Apart from requiring you to write and edit 50,000+ words, for free, in your spare time, the Irish Novel Fair doesn’t have a particularly onerous entry procedure.
However, I found it useful to organise the requirements into a process that flows in the order in which I needed to do things. I’ve published my process (based on what we were asked to do for 2019’s competition – I’ll update it for 2020 in due course):
1) CHECK YOUR ELIGIBILITY
DON’T go through all the work of submission only to find you’re not eligible! Read the terms and conditions before you start. Here’s the most important one:
The competition is limited to unpublished novelists who have not signed with any agents or publishers. Applicants who have already had a novel accepted by a publisher, or have previously had a novel published, will not be eligible.
A published novel is defined as one that has an ISBN.
Things get a little more complicated if you’ve been self-published with an ISBN – check 2019’s terms and conditions out here for more detail.
2) CREATE YOUR SUBMISSION
- Write a novel of at least 50,000+ words (see my post on how to write your novel here)
- Write a synopsis with a maximum 300 words.
- Purchase bulldog clips (see Step 6…)
3) FORMAT YOUR SUBMISSION
- Select the first 10,000 words of your novel (+/-10%).
- Do not put your name anywhere on your synopsis or manuscript.
- Add the title of your novel to every page of your submission.
- Note the word count of the submission (not the overall word count).
- ALL PAGES (synopsis and submission) should:
- Be double-spaced
- Use Times New Roman, font size 12
- Be numbered.
4) REVIEW YOUR SUBMISSION
- Review every word.
- Ask friends to review every word.
- Then review every word all again.
- Once everything is word perfect, you’re ready to organise your hard copies.
5) PRINT EVERYTHING OFF
- Print off and fill in the entry form.
- Print off 2 hard copies of your manuscript.
- Print off 3 hard copies of your synopsis.
6) COLLATE YOUR ENTRY:
- Material should be submitted with bulldog clips only (I note this in bold as finding bulldog clips almost derailed my last-minute submission! If you use paperclips or bind your submission it will not be accepted).
- Attach 1 copy of the synopsis to your entry form.
- Attach your last 2 copies of your synopsis to your manuscript copies.
- For 2019, the Irish Writers Centre accepted payment via their website, cheque, postal order, cash (paid in person), credit or debit card in the Irish Writers Centre.
- You can submit in 1 of 2 ways:
- post your submission to the Irish Writer’s Centre
- drop it off in person (despite having my entry ready well before the submission date, I ended up needing my husband to drop it off in person on the day of the deadline…try to avoid this if you live in further afield than Kilmainham…).
I hope this is a useful step-by-step guide to the process of entering the Irish Novel Fair.