Writing Competition! Win £4000 and the Chance to be a BookShots Author

Writing Competition! Win £4000 and the Chance to be a BookShots Author

A Letter from James Patterson

I’m really excited to be launching BookShots into the UK market. BookShots are impossible to stop reading and at under 150 pages, they can be read in one sitting. Perfect for commuting, exercising or reading at work when nobody’s looking! You can race through them — they’re like reading movies.

BOOKSHOTS will keep you on the edge of your seat from the first page to the last. Escape the everyday with BOOKSHOTS and you’ll be hooked for life.

A note from Penguin Random House

So … what is a Bookshot and can I write one?

Bookshots are short, action-packed, high-impact novels. We are looking for a very particular kind of book for the series: a thriller, and not just any thriller, but one that is impossible to put down. We often say about James Patterson’s books that ‘the pages turn themselves’, and this is what we need your book to do too.

All Bookshots are around 150 pages, or 25,000 words long, so this is the final length you should be thinking about when you send us your first 3,000 words. We will also need a detailed outline of the plot of your Bookshot, so we know that the ending you have planned will live up to your opening pages.

If you think you can deliver a story that the world’s bestselling thriller writer will love then give us your best (Book)shot!

How do you enter?

To enter Bookshots simply fill in your details in the form below and upload your 3000 word extract (plus a 600 word plot synopsis within the same document) for consideration. Your entry must be submitted by the 30th June 2016 to be considered. Please read the full terms and conditions and FAQs before entering.

Fill out my online form.


If I notice a mistake or would like to enter a different BookShot, am I able to resubmit?

Unfortunately, we aren’t able to accept corrections to entries or more than one BookShot per entrant.

Can my BookShot be in any genre?

We are only accepting submissions which are thrillers. BookShots are fast-paced, action packed, 100% story-driven, high impact, under 150 pages and impossible to put down.

If I make it to the shortlist, how long does my BookShot have to be?

At least 25,000 words in length.

If my entry is the winner, when do I need to have completed the full BookShot?

You need to have finished the BookShot by 28th February 2017, although the winning entrant will have the opportunity to revise their work with Penguin Random House.

If I’m not successful, will I still get editorial feedback?

We have received a large number of entries to the competition so, unfortunately, it is impossible to give editorial feedback to everyone individually.

If a writer has self published can they enter this competition?

Yes, writers who have self-published can enter this competition but only with an original manuscript that they have not previously self-published.

If I enter the competition and win, do I have to be published by Penguin Random House?

Yes. If you write the winning BookShot it will be published by Penguin Random House.

In what format can I submit my extract?

We can accept a single Word document, preferably, or pdf, containing your first 3000 words, and 600 word synopsis.

Is there anyone I can call with questions? What do I do if I have a question you haven’t answered on the site?

If you have a question that hasn’t been answered elsewhere on the site, please drop us a line at jplovesbookshops@randomhouse.co.uk and we will get back to you as soon as possible. However, this email is for help with general questions about the competition and will not be able to answer specific editorial queries relating to your entry or extract.


WHSmith / Penguin Random House BookShots Competition Terms & Conditions

1. By entering this competition, entrants agree to accept and be bound by these terms and conditions.

2. This competition is open to anyone aged 16 or over who is a resident of the UK or Republic of Ireland, except for the employees (and their families) of the Penguin Random House Group (Publisher), WHSmith Plc (Retailer), and any other company connected with the competition.

3. The closing date for the competition is 17:30 GMT on Thursday 30th June 2016.

4. To enter, entrants must submit an entry consisting of the first 3,000 words of their ’Bookshots novel’ in the English language, and a synopsis of the work in the English language of no more than 600 words. All entries to be typed and to be submitted as a hard copy with double spacing in font size 12 point, Times New Roman.

