Monday, January 10, 2011

January Secret Agent Early Info

Please note: This is NOT the call for submissions! The contest will open NEXT Monday, January 17.

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, January 17, NOON to 2:00 PM EST or 25 entries, WHICHEVER COMES FIRST.
*SUBMISSION WINDOW #2: Monday, January 17, 7:00 to 9:00 PM EST 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 (July-November) 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.)

This month's contest will include the following genres:
  •  Young adult and middle grade, all genres
Post your questions below!


  1. "Please do not stop in the middle of a"

    I see what you did there.

  2. This might sound silly, but does "will include" mean not limited to those categories? Or should I only submit if my manuscript is YA or MG?

  3. My attempt at cleverness, Rick. ;P

    Tarak -- ONLY YA or MG this month.

  4. This might be a silly question, but I'm new to the blog. What do we win?

  5. My manuscript is complete and my calendar is marked.
    I'm looking forward to it.

  6. Sarah, each Secret Agent chooses his/her own prizes. They have ranged from query critiques to requests for fulls.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Oh, hooray - at last my novel is ready for me to enter! In the category of "silly obvious questions", is there a preferred subject line for our submission email, or does it need to be blank?


  9. I missed the last one, so I'm hoping for the best this time around. Thanks for the opportunity.

  10. Oh goodie! My YA is finally finished and ready to go! I've been so close the last couple of times, but.....

  11. So excited for this! As always, authoress, thanks for the wonderful access you give us!

  12. If we submitted to the Baker's Dozen but were not selected, can we send something this time? Especially if it is a different manuscript?

  13. 1. Everything to be pasted into the body of the email? Right?

    2. If I try to submit during the first time-slice and fail, can I try again during the second?

    You chose my daughter's birthday - Jan 17 - must be a good omen, right?

  14. Call me newbie, but how exactly does the secret agent contest work? I started reading this blog about a month ago and I'm a little lost. (Fortunately I don't do YA or Middle grade, so I'm safe on this one...)

  15. Hi Charlie, there's a great link on the right side of the blog under "Miss Snark's First Victim FAQS". You should find the info you're looking for in "What are SECRET AGENT Contests?"

    Good luck, everyone! ^_^ Can't wait to read the entries!

  16. I think my first comment didn't post. I'll try again.

    Miss A: I googled EDT to make sure I get the time zones correct and found out that nobody is on this time zone at this time of the year. Do you mean EST? Thanks.

  17. Kimberly -- Yes, indeed. Entering but not getting in doesn't count. :)

    Thanks, Amanda, for answering Charlie's question. :)

    Yat-Yee -- You're right, it's EST, thanks. I cut-and-pasted from my last SA guidelines post, which was back before daylight savings time ending. I'm fixing that right now!

  18. Hi authoress, I have submitted several times to your awesome contest but each time I get the response that the contest isn't open yet, even when I submit right as the clock on my computer switches to the correct time. By the time I resubmit, the submissions are closed. Silly question I know, but is your clock set to the time on the EST website? Thanks for all you're doing for all of us aspiring writers! :)

  19. Hi Anon --

    It doesn't matter what my clock is set to, because the contest will open at the same time across all time zones. So you have to submit in your own time zone. The safest email to use is gmail, because it's going to a gmail account and gets there almost (but not quite) instantaneously. Other email carriers (like Yahoo, for instance), can have a much longer lag.

  20. This should be exciting! YA/MG is one of my favorite genres, so critting should be fun.
    Can't wait to see what is entered.

  21. Is 258 words too long? Does it have to be exactly 250?

  22. AdrienneB -- I always set the word count at 255 to allow for sentence endings. Anything higher than that will be rejected by the bot. :)

  23. If I have italics in my excerpt and send it in gmail, will the italics survive if I get through?

    Also, thanks again for doing this, and I think I should tell you that you're awesome again.

  24. My book starts with 117 word prologue. I suppose I should leave this out. Or not?

    I thought I saw a question/answer about prologues somewhere, but can't find it again.

  25. This is my first Secret Agent contest and I'm so excited! What do you mean by "screen name"? Can I use my real name or make something up?

  26. SS -- My wonderful guru says he's fixed the italics, so they should show up.

    Euclid -- That's a hard question to answer. I'm thinking, if you were to send pages to an agent, you would begin with the prologue, yes? But for the sake of this contest, perhaps the beginning of chapter one would be better. It's your call!

    Megan -- Your screen name is whatever you use when you leave comments here. :)