Monday, July 14, 2008

Call For Submissions: Can you hook a SECRET AGENT?

It's here! Our first Are You Hooked? featuring a Secret Agent is officially off and running.

Please read the submission guidelines carefully! Because I'm expecting an increase in submissions this time, I'm going to have to disqualify any submissions that don't follow the guidelines.

It's not that I don't love you. It's just that we need to "play fair."

Here are the guidelines (note: ONE submission per author, please):

*Submit the FIRST PAGE of a COMPLETED MANUSCRIPT in any genre EXCEPT erotica.
*Please make sure your word count does not exceed 250. Period.
*Expletives will be "bleeped" at my discretion.
*Include the TITLE and GENRE of your work.
*All posts will be anonymous. But please include a SCREEN NAME that will easily identify you (for the purpose of announcing the winner).
*Email your entry to facelesswords(at) with ARE YOU HOOKED in the subject line. Please, no attachments.
*All entries MUST BE RECEIVED (time stamped) by Thursday, July 17, at 9:00 AM EDT.
*By submitting your work to me, you are giving implicit permission for me to post your work on this blog and to allow others to read and comment on your work.

I will begin posting the submissions on Thursday, July 17, after the contest has closed.

Post any questions here.

Now, how is this contest going to work, you ask?

A very kind literary agent from a reputable agency in NYC has graciously accepted my invitation to be our Secret Agent in the comment boxes. The Secret Agent will post feedback on each entry, so each participant will be receiving valuable input!

Here's the caveat: If you've entered the contest, you need to take the time to leave feedback for others. In fact, I'm feeling so adamant about this that I'm going to say: IF THE CHOSEN WINNER HASN'T LEFT AT LEAST FIVE CRITIQUES FOR OTHERS, THE PRIZE IS FORFEIT.

Ouch! But truly, I want to get across the importance of give-and-take here.

Our Secret Agent is going to choose one entry as the best. In other words, the winner will have effectively HOOKED our Secret Agent!

The winner will be announced on Monday, July 21. The fabulous prize, straight from the hands of our Secret Agent, will also be announced at this time. (Yep, I know what it is. Nope, I'm not telling.)

The identity of our Secret Agent will also be unveiled on the 21st.

I think that about covers it! I'm awfully excited about this, and look forward to reading your entries.

Sharpen your quills! Warm up your fingers! And best wishes to each of you.


  1. Authoress- We are on a 1 submission limit, correct?

  2. THANK YOU for pointing that out! Yes, one submission per person, please. I will add that to the above post.


  3. Polished, kissed for luck, and sent! Now I'll be holding my breath until Friday...

  4. Do the manuscripts just have to be completed - as in not half-written?

    Or by 'completed', do you mean they have to be polished and final draft quality?

  5. Ditto that question, I have some friends who wanted to join but who either have rough manuscripts (so is mine, lets be honest, if it were polished I'd be querying already) and one has a short story.

    Usually those are okay....

  6. Should the screen name be one already associated with our name, or something new?

  7. Good questions.

    The reason I've stressed "finished" manuscripts (as in, the story is actually completed) is that feedback will be MOST helpful on finished pieces. Agents aren't interested in reading first pages or first chapters of books of which the rest doesn't exist yet. Starting a novel is one thing; FINISHING a novel is another.

    As for "polished and perfect;" well, do we EVER achieve that? ;) But again, I'm simply encouraging you all to put your best foot forward. We've got an excellent agent in our midst ready and willing to critique our work. So make it something you'd be confident querying.

    Maybe it's not a "final" draft, and that's OK. But make sure it's not something you scribbled onto your placemat during breakfast yesterday morning, either.

    Our Secret Agent is sacrificing personal time for us. So let's make it worth the agent's while. :)

    And while most agents don't represent short stories, if you've got a completed one that you're proud of and you want some feedback on the first page, by all means submit it!

  8. Mary,

    It's up to you. Continuity is always a good thing, but I want everyone to be comfortable. The main thing is that if our Secret Agent chooses your entry as the strongest, I want to be able to positively identify you!

