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Ampersand: An amazing opportunity for unpublished authors

Note: Just noticed a new cut off date for this:

Entries are due 5pm on Monday 27 February 2012. The collection is due out early 2013.


Ampersand A new collection of teen fiction by first-­‐time novelists.

The collection

 Hardie Grant Egmont has always supported emerging writers, and this time we want everyone to know about it.

Introducing Ampersand:

A new collection of short novels by debut fiction writers.  This is an ambitious idea, and one that HGE is excited about.  The YA fiction scene in Australia is desperate for new writers that can grab teenagers back from their paranormal romance and angel stories, and show them a world

Just like ours.  Real life can be just as dramatic and thrilling as any fantasy adventure, and any teenager who’s climbed out their bedroom window for an illicit adventure knows it.

To kick this collection off, the editors of Ampersand are looking for fabulous manuscripts about the secret lives of teenagers.  We want a voice that leaps off the page, a hint of a literary vibe, and teenage characters facing conflict in the course of their everyday lives.

Manuscripts that are by turns funny, dramatic, gritty, romantic, heartbreaking or challenging.

Each manuscript is free to stand alone and we envision that successful submissions will give each debut novelist the launch they need to build their profiles in a competitive YA market.

We want Ampersand books to feel real to our teenage readers.  We want to push the boundaries, but we’re not interested in moral–‐panic–‐inducing, usually urban–‐legendary topics (no sexting or rainbow parties here, please).

The idea is to write about real life, as it happens to today’s teenagers.

Potential starting points for stories:

• Changing family dynamics as teens get older; sudden experience of freedom and being able to throw off the shackles of parental rules.

• Encounters with alcohol or drugs (not necessarily as the focus of the story).

• Break–‐ups and heartbreak; lusting after people who are bad for you, either romantically or platonically (e.g. exploring Bad Influences within friendships).

• Stress of school and choices about the future – uni and careers bearing down quickly.

• Bad decisions, keeping secrets.

• Falling in love and first meaningful sexual relationship (in the tradition of Judy Blume’s Forever).

• Relationships with unusual sexual (or lack thereof) dynamics; age differences, queer identity, girl as the sexual aggressor, religious views, etc.

The writers

 The main requirement is that the writer should not have published a novel before, for any age group.   The ability to write authentically from the perspective of a teenager is key, as well as openness to collaboration and manuscript development; we are editorially rigorous and want to work with writers who understand the huge amount of work required to take a first book into the market.

The look

 The collective branding for this series will be restrained (no giant logos here) and distinctly format–‐led.  We want to tap into the indie aesthetic and produce a clear set of highly covetable, collectable books that are as cool and beautiful as they are readable.

Frankie, Yen and Wallpaper magazines are good touchstones for the aesthetic.

The submission process

 Writers interested in submitting for the series should send the first five chapters and a synopsis of their story to the managing editor, Marisa Pintado, at marisapintado@hardiegrant.com.au.

The synopsis must give a clear indication of plot and characters, and be no more than a page long.  We will publish the collection’s first titles in early 2013, so the cut–‐off date for submissions for the launch is 5pm on Monday 30th January.

Successful writers will need to have a completed manuscript by mid–‐April 2012, so we recommend you write as much as you possibly can even after you’ve submitted your manuscript; this is an opportunity for writers who are serious about their craft.  Submissions

Will continue to be accepted after this date for future publication, until further notice.

Please note:

 • The finished novel should be approximately 40–‐50,000 words.

• Protagonists should be between 16–‐18 years of age.

• It goes without saying, but stories should be real–‐life and have a contemporary feel – no magical realism or angels, please.

• We are open to the exploration or depiction of issues like sexual activity, alcohol consumption, drug use, bullying, mental health issues and death.  However, the editors reserve the right to object to anything that feels gratuitous or irresponsible – we want authentic stories, but we also feel a duty of care to our teenage readers.

• HGE reserves the right not to contract without a full manuscript.  However, if we believe a writer shows promise, we may be willing to provide editorial assistance and development prior to contracting, at the expense of our own time.

• Due to the number of submissions, we may be unable to give personalised feedback as to why a manuscript isn’t suitable for this collection.


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