Back in the summer of 2015, despite the fact I had a track record of never winning or being selected for anything, I entered SCBWI Undiscovered Voices. Two years later, I have an agent, a book deal with Scholastic, and my novel Noah Can’t Even hit the shelves in May.
Do I think you should enter Undiscovered Voices this year? Yes I do. And here’s why:
- Agents will contact you. If you make it into the anthology, agents who like the extract they’ve read will get in touch with you and ask for the full manuscript. This is brilliant because you’re no longer sending chapters out hoping it might be the sort of thing they’re interested in – they actually are interested! It’s different for everyone, but I was lucky enough to be contacted by over 20 agents, both in the UK and US, and ended up with multiple offers of representation. I honestly don’t think that would have happened without UV.
- There’s a ‘Getting Discovered’ workshop for the finalists. This is run by the UV committee and is full of top tips on how to get the most out of being selected for the anthology. The UV committee help you every step of the way and are full of advice and help, which is especially useful for…
- The UV party. Glasses of fizz, canapés, and a chance for all the finalists to mingle and chat with top agents and publishers, helped by the UV committee who are on hand to introduce you to everyone. This really is an unparalleled opportunity to get to know all the people who could bring your story into the world. It’s a whirlwind and I barely remember it, to be honest. (Not because of the fizz, I hasten to add. I wasn’t staggering around the party paralytic. It was just the overwhelming excitement).
- You could turbo charge your writing career. You know how things often feel like they take forever in this business? I found that UV really sped things up, and it does that because UV really gives you momentum, and the chance to get some real buzz about your work going. Again, it’s different for everyone, but the anthology came out in February, I signed with my agent in March and I had a book deal by August.
- You join the wonderful UV family. There’s a whole lovely group of previous finalists, as well as the others from your year, and getting to know them, sharing ideas and having their support, is a fabulous thing. Everyone needs a helping hand, and with UV, you’ve got it in bucket loads.
Whilst individual finalists experiences naturally vary, I do believe UV has the potential to really make a difference to your career. Yes, there’s always going to be an element of luck involved – of having the right thing that someone is looking for at just the right time, but UV is capable of being a platform for all finalists to launch themselves. Some finalists have gone on not to have their original entry published, but the next thing they wrote instead, using UV to secure representation or garner interest in that next project. There are all sorts of ways Undiscovered Voices can help you in your writing career. Submissions open July 1st. Go for it!
Simon James Green’s debut novel, Noah Can’t Even, is out now, published by Scholastic.