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Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Leisure Books, the company “leading the way in publishing paperback horror,”* is partnering with Rue Morgue magazine in association with horror fiction web site ChiZine, to present “Fresh Blood,” a new writing contest specifically for unpublished horror authors. The winner will receive a contract for publication in Leisure’s 2011 lineup, as well as a contract from ChiZine Publications for a limited-edition hardcover release, also in 2011.

Leisure is looking for finished horror novel manuscripts, either supernatural or non-supernatural, of 80,000 – 90,000 words. A panel of experts, including Leisure Executive Editor Don D’Auria and editors at ChiZine, will judge entries. The finalists will be announced in November 2009.

From December 2009 through July 2010, monthly competitions in categories such as “Best Summary,” “Best First Line,” “Best Title,” and “Most Frightening Scene” will run on Readers will have the opportunity to vote for their favorites, and after each deadline, entries with the fewest votes will be eliminated.

The winner will be announced in August 2010 at Rue Morgue’s Festival of Fear in Toronto, Canada, as well as on the Leisure and ChiZine web sites.

Entries should be sent to by September 30, 2009. “Fresh Blood” must appear in the subject line of the email.

For full entry details, visit or Leisure Books is an imprint of Dorchester Publishing and publishes two horror titles every month by authors such as Richard Laymon, Jack Ketchum, Brian Keene, and Sarah Pinborough.

Contest Rules
Submission materials should include:
A synopsis that tells the story from beginning to end.
The complete manuscript
The chosen finalists will later be asked to supply:
A dramatic, brief summary of the novel, similar to what would go on the back cover of the book. This should be no more than 200 words.
A description of your novel’s frightening element (the killer, the monster, ghost, vampire, evil presence, etc.). No more than 250 words.
A description of your novel’s protagonist. No more than 250 words.
The best dialogue scene in your manuscript. No more than 1500 words.
The most atmospheric scene in your manuscript. No more than 1500 words.
The most frightening scene in your manuscript. No more than 1750 words.
A brief bio and author photo

What does “unpublished” mean?
“Unpublished” refers to any author who has never had a novel published in book form. For example: If you have been e-pubbed, you are eligible.
If you have had short stories or anything under 40,000 words published in a magazine or anthology, you would still be eligible.

What formatting should I use?
Entries should be double-spaced and sent as a Word email attachment. The complete manuscript and the synopsis should be in two separate files attached to one email.

How long should the synopsis be?

There is no required length for the synopsis, though we find 3-7 pages is generally sufficient.
How do you calculate your word count?

If the manuscript is written in a standard font, our word count requirement generally means it will run about 340-400 pages. Your computer can help give you a rough estimate of what constitutes 80,000-90,000 words.

May I enter more than one title?

No. We request that you send only one submission.