5. Entries must be uploaded to www.whsmith.co.uk/bookshots using the form above.

6. All entries must include the entrant’s full name and contact details (including their home and email address).

7. Entrants may only submit one entry to the competition.

8. All entries must be original, previously unpublished works of fiction specific to the thriller genre.

9. Entries that are received after the closing date will not be considered. Entries which are illegible, incomplete, incorrectly formatted, corrupted or which fail to be received by the closing date for any reason, will not be considered. Emailed entries will not be accepted.

10. Neither WHSmith, the Publisher nor the competition judges will enter into correspondence or give feedback on individual entries.

11. All valid entries will be reviewed by the Promoters and a short list will be forwarded to a judging panel.. The judges will choose one winner who shall be notified by post by 30th November 2016. The winner shall be that entry which, in the sole opinion of the judges, is the best.

12. The decision of the judges is final. No correspondence will be entered into.

13. The winner’s prize is an offer of publication by the Publisher in respect of the novel to which their entry relates and a £4,000 writers fee to be payable on execution of the publishing contract referred to in clause 16 below. Notwithstanding anything else set forth in these terms and conditions if, in the sole opinion of the Publisher, none of the entries (including that of the winner) are of a sufficiently high standard to merit the winner’s prize, such prize shall not be awarded but shall instead be substituted with ten (10) books of the winner’s choice which are published in the UK by the Publisher.

14. All entrants must be in a position to deliver their complete manuscript no later than 28th February 2017 should they win.

15. Publication is subject to the winner entering into a publishing contract with Bookshots, an imprint of the Publisher. This will afford an exclusive royalty-free licence to the Publisher, permitting the editing, adapting, publishing and licencing of all or part of the novel in all editions, formats (including print and electronic), in all languages and territories globally. Publication shall in any event ultimately, as between Publisher and the winning entrant, be subject to acceptance and approval (by Publisher) of the complete manuscript. Should entrants not want to grant these rights they should not submit materials. In the event an agreement cannot be reached, as regards the contract, within 30 days of the discussions commencing, the winner shall instead be awarded the substitute prize.

16. The prize is otherwise non-transferable and no cash-alternative or other substitute is available.

17. Notwithstanding anything set forth above, the Publisher reserves the right to choose the most appropriate format for the novel on publication. The Publisher will seek to publish the winning work within twelve months of acceptance of the manuscript.

18. By entering this competition each entrant confirms that: (i) his/her entry is their wholly-owned creation and makes no use of any third party materials or intellectual property rights; (ii) no deliberate attempt has been made to base any fictional characters in the novel upon any individual, living or dead; and (iii) the submitted materials contain nothing that is illegal, obscene or of a defamatory nature. Entrants will keep the Promoter and the Publisher harmless from any claims that the entry infringes the personal or proprietary right of any other person.

19. Events may occur that render the awarding of the prize impossible due to reasons beyond the control of the Promoter or the Publisher, and the Publisher may, at its absolute discretion, vary, amend, suspend or withdraw the prize with or without notice. No correspondence will be entered into.

20. The winning entrant agrees to the Promoter’s and Publisher’s use of their name, country of residence and photograph in relation to related publicity material and activities.

21. The Promoter or the Publisher may disqualify any entrant whose entry does not comply with these terms or whose actions, in the Promoter’s or the Publisher’s determination, are fraudulent, dishonest, criminal or unjust to other entrants.

22. The Publisher will use the personal details of entrants only for the purposes of administering the competition. Entrants consent to the use of their personal data for this purpose. Personal details will not be kept on file by the Promoter.

23. These terms are governed by the laws of England.

24. Promoter: WHSmith Plc, Greenbridge Road, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN3 3LD. The Promotion is jointly administered by Promoter and The Random House Group Limited of 20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V 2SA. Any prize queries should be addressed The Random House Group Limited at the address above.

If you have a question that hasn’t been answered elsewhere on the site, please drop us a line at jplovesbookshops@randomhouse.co.uk and we will get back to you as soon as possible. However, this email is for help with general questions about the competition and will not be able to answer specific editorial queries relating to your entry or extract.