Happy New Year!
On January 2nd, 2018, Minotaur Books closed its Tony Hillerman Prize for the Best First Mystery set in the Southwest Competition for the year. The prize is sponsored by St. Martin’s Press and Western Writers of America. Dozens of authors submit books, but that doesn’t mean a submission will be chosen. Since the inception of the contest in 2006, no prize was given in three of the years, but it has been awarded to some very talented debut authors. https://www.hillermanprize.com/page2
St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur books run two other writing competitions: First Crime Novel Competition sponsored by Minotaur Books and Mystery Writers of America, and Minotaur Books/Malice Domestic Competition sponsored by Minotaur Books and Malice Domestic. https://us.macmillan.com/minotaurbooks/writing-competitions/
Winning the Tony Hillerman Prize for 2017 has been a wonderful experience, and I would encourage anyone out there who has a debut mystery that fits the guidelines for any of the prizes to polish and submit. Hearts of the Missing will be published in December (2018), which seems like a long time from notification (May, 2017), but I appreciate the time to learn the business of transitioning from writer to author.
Three pieces or advice: Find a writing group in your city or state (I travel to Albuquerque once a month from southern New Mexico), and then get into a critique group so you can exchange material and get feedback for your work. Without a doubt, my writing group and critique group were fundamental for my path to publication. And the third? Have a lot of fun with it and write in some humor with your stuff 😉
Finally, if you like mysteries, subscribe to Criminalelement.com from St. Martin’s Press. Hearts of the Missing will be introduced on the site very soon!