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Our Mission:

The Simon & Schuster adult trade imprint is pleased to announce the second annual BOOKS LIKE US First Novel Contest to facilitate accessibility to underrepresented writers and celebrate the diversity of readers across the United States. As the nation continues to strive for progress, Simon & Schuster aims to help catalyze that change by amplifying voices that represent us, by publishing books like us
A two-week entry period will begin on Tuesday, July 12, 2022. At that time, writers are invited and encouraged to submit 25 pages of an original adult novel via the form on this page. The publisher welcomes inclusive, entertaining, and groundbreaking reads with expert pacing, depth, heart, and irresistible characters who leap from the page. At the end of the submission period, the editorial, marketing, and publicity teams at Simon & Schuster will review all submissions for originality, relevance to today’s publishing climate, and writing quality. In January 2023, the author of the selected novel will be awarded the opportunity to enter into a $50,000 book deal with Simon & Schuster.

Grand Prize Winner: Tara Dorabji, author of FIRE

Tara Dorabji is a writer, radio journalist, mother, filmmaker and Vice President at The Center for Cultural Power, a home for artists and activists. She currently serves on the Advisory Board for Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation. Her work is published in Al JazeeraThe Chicago QuarterlyHuizache, and acclaimed anthologies including: Good Girls Marry Doctors and All the Women in My Family Sing. She received a 2019 & 2021 Arts Commission from the San Francisco Arts Commission for her writing and documentaries on Kashmir. Her award-winning documentary films, Rise from It and Here Still, were screened at film festivals throughout Asia and the USA, including at the Jaipur International Film Festival, the world’s largest competitive film festival. Awards include 2020 Best Short Documentary Film at Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Award for Best Short Documentary Film 2020, Asia’s Best Independent Documentary Film at the All Asia Independent Film Festival 2020, a Silver Medal at the 2020 Asia South East Short Film Festival, and The Debut Filmmaker Award from the Druk International Film Festival in 2020.

Runners Up: Emma Deshpande, author of SPIRAL, and Valentine Marie, author of HYMN FOR THE BROKEN

Emma Deshpande writes about biracial Indian-Irish and queer experiences and questions she wishes she had asked her grandparents. She is currently at work on two novels. Her short fiction has appeared in On the Run, Passengers Journal, and the 2020 anthology More Time. In 2022, she was longlisted for the Granum Foundation Prize. She was shortlisted for the 53rd Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest in 2020 and won the University College London Publisher's Prize in 2018. Her work has received support from Bread Loaf Writers’ Workshop, Aspen Words, A Public Space, One Story, and Tin House. She lived in London for four years and now lives in New York City. You can find her on Instagram @deshpande_writes.


Valentine Marie is a Kenyan-American writer fascinated by stories involving complicated women, families, and homelands. Valentine was a Summer Fellow with the Anaphora Arts Residency and a participant of Tomi Adeyemi’s inaugural cohort of The Writer’s Roadmap. When not revising, Valentine enjoys book clubs, dancing, and solo travelling – her most recent favorite: a summer weekend in Montreal. 



Will the winner receive a book deal? 

The winner will be awarded the opportunity to enter into a $50,000 book deal with Simon & Schuster.


Will the winner be paired with a literary agent?

The winner will be provided a list of literary agents who have expressed interest in representation to choose from. The winner is also welcome to search for an agent on their own. Our intention is to allow the winner the option of signing with an agent of their choice.


Can I submit my young adult novel? 

We are only accepting adult fiction. 


Can I submit my novel in another language, other than English?

The submission must be in English. 


If I am a writer who isn’t 18, can I still enter? 

Participants must be at least 18 years of age. 


Are you accepting submissions from international writers? 

No, the contest is open only to residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia.


What if I have previously self-published my manuscript?

Self-published manuscripts are not eligible at this time.


If I submitted last year, can I resubmit?

Yes! If you participated in Gallery’s Books Like Us in 2021, you’re welcome to enter this contest provided the manuscript was never published by any third party or self-published, and otherwise complies with the Guidelines and Restrictions in the Official Rules.


Must my 25-page submission be the opening pages from a completed manuscript?

Yes, that’s correct. Semifinalists will be notified on or about October 18, 2022 and will have one week from notification to submit their final manuscript. For that reason, we recommend that entrants fine-tune their completed manuscripts prior to October.


SIMON & SCHUSTER, the flagship imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc., was founded in 1924 and has remained as a cornerstone of the company and one of the most venerated brand names in publishing. Among its award-winning and culturally influential works are All the President’s Men by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, Parting the Waters by Taylor Branch, No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin,; Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, Truman by David McCullough, Chosen by Chaim Potok, A Book of Common Prayer by Joan Didion, Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis, Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher, Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Simon & Schuster also publishes scores of bestselling and critically acclaimed fiction writers, including John Irving, Mary Higgins Clark, Nicholson Baker, Alice Hoffman, James Lee Burke, Martin Cruz Smith, and Marianne Wiggins. Simon & Schuster’s fiction program seeks to publish an array of voices, and recent notable novels include The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan, The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave, Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday, Ohio by Stephen Markley, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton, Hark by Sam Lipsyte, The Caregiver by Samuel Park, and Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson.


Simon & Schuster, Inc., a Paramount company, is a global leader in general interest publishing, dedicated to providing the best in fiction and nonfiction for readers of all ages, and in all printed, digital, and audio formats. Its distinguished roster of authors includes many of the world’s most popular and widely recognized writers, and winners of the most prestigious literary honors and awards. It is home to numerous well-known imprints and divisions such as Simon & Schuster, Scribner, Atria Books, Gallery Books, Adams Media, Avid Reader Press, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, and Simon & Schuster Audio and international companies in Australia, Canada, India, and the United Kingdom, and proudly brings the works of its authors to readers in more than 200 countries and territories. For more information visit our website at