The Strongest Start Book Competition 2016

The Strongest Start Book Competition 2016

A Unique Opportunity to Get Your Book in Front of People Who Matter

The winners of the 2016 competition are:

Grand Prize Winner:

Founders: Sifter Series Book I by graymartin


Beneath the Silver Rose: A Tale of Shadyia, Part 1 by A.T.Schlesinger

Beyond Paradise by denisef



Prize Winner receives:

Two runner-ups will receive:

  • $100 in cash.
  • Free extra three months of Premium Membership on TheNextBigWriter valued at $21.95.

Everyone recevies:

  • Feedback on each submitted chapter.
  • Motivation to craft the best opening.
  • Camraderie.
  • Fun.

What is the Contest?

We know that writing a compelling start isn't easy. So, for the seventh year we've put together a motivational competition to help you hone the first three chapters of your book to perfection (if you haven't already).

We're looking for opening chapters that will create a burning need to find out what happens, how the characters turn out, how the novel resolves itself. The kind of start that gets an agent to call back, a publisher to show interest, and a reader to plunk down their hard earned money. Above all, give us three opening chapters that will keep us reading.

As part of the competition, you'll have the opportunity to receive feedback on your submissions, meet and share ideas with other writers, and get motivated to produce the perfect, compelling opening. The winner of the Strongest Start Novel Competition will be the writer who is judged to have the strongest three opening chapters. In addition, two runner-ups will be selected using the same criteria.Can 

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Start: March 28, 2016

Deadline: June 03, 2016

Posting Date: Postings that are eligible for this contest must be published on site after October 01, 2015

Prize: The winner receives everything they need to help make their book a success: a critique from a professional editor, a guaranteed read from a publisher, a guaranteed review from an Amazon Star Reviewer, and $200.

Groups where the Contest runs

Previous Grand Prize Winners

2015 Winner

The Laundromat at the Edge of the Universe by Ronald Quark

2013 Winner

Friending the Devil by Marlene Elliott

2012 Winner

The Girl with Green Hair by Lucy Rice is still being written and has an open request to be read by the Nelson Literary Agency.

2011 Winner

Quantrill's Raiders by crazeesharon is still being edited for publication.

2010 Winner

Priscilla the Great

by Sybil Nelson

Publication Date: 2011-04-15

Sales Rank: 839,818

2009 Winner

Sensing Passion: Travels of a Fifty-Five Year Old Divorcee

by Christy Cumberlander Walker

Publication Date: 2010-01-08

Sales Rank: 5,784,685

2008 Winner

Static Mayhem

by Edward Aubry

Publication Date: 2010-07-19

Sales Rank: 4,033,498

2007 Winner

Fallen (Coyote Moon Book 1)

by Ann Simko

Publication Date: 2014-06-12

Sales Rank: 1,989,909

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a cost to this competition?

You must be a Writing Member of the site to enter the competition. The cost is as low as $6.66 per month. New members receive a free 7 day trial of Writing Membership. As a Writing Member, you will:

  • Receive Feedback. Post your writing and receive feedback from other workshop members.

  • Discover and Learn from Others. Discover, read, and critique the in-progress writing of other members. Help them and learn from the process. Leaving feedback isn't hard and we'll help you.

  • Connect with Other Writers. Meet and connect with other writers to share information, tips, and make friends. Some have even found love amidst reading and reviewing.

  • Get Motivated. Enter contests and challenges like the Strongest Start Book Competition to keep you motivated to write and edit.

  • Keep Control. Posting on the site keeps your writing within our password environment. You can restrict it further or open it up to the entire Internet for more exposure if you choose.

  • And much more...

Do I have to review other writers to submit my first three chapters?

Yes, TheNextBigWriter is an online workshop. To submit your chapters you'll have to read and provide feedback on other work submitted to the site. Writers tell us they enjoy this process and learn as much from reviewing others as from the reviews they receive. Once again, in this contest everyone wins by meeting other writers and by receiving feedback on what they have written.

Do I need to write in a particular genre to win? Can any genre enter?

The competition is open to any genre that adheres to the site's Terms and Conditions. This includes romance, literary fiction, science fiction, horror, fantasy, action and adventure, young adult, memoir, and more. Our previous winners have included action and adventure, science fiction, romance, young adult, and historical fiction. Finalists have included books in even more genres. We are looking for books that transcend genre so a book that is well-written and absorbing is much more important than the category that it fits into. Just keep us reading.

How much will I have to review and how much time will it take?

As a rule of thumb, you'll have to review 4 similar-length chapters to post one of your own. You accumulate points by reviewing other writers and use these points to post your own chapters. Time-pressed members can purchase points but this is not encouraged. Participants tell us that both receiving and writing reviews is one of the most rewarding experiences of the contest. If you are looking to just dump your entry and run, this contest is not for you.

Reviewing generally takes 15-20 minutes for a typical chapter, depending on your reading speed. You can read and comment on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone. So, curl up in bed and see what others are putting together and entering.

If I post more than 3 chapters will it impact the competition?

No, you may submit more than 3 chapters but we will only be judging the first three.

Can I submit a non-fiction book to the competition?

Yes. You may submit non-fiction as long as it is a compelling read. Memoirs have done well in the past.

I'm from a country that isn't eligible to enter the competition. Why are some countries excluded?

This has to do with international competition law. Each country in the world has different regulations regarding competitions and we do not have the resources to research all of them at the moment. For example, the Province of Quebec requires that all competition material be duplicated in French, something we don't have the money or expertise to do. We picked the largest English speaking countries and researched those to ensure we were in compliance. We apologize if your country is not on the list and will do our best to add you in the future. Until then, we hope you will use the rest of the features on

Can I re-enter a submission from last year?


Do I give up any rights to my work by entering this contest?

No, per our member agreement, you retain all rights to everything you post.

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Final Round Judges

Chandler - Strongest Start Novel Competition Judge"Chandler" has been a Top 10 Amazon Reviewer since 2009 (including periods as the site's #1 reviewer). A self-employed chef with an extensive writing & marketing background, she goes simply by "Chandler" on the site and writes her reviews from Texas. Chandler also enjoys art, spelunking, nature, her pets, travel...and lots of reading.

Alisa Gus is the Managing Partner and CEO of Curiosity Quills Press, a rapidly expanding publisher of books that stretch the mind.

Anita Mumm is a freelance novel editor and creative writing instructor based in Denver, Colorado. Before starting Mumm’s the Word Editing & Critique Services, she worked in submissions at Nelson Literary Agency, where a few of her slush pile finds were NYT bestseller The Darwin Elevator by Jason M. Hough (Del Rey), international bestseller The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann (Greenwillow/HarperCollins), Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf (Walker Books), and Broken Like This by Monica Trasandes (Thomas Dunne).

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