Why YOU should enter the Chicken House competition, by FROSTFIRE author Jamie Smith

Posted by Kesia on Wednesday November 7th, 2018

Jamie Smith is the debut author of Frostfire, out this month! He was picked up via the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition, and here he outlines his journey to publication and explains why YOU should enter this year …

It’s been a while, getting from blank page to here.

It’s been three years since the first draft of Frostfire was written. Rounds and rounds of editing with the talented people at Chicken House have taken it from a rough thing to what I hope people will think is a polished gem.

All of it would have been impossible without the Times/Chicken House competition. The book was written specifically as an entry for it, and as soon as it made it onto the longlist, I knew I was doing at least something right.

From there it was briefly a bit of an up and down journey, getting shortlisted: not winning, and then being offered a contract anyway. I can’t complain though – after that it’s all been positive. Seeing the amazing Karl Mountford cover take shape. Finishing the final manuscript. And now, with the book finally in people’s hands, all the many, many, many long hours of work feel worthwhile.

If you’re out there and thinking of entering the competition this year, or any other, take that chance. Like me, even if you don’t win, you may still win anyway. Even without a contract, or a shortlisting, or a longlisting, it’s still worth it. It’s invaluable practice, with every possible upside.

Not many writers get their first books published. It took me four, and plenty have to push on past that. It’s all good practice, and for me, the competition provided the end goal I needed to keep going. The rewards were everything I could have hoped for.

I couldn’t have asked for a better team to get Frostfire ready to go into the world, and now here I am doing school visits and writing guest blog posts like a proper author!

Hopefully you’ll all think it was as worth it as I do, and maybe a few of you aspiring writers out there will take on the same journey. What’s the worst that could happen? Chicken House’s was the second competition I entered, and the second that I came second in. If you don’t make it this time, just rewrite, edit, start afresh and try again next year. Each time you try could be the one that leads to success.

Find out more about the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition (and how to enter!) 

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