Welcome to the competition that has led to
twelve published books
and projects set up with
Showtime, Laura Dern, Ridley Scott
and more.

Accepting short stories, novels and manuscripts.

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Enter with Feedback

Key Dates

Aug 7
Opens
Sep 11
Early Deadline
Oct 16
Regular Deadline
Nov 20
Late Deadline
Dec 18
Final Deadline
Mar 18
Top 100
Apr 8
Top 50
Apr 29
Top 10
May 20
Winners

Launching Careers

With nearly a decade of experience in promoting up-and-coming writers and quality work, Launch Pad has firmly established itself as the premier hub for Hollywood to discover fresh voices, new ideas, and talented writers. We advocate for all of our Top 100 finalists, working with each of them to develop compelling bios and loglines, and sharing their work with the targeted industry professionals. Advance your writing career and enter your project for us to consider today!

Whether you have a ten page short story or a 1,000 page fantasy epic, we want to read it. For short stories, our judges will consider works of up to 20,000 words. For books, there’s no need to have a completed manuscript. As long as you have 50 pages of sample prose accompanied by a thorough synopsis, you are welcome to enter to be considered. Our readers and judges will start by reviewing the first 50 pages of any submission, expanding the scope of reads as rounds continue on.

Our prestigious industry juries include managers, agents, producers and executives across top companies in film, television and publishing. We also secure exclusive partnerships with management and production companies, as well as mentorship opportunities to offer guaranteed advancement for winning writers who are ready to make that leap from aspiring to working writer. No competition will do more to help all of their finalists take the next steps in their careers, and no competition has had as much success in helping writers break into the industry as Launch Pad. Our track record speaks for itself.

Enter now to join this tradition of Launch Pad success.

Meet the Jury

Brian J. Goldberg

WPA | Literary Agent and Partner

Brian J. Goldberg began his career in 2007 as a member of Paradigm Talent Agency’s Business Affairs Department. While at Paradigm, his passion for below-the-line talent became evident, leading Brian to represent television and film’s top editors, cinematographers, line producers, costume designers, and production designers. Brian is an active member of the Television Academy.

Dani Segelbaum

New Leaf Literary & Media | Literary Assistant

Dani Segelbaum began her publishing career as an editorial assistant at HarperCollins Publishers, focusing primarily on highly designed non-fiction titles. New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc. is a full service management and representation firm. New Leaf has had over thirty-seven books hit the New York Times bestseller list and eight films produced, including THE DUFF, the DIVERGENT series, AMERICAN HONEY and LOVE, SIMON.

David Boxerbaum

Verve | Agent and Partner

A partner at Verve, David has signed more than a dozen Launch Pad writers and has represented 4 of the 7 bidding wars for Launch Pad projects, including the 2018 Launch Pad feature script JUST. ONE. KISS. which sold to Netflix. He has signed and set up more Launch Pad projects than any other agent, and has served as a guaranteed signing partner in the past.

Devon Byers

First Friday Entertainment | Literary Manager and Producer

Devon Byers is currently a Literary Manager/Producer with First Friday Entertainment, a company he co-founded in recognition of the importance of fresh and unique voices that should be pushed to diversify the entertainment landscape. He was formerly a Creative Executive at production company Ideate Media (DIRK GENTLY’S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY), and before that, an award-winning freelance producer working in short form, music videos, commercials, and features.

Emily MacDonald

42 Management and Productions | Agent

Emily MacDonald joined the Books department of 42 Management and Productions in 2019, working with Eugenie Furniss across her clients. She is also building her own list, looking to spotlight regional voices both at home in the UK and internationally. Before joining the publishing industry, she spent 7 years working at Markham, Froggatt & Irwin in the talent department.

Jason Tamasco

Bad Idea Films | Co-Founder and CEO

Jason Tamasco is the co-founder and CEO of Bad Idea. Notable projects in his portfolio include the 2015 official Sundance Film Selection, BOUND TO VENGEANCE (IFC), 2016’s OPENING NIGHT (Netflix) starring Topher Grace, Anne Heche, and Taye Diggs, and 34 episodes of 2017’s EL CHAPO (Netflix & Univision Networks). Most recently he Produced the 2019 cult horror-comedy DEADTECTIVES for AMC’s Shudder.

