ContestsCrime Novel Literary AgentsMystery Literary AgentsThriller Literary Agents

First Pages Contest #2: Mystery & Thriller Novels, Judged by Agent Lesley Sabga

By January 1, 2020 February 21st, 2020 No Comments

(There are three contests happening now at the same time [Jan, 2020] on
my blog. Contest 1 for writers of young adult can be found here.
Contest 3 for writers of adult science fiction & fantasy can be found here.)

I love contests. So welcome to our second 2020 First Pages Contest on the my new Chuck Sambuchino Blog (undergoing a redesign soon). Contest #2 is for writers of mystery & thriller novels (for adults). If you’re writing these suspenseful genres, keep reading, and submit your work!

Here’s how it works. We invite awesome literary agents to judge the contest. The agents pick the genre they want to judge. Writers in that genre are invited to send in their first page as part of the competition. Winners get an awesome critique from your agent judge. It’s free to enter. Sound good? Then let’s get to some details and rules!


Contest #1. You have until 11:59 p.m., PST, January 31, 2020, to submit to the contest.

This contest is only for writers of mystery and thriller novels — for adults. (No YA or middle grade, please.) Novels considered Crime or Suspense are fine, too.

The agent judge has two weeks from the contest’s end to judge all entries. Then we will inform the winners and post the names here on this blog post.


Submit your manuscript’s first double-spaced page, via email, to

300 words of text, maximum. Do not attach anything. Just copy and paste the text into the email submission.

At the beginning of the email, before you paste your first page, this is what we need to know:

  1. your full name
  2. the city and state you’re based in
  3. your contact email
  4. proof that you’ve shared news of the contest via social media (such as your Twitter handle) — see below on this below
  5. a logline of your work. A logline is a one-sentence summary of your novel. For example, “A burned-out ex-con is hired to rescue the president’s daughter after she is kidnapped on a space station.”

Self-published novels are not eligible for this contest. Unpublished (new) material only, please. You may submit more than one submission; however, you are encouraged to only submit your best work.

PLEASE NOTE OUR SOCIAL MEDIA REQUIREMENTS: Although the contest is free to enter, in order to be considered, you must fulfill our social media requirements. For every submission, you must spread word of this contest twice through social media — either Twitter or Facebook. You can tweet news of it, or share on Facebook.

When you email us your submission, make sure you include some kind of way for us to understand you have followed these guidelines. If you have shared news on Twitter, then just include your Twitter handle. If you have shared news of it on Facebook, then feel free to take a screenshot or send us a link of that status update. An easy way to notify us is to tag us. Tag me — @chucksambuchino — when you spread news. And if you use Twitter, put my handle at the middle or the end, not at the very beginning of the tweet, or else the tweet will be invisible to others. (Please note that simply tweeting me does not count. You have to include the contest URL with your mention; that’s the point.)

Here is a tweet that can be copied and used: New FREE contest for writers of Mystery & Thriller novels (all kinds)  Judged by agent @lesleysabga, via @chucksambuchino
If you below to a chapter of MWA, feel free to tag them on Twitter by using their handle when tweeting the news.

Here are some
conferences I’m speaking at or helping coordinate in 2020.
All of them have attending agents meeting with attendee writers:



Lesley Sabga is a literary agent with The Seymour Agency.
Lesley has worked as an editorial intern and freelancer for multiple publishing houses. She’s also been working for The Seymour Agency since 2014. Starting out as an eager intern, she worked her way up to a Literary Assistant, and in the fall of 2017, Lesley became an Associate Agent with The Seymour Agency.

Lesley loves intricate and vivid world-building and character driven plots. She is acquiring MG, YA, and Adult fantasy/science fiction and she is always down to read a dark and twisty suspense or thriller featuring strong, female protagonists. She also loves a classic happily-ever-after romance or curling up with a good mystery. She also has her eye out for book club fiction and women’s fiction.

When she is not rescuing animals or searching for her next debut author, Lesley is a constant occupant at local bookstores in Colorado Springs and is a self-proclaimed coffee aficionado.


Lesley will pick 3 winners (no order). All three of those winners are invited to send their first 10 double-spaced pages to Lesley for a critique. If you ever wanted to know what an agent is thinking when they read your submission, this critique is a great way to learn just that.


By e-mailing your entry, you are submitting an entry for consideration in this contest and thereby agreeing to the terms written here as well as any terms possibly added by me in the “Comments” section of this blog post. If you have questions or concerns, write us personally at chucksambuchino [at] The Gmail account above is for submissions, not questions. This contest buys no rights, so even if you win, you can still do whatever you like with the work. We do not acquire or own or publish anything. Good luck! Make sure you fulfill the submission requirements to be considered.

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