ContestsFirst Pages ContestMiddle Grade Literary AgentsThe Seymour Agency

First Pages Contest #3: Middle Grade Fiction, Judged by Agent Joyce Sweeney

By February 7, 2023 December 5th, 2023 No Comments

I love contests. So welcome to this (third) new 2023 First Pages Contest. Contest #3 of this year is for writers of Middle Grade Fiction (any kind). If you’re writing any genre of MG, keep reading, and submit your work! (Ends March 30, 2023.)

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!

(Note that we have multiple contests going on at the same time right now. A different contest for writers of adult thriller / mystery / crime / suspense is happening over here.)

(And yet another contest for writers of Young Adult fiction is happening here.)



2023 Contest #3. You have until 11:59 p.m., PST, March 30, 2023, to submit to the contest.

This contest is only for writers of Middle Grade Fiction (all types).

The agent judge has three 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.



The agent judge will pick 3 winners (no order). All three of those winners are invited to send their first 10 double-spaced pages to the judge 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.



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 or Instagram or YouTube or TikTok or something comparable. In other words, you just have to tweet news of it, or share on Facebook, etc.

When you e-mail 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, etc. 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.) If you want to share news of the contest in the same social media, try and spread your mentions out, because two tweets at the same time will not help spread the word.

Here is text that can be copied and used: New FREE contest for writers of Middle Grade Fiction (all kinds) — — Judged by agent @JoyceGrackle (Joyce Sweeney of The Seymour Agency), via @chucksambuchino. Winners get an agent critique of their work.

If you belong to a writing group that may be interested in this contest, feel free to tag them on Twitter by using their handle when tweeting the news.



Joyce Sweeney is a literary agent with The Seymour Agency.

Joyce has worn many hats in the kidlit industry. They are the author of fourteen novels for young adults. They have edited, instructed, and encouraged writers for twenty-five years, successfully mentoring 78 traditionally published authors and still counting. They are very active in Florida SCBWI. They have also published poetry and managed a South Florida theater company.

As an agent, they pride themselves on client communication and are very editorial. They acquire picture books, chapter books, and middle grade, both fiction and nonfiction. They are particularly interested in graphic novels.



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

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

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

  • your full name
  • the city and state you’re based in
  • your contact email
  • proof that you’ve shared news of the contest via social media (such as your Twitter handle) — see more on this requirement above.
  • 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.



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 me 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 — i.e., do NOT skip the social media requirements.