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Rules & Guidelines For
The Private Eye Writers of America
Sponsored by the Private Eye Writers of America (PWA) &
and St. Martin's Press, LLC

The Private Eye Writers of America, in conjunction with St. Martin's Press, have been running a contest for first-time P.I. writers since 1986, with the winners hsving their novels published by St. Martin's Press.

Since the mid-1950s, publishing mystery novels has been at the heart of St. Martin's. In that time, they have come to be known as one of the largest, most prominent mystery publishers in the book industry. In fact, in September of 1999, St. Martin's Press recognized this successful history with a new mystery imprint called Minotaur, named after the Greek mythological figure who guarded the fabled labyrinth and devoured anyone who entered (except for Theseus, of course). Since then, the winners have been published under St. Martins' Minotaur imprint.

1. The contest is open to any professional or non-professional writer, regardless of race or nationality, who has never been the author of a published "private eye" novel (that includes self-published works and ebooks) and who is not under contract with a publisher for publication of a "private eye" novel.

2. All manuscripts submitted: a)must be original works of book length (no less than 220 type-written 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 be a "private eye" novel as defined by these rules:
A novel in which the main character is an independent investigator who is not a member of any law enforcement or government agency, and who receives a fee for his or her investigative services.
(There are no other restrictions as to plot or subject matter. The decision of the contest's judges as to whether a manuscript qualifies as a "private eye" novel will be final.)

3. The contest will be judged by judges selected by the PWA and the editorial staff of St. Martin's Press, LLC. The decision of the judges as to the winner of the contest will be final. The judges reserve the right not to select any winner, if, in the sole opinion of the judges, none of the manuscripts are of publishable quality.

4. An attempt will be made to notify the contest winner, if any, no later than September 16th, 2014. The winner will be officially announced at the Bouchercon conference in October 2014.

5. If a winner is selected, St. Martin's Press 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 the 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 Press shall not be obligated to agree to any such changes. St. Martin's Press 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 July 2, 2014 and must include:

  1. a) A double-spaced and neatly typed copy of the manuscript (photocopies are acceptable).
    b) An application form, duly completed.
    c) A list of previous writing credits, if any.
    All entries must be mailed to the PWA judge whose address appears on the application form. Any entries submitted directly to St. Martin's Press will not be considered for the contest. For additional copies of the rules and entry blank only, please send a self-addressed stamped envelope to:
    PWA Best First Private Eye Novel Competition
    Thomas Dunne Books
    St. Martin's Press
    175 5th Avenue
    New York, NY 10010 

7. Please note that declined manuscripts will not be returned to the author, so there is no need to include a SASE. There will be no exceptions. Each contestant must keep a copy of the manuscript for his or her own protection. Neither the PWA nor St. Martin's Press will be responsible for lost, damaged or mislaid manuscripts.

8. No critical evaluation or commentary will be offered by the judges or the editorial staff of St. Martin's Press unless, in the sole discretion of the judges and/or the editorial staff, evaluation or commentary is appropriated in the case of a manuscript being considered for publication.

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

To request guidelines and an application form, please send an SASE to:

PWA Best First Private Eye Novel Competition
Thomas Dunne Books
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10010