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[Update Jun 26] Web Novel Writing Contest: Win $5,000 USD & Get Published!

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#1
Jun 24, 8:45 PM
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Have you ever dreamt about one of your stories being adapted into manga?
Thought of the perfect plot, but weren't sure how to get published?

MyAnimeList is collaborating with Honeyfeed to help you realize that dream and debut with your very own manga—published by Kodansha in Japan! From web novel to manga, your writing journey begins here.

The contest is simple:
  1. Visit the contest page and get prepared to start writing your web novel under one of five themes.
  2. On July 5, create your web novel page on Honeyfeed and start publishing your chapters.
  3. Complete your web novel before September 5, publishing new chapters in regular intervals.
    (If you want, you can even write more than one.)
  4. Our judges will narrow down the submissions to the top 50—and then the MAL community will decide who wins!

First prize will receive $5,000 USD.
Second and third will receive $3,000 USD & $2,000 USD, respectively.

So what are you waiting for? It's time to get writing!



Also, don't miss out on other great events we're also holding right now:






Update June 26
Please note that we have updated the contest rules. A paragraph suggesting contestants waived all rights was included by mistake and is now removed. The previous version of the rules stated that winners would receive a new contract, should their novel be chosen for adaptation, and this remains. We apologize for any alarm caused by our poor review and thank you for bringing it to our attention so that we could correct it.

We encourage you to read the rules again before the contest opens on July 5.
Modified by Kineta, Jun 26, 12:21 PM
 
#2
Jun 24, 8:57 PM

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You've got to be kidding me. MAL is an otaku heaven.
 
#3
Jun 24, 9:25 PM

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what a wonderful oppurtunity for the self proclaimed " better writers " on MAL to prove themselves . well here you go then , you couldnt ask for a better chance .


but for real tho , this is a fantastic idea .
 
#4
Jun 24, 9:32 PM

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my English skill will automatically eliminate me, so good luck for all the participants out there!
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#5
Jun 24, 9:32 PM
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Good luck to all who are participating!! This is a fantastic opportunity for any aspiring writers.
Here we go again...
 
#6
Jun 24, 9:36 PM

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EddyFiend said:
Good luck to all who are participating!! This is a fantastic opportunity for any aspiring writers.


No. No it is not. It's a fantastic way for a publishing company to exploit young writers who don't know what they're worth, and shame on MAL for being part of it.

For one, writers give up full rights to their work just for submitting:



Even if it was only full rights release for winners, 5K for all rights, adaptation rights, and no future royalties is absolutely horrid.

Any author experienced enough to write a high-quality >45k novel in 3 months can do better than these predatory terms.


 
#7
Jun 24, 9:59 PM
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@Netbug Thank you for pointing this out. There is an error in the contest rules. When we were planning the contest, it was explicitly discussed in our team that users would not be giving up all rights and royalties solely by participating. We will correct this ASAP—and certainly before the contest opens on July 5.

Sorry for the confusion and sudden alarm caused by this error.
 
#8
Jun 24, 10:01 PM

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Kineta said:
@Netbug Thank you for pointing this out. There is an error in the contest rules. When we were planning the contest, it was explicitly discussed in our team that users would not be giving up all rights and royalties solely by participating. We will correct this ASAP—and certainly before the contest opens on July 5.

Sorry for the confusion and sudden alarm caused by this error.


Okay, but are they giving up all rights as worded if they win? Because, again, 5K/no royalties for all rights including adaptation rights is laughable. Dramatic rights are usually worth a few thousand just to option them, not even touching if they actually get produced. 5k for essentially giving up rights to what could become a whole franchise without the original creator seeing a penny more is still super gross.
Modified by Netbug, Jun 24, 10:10 PM


 
 
#9
Jun 24, 10:17 PM
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Netbug said:
Kineta said:
@Netbug Thank you for pointing this out. There is an error in the contest rules. When we were planning the contest, it was explicitly discussed in our team that users would not be giving up all rights and royalties solely by participating. We will correct this ASAP—and certainly before the contest opens on July 5.

Sorry for the confusion and sudden alarm caused by this error.


Okay, but are they giving up all rights as worded if they win? Because, again, 5K/no royalties for all rights including adaptation rights is laughable. Dramatic rights are usually worth a few thousand just to option them, not even touching if they actually get produced.

I'm not a lawyer so I cannot tell you what the exact final version of the wording will be. The appropriate people are arranging for the correction now.

What I can tell you is that the goal of this contest has always been to make an opportunity for overseas fans to become published in Japan. While there are many contests for manga and light novels in Japan for Japanese people, overseas anime fans are most often not able to access these contests due to a lack of Japanese knowledge.

The goal is not and has never been to wrestle away rights and royalties from unsuspecting writers. So the updated rules will reflect that.

Again, I sincerely apologize for the mistake and hope that you will please wait for the updated rules before sounding the alarm. The contest hasn't begun yet so there is no danger currently.
 
Jun 24, 10:19 PM

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Kineta said:
Netbug said:


Okay, but are they giving up all rights as worded if they win? Because, again, 5K/no royalties for all rights including adaptation rights is laughable. Dramatic rights are usually worth a few thousand just to option them, not even touching if they actually get produced.

I'm not a lawyer so I cannot tell you what the exact final version of the wording will be. The appropriate people are arranging for the correction now.

What I can tell you is that the goal of this contest has always been to make an opportunity for overseas fans to become published in Japan. While there are many contests for manga and light novels in Japan for Japanese people, overseas anime fans are most often not able to access these contests due to a lack of Japanese knowledge.

The goal is not and has never been to wrestle away rights and royalties from unsuspecting writers. So the updated rules will reflect that.

Again, I sincerely apologize for the mistake and hope that you will please wait for the updated rules before sounding the alarm on a contest which hasn't begun yet.


Uh huh.

Lack of opportunities does not equal the right to pay exploitatively low. In fact, it's all the more reason to set a good example, and 5K for all rights is an exploitatively bad example. If I were you I would reconsider holding the contest at all before consulting people in the industry to learn what a full novel with adaptation rights is actually worth. If I give you guys the benefit of the doubt and assume you truly meant well, Kodansha and Honeyfeed are looking to take advantage of your goodwill.


 
Jun 24, 10:21 PM

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It seems like a fun contest, but with all my other projects I'm currently working on I doubt I would be able to make something I was confident about within the time limit.
 
Jun 24, 10:21 PM
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@Netbug You're still assuming all rights for $5K. Please wait for the updated rules.
 
 
Jun 24, 10:25 PM

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zombie_pegasus said:
It seems like a fun contest, but with all my other projects I'm currently working on I doubt I would be able to make something I was confident about within the time limit.


A novel is worth more than 5k for all rights including adaptive rights anyway, much less one written exclusively for one contest on a heavy time-crunch limit.

Kineta said:
@Netbug You're still assuming all rights for $5K. Please wait for the updated rules.


Waiting, but this isn't my first rodeo with publishers trying to exploit young writers like this. If you're sincere, I would advice not advertising for people to "start writing" for the contest until you have fair terms for them. The fact that such an agreement was approved in the first place and is only getting potentially fixed because someone called you on it means at the very least this was planned with a great deal of ignorance at the helm.

like maybe you guys legit didn't realize but there's no way in hell two publishing companies signed off on this without knowing exactly what they were doing
Modified by Netbug, Jun 24, 10:31 PM


 
Jun 24, 11:34 PM

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Oh that's nice Mal ,but what is webnovel and how to write it.
 
Jun 24, 11:43 PM
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time for so called Intellectual Reviewers to write the Perfect Story
 
 
Jun 25, 3:28 AM
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I might actually start writing my idea that I've had for a while. Maybe I won't win but I can make edits and see if I can improve anything even after the writing contest is over
 
Jun 25, 5:04 AM

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I hb borkun engleech sry cnt particonstipate~
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Jun 25, 5:24 AM
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Ahhh, this is such a wonderful contest! Thank you! I'm going to try my hand at it! <3 <3 <3




I am forever your most devoted believer.


 
Jun 25, 5:59 AM

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Well this looks interesting...

*reads rules/eligibility*
"Has an engaging cover. (Not limited to artistic talent.)"

..well, I can't draw....or use Photoshop....or do any better than a scribble in Microsoft Paint. I can maybe take a bunch of images from a search engine and make a collage but that's about it.
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Jun 25, 7:01 AM
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NOOOOOO YOU HAVE TO BE 18 THIS IS SO SAD
 
Jun 25, 7:21 AM
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I have a question. Is it possible for the novel to be written by two authors? If so, would it be possible to be submitted if one of the authors was over 18 and the other one wasn't?
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Jun 25, 7:53 AM
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StormSky92 said:
Well this looks interesting...

*reads rules/eligibility*
"Has an engaging cover. (Not limited to artistic talent.)"

..well, I can't draw....or use Photoshop....or do any better than a scribble in Microsoft Paint. I can maybe take a bunch of images from a search engine and make a collage but that's about it.
I am checking it out now, and apparently there is a neat feature in the site that allows you to make your own book cover. There are some templates to work from as well.
 
Jun 25, 9:56 AM

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If anyone above 18 needs an idea please tell me I got any idea but I am underage. Pretty mediocre idea. Here are the tags #War #Alien #Sci-fi it is kinda mecha.
 
 
Jun 25, 10:29 AM
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Kineta said:
the MAL community will decide who wins!

You sure it's a good idea? They most likely won't be fair. Better let the professionals from Kodansha decide.

@Kineta I hope MAL sponsors give a thought to some kind of audio/music content related contest as well. This is more up my alley.
Modified by Frostwork, Jun 25, 10:50 AM
 
Jun 25, 10:54 AM

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Frostwork said:
Kineta said:
the MAL community will decide who wins!

You sure it's a good idea? They most likely won't be fair. Better let the professionals from Kodansha decide.


I'd expect the people from Kodansha want something that would sell, and what better way to find that out than leaving the decision to the audience. Also they're going to pick out the top 50 anyways, so I'm assuming they'll pick the ones they'd be ready to publish regardless of the votes.
 
Jun 25, 11:03 AM
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superguy282 said:
I'd expect the people from Kodansha want something that would sell, and what better way to find that out than leaving the decision to the audience.

It's the Japanese audience they would want to sell it. The tastes of that audience might and probably are quite different.
superguy282 said:
regardless of the votes.

Then why the voting at all? Also, 50(!) high-quality publishing-suitable works - you are being very optimistic here I think. Surely they'll pick out 50, but of the best available, not the best actual.
Modified by Frostwork, Jun 25, 11:11 AM
 
Jun 25, 11:31 AM

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Ceo0fSimps said:
I might actually start writing my idea that I've had for a while. Maybe I won't win but I can make edits and see if I can improve anything even after the writing contest is over


Not if they don't change the rules not to take all your rights just for submitting you can't.

Mods are asking us to wait to judge them until they offer up fair rules. Likewise, I think it's smart for any interested author to wait to consider submitting till they see these supposedly fairer terms.

Even 5K for all rights is abysmal.


 
Jun 25, 12:23 PM

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I am super tempted to go for it. I've been cooking this idea in my head for a few years now, and it's about time I set it free.

Oh, I just thought of something. If our novel happens to win, do we still retain the rights to it? As in, would I be able to make a sequel without having to trip over a thousand lawyers?
Modified by Zelkiiro, Jun 25, 12:30 PM

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Jun 25, 12:24 PM
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Netbug said:
Ceo0fSimps said:
I might actually start writing my idea that I've had for a while. Maybe I won't win but I can make edits and see if I can improve anything even after the writing contest is over


Not if they don't change the rules not to take all your rights just for submitting you can't.

Mods are asking us to wait to judge them until they offer up fair rules. Likewise, I think it's smart for any interested author to wait to consider submitting till they see these supposedly fairer terms.

Even 5K for all rights is abysmal.
Thanks for responding. I only read the initial post, but now I read the other replies. I will wait to see all the rules, thank you for making me check all the other comments 🙏
 
Jun 25, 2:03 PM

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I’m sure that writing an isekai LN improves my odds of winning significantly, as that stuff is hot shit atm.
 
Jun 25, 3:02 PM
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Can people from Latin America (and know how to write in English) participate, too?
 
Jun 25, 3:27 PM

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Zelkiiro said:
I am super tempted to go for it. I've been cooking this idea in my head for a few years now, and it's about time I set it free.

Oh, I just thought of something. If our novel happens to win, do we still retain the rights to it? As in, would I be able to make a sequel without having to trip over a thousand lawyers?


With the current contract, you would not be able to. It's been addressed in the thread in depth, but even if you don't win, just by participating you're handing over the rights to everything. You don't even have to win.

Article 5, in fine:
"By submitting any novel or other content as part of this contest, you expressly grant, and you represent and warrant that you have a right to grant, to Sponsors a worldwide, sublicensable, transferable, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, license to use, reproduce, publish, list information regarding, translate, publicly display, and make derivative works of all such novel(s) and content in whole or in part, and in any form, media or technology, whether now known or hereafter developed, without any further consent, notice and/or compensation to you or others."
 