Kate Testerman

kt literary | Agent and Founder

Kate Testerman formed kt literary in early 2008, where she concentrates on middle grade and young adult fiction. Her clients include Maureen Johnson, Stephanie Perkins, Amy Spalding, Trish Doller, Diana Peterfreund, Emily Ecton and Matthew Cody, among other exciting and acclaimed authors. Her interests cover a broad range including contemporary drama, urban fantasy and magical realism, adventure stories, and romantic comedies. She is an active member of the SCBWI and AAR.

Kiana Nguyen

Donald Maass Literary Agency | Agent

Kiana Nguyen joined Donald Maass Literary Agency in 2016, where she assisted several agents, and is now building her own client list. She is seeking YA fiction across genres, particularly those with POC and queer voices. She is also interested in Adult romance, women’s fiction, and domestic suspense thrillers.

Krista Sipp

First Friday Entertainment | Literary Manager and Co-Founder

Krista Sipp and her partner, Devon Byers, founded management and production company First Friday Entertainment in 2017. Krista started her career at Circle of Confusion in 2008 and went on to hold positions at studios and production companies across the industry. Currently, Krista is focused on developing clients with fresh voices and diverse points of view. Her clients have worked on projects such as KATY KEENE, A BLACK LADY SKETCH SHOW, SAINTS & SINNERS, and the upcoming feature TUNNELS.

Mollie Glick

CAA | Book Agent

Mollie Glick worked in the editorial department at the Crown imprint of Random House, before becoming an agent in 2003. Glick joined CAA in 2016, following eight years at Foundry Literary + Media. Glick represents many top authors and thought leaders, including Vice President Joe Biden; Senator Kamala Harris; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Ken Armstrong and T. Christian Miller; National Book Award-nominee Ali Benjamin; NYT bestselling authors Mark Manson, Carol Rifka Brunt, Jonathan Evison, Sarah McCoy and Nic Stone.

Natalie Burkhardt

Grandview | Junior Manager

Natalie Burkhardt is a member of the Literary department at Management and Production company Grandview. Grandview/Automatik is a full-service entertainment management company that represents actors, writers, and filmmakers in addition to developing and producing projects across all mediums.

Phoebe Schmidt

Paradigm | Agent

Phoebe Schmidt works in the Media Rights and Intellectual Property department at Paradigm Talent Agency in Los Angeles, where she represents artists across a wide array of mediums including literature, illustration, journalism, and podcasting. Paradigm’s prominent literary clients include James Ivory (CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, THE REMAINS OF THE DAY), Amy Heckerling (CLUELESS), and Stephen King.

Sam Morgan

The Lotts Agency | Agent

Sam Morgan is a literary agent with the Lotts Agency. Originally from North Carolina, he now resides in Brooklyn. He currently primarily represents adult fantasy and science fiction but is expanding into thrillers, young adult fantasy, and up-market commercial fiction. He is proud to represent Jenn Lyons, Jay Posey, Megan E. O’Keefe, Daniel Polansky, Alexander C. Kane, G.S. Denning, Claire McKenna, Robert Brockway, and many more.

The Benefits of Feedback

We are  committed to helping writers take meaningful steps in their career, and there is nothing more important in developing your craft than thorough, in-depth notes from a trusted source. We are proud to offer our Feedback Notes program, providing 1-2 pages of in-depth notes on your competition entry, with insight into the story, characters, writing and commercial potential showcased in the first 50 pages and synopsis of your project.

Enter with Feedback

Accepting short stories, novels and manuscripts.

Prizes for Results

2 Grand Prize Winners

(Best Book & Best Short Story)

  1. Everything the Top 10 receive, plus…
  2. Invited to our exclusive, annual Launch Pad party where you will meet top agents, managers, executives, producers, and some of our current and previous judges.

Top 10

  1. Everything the Top 50 receive, plus…
  2. Showcased individually with a specifically curated list of agents, managers, executives, and producers to fit your unique writing brand and overall career goals.
  3. Your work will be read, reviewed and voted on by each of our esteemed Judges.
  4. One free entry to any future Launch Pad Competition of your choosing.

