As NaNoWriMo draws to a close, literary agent Regina Brooks has advice for aspiring authors.

reginabrooksAs National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) draws to a close, Serendipity Literary Agency in conjunction with Sourcebooks Inc. is hosting its fifth annual Young Adult Novel Discovery Competition.

Here, literary agent Regina Brooks shares her top five tips for aspiring novelists…

Regina Brooks’ Top 5 Tips of the Trade

1. The Holden Caulfield Rule – don’t be a phony! The life of the story depends on the writer’s ability to convince the reader that the protagonist is one of them. Make sure your characters are authentic and relatable.

2. Avoid the preach ’n’ teach. Never be condescending to your readers.

3. Soak it up – read, read, read. A word of caution: don’t emulate your favorite authors but learn from them. The benefits from reading what’s already on the marker are phenomenal.

4. Ideals first, meals later. It helps to have an audience in mind, but you don’t want to be consumed with thoughts about how and whether you’ll sell your work. Silence your worries about commercial considerations. This allows your to focus on your primary objective – telling your story.

5. Erect no concrete barriers, wire fences, or one-way signs. Instead, forge new paths. Coming up with a fresh idea will set you apart from the pack and might be the thing to spark an editor’s interest in your work.

Competition details

Writers can submit the first 250 words of their young adult novel for a chance to win exposure to editors and a review of your manuscript from one of New York’s top YA literary agents, Regina Brooks.

The Grand Prize Winner will have the opportunity to submit an entire manuscript to Regina Brooks and receive a free, 10-week writing course, courtesy of Gotham Writers’ Workshop, plus a collection of gourmet teas from

The Top Five Entrants (including the Grand Prize winner) will receive a 15-minute, one-on-one pitch session with Regina Brooks. They will also receive commentary on their submissions with editors from Scholastic, Feiwel and Friends, Random House/Penguin, Kensington, Kimani Tru, Candlewick, Bloomsbury, Simon and Schuster, and Sourcebooks. In addition, they will receive a year’s subscription to The Writer magazine.

Regina Brooks and her team will read all of the entries and determine the top 20 submissions. These submissions will then be read by Deidre Jones – Little Brown, Nicole Raymond – Candlewick, Annie Nybo – Simon and Schuster, Mercedes Fernandez – Kensington, Erica Finkel – Abrams Books, Monica Jean – Random House/Penguin, Stacey Friedberg – Penguin Group, Catherine Laudone – Simon and Schuster, Laura Whitaker – Bloomsbury, Kendra Levin – Viking, and Anna Roberto – Feiwel and Friends. These judges will whittle the top 20 down to five, and each of the five winners will be provided commentary on their submissions.

The contest closes November 30. For more details or to enter, click here.

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