Yippee! The Greenhouse Funny Prize 2018 is now open – and this year we’re tickled pink to have the fabulous, funny, fantastic FRANCESCA SIMON as a guest judge!
All you comic authors in the UK, Commonwealth (excluding Canada) and Europe – get typing! (Unfortunately, we can’t extend the invite to people in the US & Canada. The Funny Prize isn’t open to you this year.)
We are looking for picture books, middle grade, teen and YA stories with outstanding plots and great hooks. Get us smiling with delight and/or splitting our sides with laughter. Send us your funniest fiction in all genres!
THE WHO/WHAT/HOW/WHEN . . .
CLOSING DATE: Noon on Sunday 30th September 2018
RUNNER UP & WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT: Noon on Thursday 29th November
WHAT SHOULD I SEND?
Your entire book (or as much of it as you have written) but definitely the first chapter. Also send a clear synopsis of no more than one page, double spaced. Please send your manuscript as Word.doc attachment.
Please note that we will be judging the Funny Prize on the first chapter only. The exception to this is picture book texts; for those, we need to see the entire text.
Do not send any illustrations.
HOW SHOULD I SEND MY WORK?
By email only as a Word.doc attachment. We will not accept postal submissions. The email address is: email@example.com
Entries must be double-spaced and set in 12-point type, preferably Roman.
WHO CAN ENTER?
Unpublished and unagented authors living in the UK, Commonwealth (excluding Canada) or Europe. All entries must be in English. We are not open to work that has been published previously online.
LATE ENTRIES – WILL YOU ACCEPT THEM?
No. In order to treat everybody fairly, late entries will not be considered.
CAN I POST MY SUBMISSION TO YOU?
No. Entries sent by post will be returned unread.
WILL YOU ACKNOWLEDGE RECEIPT OF MY ENTRY?
You will receive an automated response confirming that your story has arrived safely. If you do not receive this, check your spam filter and junk email folder. If you still don’t see anything from us, resubmit your story or send us a query at the same address (firstname.lastname@example.org). It may take a few days to respond to queries but we will get back to you as quickly as we can.
YOU ASK FOR THE WHOLE STORY. DOES THAT MEAN YOU WILL READ IT ALL?
No. We will definitely read the first chapter of each entry (or the whole text if it is a picture book) and your synopsis. We do not undertake to read more than that. We also won’t tell you how much more of your book we read.
WHOOPS! I’VE SENT THE WRONG VERSION OF MY STORY. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
We anticipate a high number of entries to the Greenhouse Funny Prize 2018 so we ask you, please, to try to get everything right on your first attempt. Equally, we understand that errors happen. If you need to get in contact with us after you’ve submitted something, please email us at the Funny Prize email address (email@example.com), explaining the problem/concern. You will receive an automated acknowledgement of your email, but sit tight. One of us will respond in person as soon as we can, almost certainly within five working days.
I HAVEN’T FINISHED WRITING MY BOOK YET. DOES THAT MATTER?
No. You can submit what you have written so far, though we undertake to read only the first chapter. But you must have a clear idea of how your novel will end. Don’t forget to include a short synopsis! We would advise that you don’t enter the Funny Prize this year unless you are pretty close to finishing the book. The majority of our previous winners have gone on to get publishing deals for their books but you are unlikely to get a deal with only half a manuscript. It may be wise to think about finishing your book and submitting it next year instead.
I DON’T THINK MY FIRST CHAPTER IS THE STRONGEST PART OF MY BOOK. CAN I ENTER A DIFFERENT CHAPTER?
No. In order to treat all entrants fairly, we will read the first chapter. (If you think about it, in bookshops, most people glance only at the first paragraph or so before deciding whether or not to buy a book. The importance of a good Chapter 1 cannot be underestimated!)
SYNOPSIS – HOW LONG SHOULD IT BE?
‘Not very’ is the answer to that! No more than the equivalent of one A4 page, double spaced.
SYNOPSIS – HELP! MINE IS TOO LONG. IT WON’T FIT ON A SINGLE PAGE
Are you sure? Writing a synopsis is an art and it takes time. Our advice is to keep it as simple as possible and write it in the plainest language. Self-edit brutally! Do you really need all of those adjectives? Do we really need to know the name of the protagonist’s dog? With work, you probably can fit it all on a single page. Please do!
SYNOPSIS – IN WHAT STYLE SHOULD I WRITE IT?
As a straightforward summary of the book. Please tell us exactly what will happen, including any twists or reveals. Please do not end with an ellipsis (three dots) and/or a question mark. You are not writing jacket copy . . . are you?
I HAVE LOADS OF FUNNY STORIES. HOW MANY CAN I SUBMIT FOR THE FUNNY PRIZE?
One only – so make it your best! (And, no, that doesn’t mean that you can enter one picture book and one book for older readers.) It’s one submission per person.
I ALREADY HAVE AN AGENT. CAN I ENTER THE FUNNY PRIZE ANYWAY?
The Funny Prize is open only to writers who don’t yet have agents. Even if your agent has not yet seen this manuscript, it’s not eligible for the Prize.
MY BOOK IS ALREADY OUT WITH AGENTS, THOUGH NO ONE’S SIGNED IT YET. IS IT ELIGIBLE FOR THE FUNNY PRIZE?
Yes, though we would ask you to let us know if the situation changes during the judging period. You will need to withdraw your story from the Greenhouse Prize if you accept representation at any point between submission and the winner being announced.
WILL YOU CONTACT ME ONCE YOU’VE READ MY SUBMISSION EVEN IF I DON’T WIN OR MAKE THE SHORTLIST?
Sorry. No. It’s just not practical for us to contact everybody who enters. Only the runners up and the winning author will hear from us. You will however receive an automated response once your story arrives in our inbox so you’ll know it’s arrived safely. We will be reading every submission.
WILL YOU PROVIDE FEEDBACK ON MY STORY?
We would love to but it’s just not feasible given the number of entries we anticipate, and the number of non-Funny-Prize submissions Greenhouse receives each day.
I HAVE ALREADY SELF-PUBLISHED MY STORY. IS IT ELIGIBLE FOR THE PRIZE?
No, sorry. Only books that have never been published in any form are eligible.
WHAT WILL I WIN?
The winner will receive a selection of children’s books published by Faber and an hour-long face-to-face meeting (or phone call if more convenient) with Polly Nolan (Greenhouse) and Leah Thaxton (Publishing Director at Faber). Up to a maximum of two runners-up will receive a selection of Faber’s children’s titles.
Please note that we reserve the right not to award a winner if we feel that no entry reaches a high enough standard.
WHO WILL BE JUDGING THE FUNNY PRIZE?
The Children’s Editorial team at Faber & Faber Ltd and Polly Nolan at the Greenhouse Literary Agency.
We are also thrilled and proud that the best-selling, award-winning children’s author FRANCESCA SIMON has joined this year’s judging panel.
Can you deliver the story to make children chortle? Go on. Give it a try!
Photo of Francesca Simon (c) Helen Gale