Rules for the 2021 Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition
Sponsored by Minotaur Books and Mystery Writers of America (MWA)
1. The Competition is open to any writer, regardless of nationality, aged 18 or
older, who has never been the author of any Published Novel (in any genre), as defined
by the guidelines below, (except that authors of self-published works only may enter,
as long as the manuscript submitted is not the self-published work) and is not under
contract with a publisher for publication of a novel. Employees, and members of
their immediate families living in the same household, of Minotaur Books or Mystery
Writers of America (or a parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of either of them) are
not eligible to enter. Only one manuscript entry (the “Manuscript”) is permitted
per writer. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.
Please read all of the rules and guidelines before submitting your entry.
If you have questions or need further clarification after reading the following
rules and guidelines, you may contact us at
2. To enter, you must complete an online entry form and upload an electronic file
of your Manuscript. The entry form will allow you to upload one electronic file.
Only electronic submissions, uploaded through the online entry form, will be considered;
do not mail or e-mail your manuscript submissions to Minotaur Books.
To be considered for the 2021 competition, all submissions must be received by 11:59pm EST on January 1, 2021.
a) Manuscripts must be submitted as Microsoft Word documents or PDFs. All manuscripts
must be double-spaced, with pages numbered consecutively from beginning to end.
All manuscripts must be saved as "Manuscript Title_Entrant Name".
b) Each entrant should keep a copy of the Manuscript for his or her own protection.
c) Because of the great volume of submissions we receive and the fact that our judges
are volunteers with full-time responsibilities elsewhere, it is important that you
submit your Manuscript as early as possible. Submissions will get a more careful
reading if the judge does not have to contend with a flood of last-minute entries.
The entry form is available HERE.
3. Entrants must have a valid e-mail address. In case of dispute as to identity
of an entrant, entry will be declared made by the authorized account holder of the
e-mail address provided to Minotaur Books. “Authorized Account Holder” is defined
as a natural person who is assigned an e-mail address by an Internet access provider,
online service provider, or other organization (e.g., business, educational institution,
etc.) responsible for assigning e-mail addresses or the domain associated with the
submitted e-mail address. Minotaur Books and Mystery Writers of America are not
responsible for technical, hardware, software, telephone or other communications
malfunctions, errors or failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connections,
website, Internet, or ISP unavailability, unauthorized human intervention, traffic
congestion, incomplete or inaccurate capture of entry information (regardless of
cause) or failed, incomplete, or delayed computer transmissions which may limit
one's ability to enter this Competition, including any injury or damage to any computer
relating to or resulting from downloading any materials in this Competition.
4. All Manuscripts submitted: a) must be original works of book length (no less
than 220 typewritten pages or approximately 60,000 words) written in the English
language; b) must be written solely by the entrant, who may not be the author of
any previously Published Novel; c) must not violate any right of any third party
or be libelous, and d) must generally follow the Guidelines below.
a. Murder or another serious crime or crimes is at the heart of the story.
b. WHAT CONSTITUTES A PUBLISHED NOVEL: For the purpose of this Competition,
a “Published Novel” means a work of fiction of at least 40,000 words in length that
has been published or distributed, in part or whole, in paper or electronic format
or in any other medium, excluding, however, self-published works. This does not
include a chapter excerpt on an author's website, subject to the conditions that:
(i) the excerpt is the only text that exists for public viewing; (ii) the excerpt
is not for sale to the public, and (iii) the number of words in the excerpt does
not exceed 10% of the total number of words in the work as a whole. (The decision
of the Competition's judges as to whether or not an entrant or a Manuscript qualifies
will be final.)
5. Nominees will be selected by judges chosen by MWA, with the assistance of the
editorial staff of Minotaur Books, and the winner will be chosen by Minotaur Books
editors on the basis of the originality, creativity and writing skill of the submission.
The decision of the editors as to the winner of the Competition will be final. Minotaur
Books reserves the right to cancel or modify the competition if, in the sole opinion
of the editors, an insufficient number of qualified Manuscripts are received.
6. An attempt will be made to notify the Competition winner, if any, by telephone or U.S. mail no later than March 31, 2021. If the winner cannot be contacted, an alternate winner may be selected.
7. If a winner is selected, Minotaur Books will offer to enter into its standard form author's agreement with the entrant for publication of the winning Manuscript. After execution of the standard form author's agreement by both parties, the winner will receive an advance against future royalties of $10,000. On the condition that the selected winner accepts and executes the publishing contract proposed by Minotaur Books, the winner will then be recognized at the Edgar Awards Banquet in New York City in April 2021. THE WINNER WILL NOT RECEIVE ANY OTHER PRIZE AND WILL NOT RECEIVE ANY PART OF THE ADVANCE UNTIL THE STANDARD FORM AUTHOR'S AGREEMENT HAS BEEN EXECUTED BY BOTH PARTIES. Those terms of the offer not specified in the printed text of the Minotaur Books standard form author's agreement will be determined by Minotaur Books at its sole discretion. The entrant may request reasonable changes in the offered terms, but Minotaur Books shall not be obligated to agree to any such changes. Minotaur Books may, but will not be required to, consider for publication Manuscripts submitted by other entrants.
8. No critical evaluation or commentary will be offered by the judges or the editorial
staff of Minotaur Books unless, in the sole opinion of the editorial staff, evaluation
or commentary is appropriate in the case of a Manuscript being considered for publication.
9. General: No cash substitution, transfers or assignments of prize allowed. All
expenses, including taxes, relating to the winner's publishing contract, are the
sole responsibility of the winner. By accepting a prize, the winner releases Minotaur
Books and Mystery Writers of America, and the parent, subsidiaries, affiliates,
suppliers and agents of each of them from any and all liability for any loss, harm,
damages, cost or expense, including without limitation property damages, personal
injury and/or death, arising out of participation in this Competition or the acceptance
of the publishing contract. If, for any reason, (including unauthorized intervention,
fraud, technical failures, or any other cause beyond the control of Minotaur Books
which corrupts or affects the administration, fairness, integrity or proper conduct
of this Competition), the Competition is not capable of being conducted as described
in these rules, Minotaur Books and Mystery Writers of America shall have the right,
in their sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Competition.