Top 50

  1. Everything the Top 100 receive, plus…
  2. One year free membership to the Tracking Board.

Top 100

  1. Your script and writer profile marketed to our extensive industry network through top publications, websites, and writer lists.
  2. Inclusion in the Launch Pad Alum community of writers who network and help each other drive forward in their careers.

Let’s Talk Guarantees

Writers will be Mentored

  1. A Minimum of 3 writers (1 per mentor) will be selected by our mentors to enter our 2021 Launch Pad Prose Mentorship Program.
  2. To qualify for this prize, entrants must have selected the “Mentorship Program” add-on when submitting their project.
  3. Regardless of whether the project entered makes any finalist round, your project will still be in contention for this prize until the competition ends.

Learn more about Guaranteed Mentoring

A Writer will be Published

  1. Only available to Book submissions.
  2. A Minimum of 1 project will be selected from our publishing partner Inkshares to receive a publishing agreement for their Launch Pad project.
  3. To qualify for this prize, entrants must have selected the “Guaranteed Publishing” add-on when submitting their project.
  4. Regardless of whether the project entered makes any finalist round, your project will still be in contention for this prize until the competition ends.

Learn more about Guaranteed Publishing

A Writer will be Signed

  1. A Minimum of 1 writer will be selected for representation by Energy Entertainment.
  2. To qualify for this prize, entrants must have selected the “Guaranteed Signing” add-on when submitting their project.
  3. Regardless of whether the project entered makes any finalist round, your project will still be in contention for this prize until the competition ends.

Learn more about Guaranteed Signing

Successes from a few Top 100’s

Juliet McDaniel

Juliet McDaniel’s first novel MR. & MRS. AMERICAN PIE was the Top Comedy in the Launch Pad Manuscript Competition. The book is currently in development as a TV series with Platform One Media and Laura Dern’s Jaywalker Pictures.⁠

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas’s Launch Pad Manuscript Top 10 novel KILL CREEK  was selected by the American Library Association’s reader committee as the top horror book of 2017 and was set up as series at Showtime with Scott Derrickson attached.

Gannon Kenney

Gannon Kenney’s manuscript THE MAGUS WORLD was named the Overall Winner of the Launch Pad Manuscript Competition, and was set up with Michael De Luca productions.

Submission Guidelines

Our readers will consider the first 50 pages of your prose submission, regardless of the total length. If you have a completed manuscript or story that exceeds 50 pages, please submit the entire project, but if you only have the first few chapters, you’re welcome to submit only those pages.

One grand prize will be awarded each to a book and short story submission, but prior to the winners announcement, books and short stories will be considered in the same pool for advancement.

So what do you need to submit?

For Books

  1. 50 Pages of sample prose
  2. An approximately 1,000 word synopsis of the completed manuscript.

For Short Stories

  1. A short story of 20,000 words or less
  2. An approximately 1,000 word synopsis of the completed story IF it is longer than 50 pages.

Guaranteed Publishing

Requires Add On in Checkout

We are thrilled to announce the return of Inkshares as our exclusive publishing partner for the 2021 Prose Competition. Inkshares is committing to publish at least one book submission from this year’s competition. This add-on is ONLY AVAILABLE FOR BOOK SUBMISSIONS.

Past Launch Pad collaborations with Inkshares include the Bram Stoker Award nominated KILL CREEK, set up with Showtime, Scott Derrickson and Misha Green, MR. & MRS. AMERICAN PIE which sold to Platform One with Laura Dern attached, THE MAGUS WORLD set up with Michael De Luca, HUMAN, ANEW with Ridley Scott and 20th Century Fox, and THIS RED FIRE with Stampede Ventures, Greg Silverman and Freddie Skov.

With dozens of titles in bookstores since their launch just a few years ago, Inkshares is a powerful force in the publishing world and has become a major hub for Hollywood to discover new talent as well. Past successes include the sale of Tal M. Klein’s THE PUNCH ESCROW to Lionsgate and J.F. Dubeau’s A GOD IN THE SHED, which is being developed for television with Skydance and Akiva Goldsman.

