Monday, September 13, 2010

September Secret Agent Early Info

It's that time again!

Please note: This is NOT the call for submissions! The contest will open NEXT Monday, September 20.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES (please read carefully):

* There will be TWO SEPARATE SUBMISSION WINDOWS. Each window will be open for 2 hours and will receive a maximum of 25 entries. This is to accommodate my other-side-of-the-globe readers.
* SUBMISSION WINDOW #1: Monday, September 20, NOON to 2:00 PM EDT or 25 entries, WHICHEVER COMES FIRST.
*SUBMISSION WINDOW #2: Monday, September 20, 7:00 to 9:00 PM EDT or 25 entries, WHICHEVER COMES FIRST.
*2 alternates will be chosen from the second submission window.
*PLEASE NOTE: You are responsible for figuring out your own time zone. "Time Zone differences" are NOT a reason for not getting your entry in.
* Submissions received before the contest opens will be rejected.
* 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 (March-August) will not be accepted.
* You may submit A DIFFERENT MANUSCRIPT if you've participated in any previous Secret Agent contests.
* Only ONE ENTRY per person per contest. If you send more than one, your subsequent entry(ies) will be rejected.
* If you are a 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:

SCREEN NAME: Your Screen Name Here
TITLE: Your Title Here
GENRE: Your Genre Here

(Followed by the excerpt here.)

* No "chapter one," chapter titles, etc.
* You will receive a confirmation email with your post number.
* Submissions go to authoress.submissions(at) They DO NOT GO to my facelesswords address. Or any other address.
*PLAIN TEXT is your best bet! And if you receive a rejection notice that claims you didn't include TITLE, etc., please TYPE THE SCREEN NAME, TITLE, AND GENRE BY HAND and resubmit. (In other words, don't copy and paste that part.)

This month's contest will include the following genres:
  • SF/F
  • Historical and paranormal romance
  • MG and YA (including all subgenres)
Shoot your questions below!


  1. Pure awesomeness. I announced and posted link on, and my blog. Hopefully this will help spread the word. Thank you for all you do. You're amazing. I really appreciate all of your hard work. Have a super day!

  2. Yay! I was hoping to enter this month's contest, and luckily, my genre's listed!

    Question for you, Authoress: Italics are pretty important on my first page, but plain text strips them. Should I do something else to denote the italicized portions (enclose them with asterisks, maybe?), or is there some way to get italics past the automated system?


  3. Krista, that's a good question, and I'm stumped. I will ask Kato.

    All I know is, I usually end up having to hand-format, which makes me very grumpy! :P But I hear ya on the italics; I've got a novel in which they are very important, too.

    I'll let you know what I find out!

  4. Krista,

    Kato explained that italics, etc., have been stripped right now as we try to fix basic html issues. So no, they won't show up.

    Go ahead and mark them with asterisks. If your entry makes it in, I will hand format.

  5. Quick question: Does SF/F include speculative fiction or urban fantasy?

  6. Is there any word count limit? I'm more interested in the lower end..since I have a few novellas...

  7. B.E. -- It includes everything. :)

    Ju -- Entries must be full-length novels. Most agents will not represent a novella. If I have a secret agent who does, it will be listed along with the genres, so you'll know.

  8. It is very possible that this could be an annoying question, but could a historical fantasy fit the requirements?

  9. Authoress - when you say "winner" do you mean the actual winner of a previous contest, or also the "runner ups" that may have been asked to submit pages?


  10. Any kind of "win" that meant you could submit something to the SA is considered "winner." If you were an "honorable mention" without any prize, you're allowed to submit again.

  11. I honestly can't remember if I subbed the story that I'm thinking of sending. I know I didn't get a request via the Secret Agent, can I still sub??

  12. wow just tried 3 times to submit. i used three different formats just in case and none of them when through. I know I had it in on time because I the third one said the 25 slots were filled but the other two said I did it wrong. HELP,I waited by the computer all morning for this, as I am sure we all did.

  13. Theresa, wow, how frustrating! :(

    Are you sending plain text? What was the EXACT error message?

    If it couldn't read your name/title/genre, then make sure you have the COLONS and also TYPE THIS PART IN BY HAND (instead of cut/paste).

    If it was over word count, make sure you sent PLAIN TEXT ONLY. (The bot reads invisible gobblety-gook as words and adds it to the count.)

    If you want to put in extra time, type THE WHOLE THING BY HAND into an email, and save it as a draft. In plain text.

    Then you will bypass any weird things that your word processor/email client are obviously doing.