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First Pages Contest #6: Mystery / Thriller / Suspense, Judged by Agent Sandy Lu

By February 18, 2021 April 20th, 2021 No Comments

UPDATE 4-20-21 — winners chosen and notified — Melissa N, Sarah B, and Alyssa K

(There are three FREE contests [#4, #5, and #6] happening now at the same time [Feb. – March 2021] on
my blog. Contest 4 for writers of Women’s Fiction and Memoir can be found here. Contest #5, for
writers of adult epic fantasy and LGBTQ+ fiction, 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 #6 is for writers of Thriller / Mystery / Suspense / Crime (adult fiction only please). If you’re writing these 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 #6. 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 Thriller / Crime / Suspense / Mystery (adult fiction only).

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 Unpublished (new) material only, please.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 adult Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, and Crime Fiction — — Judged by agent @sandylubookwyrm, 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!



Sandy Lu is a literary agent with Book Wyrm Literary Agency.

Sandy founded Book Wyrm Literary Agency after working as a literary agent for more than a decade at other boutique agencies, including Peter Rubie Literary Agency, Anderson Literary Management, and most notably, the L. Perkins Agency.

Born and raised in Taiwan, Sandy’s family moved to New York in her teens, so she understands the struggles of immigrants and those who straddle two cultures all too well.

Sandy holds BAs in psychology and sociology from Queens College, with minors in music, business, and Japanese. Prior to becoming an agent, she attended the Ph.D. Program in Social and Personality Psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center and worked as a business/operations manager in the theater industry.

Sandy’s areas of study and work experience greatly inform her interest in submissions. She is seeking stories that will draw her in with a unique voice, make her miss her bedtime with a thrilling plot, and characters that will stay with her long after she turns the last page. Bonus points if you can make her laugh out loud or unable to hold back tears in public. Sandy especially loves historical fiction and anything dark, twisted, or with a supernatural bent.

Book Wyrm Literary Agency is actively looking for new voices in the following: In fiction: literary and commercial fiction, mystery, thriller, suspense, science fiction, fantasy, horror, historical fiction, and YA. In nonfiction: narrative non-fiction, history, biography, science, business, psychology, pop culture, and food writing. “We do not represent poetry, screenplays, picture books, and books about parenting, religion/spirituality, and sports.”


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