Guaranteed Signing

Requires Add On in Checkout

This year’s Guaranteed Signing Partner is Brooklyn Weaver of Energy Entertainment. One of the most prolific spec-selling manager/producers in Hollywood, he has been a part of many Launch Pad script sales and his clients frequently feature on major year-end lists such as the Black List, Hit List and Young & Hungry List. His clients include feature writers such as Rob Liefeld (DEADPOOL), Brad Ingelsby (RUN ALL NIGHT, OUT OF THE FURNACE) and Mark Mallouk (BLACK MASS), as well as TV creators such as Mickey Fisher (REVERIE and EXTANT) and Anthony Cipriano (BATES MOTEL).

Launch Pad Mentorship Program

Requires Add On in Checkout

The best way to learn is by working with experienced writers who have already navigated that path to success. That is exactly what the Launch Pad exclusive mentorship opportunity is set up to do.

Henry Alberto

Born and raised in Miami, FL. Latinx and non-binary writer/director Henry Alberto is a Sundance Episodic Lab fellow, recipient of a Skowhegan Artist Residency, a Yaddo fellowship, a Latino Screenwriting Project fellowship and an alumnus of the Outfest Screenwriting Lab. Recently, Henry was included the Black List’s inaugural Latinx List, as well as the Tracking Board’s 2019 Hit List and Young & Hungry List, and NALIP’s list of “Latinx Directors You Should Know”. They most recently adapted the novels ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE and GRACEFULLY GRAYSON. They also served as a writer on AppleTV’s critically acclaimed LITTLE AMERICA from Alan Yang, Kumail Nanjiani, and Emily V. Gordon.

Nicolina Torres

Prior to her work as a writer, Nicolina Torres was a manager for Barnes & Noble for 15 years and represented B&N on Channel 2’s Living Dayton Show for two years. She has worked with the National Association of Attorneys with Disabilities (NAAD) on mentorship projects and is a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Nikki’s mystery novel, THIS RED FIRE was a 2017 Launch Pad Manuscript Competition Top 10 pick. Greg Silverman’s Stampede Ventures optioned the book for a film franchise and the screenplay has been written by Freddie Skov (Madhouse Entertainment). Nikki’s YA novel, YOUNG NATION, received an honorable mention in the same contest and the pilot she wrote based on the book is under development at UTA as a television series. Her collection of short horror stories (UNDER THE BED, THERE IS A HIDDEN DOOR) is also being developed as a series.

Ben Blacker

Ben Blacker is best known as the creator, with his writing partner Ben Acker, of the Thrilling Adventure Hour. With Acker, Blacker has sold pilots to USA, Fox, Nickelodeon, Spike, and other networks. He’s written on the shows Supernatural, Puss in Boots, and more. Acker & Blacker are the authors of the Star Wars: Join the Resistance series, canonical young adult novels set in the Star Wars universe. On his own, Blacker is the writer and creator of the DC/Vertigo comic HEX WIVES, which is Bewitched plus The Stepford Wives, available as a trade paperback. Blacker is also the creator and host of The Writers Panel, a podcast in which he talks with writers about the business and process of writing television. He’s the co-producer of Dead Pilots Society and RetroSpecs, live shows and podcasts in which unproduced pilots and classic spec scripts, respectively, are performed live.

Accepting short stories, novels and manuscripts.

Enter Now
Enter with Feedback

Selection Criteria

The winners will be chosen based on the following criteria: (i) The originality and commerciality of the premise; (ii) The skill and artistry of the writing in serving that premise and crafting an engaging piece of work; (iii) The effectiveness of the plot and structure in the first fifty pages in serving that premise and engaging the reader; (iv) In the case of a longer submission, the ability of the provided synopsis to articulate a compelling and sustainable path forward for the story; (v) The originality, believability and emotional investment in the characters and their impact on the overarching story and themes; (vi) Where, applicable, the use of dialogue to advance the character, story and entertainment value of the project.

Initial reads will be completed by professional industry readers, assessing the first fifty pages of each submission. After this point, our internal team of readers will read all promising submissions to allow for extensive internal discussions over the relative merits and weaknesses of each project. Through internal conferences, we narrow down a list of 100 finalists. At this point, writers may be asked to submit supplemental information (a brief bio, a more thorough synopsis of their work) to assist in the decision making process.

