Submitting to our New Voices Award: Tips from an Editor

In this blog post, our editorial assistant Samantha shares her thoughts on the New Voices Award and what she’s looking for from this year’s submissions.

The beginning of summer is my favorite time of year. School’s out, the weather brightens up—although this year in New York, it’s been a bit shaky—and New Voices season begins. This year marks our 15th annual New Voices Award contest, and I can’t wait to watch the submissions come rolling in!

Over the last fourteen years, LEE & LOW BOOKS has published more than ten books that have come to us through It Jes' Happened coverthe New Voices contest, including Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds by Paula Yoo (2003 Winner) and Seaside Dream by Janet Costa Bates (2006 Honor). It Jes’ Happened (2005 Honor) received three starred reviews, and author Don Tate won the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award Honor. And we’re very excited about several New Voices winners and honors that will be published in upcoming seasons. We just love reading the amazing stories that have been submitted to the contest, and it’s inspiring to us to work with first-time picture book authors.

Last year we were thrilled to receive 165 New Voices submissions from authors all across the Unites States. With so many great manuscripts to read, we look for stories that stand out from the crowd. We love to be surprised by a Seaside Dreammanuscript, whether it’s a biography of a fascinating but little known historical figure or an everyday story told from a unique perspective. A submission will catch our eye if it is something we haven’t seen before. Just as the New Voices contest seeks out talented new authors of color who might otherwise remain under the radar of mainstream publishing, we love to read stories about characters and subjects that are similarly underrepresented.

Another small but important detail that we appreciate when reading New Voices submissions is when an author pays close attention to the contest guidelines. It might seem trivial, but a good cover letter that follows the guideline requests—especially author information—creates a great first impression. You can see the full submission guidelines here and the answers to some frequently asked questions here.

We look forward to reading a great batch of stories this year and to discovering talented new authors through the New Voices contest. We hope you will help us spread the word to eligible authors!




  1. Posted August 26, 2014 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I see that the word count is 1500-words. Is that including author’s notes, timelines, glossary for nonfiction books?

  2. Hannah
    Posted August 26, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jackie,
    No, it does not include backmatter such as author’s notes and timelines.

  3. Victoria Thomas
    Posted August 28, 2014 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the tips! I am having trouble entering the website for the submission guidelines for the past couple of days. I’m looking for the mailing address to send my cover letter and manuscript.

  4. Hannah
    Posted August 28, 2014 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Hi Victoria,
    Apologies! We are updating our website and still working out some bugs, which should be fixed very soon. In the meantime, here is the mailing address:
    95 Madison Avenue, Suite 1205
    New York, NY 10016
    Let me know if you have any questions!

3 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] September 30th 2014 – This one requires that you be resident in the US but I know there are a whole lot of us resident in the US, so here goes: The New Voices Award Writing Contest is now open for submissions! Now in its fifteenth year, the New Voices Award was one of the first (and remains one of the only) writing contests specifically designed to help authors of color break into publishing. The contest is open to writers of color who are residents of the United States and who have not previously had a children’s picture book published. The Award winner receives a cash prize of $1000 and a standard publication contract, including the basic advance and royalties for a first time author. An Honor Award winner will receive a cash prize of $500. Manuscripts must be postmarked by September 30, 2014 to be eligible for this year’s award. Go here for more. […]

  2. […] like the editors who are in charge of the New Voices Award for picture books, for the New Visions Award, I love […]

  3. […] Submitting to Our New Voices Award: Tips from an Editor […]

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: