Hook ’em in 5! Contest Information


Hook ’em in 5! CONTEST

OPENS JUNE 1st, 2024

There are no rules to guarantee great writing, but there are ways to avoid not so good writing.


Literary agents and editors receive hundreds of submissions every month with the idea of getting through the pile and looking for anything they see that will put the manuscript in the reject stack.

Many agents also ask for only the first five pages, and make their decision on everything from their first impression on presentation (spelling, punctuation, too many adjectives and adverbs, and the standard industry requested format), to bigger issues to include but not limited to, the opening, dialogue, characterization, setting, and pacing.

If one can at least get through the first five with a partial, full or synopsis request, you have done very well, indeed.

Of course it’s important to research the agent’s wish list before sending anything.

Hook ’em in 5! is a contest about helping the writer be aware of how they’ve written their first 5 pages, and if it will stand out among the vast competition.

Whether a novice or seasoned writer, we wish every one success in their MS/WIP with a goal to publication.

 Deadline is 6.28.24.




Entrants must be over 18 years of age at the time of entering their work.

Entries must not have been accepted with a publishing offer, or previously self-published. Must be unpublished narrative prose. (No poetry)

The submission must be the entrant’s original work and have not appeared, either fully or partially, in any format available to be seen by the general public.

Entrants must submit the work using their name, not a pen name. A pen name may be used when announcing their win, if requested.

The competition is not open to members of the board, their family members, or First round judges.



We are not judging specifically by category.

However, only these Romance sub-genres are acceptable and will be used for Final Round Judges.



Paranormal/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Futuristic/Time Travel

Romantic Suspense/Mystery

Young Adult/New Adult

Women’s Fiction 








First Round: Two Judges per entry. A comment section will be available for judge feedback.

Final Round: Ranking completed by two professionals in the publishing industry. Scores from both judges will be combined. Highest total scores determines each winner. A comment section will be available for judge feedback, though it is not required.

FTHRW reserves the right to change a final judge if the initial judge must bow out.

Please note:  Judges’ decisions are not the responsibility of the contest coordinators or FTHRW.  

All decisions are final.

Errors and omissions stand.


Final Round Judges: 

Cori Deyoe, Literary agent for Three Seas Literary Agency

Shannon Snow, Literary agent for Creative Media Agency, Inc.





First Place/Gold: $100; Second Place/Silver: $75; Third Place/Bronze: $50

All entrants will receive the scoresheets from each judge along with their judged submission.


Important Dates – Submissions open June 1st.


Date: Contest opens for submissions JUNE 1st, 2024.   PLEASE NOTE: Only  Thirty (30) entries maximum will be accepted.  Enter early, rather than later .

Date:  JUNE 28th, Deadline for submissions, 11:59 PM Pacific Time.

Date: JULY, First round  judging.

Date: SEPTEMBER, Final  Winners announced.


Entry: 1500 words maximum. BEST ADVISE: Don’t try and squeeze in as many words to reach the max. 1500 words. It’s far more important to end on a hook, even if it is 4 pages. It’s also best to stop at the end of a sentence rather than mid-sentence to hit exactly 1500 words.

  • First 5 pages (1500 words maximum  per entry).
  • NOTE: If your entry exceeds 1500 words it will be disqualified.  Entry must follow entry format directions.
  • Must be your original, unpublished , NEVER been published), un-contracted ,completed manuscript, or WIP.
  • A completed manuscript is ideal.
  • Maximum of ONE entry per person.  (If you have more than one you want to enter, choose the one you feel is the best.  
  • Entry fee is non-refundable.


Entry Fees:


 Entry fee:  $ 20 for FTHRW members and $ 25 for NON-members (US funds paid through PayPal on entry form).


Please note  entries can only be entered once!

(NOTE:  not judged by category)

Limit ONE entry per person.


Entry fee is non-refundable.


Read thoroughly and follow the Entry Format guidelines. How to Submit:

In a customarily formatted book manuscript with chapters,

Start about 1/3 of the way down the page (double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point type), there are about 16  or 17  lines on the first page.
  • Entry must be in proper manuscript format (double-spaced; one (1) inch margins all sides; Times New Roman with size 12 font).
  • FIRST FIVE (5) pages (1500 words maximum). BEST ADVISE: Don’t try and squeeze in as many words to reach the max. 1500 words. It’s far more important to end on a hook, even if it is 4 pages. It’s also best to stop at the end of a sentence rather than mid-sentence to hit exactly 1500 words.
  • NOTE: If your entry exceeds 1500 words, it will be disqualified.  Better to go less than more.
  • Entry must be saved as: .pdf, .doc, docx.,
  • Do not include a synopsis.
  • Sorry, but no entry may be altered after submission.  Nor, before sending to final round judge.
  • Each page will have a one-line header with Title and page number on the right side.
  • DO NOT put your name on any of the manuscript pages. If your name appears on the entry (except entry form) you will not be entered in the contest.
  • Complete Entry Form.
  • Automatic confirmation will be sent.

Please see our FAQ



Become a Judge!

You MUST read the judge guidelines first, and agree to the guidelines. Then fill out the judge application.



Click here: FAQ

Please note: All judges’ decisions are not the responsibility of the contest coordinators.

All decisions are final.

Errors or omissions stand.

Disclaimer: The rules on this web page as of May 2024 override any previous rules.