First One Publishing Contest, the boo-birds have spoken

Maybe you haven’t been online in the last few days.  Maybe you haven’t checked your tweets or your facebook.  Maybe you haven’t been on AW in a while.  Or maybe you just live in a cave and only get out every third Sunday of the month.

Here’s one contest you should avoid like the plague.  You might even want to wear protective clothing when reading the rules.  Yes, it’s that bad.  Aside from the steep $149.00 entrance fee, it’s a rights grab.  Once you submit, you no longer own your MS.

There’s been plenty said on the matter.  You can read some of it here, here, here, here and here.  And if you still want more on it, here, here, and here.  As you can see, it’s everywhere so I won’t be adding anything new to the pile.  But if you’re wondering why so many writers are calling themselves boo-birds today, it’s because of this lovely sentence from Karen Hunter in a response to criticism of the contest on AW (which is the second “here,” btw):

If your goal is to be a boo-bird. Good job. If you’re goal is to help change publishing, get in the game and let’s play.

I’m a boo-bird.

Whatever the case may be, if you’ve somehow missed this, here it is:

First One Publishing Writing Contest

  1. All entries must be original works, in English. Plagiarism, which includes the use of third-party poetry, song lyrics, characters or another person’s universe, without written permission will result in disqualification. Excessive violence or sex, determined by the judges, will result in disqualification. Entries may not have been previously published in professional media.
  2. To be eligible, entries must be works of prose. We regret that we cannot consider poetry, or works intended for children for this contest.
  3. The contest is open to nonprofessional writers who are legal residents of the United States over the age of 18 as of February 1, 2011. Employees (or relatives of employees living in the same household) of First One Publishing, The Walnut Group, Blackwave Media Group, or any of its affiliates are not eligible. This contest is void in Puerto Rico, Quebec, and wherever prohibited or restricted by law.
  4. FORMAT: Entries must not be more than 65,000 words long and must not have been previously published. Entries must be sent as Microsoft Word documents. The font must be Times New Roman, 12-point size. Do not justify right-side margin. Along with the cover letter, the author’s name, address, email address and phone number must appear on the first page.
  5. All submissions must be in English. Entries are void if they are in whole or in part incomplete, or damaged, or if they do not conform to any of the requirements specified herein. Sponsor reserves the right, in its absolute and sole discretion, to reject any entries for any reason, including but not limited to based on sexual content, vulgarity, and/or promotion of violence.
  6. Each entry may be submitted only once. Please retain a copy of your submission. You may submit more than one manuscript, but each submission must be emailed separately and paid for separately. Entries must be received by April 11, 2011.
  7. FEES: There will be a $149.00 entrance fee for each submission. The fee must be paid online before the manuscript will be accepted.
One Grand-Prize Winner will receive:
 First One Publishing contract for terrestrial and digital publication of winning book.
 Five thousand ($5,000) cash
 A complete marketing and publicity tour tied to the winning book.
 First One Publishing Library (20 books valued at $240.00)
 Grand-Prize Winner must sign the publishing contract, which contains additional terms and conditions in order to be published.
Twenty Second-Prize Winners will receive:
 A First One Publishing contract for digital publication
 A complete marketing and publicity plan to promote the digital book as well as feature placement (bio, blog, etc.) on the First One Publishing website.
 A First One Publishing Collection (10 books valued at $120)
 Second-Prize Winners must sign the publishing contract, which contains additional terms and conditions in order to be published.
No contestant can win more than one prize
We are not restricting books to any specific topic or genre, however they should embody what all First One Publishing authors encompass—they should smart, thoughtful, and edifying.
Submissions will be judged on the equally weighted criteria of (a) basis of writing ability and (b) the originality of the book. Professional judges will include editors, John Paine (The Book Doctor), Tracy Sherrod (former S&S editor), and overseen by best-selling author/publisher Karen Hunter. There will also be a slate of celebrity/author judges for the finals.
Winners will be notified by email or phone on June 11, 2011. The Grand-Prize Winner must sign the publishing contract in order to be awarded the prize. All federal, local, and state taxes are the responsibility of the winner. A list of the winners will be available on June 11, 2011 on
Each WINNER grants to the Sponsor the right to use his or her name, likeness, and entry for any advertising, promotion, and publicity purposes without further compensation to or permission from such winner, except where prohibited by law.
