wish you all the best. The entry form is still on our website.
So, those of writing SF&F are not ruled out and while there are no guarantees here, any more than in any other area of life, that’s a usefully positive response.
Here’s the webpage with all the info. All entries must be received by 31 March 2012.