Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Submission Guidelines For Next Week's SECRET AGENT Contest

Please note (I have to say this): THIS IS NOT A CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS.

Anything emailed prior to the opening of the submission window will be deleted.

(Seriously, it's a good thing that I have to get tough, right? This thing keeps growing out of its pants. Remind me of that if I start to go soft, okay?)

Without further unwarranted tangents:

1. The call will be for the first 250 words of your COMPLETED, EDITED novel.

2. This month's genres are limited to the following:

Suspense, mystery, thriller
YA and MG mystery/thriller, adventure (no SF/F)

3. I will take the first 50 submissions. Period. The "24 hour window" is a thing of the past, as submissions generally fill up in less than 2 hours.

Granted, this is a narrower genre pool. I'm not sure how many mystery and thriller writers will come out of the woodwork for this round, but I'm sure you're out there! Just make sure you submit something polished.

4. Format of submissions (same as ever):



5. Submission email address: facelesswords(at)gmail.com. DO NOT SEND YOUR SUBMISSION TO MY AUTHORESSMAIL address. Email subscribers pay special attention to this, please. Your email subscription comes from the authoressmail account, which is not the submissions address.

Full submission guidelines will be posted when submissions open on Monday.

PLEASE NOTE: There will be a new time for the start of submissions! This is an experiment, as we're dealing with so many time zones. (Bear in mind that, while I'm sure you'd like to be awake when submissions open, it's imperative that I am awake, too, so I can, yanno, run the contest. In short, I can't accommodate everybody, much as I'd like to.)

Submissions will open at 8:00 PM EDT on Monday, March 16. That's 1:00 AM Tuesday morning, London time.

For the rest of you, go HERE to determine the start time in your time zone.

I'm not sure if this will work for me, since it robs me of Monday afternoon for creating posts. But let's give it a whirl and see what happens.

If I drop from exhaustion, you can revive me by sending all sorts of gourmet goodies wrapped in pink cellophane.

Please drop your questions in the box!


  1. Oh darn it! While I wasn't planning to enter, I was hoping to read some YA urban fantasies. Guess I'll have to stick with non-genre YA.

    Good luck everyone!

  2. Hi Authoress,

    You might want to warn your readers there are two EDT options --one Australian and one NY.

    The first time I tried the time zone converter, I got a heart attack.

    Just a heads up!

  3. Well, as my manuscript doesn't fall into one of these genres, I can relax and watch the festivities. I hope with these new 'hoops' that this goes easier on you. If you need any help, us 'relaxing' writers this month would probably all volunteer if you need anything!

    Best of luck to everyone submitting this month!!

  4. What about YA paranormal? Does that count since it isn't considered fantasy? Or is it?

  5. I would say that, if it's straight paranormal, that's a sub-genre of fantasy and would not be included in this month's contest.

    If, however, it crosses genres, and is, say, a mystery with paranormal elements, then I would say, go for it.


  6. RK: 2 EDTs?? What, they're both called the same thing?

    Whose dumb idea was that? :D

    Hopefully folks will just go to the world clock link and figure it all out.

    Hopefully folks will also realize that I'm going by Eastern Daylight Time, as in, NYC.

  7. Hi Authoress,

    I'm new here-- do I just cut and paste into the body of the email, or for formatting reasons should I retype the first 150 words?

    Thanks! Sonja

  8. Good question, Sonja!

    Cut and paste should work, so long as you're in a normal font (Arial seems to work best in the transition from Google Mail to Blogger).

  9. Would romantic suspense qualify? Or are you only looking for 'straight' suspense/thriller?


  10. I just want to say that I love this site. You guys always post such excellent fiction and if gives me a nice break from the monotony of my real job. hopefully I will soon have a novel polished up so I can come and play too.

  11. I have a contemporary MG but it has a mystery component. Does that qualify?

  12. This is right up my alley, but I participated in SECRET AGENT with my YA mystery a couple of months ago. I've tweaked based on reader comments; can I enter, or does it need to be a different novel?

  13. I have nothing that fits to submit, but I'm looking forward to reading and commenting.

  14. Hmmm are we allowed to guess the identity of the secret agent? Based off the genres I might have a few theories...

  15. Can we submit more than one working off the assumption that there will be less subs here than you might see in another genre? Are am I just being greedy now? ;)

  16. "Or" too. That's what I get for posting the comment above when I should have been in bed!

  17. Oh, well looks like another S.A.C I'm missing out on because of the time difference.

    If you are correct about the 50 entries filling up in the first two hours, there's no way I'm sitting at my computer at 3am. lol

    I hope I'm able to enter next time.

    Best of luck to everyone.

  18. Kat -- Well, that would kinda spoil the fun...especially for the Secret Agent! So far, the agents have really seemed to enjoy their anonymity during our contests. If people start throwing out theories and googling agents prior to the contest, where would the fun go?

    You can tell me afterward what your theory was, and I'll believe you if you tell me you were right! ;)

    AJ -- Gotta stick to the 1 entry rule for the sake of consistency.

    And I dunno, your "are am I" sounded kinda idiomatic. :D

  19. Well, it's an okay time for me, I think I'd just be getting up for work, but not my genres. Sad face!

    Good luck to everyone else, though :)

  20. Hi - you may well have thought of this already, but I thought I'd mention it, as I'm in one of the awkward time zones (though I can't submit for this comp anyway as it isn't my genre).

    You could have a window of time (4, 6, ? hours) for submissions to come flooding in. Then use some kind of random number generator to choose 50 of them. The advantages are:

    - more people get a chance to enter;
    - people can submit more at their leisure, and that definitely helps for those who aren't in the continental US or who work weird hours or don't have personal internet access at work;
    - it's completely random who gets selected;
    - you don't have to be waiting on the buzzer, or risk that your post closing submissions won't go up in time.

    It also gives you a chance to gauge just how many people are trying to enter (if this is something you want to know, that is!). If you cut off at fifty, you don't have much idea of whether there were 60 or 600 (!) hopefuls.

    Anyway, just a suggestion, and of course you are doing a marvelous job. I hope the success of this website isn't TOO overwhelming for you. :)