If for any reason this CONTEST is not capable of running as planned due to an infection by a computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of the Sponsor, which corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of the Contest, the Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process, and to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the CONTEST. The sponsor assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communications line failure, theft, or destruction, or unauthorized access to, or alteration of entries. The Sponsor is not responsible for any problems or technical malfunctions of any telephone network or telephone lines, computer on-line system servers, or providers, computer equipment, software, failure of any email or entry to be received by the Sponsor due to technical problems, human error or traffic, congestion on the internet or at any website, or any combination there-of, including any injury or damage to participant’s or any other person’s computer relating to or resulting from participating in this Contest or downloading any materials in this Contest.
CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE ANY WEBSITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE CONTEST IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AD CIVIL LAWS AND SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE. THE SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES OR OTHER REMEDIES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON(S) RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ATTEMPT TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. In the event of a dispute as to the identity or eligibility of a winner based on an email address, the winning entry will be declared made by the “Authorized Account Holder” of the email address submitted at time of entry. “Authorized Account Holder” is defined as the natural person 18 years of age and older who is assigned to an email address by an internet access provider, online service provider or other organization (ie. Business, education institution, etc.) that is responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted email address. Use of automated devices is not valid for entry.
13. LEGAL Information
All submissions become sole property of Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned. By submitting an entry, all entrants grant Sponsor the absolute and unconditional right and authority to copy, edit, publish, promote, broadcast, or otherwise use, in whole or in part, their entries, in perpetuity, in any manner without further permission, notice or compensation. Entries that contain copyrighted material must include a release from the copyright holder. Prizes are nontransferable. No substitutions or cash redemptions, except by Sponsor in the event of prize unavailability. Sponsor reserves the right to its sole discretion to not publish the winning entry for any reason whatsoever.
In the event that there is an insufficient number of entries received that meet the minimum standards determined by the judges, all prizes will not be awarded. Winners will be required to complete and return an affidavit of eligibility and liability/publicity release, within 15 days of winning notification, or an alternate winner will be selected, in the event any winner is considered a minor in his/her state of residence, such winner’s parent/legal guardian will be required to sign and return all necessary paperwork.
By entering, entrants release judges and Sponsor(s), and its parent company, subsidiaries, production, and promotion agencies from any and all liability for any loss, harm, damages, costs, or expenses, including without limitation properly damages, personal injury, and/or death arising out of participation in this contest, the acceptance, possession, use or misuse of any prize, claims based on publicity rights, defamation or invasion of privacy, merchandise delivery, or the violation of any intellectual property rights, including but not limited to copyright infringement and/or trademark infringement.


January 21, 2011 12:47 am

I'd not enter any contest that had more than a nominal handling fee…of course I don't have a finished novel to enter into any contest either.

January 21, 2011 1:07 am

They've taken the rules down and are hopefully reworking them to get rid of the rights grab and lower the fee. We'll see what they do.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Cheryl Murphy is Asian with brown hair in a single braid and a smirk.

ACES: the society for editing


Contact Ink Slinger

Cheryl (AT) inkslingereditorialservices (dot) com
or leave me a voicemail at (213) 293-8507



Projects Accepted

science fiction (SF), fantasy, interstitial, urban fantasy, steampunk, cyberpunk, mannerpunk, young adult (YA), new adult (NA), women’s fiction, middle grade (MG), romance, paranormal romance (PNR), horror, splatterpunk, thriller, action, mystery, comedy, literary fiction, satire, erotica, memoir, self help, graphic novels, comic books, scripts, blogs, and websites.

This site uses Amazon Affiliate links.