Hey all you mystery writers, have you heard of the Malice Domestic contest from from St. Martin's Press?

This contest provides a previously unpublished writer an opportunity to launch his or her career with a major mystery imprint, St. Martin's Minotaur. The winner will receive a one-book, $10,000 contract.
Here is a list of previous winners

St. Martin’s Minotaur/Malice Domestic Competition

Here are the rules for the Martin’s Minotaur/Malice Domestic Competition for the Best First Traditional Mystery Novel (2009) The 2010 dates should be posted soon!

1. The contest is open to any professional or non-professional writer, regardless of nationality, who has never been the author of a published traditional mystery, as defined by the guidelines below, and is not under contract with a publisher for publication of a traditional mystery. Only one manuscript entry is permitted per writer.

2. All manuscripts submitted: a) must be original works of book length (no less than 220 typewritten pages or approximately 60,000 words) written in the English language by the contestants; b) must not violate the rights of any third party, and c) must generally follow the guidelines below.

Murder or another serious crime is at the heart of the story, and emphasis is on the solution rather than the details of the crime.

Whatever violence is necessarily involved should be neither excessive nor gratuitously detailed, nor is there to be explicit sex.

The crime is an extraordinary event in the lives of the characters.

The principal characters are people whom the reader might not like, but would be interested in knowing.

The suspects and the victims should know each other.

There are a limited number of suspects, each of whom has a credible motive and reasonable opportunity to have committed the crime.

The person who solves the crime is the central character.

The “detective” is an amateur, or, if a professional (private investigator, police officer) is not hardboiled and is as fully developed as the other characters.

The detective may find him or herself in serious peril, but he or she does not get beaten up to any serious extent.

All of the cast represent themselves as individuals, rather than large impersonal institutions like a national government, the mafia, the CIA, etc.

(The decision of the contest’s judges as to whether or not a manuscript qualifies will be final.)

3. Nominees will be selected by judges chosen by the editorial staff of St. Martin’s Press, with the assistance of the organizers of MALICE DOMESTIC, and the winner will be chosen by St. Martin’s editors. The decision of the editors as to the winner of the contest will be final. St. Martin’s reserves the right not to select any winner, if in the sole opinion of the editors, none of the manuscripts submitted are of publishable quality.

4. An attempt will be made to notify the contest winner, if any, no later than April 1, 2009.

5. If a winner is selected, St. Martin’s Minotaur will publish the winning manuscript by offering to enter into its standard form author’s agreement with the contestant. The winner will receive an advance against future royalties of $10,000. Those terms of the offer not specified in the printed text of the St. Martin’s Press standard form author’s agreement will be determined by St. Martin’s Press at its sole discretion. The contestant may request reasonable changes in the offered terms, but St. Martin’s shall not be obligated to agree to any such changes. St. Martin’s may, but will not be required to, consider for publication manuscripts submitted by other contestants.

6. All entries must be received or postmarked no later than October 15, 2008 and must include:

A double-spaced and neatly typed copy of the manuscript (photocopies are acceptable), with pages numbered consecutively from beginning to end.

A letter or cover sheet containing the name, address, and telephone number of the contestant and the contestant’s previous writing credits, if any.

The application form, duly completed, and an SASE.

All entries must be mailed to the judge whose address is on the application form. Do not send the entry to St. Martins’ Press. For additional copies of the rules and entry blank only, please send a stamped, self addressed envelope to:

Malice Domestic Competition
Thomas Dunne Books
St. Martin’s Press
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010

*Each contestant must keep a copy of the manuscript for his or her own protection. St. Martin’s Press will not be responsible for lost, stolen, or mislaid manuscripts. Because of the great volume of submissions our judges receive, the fact that they are volunteers with full-time responsibilities elsewhere, and the fact that most writers now have their work saved on their computers, manuscripts will not be returned. Please do not send return postage or envelopes.

