Peter Lovesey/Soho Crime First Crime Novel Contest

Please read all of the rules and guidelines before submitting your entry. By entering the contest you are attesting that you have read all the rules and guidelines and agree to them.

To enter, you must submit your Manuscript to the Peter Lovesey/Soho Press First Crime Novel Contest by sending an email to loveseycontest [at] and attaching the Manuscript as an electronic file. Only electronic submissions will be considered; do not mail manuscript submissions to Soho Press. There is no purchase necessary to enter.

Before uploading, please ensure that your Manuscript is formatted as follows:

1) The Manuscript must be either a Microsoft Word document or a PDF

2) The Manuscript must be contained in a single electronic file

3) Text must be double spaced

4) Pages must be numbered consecutively from beginning to end

5) The file must be named according to this convention: “ENTRANT LAST NAME Manuscript Title” (for example, “LOVESEY Wobble to Death”)


All submissions must be received by 11:59pm EST on June 1, 2020.

If you have questions or need further clarification regarding the rules and guidelines of this competition, you may contact us at loveseycontest [at]  

Rules for the Peter Lovesey/Soho Crime First Crime Novel Contest

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 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 Soho Press (or a parent, subsidiary, or affiliate) are not eligible to enter. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

2. To enter, you must email an electronic file of your Manuscript, attached as either a single Microsoft Word document or a PDF, to loveseycontest [at] Only electronic submissions will be considered. To be considered, all submissions must be received by 11:59pm EST on June 1, 2020. 

a) Manuscripts must be submitted as a single Microsoft Word document or PDFs. All manuscripts must be double-spaced, with pages numbered consecutively from beginning to end. All files must be named according to this convention: “ENTRANT LAST NAME Manuscript Title” (for example, “LOVESEY Wobble to Death”).

b) Each entrant should keep a copy of the Manuscript for his or her own protection.

3. Soho Press is 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, or failed, incomplete, or delayed computer transmissions which may limit one's ability to enter this Contest, including any injury or damage to any computer relating to or resulting from downloading any materials in this Contest.

4. All Manuscripts submitted: a) must be original works of book length (no fewer than 30,000 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. WHAT CONSTITUTES A CRIME NOVEL: For the purpose of this Contest, a “Crime Novel” means a work of fiction of at least 30,000 words that features any of the following characteristics: 1) the story contains a crime; 2) a crime is committed by a character during the novel; 3) a crime is solved by a character during the novel; 4) the story is about criminals, crime solvers, or both; 5) the novel is about the effect of a crime or the solving of that crime within the community of characters depicted. 

b. WHAT CONSTITUTES A PUBLISHED NOVEL: For the purpose of this Competition, a “Published Novel” means a work of fiction of at least 30,000 words in length that has been published, in paper, electronic, or audio format or in any other medium, by a party besides the author of the work. Self-published works shall not be considered Published Novels. The decision of the Contest's judges as to whether or not an entrant or a Manuscript qualifies will be final.


5. Finalists will be selected by the editorial staff of Soho Crime on the basis of the originality, creativity, and writing skill of the submission, as well as how well the Manuscript fits within the Soho Crime imprimatur motto of “Crime Has No Time Zone.” The editorial staff of Soho Crime will select a shortlist of two (2) or three (3) Finalists, and the winner will be selected from among the Finalists by Peter Lovesey. The decision of the editors as to the winner of the Contest will be final. Soho Press reserves the right to cancel or modify the Contest 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 Contest winner, if any, by email no later than November 1, 2020. If the winner cannot be contacted, an alternate winner may be selected.

7. If a winner is selected, Soho Press 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 (ten thousand dollars USD). On the condition that the selected winner accepts and executes the publishing contract proposed by Soho Press, the winner will then be recognized at the Bouchercon 2020 in Sacramento. 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 will be determined by Soho Press at its sole discretion. The entrant may request reasonable changes in the offered terms, but Soho Press shall not be obligated to agree to any such changes. Soho Press 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 Soho Press 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 Soho Press and its parent, subsidiaries, affiliates, suppliers and agents 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 Contest 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 Soho Press which corrupts or affects the administration, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of this Contest), the Contest is not capable of being conducted as described in these rules, Soho Press shall have the right, in their sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Contest.