Q1. Are entries anonymous?
A1. No, please submit your name with your entry. A nom de plume or pen name is fine.

Q2. I don’t have an agent. Can I still enter?
A2. Absolutely. This competition is exclusively for unagented authors.

Q3. I’ve previously self-published the manuscript I want to submit. Is that allowed?
A3. Unfortunately not. We don’t mind if an author has previously self-published other books, but we’re looking for unpublished entries.

Q4. My novel has a prologue. Should I still submit the first 2,000 words
A4. A short prologue can be included in addition to the first 2,000 words. If your prologue is longer than 1,000 words, and you would like to submit it, please count your prologue length as part of your 2,000-word limit.

Q5. Who reads my work? How does the voting and judging process work?
A5. All entries will receive an initial read-through by someone in the OWN IT! editorial team. This is to confirm that each entry adheres to the specific entry requirements. Following this, the OWN IT! editorial team will comprise a longlist of the strongest entries. An editor at Amazon Publishing, will then review the longlist with OWN IT! judges to select the winning entry and runners up.

Q6. Which countries is this competition open to?
A6. This competition is open to writers over the age of eighteen living in the UK or Ireland.

Q7. Which genres are eligible?
A7. This competition is focused on finding new voices in commercial fiction. We are interested in fiction of any kind, but are particularly interested in fiction that falls under one of the categories below:

  • Crime, thrillers and mystery
  • Romance
  • Historical fiction
  • Book club fiction

Q8. What is ‘book club’ fiction?
A8. The term ‘book club’ is often used to describe fiction that sits between the worlds of literary and commercial fiction. It is not always easy to assign a clear-cut genre like ‘crime’ or ‘romance’ to these titles, which are often built around thought-provoking themes and an accessible but distinctive narrative voice. Some great examples would be Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.”

If you have any questions or queries about whether your submission matches the competition requirements please get in touch with the team, prior to submitting your manuscript, at [email protected] before September 2nd 2022.

Q9. What do you mean by ‘under-represented’ writers?
A9. We define writers from backgrounds that are currently under-represented in publishing as:

  • Being Neurodivergent
  • Being from a BAME background
  • Being a member of the LGBTQ+ community
  • Being working class
  • Being Disabled
  • Having experienced homelessness
  • Having a low household income
  • Being or having been a carer
  • Being a single parent
  • Having experienced a lack of academic and/or vocational training opportunities – i.e. having not been able to study/train to full potential due to low income/ill-health etc.

Q10. Is there an entry fee?
A10. No, this competition is free to enter.

Q11. Are co-written manuscripts eligible?
A11. Yes, though the prize money will be split amongst co-writers.

Q12. Do you have to be a debut author to win this award?
A12. No. Previously published authors are eligible so long as the manuscript entered has never been published.

Q13. Are the finalists or the winner guaranteed to receive a publication offer from Amazon Publishing?
A13. No, although Amazon Publishing will consider the winner for a non-binding offer of publication at Amazon Publishing’s sole discretion.

Q14. Are the finalists or the winner guaranteed to receive a publication offer or an offer of literary representation from OWN IT!?
A14. No, although OWN IT! will consider the winner for a non-binding offer of publication and/or representation at OWN IT!’s sole discretion.

Q15. How do I submit my entry to the award?
A15. Please follow the step-by-step instructions on the OWN IT! website https://ownit.london/newvoicesaward/.

Q16. Why is Amazon Publishing sponsoring this award?
A16. The team at Amazon Publishing is passionate about connecting readers with great books. This competition allows the team to work outside typical channels to discover writers who can bring a fresh and distinct perspective to commercial fiction. Amazon Publishing is especially keen for the opportunity to connect with under-represented writers from around the world.

Q17. Why is OWN IT! supporting this award?
A17. OWN IT! has a strong reputation and passionate commitment to finding and supporting up and coming talent. We care about contributing to creating an eco-system where universal stories can come from a truly representative community of eclectic voices and diversity is measured through creativity. However, we understand that to do this, we first need a more level playing field so that all writers from all backgrounds feel valued and are given equal opportunities.

Q18. Where can I address specific questions about the award?
A18. Please email [email protected].

Q19. Who will sit on the judging panel for the award?
A19. An Amazon Publishing Editor will serve on the judging panel for the award, alongside OWN IT! agents. 

Q20. Who is OWN IT!?
A20. OWN IT! Literary, TV and Film Agency was co-founded by Crystal Mahey-Morgan and Jason Morgan with the mission of representing original and authentic stories. Among OWN IT!’s recent publishing successes are Salena Godden (MRS DEATH MISSES DEATH, Canongate), Derek Owusu’s Desmond Elliott Prize-winning THAT REMINDS ME (Merky Books, Stormzy’s PRH imprint), and Courttia Newland’s A RIVER CALLED TIME (Canongate).

Q21. What is Amazon Publishing?
A21. Amazon Publishing is a leading trade publisher of fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books with a mission to empower outstanding storytellers and connect them with readers worldwide. We publish emerging, bestselling, and critically-acclaimed authors in digital, print, and audio formats. With Amazon’s drive for innovation and passion for books, we merge technology and art to support our authors and help their stories change the world. Learn more here.