Monday, February 1, 2010

February Secret Agent Contest!

It's that time again! Submissions for our next Secret Agent contest will post on Monday, February 8, at noon EST.


* Submissions will be open for 24 hours or until 50 eligible entries have been received, WHICHEVER COMES FIRST.
* Submissions received before the contest opens will be disqualified.
* Submissions are for COMPLETED MANUSCRIPTS ONLY. If you wouldn't want an agent to read the entire thing, DON'T SEND IT. If an "entire thing" doesn't exist, you shouldn't even be reading these rules.
* Manuscripts THAT HAVE BEEN IN A SECRET AGENT CONTEST DURING THE PAST SIX MONTHS (August-January) will not be accepted.
* You may submit A DIFFERENT MANUSCRIPT if you've participated in any of the 2009 Secret Agent contests.
* Only ONE ENTRY per person per contest. If you send more than one, your subsequent entry(ies) will be deleted.
* If you are PAST WINNER, please DO NOT ENTER THIS CONTEST. (Unless it's a different manuscript.)
* Submissions are for THE FIRST 250 WORDS of your manuscript. Please do not stop in the middle of a

Your submission for this contest should be formatted as follows:


(Followed by the excerpt here.)

* No "chapter one," chapter titles, etc.
* You will receive a confirmation email with your post number. I don't always get through quickly. Don't resend.
* Submissions go to facelesswords(at) They DO NOT GO to my authoressmail address. Those of you who are subscribed to this blog via email will note the latter address as the "from." If you use this address for the contest, I WILL NOT SEE YOUR SUBMISSION.

This month's contest will include the following genres:
  • literary fiction
  • young adult fiction
  • science fiction
  • mystery and suspense
  • historical fiction
(Please note: No middle grade this time.)

As always, post your questions in the comment box.


  1. At the risk of sounding very stupid (I just discovered this site two days ago), I have two questions. First, is it acceptable to submit something that's currently on submission, or would that be in poor taste? Second, what's the prize? Do the agents actually request pages for those that they like?

  2. Hi Kaitlyne!

    Submitting something that's already on submission with agents is not in poor taste. And prizes have ranged from query/chapter critiques to requests for full. I always let it up to the Secret Agents to choose their own prizes.

    You can browse through past contests (see "winners" tag) to see what the various prizes have been.

    Welcome to the blog!

  3. Kaitlyne...speaking as a previous winner, this contest is totally worth it. The prize in the month that I won was a request for a partial, which turned into a request for a full, which has now turned into a "please revise this and resubmit" request. I've noticed that each month, the prizes and number of winners differ. One of the best parts of entering, though, is that you will get some fabulous feedback from a bunch of other writers. The critiques I got from the November '09 contest were invaluable. MSFV readers are super talented, and exceptionally helpful with their comments. Can't wait to critique and read again!
    And I wanted to publicly thank Authoress for this contest, and publicly let her know of my "almost success" after my win in November. THANK YOU!!!! I'm still plugging away at my revisions and the MS (with any luck) be ready to resubmit soon! I'll keep you posted :)

  4. Would mystery/suspense include thrillers? My experience has been that for some agents, it does and others it doesn't. Normally if I saw this on an agent's list, I would check their prior sales to give me a better idea.


  5. awesome!
    I assume by using "science fiction" that precludes fantasy, yes?

  6. Does historical fiction also include historical romance?

  7. So Authoress...I see young adult AND sci-fi there. Will you be entering yours? :)

    (That's just a rhetorical question, by the way. No need for a response...unless you want to :))

  8. Nope. There's no way to do it fairly, so I don't do it. =)

    Colleen -- Ask yourself if you would query an agent with your project who listed it this way. If so, go ahead and enter. =)

    Edward -- I can't speak for the Secret Agent, but I would think so. Go ahead and enter.

  9. I got so excited that I got my e-mail submission set up, and instead of pressing "Save Draft", I hit "Send". Oops. It got booted back. Hopefully I can act as quickly when the contest actually begins!

  10. Alright, thanks guys. I think I'll enter (requiring I get in early enough). Unfortunately for me noon is the middle of the night and I'm asleep. A bit nervous about it, but the feedback alone might make it worthwhile, even if I probably don't stand much chance of winning.

  11. I second Falen's question - is fantasy included (specifically, urban fantasy)?

    Thank you so much for hosting the contests!


  12. This is cool. My favorite part has to be this:

    "Submissions are for THE FIRST 250 WORDS of your manuscript. Please do not stop in the middle of a"

    Cracks me up!

  13. Hi Authoress -

    I have a stupid question. Can we not send our submissions until 2/8, or did the contest actually start on 2/1? I couldn't figure it out based on what the post said :)


  14. Submissions open precisely at noon EST on February 8.

    As for fantasy; your call. It says "YA fiction" and does NOT say "no fantasy." =)

  15. Two questions:

    1. Should my screen name be the same as the one that would appear if I left a comment?

    2. Should there be something in the Subject line of the e-mail?


  16. 1. Yes
    2. SECRET AGENT somewhere in there

  17. Hopefully my principal won't be choosing to do a walk-through in my classroom as I hover over my computer with my trigger finger over the send button. :)

  18. Just sent. Thanks, Authoress!