Workshop Rules

The rules are simple. We ask that you follow all of them, every week for the duration of the workshop. Properly formatting your entry may sound like a pain, but we have to enforce it because our time is limited and we are all doing this as volunteers. It's also good practice, because agents and editors will expect you to follow submission guidelines, too.

Entries that do not meet all of the criteria below will be disqualified. Read all the rules and be prepared to follow them each week, otherwise it isn't fair to take up space in the workshop. We always have more entries than we can accept in any given month.

1. Manuscripts must be middle grade or young adult.

2. Manuscripts do not need to be completed, but must be your own, original work.

3. Send us the first five pages, with each page approximately 250 words, max 1250 words. Each revision must also be 1250 words max.

4. Do NOT send any synopsis or summary information.

5. Make sure your entry is properly formatted, in plain text format, and sent IN THE BODY OF THE EMAIL, single spaced, with a blank line between all paragraphs except the header information. No attachments. No paragraph indents.

Before sending it to us, we suggest that you email your entry to yourself so you can see how it will come out.

Your entry MUST look like this:

Name: Your name
Genre: Young Adult or Middle Grade with the genre: ie, fantasy, contemporary, etc.
Title: Your title

The body of the text, max 1250 words, must be SINGLE SPACED. There MUST be an EMPTY LINE BETWEEEN paragraphs. (Hit the 'Enter/Return' button twice.)

If your manuscript is formatted in standard manuscript format, double-spaced with indents at the beginning of each paragraph and no extra space before or after paragraphs, then this will not come through correctly for reading on the web. The easiest way to get the formatting the way that we need it is to copy your snippet, put it into a clean MS Word document, select all the text, change the paragraph spacing to single space, then do a search and replace for ^p and replace it with ^p^p. This will take each paragraph break and turn it into two paragraph breaks. Or, of course, you can go through and hit the enter button again a second time after each individual paragraph.

Create a new email through an email provider other than GMAIL and click on the format text tab at the top of the message. Gmail seems to insert AN EXTRA line for every blank line. It may even insert a blank line between the header information, which should have NO blank lines between paragraphs. To get around the gmail problem, the easiest thing to do is use another email provider if you already have one, or to create a free hotmail account.

In your blank email message, set the message format to plain text, then paste in the text of your entry.
          In order to participate, you must have a blogger account.

7. Be prepared to receive honest, constructive feedback EVERY week and to participate through the entire workshop. Not all feedback will be positive. The purpose of the workshop is to help you improve your manuscript, not to tell you that it is wonderful.

8. Provide honest, constructive, and thoughtful feedback to EACH of your fellow workshop participants in a kind and courteous manner by Thursday night EVERY week. Failure to do so will lead to automatic disqualification from the workshop.

9. Send the revised version of the manuscript back to us--following all the above rules--by 6:00 PM on Sunday nights, properly formatted, every week until the end of the workshop.

10. The Workshop runs for 3 weeks:

Week One: Your two assigned permanent mentors plus the guest mentor provide feedback on your original entry, and you receive additional feedback from other workshop participants. You revise based on their comments.
Week Two: Permanent mentors, the guest mentor and workshop participants review and critique your 1st revision. You do another revision.
Week Three: Permanent mentors, the guest mentor, and the literary agent mentor review and critique your 2nd revision and a pitch (up to 200 words) that would be the core of a query letter and describes what your manuscript is about. The guest agent will chose a workshop "winner" -- but, of course, you win just by joining the workshop, accepting the feedback, and working hard on revising your pages! In most workshops, the guest agent will review and comment on a partial of the winner's manuscript or work-in-progress.

Please keep in mind, the mentors are all volunteers with writing deadlines and busy lives, and so sometimes things come up and they are unable to comment in a particular week.

That's it. Again, remember that you will need to understand email formatting to submit to agents anyway, so the extra work in complying with submission guidelines isn't all a wasted effort. It will put you that much closer when your entry is ready to query.

We start accepting new workshop entries at noon (Eastern Time) on the first Saturday of the every month. Send entries to AYAPLit@gmail dot com.

Accepted entries will be posted here by noon on the first Monday of the month, at which time the workshop will officially begin, and revisions will be posted on the two subsequent Mondays.

Happy reading and writing,

Erin, Martina, & Lisa


  1. Hi Martina & Lisa,
    Is this workshop open to UK authors? One of the competitions on this site is US/Canada only. Can't see it anywhere in the rules.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I've just found out that it is open to UK authors as a friend of mine entered in August. All I need to know now is what time is noon EST - I get in a right pickle over time zones, and whenever I think I have it sussed, the site throws me a curveball. If I've got this right, the time stamp should come up as about 11:55 (Written at 16:54).
      Sorry to be so hopelessly inadequate - not great to be broken like this when you make a living from teaching Math!

  2. Hi. Thanks for this wonderful service. What should I put in the subject line?

  3. Ooh! See you in August!
    ~Just Jill

  4. For anyone who's unsure about this, do it! It's a great opportunity and helps fine tune your first few pages, some of the most important pages in your novel.

  5. This is very nice blog and have good information about the gmail account support. A person can collect information online very easily.
    Gmail Account Support

  6. Oh, my god, I just looked at the email I sent yesterday, and it's formatted wrong. Can I resend it. I don't want to miss out on this opportunity. Since it's Sunday, I guess I won't hear back in time. Hope it's not presumptuous to goes..Thanks for your patience...

  7. This is awesome! Thanks to all the mentors who take time out of their busy schedules to provide this service.

  8. Thanks, Martina and Lisa! This is truly awesome! And I love your web pages!

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Using plain text code means it eliminates any italics. I use italics to show his internal thought. How do I show his thoughts now?

  11. Is there any way to change the font from plain font in the email? Plain text font does not allow for italics and that can be confusing for internal dialogue that is normally done in italics. Next time, can you just ask for times new roman or something similar to allow for italics?

  12. Can't wait to enter this Saturday!

  13. For my entry, the last word of my sentence puts me at 1251 words. Should I cut it off before the last word, to meet the 1250 word count or include the last word? Thank you for such a wonderful opportunity!

  14. Hi Julie, 1250 max - so I'd suggest ending before the last sentence. And I hope you enter! We'd love to have you!