Further rounds of internal reading and discussion, as well as consultations with our signing and option partners, narrow the finalists down to 10, at which point our panel of industry judges read each project and provide feedback which determines our winners.

Any entrant may be deemed ineligible at the sole discretion of Launch Pad. We reserve the right to amend these rules at any time.

Rules

  1. All entries MUST BE submitted in English as a PDF document with standard margin sizing.
  2. Initial reading will be limited to the first fifty (50) pages of any submission and a synopsis of approximately 1,000 words.
  3. Short story submissions should be limited to under 20,000 words.
  4. Full book manuscript submissions are not required, but are welcomed and may be considered in later rounds.
  5. Submissions with multiple writers are allowed (however, all entry fees must be paid under one account and all prizes to be shared among writing partners).
  6. All submissions must be the sole property of the writer(s). Any submissions of existing literary figures and or stories not in the public domain, as well as any intellectual property that the writer does not own will be disqualified.
  7. All entries will be read blind, with no discernible marks shared with readers. We choose this option so that each entry is judged by the work, and the words alone.
  8. Work with a prior option is allowed, but at the time of submission and for the duration of the contest, must remain exclusively the writer’s property.
  9. Work that has been previously published is eligible so long as the writer retains further publication and adaptation rights.
  10. The only projects not allowed to be entered are those which have already sold, have previously earned our “TB Recommends” honors, or received a top 100 placement in a previous Launch Pad competition.
  11. The Launch Pad uses Coverfly to manage our submissions and reads. Updated drafts accepted through the Coverfly website only.
  12. The Launch Pad and all judges/readers will utilize whatever criteria they deem appropriate in deciding a winner.
  13. All submissions will remain the property of the writer(s) throughout the contest (at no point will anyone from the judge’s panel, or Launch Pad ever attach themselves to your work without your consent).
  14. Entrants may be contacted as a result of the contest by Launch Pad, the judging panel or other industry professionals in regards to representation, production, sale and/or option of the entered work.
  15. Entrants are under no obligation to sell their work or otherwise attach themselves to representation in any form – this includes the guaranteed option and guaranteed signing add ons.
  16. General prose entries will not receive feedback, however, you can opt to upgrade and receive feedback on your submission.
  17. The contest is open to entrants 18 or older. It is an international contest and open to entrants worldwide.
  18. The Launch Pad reserves the right, at our sole discretion, to change or modify these terms at any time without notice.
  19. By entering this competition, you agree to receive periodic emails from The Launch Pad and The Tracking Board. You may unsubscribe to these at any time.
  20. All entrants understand and agree to allow Launch Pad to post details on their project (title, writer’s name, logline, genre, and competition details) as well as regarding the writer (biography, picture) to their site, or sister site to help promote the entrants’ work.
  21. All purchases and submissions are final. No refunds will be issued.
  22. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.
  23. Except where prohibited by law, participation in the contest constitutes each entrant’s consent to LaunchPad and its agents’ and contest sponsor’s use of entrants’ names, likenesses, photographs, and/or personal information for promotional purposes in any media, worldwide, without further payment or consideration. All uses of a entrants’ information are in accordance with our Privacy Policy.
  24. You agree to release and hold harmless LaunchPad, its subsidiary, parent and affiliated companies, prize contributors, judges, readers, sponsors, and any other organizations responsible for administering, advertising, or promoting the competition, and every one of their respective members, directors, employees, agents and representatives (collectively, the “Released Parties”) past and present from and against any and all claims, expenses, and liability, including but not limited to damages and negligence to property and persons, including but not limited to invasion of privacy, defamation, slander, libel, violation of right of publicity, copyright, infringement of trademark or other intellectual property rights relating to a participant’s entry, participation in the competition and/or acceptance or use or misuse of prize; provided however, that such release will not apply to any commercial exploitation of the script by a Released Party in violation of your rights under applicable copyright law; and (c) indemnify, defend and hold harmless the LaunchPad and its sponsors, agents, and employees from and against any and all claims, expenses, and liabilities (including reasonable attorneys fees) relating to an entrant’s participation in the competition and/or entrant’s use or misuse of Prize.