Monday, March 14, 2011

March Secret Agent Early Info

Please note: This is NOT the call for submissions! The contest will open NEXT Monday, March 21.

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, March 21, NOON to 2:00 PM EDT or 25 entries, WHICHEVER COMES FIRST.
* SUBMISSION WINDOW #2: Monday, March 21, 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 (September-February) 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 EXACTLY 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.)
*It doesn't matter what you put in the subject line.  The only thing you MUST NOT do is to use "RE:" The bot will think you are attempting to respond to an email, and will reject you.

As always, there is no fee to enter the Secret Agent contest.

This month's contest will include the following genres:

  • YA and MG (no SF or epic fantasy)
  • Contemporary women's fiction
  • Paranormal romance
  • Urban fantasy
  • Mystery
Questions below!


  1. Ooh, I can't wait to read those subs! My wip isn't ready for public humiliation yet, but I look forward to judiciously and constructively critiquing others!

  2. Authoress,

    There's a bit of a mix up.... Next week is the 21st.... Is the contest next week or on the 28th.

    I know from the past you usually advertise a week before, so you might want to change the date if that is what you mean.

    Thanks again for holding these awesome contests.


  3. Oh Michael, this loss of an hour has me SO discombobulated.... O.O

    Fixing error now...

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I am wondering about the category of "Paranormal Romance". In some contests this includes futuristic or science fiction romances. Since the YA category says "no SF", I'm wondering if in this case "paranormal romance" also excludes futuristic or science fiction. Thank you.

  6. Paranormal romance is usually considered a subgenre of fantasy, not sci/fi. So since this particular agent isn't interested in sci/fi, I'm thinking a paranormal romance that is heavy on the sci/fi elements wouldn't be appealing. Of course, that's not for me to say, so it's your call! :)

  7. Authoress, I'm so sorry to obnoxiously ask a question that will only help me, but...
    I have been struggling to categorize the genre of my ms, and as such need clarification to know whether to submit.

    In a nutshell, my mc, having denied her psychic ability since childhood, must come to accept it when she "witnesses" a murder and realizes her friend's daughter may be in danger. There is just a sliver of romance, and while it may sound like a thriller, I'm told it's more women's fiction in that the emphasis is on the mc's growth and acceptance of her powers, not on the murder or the mystery surrounding it. Again, mia culpa, I don't mean to be a pain. Please advise?

  8. Well, I'm not a genre expert, so I'm not sure how helpful I can be! ;) From your description, it sounds like "women's fiction" would be correct. In the end, when you sell your book, the publisher will decide what to call it. For now, you have to go with what your gut tells you is right.

  9. How awesome! I'm not participating in this round, but I'm hoping to stick around and comment :) For some reason it feels like it's been a while since the last round

  10. Authoress, would my Police Procedural possibly fall under the Mystery category? I'm pretty sure it's a sub-genre. Thanks in advance.

  11. Awesome! Thanks so much for always holding the best contests! :)

  12. So excited about this one. And hope that by posting this comment as Pamelot, that cements it as my screen name?

  13. Your site is a great discovery. Looking forward to reading winning entries. I do have a question: In the rules... "Screen Name?" Do you mean the author's name? The blogsite name? Please advise. Thanks.

  14. Screen name = Whatever name you use when you leave comments here. It's for identification purposes only, and will not be posted with your entry.

  15. I'm so excited! I actually have a finished/polished manuscript and can enter.

    How many of the other entries do we have to comment on? I know there used to be a minimum in order to qualify for a place. Does that still hold?

  16. Checking to see what my screen name comes up as. I have my finger on the trigger; waiting for the 12 o'clock alarm. :) So excited !

  17. Is this open to unagented but published writers too? Sorry if you've said already, I couldn't see anything on your submission guidelines about this though admittedly, it's pre-caffeine o'clock...

  18. Yes, Trixie! So long as you don't submit a previously published work. :)

  19. Hi Authoress,

    When will you be posting the entries? Thanks!

  20. Always on Wednesday morning! :)

  21. Oh noooo--i was rejected over three words. I know this page says no more than 250 words, but i cannot find where the rule is not to go over 255. I didn't want to stop in the middle of my sentence. I already took off the second part of the semi colon. But on a positive note: I was able to really buff up my first 250+ words. Thank you Authoress--until we meet again.

  22. karenlee --

    If you don't use plaint text, the bot may count invisible "junk" that your word processor adds, and counts the junk as words. The word count is always set at 255.

    Try again at 7! Plain text only.

  23. Hi Authoress, I could help sorting out if my novel is women's fiction or general fiction. Do you have a vision of the diffentiator? Thanks for having these contests.

  24. Me again, I left out a key word in my post..."I could *use* help..." Thanks.

  25. I don't think I can help you there. I'm MG/YA all the way, and boast no expertise in the adult market. Perhaps another reader can chime in here...