The Debut Dagger Award
Terms & Conditions and Submission Guidelines
Terms and conditions
Revised for Debut Dagger 2019
- Current and former members of the CWA are not allowed to enter the Debut Dagger competition.
- The competition is for those who have never had a publishing contract for a full-length novel and for those who, when the contest closes on 28 February, have no literary agent.
- Only authors who are not traditionally published (see above) are eligible to enter the CWA Debut Dagger. Self-published authors are welcome to enter self-published or other work as long as they have never had a traditional publishing contract for a full-length novel and do not have an agent.
- While writers are welcome to make multiple entries, no individual writer will be allowed more than one entry on the longlist. Pseudonymous entries are not allowed.
- Any writer who has made the shortlist in the past is not allowed to enter the same novel again in the Debut Dagger competition, even if it has been substantially revised.
- Longlisted and particularly shortlisted writers may be asked to provide a further 3,000 words from their novel shortly after the announcements. This section may be requested from deeper in the novel, rather than subsequent to the first 3,000 words, and will be driven by the judges’ perception of the synopsis.
HOW TO ENTER
Online entry is a two-stage process from the portal accessed on this website.
First you must pay the £36 (inc VAT) submission fee. Once your payment has gone through you will receive a receipt with a transaction ID from PayPal. You may return to submit your entry (one file, consisting of the novel opening and the synopsis) at any point until the submission deadline. You will need to submit your PayPal transaction ID along with your entry so we can confirm that all entries have been paid for.
If your name differs significantly from the PayPal account holder’s, please use the space PayPal provide to cite your name and the title of your entry.
Please note we do not allow pseudonymous entries: you must enter the CWA Debut Dagger in your own name.
Manuscripts should preferably be 12pt, double spaced, in an easily readable font such as Times, Arial or Helvetica.
Please use page numbers.
Manuscripts must fall within the prescribed word limit and not exceed it, not even by a few words. Entries where more than just the first 3,000 words are submitted are likely to be disqualified and only the first 3,000 words will be judged.
Please note the synopsis can be up to 1,500 words – increased for 2019. The synopsis should appear at the end of the novel opening and only one file should be submitted.
Files should be in doc, docx, txt, rtf or pdf format.
Manuscripts must not include the author’s name or contact details, only the title of the work. Manuscripts will be allocated a unique CWA reference number.
The 2019 competition opens 1 October 2018, closing at 6pm on 28 February 2018.
Entries may be submitted at any time between the opening and closing dates.
Entries received after the closing date will not be considered.
Please note the dates below are advisory and may be changed.
The longlist will be announced at CrimeFest in May 2019 and published on our website.
The shortlist will be announced during the summer of 2019 and published on our website.
The winner will be announced at the glamorous CWA Dagger Awards Gala Dinner which is usually held in London in October.
COST OF ENTRY
£30 + VAT = £36.
Please note we can only accept payments via PayPal and via the website submission process, except in special circumstances.
We will always do our best to assist with any difficulties experienced with either payment or submission. If these occur in the final hours of the competition, then providing we have evidence of attempted payment/submission before the deadline we will help the next working day and your entry will still be valid.
1. Entrants should submit the opening of a proposed crime novel (up to an absolute maximum of 3,000 words) together with a synopsis (up to 1,500 words) outlining its further development.
Please provide the total word count where requested of opening and synopsis together.
Titles and chapter or section headings can be excluded from the word count.
Entries will be disqualified and the fee forfeit if the word count for opening and synopsis, minus title and headings, is over 4,500. This might sound strict, but ensures a fair competition for all.
2. Please do not submit the full novel rather than the opening as described above. To do so risks disqualification and forfeit of entry fee.
3. Entrants can be self-published, and have self-published any number of books, including the novel submitted, or part thereof. You must not have a publishing contract for a full-length novel of any kind at time of submission or ever have had such a contract.
4. You must not have a contract with a literary agent at the time the contest closes.
5. An entry fee must be paid before you are able to send your submission. After payment you will be directed to the submission page.
6. Submissions must be in English and we prefer double-line spacing. Pages should be numbered, sequentially from the opening page of the novel to the last page of the synopsis, with the title of your story included on each page.
7. While writers are welcome to make multiple entries, no individual writer can have more than one entry on the longlist. Pseudonymous entries are not allowed.
8. Any writer who has made the shortlist in the past is not allowed to enter the same novel again in the Debut Dagger competition, even if it has been substantially revised.
9. You must not include your name on the document entered.
10. All entries must be submitted as a single file containing both the opening 3000 words and the synopsis (after the novel opening) up to 1,500 words. The file should preferably be saved with the text double-spaced and the margins set for A4 paper (210 x 297mm). We prefer an easily legible font in 12pt and request you to use page numbers.
11. The file must be in the following formats: doc, docx, txt, rtf or pdf. The entrant is responsible for ensuring that the file is readable and uncorrupted.
12. The file cannot be amended or changed in any way once it has been submitted.
13. Any entrant who submits a file or email containing a virus will be immediately disqualified and will forfeit their entry fee.
14. We will acknowledge receipt of entries and payment by automated email.
15. At our discretion, and only where practicable, we may notify an entrant of an unreadable file or other problem and invite them to resubmit the entry.
A shortlist of entries, selected by professional readers, will be forwarded to a final judging panel chaired by the CWA Criminal Critiques coordinator and composed of crime fiction editors from major publishing houses and authors’ agents.
The judges’ decision is final and we will not enter into any correspondence about the result.
The winner will receive a prize of £500.
Shortlisted authors will receive a brief professional assessment of their entry.
Shortlisted entries are sent to all UK publishers and agents who are happy to receive them.
Exposure in the national media and publishing industry.
Coverage on the CWA digital network.
Please note we reserve the right to amend the above during the competition. Any change will be notified on the website.
There is no commitment to publish the winning entry.
Copyright will remain with the entrant.