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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Updated: Jun 11, 2021

New to the community? Or just have something on your mind? Save yourself some bother and check if someone else has already asked!


Q: Can I enter a short story or anthology of short stories?

A: No, the Slushpile Monster competition is only for full-length speculative fiction novels.

Q: Can I enter poetry, non-fiction, erotica, or memoir?

A: No. Unfortunately, we are not accepting these genres at this time.

Q: Can I enter a children’s book or Middle Grade (MG) manuscript?

A: No. Unfortunately, we are not accepting these categories at this time.

Q: What does ‘Young Adult’ (YA) mean?

A: Speculative fiction that is intended for readers aged 12-18. Read more about our opinions on YA here.

Q: What does ‘New Adult’ (NA) mean?

A: Speculative fiction that is intended for readers aged 19-29. Read more about our opinions on NA here.

Q: What does ‘Adult’ (A) mean?

A: Speculative fiction that is inteded for readers aged 30+.

Q: Does my manuscript need to be complete?

A: Yes, and you should have self-edited it, too. We aren't expecting it to be perfect, but you will get more out of the critique if you have a clean manuscript.

Q: Can I enter if I am querying or if agent(s) have requested the full manuscript?

A: Yes. As long as the manuscript is unpublished, it is eligible. However, if you are offered (and accept!) an offer of representation, we respectfully ask that you withdraw your submission from the competition by sending an email to slushpilemonster [at] gmail [dot] com.


Q: Are there any fees for entering or receiving the critique?

A: No, the Slushpit Monster competition is completely free for participants. If anyone is asking for payment, DO NOT PAY and report them to the social media platform on which you received the request immediately.

Q: Can I enter multiple unpublished manuscripts in the same competition?

A: No, we have limited spaces and we want as many people to have a shot at winning as possible.

Q: Is this competition for writers who are pursuing traditional publishing or self-publishing pathways?

A: Aspiring authors who are pursuing either traditional publishing or self-publishing pathways are encouraged to participate.

Q: What genres are accepted?

A: We accept the following genres: fantasy, science fiction, space opera, thriller, mystery, contemporary, romance, urban fantasy, magical realism, and horror.

Q: Can I reenter the same unpublished manuscript in subsequent competitions if I DON'T win?

A: Yes, absolutely.

Q: Can I reenter the same unpublished manuscript in subsequent competitions if I DO win?

A: If you make major revisions to the manuscript, yes, but please don't submit to the same beta reader. We trust you to honestly judge if you've made 'major revisions'.

Q: Are the beta readers paid for this competition?

A: No. We wish we could do more than shower our beta readers with undying gratitude, but alas!

Q: Can I submit to a beta reader with whom I have a personal relationship (a few interactions on Twitter doesn't count as a personal relationship)?

A: We want to keep the competition as fair as possible, so please submit to a beta reader with whom you don't have a personal relationship.


Q: What can I expect if I win a critique?

A: Beta readers will leave comments on your manuscript, answer the questions from your submission package, and give you a 1-2 page critique summary. Read more here.

Q: What should I do if I don’t agree with the critique?

A: Writing is inherently subjective. Consider swapping your manuscript with a wide range of beta readers, sensitivity readers, and editors. And still, it's ultimately your story, and you need to decide what is best for it. No one can force you to change anything you don't want to change.

Q: What should I do if I have follow-up questions about the critique?

A: Feel free to reach out to the beta reader by email. However, do keep in mind that they have no obligation to reply, read revised versions of your manuscript, or provide further guidance. If they do, they are doing do out of their own generosity.

Was your question not answered? Leave a comment below or email us at slushpilemonster [at] gmail [com] and we will answer it as soon as possible.

If you're struggling to find a good beta reader who will provide constructive criticism and is sure to help you improve your writing, you're not alone! Why not enter the Slushpile Monster's writing contest to win a free critique from an experienced beta reader?

Also, don’t forget to join our mailing list so you never miss any of the games or competitions! We also share resources for writers. It's much more reliable than getting updated on Twitter, and we also have special mailing list-only content!

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