7. No critical evaluation or commentary will be offered by the judges or the editorial staff of St. Martin’s Press unless, in the sole opinion of the editorial staff evaluation or commentary is appropriate in the case of a manuscript being considered for publication.

8. This contest is void where prohibited or restricted by law.

*It is important that you submit your manuscript as early as possible. Our judges are volunteers who are extremely busy with their primary concerns, and it is inevitable that your submission will get a more careful reading if the judge does not have to contend with a flood of last-minute entries. However, it is not necessary to send it the most expensive way. We judge its on-time performance by the post-mark or equivalent, not by the date the judge receives the manuscript.
Good luck!

The nominees for the 2009 Agatha Awards (for traditional mysteries). Winners will be chosen by attendees at the Malice Domestic 21 convention (May 1-3), and will be announced Saturday, May 2. Click here for more information.

Best Novel
• Six Geese A-Slaying, by Donna Andrews (Minotaur Books)
• A Royal Pain, by Rhys Bowen (Penguin Group)
• The Cruelest Month, by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)
• Buckingham Palace Gardens, by Anne Perry (Random House)
• I Shall Not Want, by Julia Spencer-Fleming (Minotaur Books)

Best First Novel
• Through a Glass, Deadly, by Sarah Atwell (Berkley Trade)
• The Diva Runs Out of Thyme, by Krista Davis (Penguin Group)
• Pushing Up Daisies, by Rosemary Harris (Minotaur Books)
• Death of a Cozy Writer, by G.M. Malliet (Midnight Ink)
• Paper, Scissors, Death, by Joanna Campbell Slan (Midnight Ink)

Best Non-fiction
• African American Mystery Writers: A Historical and Thematic Study, by Frankie Y. Bailey (McFarland & Co.)
• How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries, by Kathy Lynn Emerson (Perseverance Press)
• Anthony Boucher, A Bibliography, by Jeff Marks (McFarland & Co.)
• Edgar Allan Poe: An Illustrated Companion to His Tell-Tale Stories, by Dr. Harry Lee Poe (Metro Books)
• The Suspicions of Mr. Whitcher, by Kate Summerscale (Walker)

Best Short Story
• “The Night Things Changed,” by Dana Cameron (from Wolfsbane and Mistletoe, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner; Ace)
• “Killing Time,” by Jane Cleland (Alfred Hitchock Mystery Magazine, November 2008)
• “Dangerous Crossin,” by Carla Coupe (from Chesapeake Crimes 3, edited by Donna Andrews and Marcia Talley; Wildside Press)
• “Skull and Cross Examination,” by Toni L.P. Kelner (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine [EQMM], February 2008)
• “A Nice Old Guy,” by Nancy Pickard (EQMM, August 2008)

Best Children’s/Young Adult
• Into the Dark, by Peter Abrahams (HarperCollins)
• A Thief in the Theater, by Sarah Masters Buckey (American Girl)
• The Crossroads, by Chris Grabenstein (Random House
Children’s Books)
• The Great Circus Train Robbery, by Nancy Means Wright
(Hilliard and Harris)

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Comment by Jaden Terrell on March 7, 2009 at 5:21pm
B.R., my understanding of the quidelines is that, as a POD writer, if you're self-published, you could not enter the SAME manuscript you already published, but you could enter a different, unpublished one. If you're with a POD company that is not a self-publishing company, it wouldn't be your first novel, so you couldn't enter it in the Best First Novel contest, but you COULD enter it in the Best First Traditional Mystery contest listed above IF your published novel is in a different sub-genre, such as hard-boiledl or noir.

Hope that made sense.
Comment by Cynthia Rice on February 28, 2009 at 5:45am
I appreciate the info and will check the site for the 2009 dates. Thanks.
Comment by B.R.Stateham on February 28, 2009 at 2:40am
Two points; If the 'scripts are due October, 08--its a bit late for me.

And since I am a lowly POD writer--I may very well be unqualified already,

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