Announcing FutureBook's audio originals writing competition

This time last year, we asked writers to imagine the future of the book, as part of FutureBook's first ever writing competition. This year we are turning the dial up a notch, and celebrating the growing audiobook market, by asking authors to write a 5,000 word piece of fiction specifically for audio.

The winning work will be produced by Heavy Entertainment as an audio original and made available across a range of retailer platforms, in partnership with Bolinda Publishing.

The competition will culminate in a panel discussion at the FutureBook Conference, between the winning author and the judges, including agent and audio rights specialist Alice Lutyens at Curtis Brown, David Roper, m.d and founder of Heavy Entertainment, and Ellis Moore, rights and content manager, from Bolinda. The idea is to explore the concept of writing specifically for audio, along with the production and distribution challenges that accompany it.

FutureBook launched its audio stream, AudioBook Revolution, back in 2016, and it continues to be a lively and important part of the overall event. Today, audio remains a growing part of the book market, with original audio also now offering new opportunities for writers, publishers and retailers to explore ways of storytelling that get to different types of audience. Although data on the audiobook market remains scarce, Audible's standalone production of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories has been a mainstay on the monthly chart published in The Bookseller, and the more recent charts published on Amazon.co.uk/charts.

As Alice Lutyens, who has pioneered a number of audio-only deals, says: "Original audio and podcasts is going to play an important part in the future of our industry, and it is a thrill to be involved at a grassroots level, and to see how this format shapes people’s writing."

Writers can tackle any subject, so long as it is in fiction, and penned with audio in mind. As David Roper writes, offering 10 tips for budding audio original writers, "there are no specific skills required to write for audio that do not apply to writing for publication in print", but the "5,000 words must lift themselves from the page and fly from the mouth of a narrator into the ear of a listener".

Take care to read carefully the Terms and Conditions at the end of this blog. But the main details are: the competition runs from 2nd September 2019 until 23:59 (BST) on 29th September 2019, with winner to be decided at the end of October, and then invited to attend the FutureBook Conference on 25th November.

Entries should be sent to FutureBookComp@thebookseller.com. A separate 500 word document can accompany the entry to set out how the audio might work; however all production decisions will be made by Heavy Entertainment, using a single-voice narrator (one actor).

Entry to the competition is free for all authors, and there will be no production costs levied on the author. Bolinda Publishing will make the audio original available for listening across its platforms, with rights to the original material retained by the author, and rights in the audio recording ultimately reverting to the author.

So get scribbling, and listening, and I look forward to reading (and imagine listening to) the fruits of your imaginations . . .

For information on how to enter—as well as the full Terms and Conditions—click here.