Monday, August 8, 2011

August Secret Agent Early Info

Please note: This is NOT the call for submissions! The contest will open next Monday, August 15.

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, August 15, NOON to 2:00 PM EDT or 25 entries, WHICHEVER COMES FIRST.
* SUBMISSION WINDOW #2: Monday, August 15, 7:00 to 9:00 PM EDT 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 (February-July) 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

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.)
*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 fiction
YA fiction

This includes all genres.  Note:  PLEASE CHECK BACK, as I am double checking the SF/F thing.

*UPDATE*  We're good to go.  SF/F is not excluded.

Questions below.


  1. Can the completed manuscript be a short story or should it be from a novel length work?

  2. This is one of those times where I wish we could pre-schedule e-mails the way you can blog posts :)

  3. @Jamwes: For this contest you need a full novel (size depends on the genre). You wouldn't want an agent to ask for a "full" and all you've got is a short story, right?

  4. Hi, admitting newbie status. Is the required screen name just that, a random moniker for submission purposes? Thanks

  5. Thanks for jumping in and answering, Cat. I wasn't around much yesterday. =)

    Anon -- Use whatever screen name you'd like to be identified by on the blog. Other than "Anonymous," naturally. ;)

  6. I'm kinda wondering about the SF/F "thing" myself. Where and when are we supposed to be checking back? Just look at this post before Monday?

  7. Yep, we're good to go as is. SFF is included. (I would've posted separately if there were a change.) :)

  8. How long should the excerpt be?

  9. Dayspring, it's in the post -- 250 words.

  10. I submitted and didn't get any response. Is there an autoreply to acknowledge receipt? thanks.

  11. Anon--check your spam folder.

    I freaked out and sent a second submission at 9:05 after not getting a response initially, but then I found the bot's email in my spam folder. It says my first entry was accepted but the second one was rejected. Am I still in? *crosses fingers*

  12. Jessica - You're still in. The second one that says you're rejected probably just says you were rejected because each person is only allowed one entry. That's what mine says.

  13. I sent the first one and got a reject. Then the second one I sent seemed to go through, but no other confirmation. Is that correct?

  14. Nevermind - found the reply in my spam folder, exactly as someone pointed out above. Oops!

  15. Authoress, mine was disqualified for being over the word count (said it was 260). My word count is 247. With the screen name, title and genre it comes to 258. I have no auto signature or anything else. What can I do differently for the next round?

  16. Tricia -- the bot doesn't count the screen name, etc.

    Your word count was high because of invisible characters created by cut-and-pasting rich text.


    1. Use a gmail account to send.
    2. Set it to PLAIN TEXT.
    3. To be extra sure, type your submission BY HAND into the email (in plain text)

    Good luck!

  17. Thanks, Authoress. I see now my email wasn't set at Plain. I typed the submission in Word, saved in Plain Text, then copied into the email. Perhaps if the email were on the Plain mode this wouldn't have happened.

  18. Confused... I submitted just after 12:00 and didn't receive any email. Just checked my spam folder and nothing in there. Pretty sure I followed all the rules :-/

  19. Ah - nevermind. (I have 2 Gmail accounts, one forwards to the other. It appears that spam doesn't forward to the other, or at least, it didn't in this case!).

    Sorry for the bother!

  20. Weird. I submitted at 12:03 PM but got no response? Not even in my spam. What happened? :(

  21. I reposted it now and it worked! Got a reply with a :) :D