First Pages Contest #3: Women’s Fiction, Judged by Agent Abby Saul

UPDATE: Abby picked the three winners (no order).
They are Candice P., Kalyn F., and Dawne W.
Congrats to the winners!


We love contests. So welcome to our new First Pages Contest on the Write Query Publish Blog. Contest #3 is for writers of Women’s Fiction. If you’re writing women’s fiction, keep reading, and submit your work!

(Contest #1 is running now elsewhere on the blog, also, and it’s for adult sci-fi and fantasy writers. Find it here. And Contest #2 is also running now. It’s for writers of romance novels.)

Here’s how it works. We invite awesome literary agents to judge the contest. The agents pick the genre they want to judge. Writers in that genre are invited to send in their first page as part of the competition. Winners get an awesome critique from your agent judge. It’s free to enter. Sound good? Then let’s get to some details and rules!

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Contest #3 — women’s fiction. You have until 11:59 p.m., PST, February 15, 2019, to submit to the contest. [WE HAVE EXTENDED THE DEADLINE TO FEB. 15, 2019 DUE TO DEMAND. KEEP SUBMITTING!]

This contest is only for writers of women’s fiction. (No young adult please.) Main characters should probably be aged 20 or older. If you’re confused as to what women’s fiction is (and its differences to romance), agent Scott Eagan says this “I have always tried to define [women’s fiction] as a story that shows the female journey. The goal and the intent of this genre is to be able to relate to the character and understand her own life. We want to know what it is to be a woman. Like romance, this can occur in any time period, but the goal is still the same – to understand the female psyche. The story can be multicultural, like Amy Tan, or historical, like Philippa Gregory. It really doesn’t matter other than making the heroine the central focus of the story. Many stories are contemporary.”

The agent judge has 3 weeks from the contest’s end to judge all entries. Then we will inform the winners and post the names here on this blog post.


Submit your manuscript’s first double-spaced page, via email, to

300 words maximum. Do not attach anything. Just copy and paste the text into the email submission. Remember: This is for women’s fiction only.

At the beginning of the email, before you paste your first page, this is what we need to know: 1) your full name, 2) the city and state you’re based in, and 3) your contact email, 4) proof that you’ve shared news of the contest via social media (such as your Twitter handle), and 5) a logline of your work. A logline is a one-sentence summary of your novel. For example, “Joanne Peters navigates a failing relationship, a new job at the IRS, and the unwelcome appearance of her ex-con mother, who, as it turns out, isn’t nearly as dead as Joanne was told.”

Self-published novels are not eligible for this contest. Unpublished (new) material only, please. You may submit more than one submission; however, you are encouraged to only submit your best work.

PLEASE NOTE OUR SOCIAL MEDIA REQUIREMENTS: Although the contest is free to enter, in order to be considered, you must fulfill our social media requirements. For every submission, you must spread word of this contest twice through social media — either Twitter or Facebook. You can tweet news of it, or share on Facebook.

When your email us your submission, make sure you include some kind of way for us to understand you have followed these guidelines. If you have shared news on Twitter, then just include your Twitter handle. If you have shared news of it on Facebook, then feel free to take a screenshot or send us a link. An easy way to notify us is to tag us. Either tag me — @chucksambuchino — or tag the blog –@writequerypub — when you spread news. And if you use Twitter, put any handles at the middle or the end, not at the very beginning of the tweet, or else the tweet will be invisible to others. (Please note that simply tweeting me does not count. You have to include the contest URL with your mention; that’s the point.)

Here is a tweet that can be used: New FREE contest for writers of Women’s Fiction Judged by agent @Bookysaul, via @chucksambuchino and @writequerypub


Screen Shot 2018-06-10 at 1.39.53 PMWith over 10 years of publishing experience, literary agent Abby Saul is an editorial expert with a passion for fantastic reads.

She is seeking: great and engrossing adult commercial and literary fiction. This includes general fiction, mystery, suspense/thriller, literary fiction, women’s fiction, and historical fiction.

Abby founded The Lark Group after a decade in publishing at John Wiley & Sons, Sourcebooks, and Browne & Miller Literary Associates. She’s worked with and edited bestselling and award-winning authors as well as major brands. At each publishing group she’s been a part of, Abby also has helped to establish ebook standards, led company-wide forums to explore new digital possibilities for books, and created and managed numerous digital initiatives.

A zealous reader who loves her iPad and the ebooks on it, she still can’t resist the lure of a print book. Abby’s personal library of beloved titles runs the gamut from literary newbies and classics, to cozy mysteries, to sappy women’s fiction, to dark and twisted thrillers. A magna cum laude graduate of Wellesley College, Abby spends her weekends—when she’s not reading—cooking and hiking with her husband and son.

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Abby will pick 3 winners (no order). All three of those winners are invited to send their first 10 double-spaced pages to Amy for a critique. If you ever wanted to know what an agent is thinking when they read your submission, this critique is a great way to learn just that.


By e-mailing your entry, you are submitting an entry for consideration in this contest and thereby agreeing to the terms written here as well as any terms possibly added by me in the “Comments” section of this blog post. If you have questions or concerns, write us personally at The Gmail account above is for submissions, not questions. This contest buys no rights, so even if you win, you can still do whatever you like with the work. We do not acquire or own or publish anything. Good luck! Make sure you fulfill the submission requirements to be considered.

ATTEND A WRITERS CONFERENCE IN 2019. Here are some writers conferences WQP staffers are either speaking at or wholeheartedly endorse:

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