Authors Writing Contests

Hypable speaks to debut author Lori Goldstein about spearheading an exciting writing contest with her fellow “Freshman Fifteen” authors and Wattpad.

Debut authors, newly initiated into the labyrinthine publishing process, often try and stick together. But the “Freshman Fifteen” – a group of young adult authors debuting their first novels in 2015 – have decided to do one better, and pay their mutual support forward in a contest for aspiring writers.

Spearheaded by, whose debut novel Becoming Jinn will be released by Macmillan next Spring, the “Freshman Fifteen” have come together for the Common Room, a writing contest for teens aged 13-19. Hosted on online writing website Wattpad, the Common Room contest will offer winners a chance to experience the publishing process, guided by one of the fifteen Freshmen.

The finished collection of short stories will be published as the Common Room anthology on Wattpad in January 2015.

Goldstein spoke to Hypable about the inspiration and process of the Common Room contest, and her hopes for aspiring authors.

Hypable: How did you come up with the idea for the contest?

Goldstein: Most of us have been writing since we were young, and we know how it feels to crave feedback. We still do! Agent, book deal, doesn’t matter, all writers thrive on getting smart critiques. It’s the only way our writing can improve. On our individual paths to publication, we’ve all been really lucky to have help from some of the generous authors in the writing community.

While we all had wonderful English teachers, we’d have jumped at the chance to work with a published author as a teen. So we wanted to give teens the opportunity we didn’t get: to work with and receive critique on their fiction writing from someone in the industry.

Not only that, as kids most of us were completely unaware of what it took to get a book published. The steps involved were a mystery (sometimes they still are!). We wanted to give teens who are looking at writing as their chosen career a taste of what it’s like to sell a novel. That’s why we devised the contest as we did to mirror the actual road to publication.