Get Published! The Dirt Road Books #mybook Challenge!

HI, peeperas y peeperos!

So yer friends at Dirt Road Books had SO MUCH FUN with the NaNoWriMo challenge in November that they’ve come up with another challenge to all you writer-types (of all stages) but this time, it’s a chance to get published with DRB!


The #mybook challenge!

And if we pick your manuscript out of all the amazing submissions we’ll no doubt get, we will offer you a publishing contract with Dirt Road Books.

The basics:

WHAT IS THIS MADNESS, you may ask. WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW, you may also ask.

AH! Well. There’s a webpage for that.

But I’ll summarize here for you because we’re fancy like that and we like to share all kinds of information and luuuuv.

The DRB #mybook challenge works thus:

We’ve created several different book covers from different fiction genres to help give you inspiration for the writing of your awesome manuscript. The cover that gives you particular inspiration could end up being the actual cover of your book should we choose your manuscript to publish.

Where are these covers of which you speak, you are probably now asking. Well, you can find those at the webpage above, but in case you missed it


How the #mybook challenge works

  • Share the #mybook challenge with everyone you know (okay, share it with other readers and writers. Don’t forget to use #mybook to start conversations and get advice from other writers and the DRB staff during this challenge).
  • Pick a cover.
  • Write your book. For the #mybook challenge, we are only accepting novel-length manuscripts of 55,000-85,000 words (original fiction).
  • Edit your book.
  • Send your book to friends, beta readers, the guy at the post office (you get the idea) for feedback.
  • Edit your book based on feedback.
  • Proofread your book.
  • Get a friend to proofread your book.
  • Submit your book to us by following our submissions guidelines.
  • Include the cover from the #mybook challenge that you’d like to use for your book in your submissions email.

Now give yourself a pat on the back and let us handle the rest.


The #mybook challenge runs from March 1 to August 31, 2018.
All submissions must be received by September 1, 2018.

The winner of the challenge will be notified privately. All submissions will be reviewed and will receive a private response from our acquisitions team. We will announce the winner in December 2018.

There. What do you think of that? Spread the word! Share the luv! And make sure you use the #mybook hashtag to start convos and share all across this vast land and beyond on all kinds of platforms.

How was THAT for a happy fun times Friday? Spread the word and get to writin’!

Happy Friday and may The Force be with you.


  1. ahem, I might be a little daft. But when I have written, proofread and edited a book ….. why don’t I upload the thingie on amazon myself? Isn’t all the nitty-gritty that an publisher does (esp. proper editing & proofreading) already done?
    Just asking …. coming just back from a holiday and my brain might be still pleasantly fried by the sun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, as Andi says, you can totally self-publish. Lots of people do. However, with regard to the question about editing, the answer is pretty simple: how many authors are also professional editors? How many authors don’t require the objective going over provided by an editor to make a manuscript better? I am an editor and I would never publish a book that only I have reviewed/edited/proofread. What we’re asking is for a professional quality submission. We want to publish the best possible books, and the better the initial manuscript, the better the published novel.

      As Sandra Gerth (AKA Jae), my friend and editing guru, has often said, a REALLY good editor will catch about 90% of the errors. If there are 4000 errors to start with, even if you catch 90%, that still leave a disturbing amount errors in the document. Say the editing is thorough and the manuscript then goes to a copy editor rather than straight to the proofreader. That editor catches 90%, if she’s a really good editor, that still leaves far too many errors in the manuscript. Then it goes to the proofreader and hopefully that person catches 90% of the remaining errors, the book still goes to print with errors in the manuscript (good article about that here:

      If you’re like me and you fell asleep reading the last paragraph–because words and numbers really shouldn’t mix. Words are fun. Percentages are mind-numbing–it comes down to this: There are many, many benefits to going with a publisher rather than self publishing, just as there are many many benefits of self publishing rather than traditional publishing. The question any author has to ask herself is what are the most important factors to her personally. The answer there will help determine which route the author takes. Regardless of the path she goes down, professional editing should never be skipped. And before it goes to that professional editor, whether the author is paying for it out of her own pocket (not a cheap endeavor) or the publisher is footing the bill, the manuscript NEEDS to be as clean as the author can possibly make it. That is why all publishers, if they accept direct submissions at all, include reviewing/rewriting/proofreading on the to-do list before submitting it.

      Hope this helps!


  2. Sure. Go for it. If you want to self-publish, do it. That works best for some authors.

    The point here is, send us your best work. Don’t send in something that isn’t ready to be considered for a contract. Have someone at least proofread it. Because that’s what any publisher wants. They don’t want a half-assed submission. Publishers don’t have time to do a constant stream of heavy developmental editing. And if you write something that you yourself pay for to be edited and proofread and you pay someone for your cover and interior design and efiles for a variety of platforms, then this is not the challenge for you and you should just go ahead and self-publish.

    But if you want a chance to work with a publishing house, here’s your opportunity. I’m a hybrid author, and I both work with publishers and I self-publish. I like both options; I like working with publishers because they take care of a lot of details that I just don’t have the time to do because I have a day job and I’m helping run a publishing house. Some of those details include ISBN (which is another expense for indie authors), in-house editing and proofreading (that I don’t have to pay out of pocket for up front), cover design, interior design, development of typeset files for print and creation of efiles for multiple platforms (so I don’t have to individually create an efile and load it across platforms myself), and, ideally, they do marketing partnerships with their authors and work to get the brand out as well as the author’s work. Plus, a publisher can sponsor events and partner with other houses to further authors’ work and brand and they can reach an array of reviewers and platforms that an individual author who is self-publishing may not be able to do right away.

    But of course, these are all things that certainly indie authors can do on their own. It’s a personal decision about whether you want to work with a house or self-publish. Both are completely valid options. Some people, however, might prefer an opportunity to work with a house in addition to self-publishing or to the exclusion of self-publishing. I learned a ton about the publishing business working with houses before I actually started self-publishing, so I’m pretty glad I went the route I did.

    Ultimately, it’s up to you. Self-publish or go with a house or do both. We just thought it would be fun to do a challenge like this to encourage people to write a manuscript, go through a process of preparing it for whatever route they want to go and, if they want, submit to us and see if they can score a contract.


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