ECPA's Rush To PressOperation First Novel Expands and Goes Indie

LeAnn Hamby, (423) 310-0078

(Colorado Springs, CO) The Christian Writers Guild and its 1Source partner BelieversPress are expanding Operation First Novel. The annual contest will now award three prizes consisting of publication packages with a combined value of more than $30,000.

“The traditional model has changed,” says Guild co-owner Jerry B. Jenkins, “and most publishers are taking fewer risks with new authors.” So to give unpublished writers more opportunities, Jenkins and CWG President Dave Sheets have restructured the Operation First Novel contest as an indie/self-publishing venture.

Rather than recognize just one novelist, Operation First Novel will now name three winners:

The first place winner will be awarded an independent publishing package (print and ebook) with Christian Writers Guild Publishing valued at $21,000.

Second prize will be a print publishing package from Believers Press valued at $6,500.

Third prize will be an ebook publishing package from Believers Press valued at $2,800.

The contest, begun in 2004, is open to Christian Writers Guild members who have not yet had a book released by a traditional publisher. Annual membership in the Guild is available for $79 and includes eligibility for Operation First Novel.

Besides a 75,000- to 85,000-word manuscript, entrants must submit a logline (one-sentence plot summary) and synopsis of their novel. This year, entrants must also submit their independent publishing marketing plan.

“Authors need to understand who they are trying to sell their books to,” says Dave Sheets, “and how to effectively reach that audience. Too many write a book without any real planning on how to sell it. They just hope people show up to buy it. We call this the ‘Field of Dreams’ strategy, and it doesn’t work well. A business plan is the foundation of any selling venture.”

Guild members can send their entries via the Christian Writers Guild/Operation First Novel website by September 3, 2014.