Here's WHERE TO ENTERThe Black Spring Press Group Submission Manager - The Big Bang!: Black Spring Prize for Best Opening To A Crime Book JUDGED BY LEE CHILD (

The Black Spring Crime Series is delighted to announce that the inaugural judge for its new crime-mystery prize will be Lee Child, world-famous, best-selling author of the Jack Reacher series, whose books have sold over 100 million copies.

The competition – Black Spring Prize for Best Opening To a Crime Book - is open to anyone age of 18 OR OVER who wants to write in the English-language and has an interest in crime, thriller or mystery novels.

We are looking for the best 50-200 words of an ‘opening’ for a crime-mystery-thriller novel. The work must be never-before-published (including online), original to the author, and ideally written for this prize. It need not be connected to a completed book. Indeed, we very much hope the prize encourages people to start a novel, with this first page – and maybe go on to complete it. Writers can enter as many times as they want.

The submission portal will be at Submittable.

Lee Child says, ‘Long ago people would say, “This is a great book, but you need to give it fifty pages.” That's crazy now, in our hyper-fast world. Now readers give you fifty words. Your first paragraph, basically. That's where you win or lose. It doesn't always need to be slam-bam, but it does always need to give the reader absolutely no choice but to race ahead. Send your entry in to Black Spring's contest, I’ll judge the best... and if you win, I'll be first in line to buy your book.’

The contest will open on September 7th and close in February 2024. All submission info can be found at the website; the entry fee will be £10. Lee Child will read and judge the best final 50 entries, and leading crime writer Luca Veste will be the sifting judge for the first stage of the competition.

The winner will receive £200, a one-off, hour-long online mentoring session with Luca Veste and be offered a publishing contract if they ever decide to complete the novel.

The Black Spring Crime Series was recently endorsed by, among others, giants of crime Val McDermid, Ian Rankin, Child, and Mark Billingham.