New Visions Award FAQ
The New Voices Award is open to all authors of color who have not
previously had a children’s picture book published. The winner receives
a cash prize of $1000 and our standard publication contract, including
our basic advance and royalties for a first time author. An Honor winner
will receive a cash prize of $500.
We periodically get some questions about the Award, so I’d like to
answer a few of them if I can:
What does it mean to be a person of color?
Well, that can be a pretty complicated question, but for the purposes of
our New Voices Award specifically, we accept contest entries from people
of African, Asian/Pacific Islander, Latin American, Middle Eastern, or
Native American/Indigenous descent.
Why is the New Voices Award only open to people of color?
The New Voices Award was founded to encourage and support authors of
color in a market where they’ve been traditionally excluded and
underrepresented. That was true in 2000 when the award was started and
it’s still true today (see these stats for some surprising figures about
the number of books published by/for people of color). The New Voices
Award is one of the ways in which we’re trying to close the gap.
**Does Lee & Low** only **publish books by people of color?**
No! Anyone can submit a manuscript to us through our general
submissions. We make a special effort to work with writers and artists
of color because they are still underrepresented, but we recognize that
quality work is not dependent on an author’s ethnicity. For a good
discussion about writing cross-culturally, see this post by Tu Books
Editorial Director Stacy Whitman.
I am a self-published author. May I still submit to the New
No. Self-published children’s authors are welcome to submit through our
general submissions, but only authors who have not been published
before, either traditionally or through self-publishing, are eligible
for this award.
Do I need to find an illustrator to go with my manuscript?
No. In fact, you should not submit your manuscript with any
illustrations. The New Voices Award is for text only – if a book wins,
an illustrator will be chosen and paired with the manuscript at a later
Note: A blog version of our New Voices FAQ with additional questions and
answers can be found [here].