  9. Entry sent! So excited for this. :-)

  10. Thank you for the clarification, Authoress. I'm bullying, er, convincing some friends to submit something. I think they're all fabulous writers, but they're all a bit shy...

  11. Great. The winner will be announced the first day of my five-day camping trip to the middle of the nowhere.
    On the bright will make my vacation seem really, really long.


  12. Oh, poor Anonymous! Maybe you can have a friend check the blog and text your cell phone? Or are you going to be to far out of range for even that?

  13. Aahhh, cell phone. Yessss.
    I will be in range of a cell tower, and I should be able to log on from there to read the winner.
    Thank goodness for modern technology.

  14. Hi Authoress,

    Obsessive Compulsive Author here.

    Will we receive confirmation that our entries were received? Should we requery or ask you to check your spam filter at any point before Friday?

  15. Err... umm.. still obssessing...

    I know that you've worked with my formatting before and done a wonderful job of getting it into the blog.

    Now I'm wondering what would make your job easiest for italics lovers like me.

    Do you prefer html email? RTF attachments? Word docs? No formatting and Wulf crying in the corner?

  16. Well, hello, Obsessive Compulsive Author (LOL!)...

    You will receive confirmation telling you which post number yours will be. If you don't receive confirmation within 12 hours or so, please let me know in the comment box here.

    As for you remember how you sent last time when there were problems? Don't do that again LOL

    Seriously, I don't know much about gmail. I'm thinking html would be better, because it seems like the Word documents mess up. Or do I have that backward??

    Someone who knows please offer your expertise here!

    But no, please no attachments. Please. I don't like them. Won't open them.

    Normally I'd offer to fix, but submissions within these first few hours is already higher than all our previous "Hooked" campaigns.


  17. Oh, thanks for the clarification about one ms.

    Looking forward to it!

  18. Okday, now panicking. If we do need to use Italics, how to do put the in? (original doc is word format.....) Yuna

  19. This is exciting! I've never participated in anything like this before. Thanks for the opportunity.

  20. Yuna -- Don't panic. :) If something comes out funky, I promise I will do my best to make it readable.

    I promise. :)

    Christy -- It's my pleasure. I think. LOL

  21. Finished MS, huh? Can do. ;) Actually, I was kind of curious about a SF opener but will look over the lot...

    Looking forward to this, Authoress!


  22. I've subbed....had a slight variation of the subject in the email - you'll still get it, right? Looking forward to everyone's entries! Yuna

  23. Yuna,

    I'll get it. So long as you sent it to facelesswords(at)

    Go have a cuppa coffee. :)

  24. At this late hour? I've drunk my milk. Bedtime soon. Yuna (will wait patiently for confiramation of entry)

  25. Did you get mine yet?

  26. I sent!
    So excited for this... My manuscript is not 100% completed yet, but I think this contest is going to be very helpful in the long run.

  27. Oo, we're open! Hoorah!

    *off to submit*

  28. Yay! I'm excited to see how many entries this is getting. :D

  29. Wow, what a great opportunity - thanks!

  30. All righty, I've got a teensy little question here that may prove fussy and difficult to answer.

    Now, I fully plan to submit something to this contest if I can, as I do have a finished--though not entirely polished--manuscript. The problem comes in at the genre.

    Though it’s not erotica, my manuscript is a romance. As a romance, it has a number of love scenes, none of which are more graphic than you’d find at Barnes & Noble; in fact, probably less so. However, the romance—and the couple—is quite…“kinky.” Though it’s not an erotica piece, this could still prove a bother, as sometimes “erotica” is used as a blanket to mean “none of any of this, even if it’s not solely sexual.” I can totally understand if this is the context in which it’s used, but if my kinky romance could slip in, that would be fantastic.

    I just thought I’d ask before I submitted so as not to inconvenience anyone. Thanks in advance for taking the time to answer me!


  31. Magda,

    I appreciate your sensitivity. I do want to keep this board as "PG" as possible.