Jun 25, 5:15 PM
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BornToFight said:
If anyone above 18 needs an idea please tell me I got any idea but I am underage. Pretty mediocre idea. Here are the tags #War #Alien #Sci-fi it is kinda mecha.

Hey, fellow writer here. Please don't do that. Even if you think it is mediocre it may actually be a great idea. By giving it to someone else you would lose all the recognition attached to it. My advice for you is to develop that idea so that you can do something with it once you are 18. Best of luck
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Jun 25, 6:47 PM
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Netbug said:
Waiting, but this isn't my first rodeo with publishers trying to exploit young writers like this. If you're sincere, I would advice not advertising for people to "start writing" for the contest until you have fair terms for them. The fact that such an agreement was approved in the first place and is only getting potentially fixed because someone called you on it means at the very least this was planned with a great deal of ignorance at the helm.

like maybe you guys legit didn't realize but there's no way in hell two publishing companies signed off on this without knowing exactly what they were doing

I appreciate you've been burned in the past. However, this is a very simple mistake that has been blown out of proportion. If you read the section following the one you quoted, it says, "If your novel is selected for adaptation and publication, additional agreement(s) will be required in connection with the adaptation and publication." There was never an intent to "waive all rights."

If by "two publishing companies" you mean Kodansha, then you can see again in the rules (following the paragraph you quoted) that Kodansha is only involved by agreeing to review Japanese translations of the top winning works. They are not listed in the sponsors and they are not bound in any way by the contest rules.

I will ask again for your patience. Assumptions only lead to the spread of misinformation.
 
 
Jun 25, 7:21 PM

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Kineta said:
Netbug said:
Waiting, but this isn't my first rodeo with publishers trying to exploit young writers like this. If you're sincere, I would advice not advertising for people to "start writing" for the contest until you have fair terms for them. The fact that such an agreement was approved in the first place and is only getting potentially fixed because someone called you on it means at the very least this was planned with a great deal of ignorance at the helm.

like maybe you guys legit didn't realize but there's no way in hell two publishing companies signed off on this without knowing exactly what they were doing

I appreciate you've been burned in the past. However, this is a very simple mistake that has been blown out of proportion. If you read the section following the one you quoted, it says, "If your novel is selected for adaptation and publication, additional agreement(s) will be required in connection with the adaptation and publication." There was never an intent to "waive all rights."

If by "two publishing companies" you mean Kodansha, then you can see again in the rules (following the paragraph you quoted) that Kodansha is only involved by agreeing to review Japanese translations of the top winning works. They are not listed in the sponsors and they are not bound in any way by the contest rules.

I will ask again for your patience. Assumptions only lead to the spread of misinformation.


The entire anime community has been burned before, actually, by something very similar to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfvWvKHxUmo

Nobody is assuming anything though. These are the rules that MAL, and more concerningly professional publishing group Honeyfeed, saw as acceptable, and the all-rights issue is only the tip of the iceberg of issues here.

Like, don't get me started on expecting authors to serialize a full-length novel in the next two months with the chance of winning only 5K. That's essentially asking writers to drop everything and commit to writing a novel exclusively for this one platform on the chance of getting paid and being offered an unknowable contract a full-time job.

I really wanna believe MAL went into this with good intentions, but it's a mess all around, and while it may be understandable if you guys at MAL didn't realize it, Honeyfeed either was fully aware what they were doing or has no business claiming they know anything about writing or publishing, much less enough to get Kodansha to pay attention to any of their works.

Sorry, but there's no way this even made it to release without someone knowing it was unreasonable or exploitative. Maybe it wasn't on MAL's end, but telling users to be patient while you guys scramble to throw a bandage on a head wound isn't a good look.


 
Jun 25, 10:58 PM
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Netbug said:
EddyFiend said:
Good luck to all who are participating!! This is a fantastic opportunity for any aspiring writers.


No. No it is not. It's a fantastic way for a publishing company to exploit young writers who don't know what they're worth, and shame on MAL for being part of it.

For one, writers give up full rights to their work just for submitting:



Even if it was only full rights release for winners, 5K for all rights, adaptation rights, and no future royalties is absolutely horrid.

Any author experienced enough to write a high-quality >45k novel in 3 months can do better than these predatory terms.

Totally agree with you there, I'm a young writer and after reviewing that I noped out of that real quick, and I thought I had seen some rather exploitive contracts.
This contract isn't exploitation it's downright borderline extortion.
 
