Wednesday, February 8, 2012

February Secret Agent Early Info

Wow, this one sneaked up on me!! I apologize for not having posted this on Monday, like I normally do.

Please note: This is NOT the call for submissions! The contest will open next Monday, February 13.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES (please read carefully):

*There are TWO WAYS to enter: a) via email to authoress.submissions(at) OR via web form at
* This month's submissions will be A LOTTERY.  This means that all entries will be assigned a "lottery number" and the bot will choose the winners.  Submissions will open at 9 am EST and will close at 5 pm EST.
* 2 alternates will also be accepted, for a total of 52 entries.
* 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 (August-January) 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 (i.e., offered any kind of prize from a Secret Agent), 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

GO HERE to submit via our web form.

If you choose to submit via email, 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 lottery number.
* Submissions go to authoress.submissions(at) They DO NOT GO to my facelesswords address. Or any other address.
*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:

  • Adult literary
  • Women's fiction
  • MG (all genres)
  • YA (all genres)


  1. It does sneak up, doesn't it? I knew this was coming this month, just didn't know when. Thanks for posting!

  2. I've classified my MS as paranormal women's fiction. Is that open for entry or should I wait for a contest more genre specific. I've been on a roll with stupid questions lately for you'll have to forgive me :)

  3. 250 words as in actual 250 words or 250 words as in one page (which is the formula often used as a guideline for the word count for a complete MS). Sorry if this is a stupid question or has been asked before ... I'm new here.

  4. GhostStory -- I would go ahead and submit it.

    Anon -- 250 actual words. My bot counts them. :) I actually set the word count at 255 to allow for completion of the final sentence. (And no questions are stupid!)

  5. One question I've always wanted to ask. Does the bot count the apostrophe for contractions and possessives for proper mouns as another word?

  6. I have an adult narrative non-fiction completed manuscript. Does that fall within the guidelines of adult literary? Sorry, these new genre designations really confound me!

  7. If mine is paranormal romance (it's a time travel romance) should I do this one or wait until another SA that might be happening later this Spring? I only ask because of the 6 month restriction, so I'd hate to enter if this agent wasn't that interested in that type of story and then next month the SA was all about that :) Thanks!

  8. This is absolutely awesom! Great work!

  9. Yay! Perfect timing, only 9 more pages to go on my full revision. I finally read (and applied) SAVE THE CAT...didn't I read about that book here on your site? If so, thanks!

  10. The advantage of finally throwing in the towel and putting my book up on Kindle ( if anyone's interested) is that I'm finally out of the agent hunt. Until I'm done writing the next one, of course.

    Love these contests, btw.

  11. Hi Authoress,

    Whatever happened with the off-site critiques for the people who didn't make it in to the Baker's Dozen auction? After the first couple of groups, I never saw any more mention of it. I would've been in one of the later YA groups. Did I miss it?

  12. Authoress, I appreciate the lottery idea but I was wondering if we could also ensure that all genres are represented so that there would be 10 slots for X Y and Z etc....Otherwise we will get another avalanche of YA - and while I love YA, I would like to see all the genres adequately represented.

  13. Good luck to all the entrants. I was thinking of putting my query out there, but might wait until next round. The bottom line is that I would not want an agnet to read my MS, it is not yet polished to the extent I would like it to be.

  14. DMcWild -- I don't know, but I doubt it.

    KSZ714 -- Go ahead and submit.

    Angela -- This is a tough call, and I'm leaving it up to you. Paranormal is not on this agent's "wish list", per se, but I would hesitate to say "no" to anything. Bottom line is, are you interested in the feedback, or are you interested in grabbing particular interest from this agent? That's what it boils down to. :)

  15. skywriter -- Yes, you did, and YAY for you!!

    Melinda -- I cancelled them because of the incredibly low response. And I keep forgetting to announce this. o_O

    FIzzbin -- There is absolutely no way to do that. For one thing, I have no control over how many entries come through for each genre. For another thing, what you are suggesting would be incredibly complex to program. Michael is amazing, but he does have a life outside of creating code for my contests. ;)

    Honestly? We can't control what people are writing and submitting, here or anywhere. The bottom line is that there are a lot more of my readers writing YA and MG than there are other genres. I didn't plan it that way, and I believe it's reflective of the market in general.

    Our lottery system is completely randomized and the only fair way to choose 50 entries when there is a large submission pool in a given amount of time. It's not perfect, but it's the best we can do.

  16. Authoress, I'm not sure if it's too late to ask this or not, but this is just the excerpt only, no query letter?

  17. Never a query -- just the first page.

    That's one of the beauties of the SA contests. Skip right to the writing! ;)

  18. Thank you for offering these contests and your blog. Really, you and Michael have a life outside this endeavor. Authoress opens so many doors for writers. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth - just sayin'!