Monday, April 6, 2009

April Secret Agent Info!

Happy Monday morning!

Thank you for all your glowing comments on Friday. Moving right along, full steam ahead into Year Two, yes? With more writerly growth, more agent contracts, and more sold novels to come.

I'm positive about this!

So the next Good Thing on our list is our upcoming Secret Agent: Are You Hooked? contest for this month. The call for submissions will be posted on Monday, April 13 (time to be announced).

Here are the preliminaries (this is NOT a call for submissions):

1. Please submit the first 250 words of your COMPLETED NOVEL to facelesswords(at)

2. Submissions must be received IN THE FOLLOWING FORMAT:

Screen Name (PLEASE list this first, as it's easier to swipe the text below without including it)

(Please -- no bold, underlines, or strange fonts.)

(Also -- please, NO CENTER-JUSTIFYING!)

*Submission in a normal font (NOT Courier, Comic, or anything that is outside the realm of normal in the publishing world), 250 words (your first page)

3. This month's contest will include the following genres:
  • Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction, both commercial and literary
  • Women's Fiction
If your novel does not fall within one of these genres, please do not enter.

Full guidelines will be posted in the actual call. The preliminaries are to help you get your "stuff" in order if you're planning to enter.

Please remember that I will only accept the first 50 entries.

Please also remember that winners of previous Secret Agent contests must not enter the same manuscript in subsequent contests. (A different manuscript is fine, though.)

That's enough to get our week off to a rolling good start! Post your questions in the box.


  1. Anyone know how to schedule an e-mail to send out at a certain time? :P

    Looking forward to this (again!), hope I can get to the PC in time.

  2. I'm just checking - does this include fantasy or not?

  3. My novel is women's lit. I really need to finish it (it's a first draft). *sigh* Have been taking a break from edits...these things take SO long! I will be glad to give feedback though!

  4. ldpauling -- Yes, all genres of YA and MG. No exclusions. =)

  5. I'm guessing we still can't enter if we've entered before and haven't made substantial changes since we entered last . . . say in January. :D (wow, how many times can I say 'enter' in a single sentence!)

    Don't worry. I'm not that greedy. But this contest is a great way for those of us who can't enter (for the above reason) to learn about an agent we might not have queried yet.

    Thanks, Authoress, for such a fun contest.

  6. Thanks Authoress. Commercial and literary - that's a huge umbrella. Should be interesting reading!

  7. Yay, I can enter this one :) Here's to hoping I'm in the first 50! Thanks!!

  8. I just wanted to make sure that if we put have the first 1000 words waiting to be posted if it is still okay to do the SA contest too?

  9. Judy,

    If you're in the 1000-words queue and you want to enter this round of SA, you need to email me if you make it into the 50 submissions window, and I will pull your 1000-words entry. After the SA contest, you can re-enter the 1000 words, but it will be farther back in the queue; you'll be assigned a new number.

  10. Thank you for the response. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

    :) How exciting everything is here.

    By far, my favorite site.

  11. *Submission in a normal font (NOT Courier, Comic, or anything that is outside the realm of normal in the publishing world*

    Isn't courier a normal font for publishing?

  12. Not really, Krista. It's Time and Arial, mostly.

    Courier on the computer is a monotype...that is, each character takes up exactly the same amount of space. Like old typewriters. For some reason, it gets all wacky when I try to reform it.

    So I'm in utter hate with courier. :)

  13. Oh no! I'll be out of town that day, but I guess i'll take my laptop and try to find a wireless connection. Even if I don't get in, I'm looking forward to reading the next 50 - great fun, great learning tool, great website! Thanks, Authoress!

  14. I was recently told by an agent/editor not to pigeon hole my book as women's fiction - that it's literary fiction with commercial appeal and a female protag. I guess I wonder if that falls under the broad umbrella of women's fiction...or if it's more "chick lit" stuff the Secret Agent is looking for.

  15. novel's not quite yet done, I suppose. Still got a few scenes to write and fit in to the story. And then there's the grammer...

    But, should be fun reading the entries and I'll enter for sure when I am done!

  16. Amy Sue -- This is my own personal take, but I believe "women's fiction" is very broad, and not just limited to "chick lit," which is usually named specifically when that's what agent are looking for.

  17. If we've entered before, can we enter the same ms again?

    Love this contest and everything you do for us, Authoress. Good luck everyone!

  18. MaryM -- You may only enter the same manuscript if you have done substantial revisions. The reason is this: These folks have already critiqued your work. If you've moved around a few commas and taken out one sentence, it's still pretty much the same 250 words. People give lots of time to these crits, and I don't think folks are going to want to re-crit something that's barely been touched.

    That, and there are so many people who miss the cut-off who have never had a single manuscript critiqued yet. I try to keep the playing field as open as possible.

    So if you've done major (yes, major) revisions, feel free to re-send. If it's not been changed much, send a different project or wait until you've made substantial changes on this one.

  19. This may seem like a silly question, but my first page has 323 words in TNR 12pt font, double spaced 1" margins (that's standard, right?) - is that still okay, or is it strict word count?

  20. It's strict word count. Ultimately, everyone's "first page" is going to come up slightly different. I need to keep the playing field even and the critiques non-overwhelming; hence, the 250 cut-off. (A word or two over that is fine, in the interest of ending with a period.)

  21. I hate Courier too, but my Yahoo! mail seems to automatically convert my messages into that font.. is it more important not to attach or not to be in Courier?

  22. Definitely no attachments -- I won't open them.

    Don't worry about the Courier, if that's what Yahoo is doing (kinda wacky, but there you have it!). I'll take care of the formatting.

  23. Hi - one paragraph of the first 250 words is in italics. What's the best way for me to indicate this, so I don't make your life more complicated? :)

  24. Anon--

    Go ahead and italicize it. For some reason, italics work just fine. It's the underlining that's been a bugger!

  25. All very exciting. You always have so many great things happening on your site!

  26. I'd like to enter the SA contest on Monday. Is the Call going to be at 8 pm EST like last time?

    Thanks again, Authoress, for doing this!

  27. MS asks: Re: the SA contest...does the word "Prologue" count among the 250 word submission?