Peters Fraser + Dunlop e-book imprint Agora Books has launched a prize to celebrate its new writers’ group, Lost the Plot, which offers "no-nonsense advice, industry insight, and community connection".
PFD and Agora Books are introducing the community aimed at aspiring commercial fiction authors across all genres. Lost the Plot will provide "no-nonsense advice, industry insight, and community connection" including how to access support on writing, finding representation, and navigating the publishing process as well as connecting with other authors.
The Lost the Plot Work in Progress Prize is for unfinished manuscripts with "the aim is to get books out of a drawer and into the world, to encourage writers to stop procrastinating in pursuit of perfection and get feedback sooner," PFD said.
Entrants are encouraged to submit the first three chapters of a work in progress. After being read by a panel of judges featuring Agora Books publisher Kate Evans, PFD agent Marilia Savvides, bestselling author Laura Pearson,and book blogger Amanda Chatterton, one writer will win mentorship and manuscript feedback, with both a Peters Fraser + Dunlop agent and an Agora Books editor. Two runners up will also receive manuscript feedback, and the top five entrants will be sent a writers’ survival kit to keep them afloat while in the thick of their writing.
The prize and community come a year on after Agora Books' rebrand from Ipso Books. It was launched in September 2015, drawing on PFD’s estates business, with titles from the likes of Eric Ambler and Margery Allingham. The refresh saw a focus on new writing, which led with Pearson's debut novel Missing Pieces.
Evans said of the Lost the Plot community: "Agora Books is all about creating more opportunities for more writers. We work with so many authors who’ve been writing in private for years but, for any number of reasons, keep putting it on the back burner. We know how lonely a process it can be and want to remove the fear, demystify the process, and ensure that writers who have a story to tell can find a path to publication."
PFD c.e.o. Caroline Michel said: "At PFD we work with writers from the very start of their career and watch them grow and develop. We are so excited about the Lost the Plot writers’ group initiative as a way to connect with aspiring authors from varying backgrounds and look at new ways for talented writers to be published."
Pearson applauded the initiatives. "I was stuck in the writing wilderness for years, with work that wasn't quite ready to get me an agent, and no idea how to move forward, and I would have benefited enormously from a space and a competition like this."
The Lost the Plot Work in Progress Prize will be open for entries from July 1st to the 31st.