Exploring the art of prose


CRAFT First Chapters Contest


2021 CRAFT First Chapters Contest
Guest Judge: Masie Cochran of Tin House

Thank you to all writers who sent first chapters to our 2021 CRAFT First Chapters Contest.

Our goal is to contact all writers by September 30, 2021. We want to give your work back to you as quickly as possible if it is not advancing; by the middle of July, we will start to release entries. We hope to have a longlist decided by late September. We hope to have a shortlist of finalists to Masie Cochran by October 1, with decisions made and winners announced by early November. We hope to publish the winning excerpts in December.


Masie Cochran is the Editorial Director at Tin House. Before coming to Tin House, she worked at InkWell Management Literary Agency in New York, NY.

Founded in 2010, The Artful Editor is an editorial agency that helps writers elevate their prose and prepare their manuscripts for agent submission and publication. We offer honest manuscript reviews, developmental editing, copyediting, and one-on-one coaching. Our team is comprised of seasoned book editors, published authors, and former in-house editors, many of whom also edit for major publishing houses and independent presses. We’re based in Los Angeles, California, but work with writers from all over the world and at every stage of their careers. You can find us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Beth Marshea is the owner and Lead Agent at Ladderbird Literary Agency. She has a BA in Literature and a Masters in Business Administration and is always looking for new and exciting ways to bring more diversity into publishing and beyond. Her tastes are wide ranging from Adult all the way to Picture Books in both fiction and nonfiction. Some the books she has championed include Adult fiction like Saving Ruby King and Becoming Sara King by Catherine Adel West, and  Everyman by M Shelly Conner; nonfiction like A Night at the Sweet Gum Head: A Decade of Drag, Drugs and Disco by Martin Padgett, YA like Strictly No Heroics by B.L. Radley, and picture books like The Leaping Laddoo by Harshita Jerath. What really compels her to take a project is a story with an urgency to be told. She wants stories from all communities that show new perspectives and allow honest voices to shine. Outside of agenting, Beth teaches writing in her local community with a focus on bringing reluctant writers and readers into the magical world of books.

Ladderbird is a full-service boutique literary agency out of the Boston area with a passion for bringing marginalized voices to the forefront. We work with authors at all levels to create the right path towards achieving each author’s specific goals. It is our passion to create long lasting relationships and to be the best advocate for our clients. At Ladderbird, we believe in building a supportive community that benefits all.