 
Jun 25, 11:42 PM

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Looks interesting, unfortunately my English isn't that good and I don't have much free time. Good luck to everyone participating.


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Jun 25, 11:54 PM
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I might as well give it a shot.
 
Jun 26, 3:09 AM
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Minaa gambare!!
 
Jun 26, 6:11 AM
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How many chapters or pages need to write? Any minimum number
 
Jun 26, 7:22 AM
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robinaa said:
How many chapters or pages need to write? Any minimum number
minimum 45000 words
 
Jun 26, 9:06 AM
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Seems fun! I wanna be an author so even if I don’t win completely, I’ll still be making stuff ✌️😅
 
Jun 26, 11:20 AM

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wow this is a cool idea might participate honestly this is why MAL is superior
 
Jun 26, 12:22 PM
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Update June 26
Please note that we have updated the contest rules. A paragraph suggesting contestants waived all rights was included by mistake and is now removed. The previous version of the rules stated that winners would receive a new contract, should their novel be chosen for adaptation, and this remains. We apologize for any alarm caused by our poor review and thank you for bringing it to our attention so that we could correct it.

We encourage you to read the rules again before the contest opens on July 5.
 
 
Jun 26, 12:38 PM
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gabotinus316 said:
I have a question. Is it possible for the novel to be written by two authors? If so, would it be possible to be submitted if one of the authors was over 18 and the other one wasn't?
Sorry, it's not possible. This what it means by "no collaborations" in the eligibility checklist. It makes it difficult to give out prizes when more than one person is involved.

Frostwork said:
@Kineta I hope MAL sponsors give a thought to some kind of audio/music content related contest as well. This is more up my alley.
If you have any ideas for the type of contest you'd like to see, please let me know. We've done a karaoke contest already, is this what you mean?

Zelkiiro said:
Oh, I just thought of something. If our novel happens to win, do we still retain the rights to it? As in, would I be able to make a sequel without having to trip over a thousand lawyers?
Yes, if you win the contest, the novel is still yours. However, should your novel be chosen for publication by Kodansha, then you will receive a new contract which may affect this answer.

MENDEZsantos said:
Can people from Latin America (and know how to write in English) participate, too?
Yep!
 
Jun 26, 2:31 PM
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I have a question about five themes. Are we gonna learn them on 5th July or is it written somewhere i couldn't see yet. If they're announced and written in a place please tell me so that i can think about my story ^^
 
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Amygirl90 said:
I have a question about five themes. Are we gonna learn them on 5th July or is it written somewhere i couldn't see yet. If they're announced and written in a place please tell me so that i can think about my story ^^

https://mhwc.myanimelist.net/#themes
A cool quotation was supposed to be here.
 
Jun 26, 4:08 PM
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What happens if I don't have/know how to make a cover?
We have to start publishing the chapters of the novel right after the contest begins, or can we start publishing them anytime from July 5 to September 5 (without publishing them all at the same time, of course)?
Also, when they say "the chapters cannot be to long nor to short", what do they mean exactly?
Thanks in advance, I know these are a lot of questions.
 
Jun 26, 6:44 PM

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Hello,

I understand there are no collaborations, but to my assumption, that's only for the writing segment, correct? Are we allowed to hire/commission/let an artist create the cover for us?

 
 
Jun 26, 8:29 PM
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MENDEZsantos said:
What happens if I don't have/know how to make a cover?

This might help you:
anime-prime said:
I am checking it out now, and apparently there is a neat feature in the site that allows you to make your own book cover. There are some templates to work from as well.

We have to start publishing the chapters of the novel right after the contest begins, or can we start publishing them anytime from July 5 to September 5 (without publishing them all at the same time, of course)?
You can start publishing them whenever you're ready to. Just the first chapter cannot be before July 5.

Also, when they say "the chapters cannot be to long nor to short", what do they mean exactly?
Thanks in advance, I know these are a lot of questions.
I checked the Honeyfeed Discord and some mentioned 1.5K~3K words per chapter is a good length? I don't see anything specific but I think the point is to avoid extremes. Where I checked: https://discord.gg/mgp6tAzu

And no problem!

ExquisiteDamsel said:
I understand there are no collaborations, but to my assumption, that's only for the writing segment, correct? Are we allowed to hire/commission/let an artist create the cover for us?
Hiring/commissioning an artist should be fine. In that case, you own the art and the artist has no "stake" in your entry submission, as it were.
 
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