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First Pages Contest #4: Women’s Fiction and Memoir (All Kinds), Judged by Agent CeCe Lyra

By February 9, 2021 April 20th, 2021 No Comments

Update 4-20-21: Winners chosen and notified – Mimi Z, Juhi K, and Nicole J

(There are three FREE contests [#4, #5, and #6] happening now at the same time [Feb. – March 2021] on
my blog. Contest 5 for writers of adult epic fantasy and LGBTQ+ fiction, can be found here.
Contest #6, for writers of adult thriller / crime / suspense / mystery, can be found here)

I love contests. So welcome to this new 2021 First Pages Contest on the my new Chuck Sambuchino Blog (undergoing a launch as you read this). Contest #4 is for writers of women’s fiction (upmarket beach reads) and memoir (all kinds). If you’re writing either of these categories, 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 #4. You have until 11:59 p.m., PST, March 31, 2021 [deadline extended], to submit to the contest.

This contest is only for writers of women’s fiction (upmarket beach reads) and memoir (all kinds for adults).

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.


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

300 words of manuscript text, maximum. Do not attach anything. Just copy and paste 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 below on this below
  • 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 Unpublished (new) material only, please.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.


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. 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.)

Here is a tweet that can be copied and used: New FREE contest for writers of upmarket women’s fiction as well as memoir Judged by agent @ceciliaclyra, via @chucksambuchino

If you below 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.

* * * * *


Here are some online conferences I’m helping coordinate in 2021.
All of them have attending agents meeting virtually with attendee writers.
Anyone can attend any event from anywhere!

March 13, 2021: Atlanta Writing Workshop
April 9-10, 2021: Michigan Writing Workshop
May 14-15, 2021: San Diego Writing Workshop
June 12, 2021: Florida Writing Workshop

These are online writers conferences with live Zoom classes, free additional
 classes (from other events), optional critiques, and virtual one-on-one pitching with
attending literary agents from all over the country. We at Writing Day Workshops
are very proud of our growing list of success stories (writers signing with agents) and
hope you may be on the list soon!



Cecilia Lyra is an associate agent at P.S. Literary representing adult fiction and nonfiction.

She is particularly drawn to books centered around dysfunctional families, ethical or moral dilemmas, and taboo subjects. As a mixed race Latinx immigrant, Cecilia is passionate about representing under or misrepresented voices and stories that contribute to a larger cultural conversation. She began her publishing career through the Centennial College Book, Magazine and Electronic program and The Rights Factory. Cecilia is also a recovering lawyer but asks that you do not hold that against her. If you would like to send a query to Cecilia, please review our Submission Guidelines.

Cecilia is acquiring both fiction and nonfiction on the adult side.

In terms of nonfiction, Cecilia is seeking Psychology, Pop Culture, Science, Business, and Lifestyle from experts in their fields with an original angle, as well as compelling memoirs—both long-form and memoir-in-essays.

As for fiction, Cecilia is passionate about voice-y Literary Fiction and fast-paced Commercial Fiction. She adores reading about dysfunctional families from the point-of-view of a morally ambiguous protagonist. Books that are centered around feminist issues have a special place in her heart. Above all else, Cecilia is looking for a story she can’t put down.


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