The Leslie Esdaile Aspiring Author Contest

Romance Slam Jam with support from Diverse Writers and Readers International, inspires more diversity by encouraging aspiring black authors to continue into a writing career. To support this mission, we created the Aspiring Author contest to advocate the black romance industry. The contest serves to encourage unpublished black authors to submit their manuscripts for review, with an opportunity to potentially be published. After all, the book industry is in need of more diverse characters written by diverse authors.  The contest entrants will receive constructive criticism and positive feedback on their works and Winners will be announced at the 2017 Emma Awards being held in Los Angeles for 2017.

Are you the next award winning author?

Feb. 28 | USA, Los Angeles, Ca - 11:59pm (pst)

Important Dates

Entry Deadline: February 28, 2017

First Round Judging and Finalists Announced: March 20, 2017

Winners Announced at RSJ Convention in Los Angeles, Emma Awards Banquet, March 25, 2017 (winners will also be notified by email and/or phone)

Fee: $25

Eligibility: All entries must be written by a black author and/or a writing team that includes an African American team member, must be the author’s original work, must not be contracted for publication before the entry deadline, and must remain unpublished through the date of announcement of the contest winner. This contest is open to all unpublished black authors, and/or a writing team that includes an African American team member, who have never been published in book or novella length. “Published” for purposes of this contest includes traditionally published as well as self- or indie-published works.

Entry: A two-page synopsis and the first three chapters which, when combined, should be no more than 50 pages. All submissions must be digital. Acceptable file formats include: .doc, .docx, and .pdf

Format: Entries should be double-spaced with one inch margins and a 12-point standard font (Times New Roman, Arial or Courier are acceptable). The title of the manuscript and the genre should be placed in the top header. The page number should be placed in the bottom header. The author’s name and/or pen name should NOT appear anywhere on the entry.

First Round Judging: Each entry will receive a score sheet with brief comments from three qualified judges (published authors). The scores will be averaged and the three entries receiving the highest scores will move to the second round.

Final Round Judging: The three entries with the highest scores will be chosen as finalists and will be judged and ranked by Latoya Smith, Freelance Editor and Agent with L. Perkins Agency. All finalists must submit a profile image to be used for all marketing purposes.  Finalist will receive a certificate indicating 1st, 2nd or 3rd place and their indicated prize awards.


author Leslie Esdaile BanksWho was Leslie Esdaile?
Leslie Esdaile Banks, who passed away in August 2011, was an American writer under the pen names of Leslie Esdaile, Leslie E. Banks, Leslie Banks, Leslie Esdaile Banks, and L. A. Banks. She wrote in various genres, including African-American literature, romance, women’s fiction, crime suspense, dark fantasy/horror and non-fiction. She won several literary awards, including the 2008 Essence Literary Awards Storyteller of the Year and the Romantic Times Career Achievement for paranormal fiction in 2009. She broke barriers by being one of the first African-American authors to be traditionally published in paranormal romance for her popular series The Vampire Huntress Legend Series. Leslie was one of the first chief judges for the Romance Slam Jam Aspiring Authors Contest, and she’ll be forever missed.

Meet Leslie Esdaile
Get a rare opportunity to meet Leslie Esdaile (Blog Radio Interview by Chatting with Chase / 8 years ago):

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