    In that light, is your opening 250-word excerpt "kinky?" If I were to read it, would I be inclined to give it that blanket "erotica" coverage?

    If so, then I probably wouldn't feel comfortable posting it here.

    Not sure? Send it in, and I'll let you know.

    I'd like for you to have the feedback opportunity. But I also need to keep my "blog standards" consistent.

    At any rate, a thousand thank-yous for asking first! :)

  32. Wow! I just wanted to say how great it is to see so much interest! Way to go, Authoress! I won't be submitting anything (already have my agent), but I will help with critique.

    Woo hoo, everyone! This is going to be awesome. Good luck!

  33. My problem was which opener to submit. I write several at once and I have one polished, 4 in re-write and two almost there. So went with the polished one, even though I don't feel it's my best opener(I've overhauled it at least ten times), but it is the opener that I need the most feedback on. So there you go. What's really funny, is that this one orginally started with that battle scene you really despise, Authoress, but I changed that a couple months ago. This should be fun. Can't wait to see what all of you have submitted.

  34. Oh, no, that first section is tamer than Miss Spider. *snigger* Sorry, watching the little sister.

    But yeah, it's not anything bad. So I suppose that I shall go on and submit it! Thank you for helping me out, there!


  35. Yes, submit, Magda! :D

    Heh, well, mine is semi-gross (according to feedback ;))... lots of body parts *cough*. I think we'll have quite the variety here. :D

  36. Okay... I sent mine in. Twice. I forgot to put my screen name on the first one so I resent it.

    BTW I wasn't sure if hell would be considered an expletive so I changed to heck. Although the piece sounds better with hell.

    Thanks for hosting this contest..

  37. Sent mine in as well. Now, to wait...

  38. Our screen name and title/genre don't count towards the 250 word count, do they?
    Thanks for doing this contest!

  39. I jsut submitted mine - now I am testing how to post...

  40. So... how many entries so far?

    I'm guessing 78. :)

    *chomps popcorn*

  41. What a fantastic competition. Wow 65 already I will enter immediately.

  42. 65 AND counting?
    hehe. I can't wait to read 'em all.

  43. Thanks for creating such a neat contest! What if we are away the week of the 21st? Can we still participate and critique until then? I wanna play!

  44. WOW! That's quite a few entries, and I would imagine still growing. Thanks for this opportunity, I can't wait to read everyone's work.

    :) Terri

  45. 65? Yay! Lots of openers to read over the weekend.

  46. Anon at 11:01 --

    Yes, by all means participate. You just won't be here to see the "unveiling" live.


  47. ACK! Google Mail just went down.


    This is unkind...

  48. Sounds like a blast. Looking forward to the openers.

    Hopefully Google Mail will come back up soon.

  49. When will we have access to view them all so we can leave feedback?

  50. I'll post them on Thursday! If Google Mail ever comes back up, that is...

    *grumble grumble*

  51. I'm on gmail this very moment. Is it back up and working for you?

    Are you away from home? Sometimes work firewalls seem to make my gmail twitchy.

    You might try restarting your browser or your whole computer.

    Good luck!

  52. Thanks, H.L. -- It's up and running again all by itself, with nary a reboot.

    Just in time for me to eat lunch without angst!

  53. Authoress:

    I sent a submission last night. Let me know if it didn't come thru.


  54. LMT,

    I have sent confirmation emails to all submitters, and I'm all caught up. So if you haven't heard from me, I did not receive it. I've checked my spam box and there isn't anything in there. Maybe my response is in your spam box...?

  55. A-hah! I know what you did, LMT. You sent it to the wrong email address.

    Please re-submit your entry to facelesswords(at)

    You still have plenty of time! :)

  56. Yikes. I am resending to the CORRECT address. How embarrassing .

  57. hoping my entry gets through

  58. I am really disapointed. In the rules it stated that you were to send your first page of a completed manuscript.

    However I have seen several pieces saying they are short fiction. Which is not a manuscript, by any interuptation.