Monday, April 2, 2012

April Secret Agent Early Info

Please note: This is NOT the call for submissions! The contest will open next Monday, April 9.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES (please read carefully):

*There are TWO WAYS to enter: a) via email to authoress.submissions(at) OR via web form at
* This month's submissions will be A LOTTERY. This means that all entries will be assigned a "lottery number" and the bot will choose the winners. Submissions will open at 9 am EST and will close at 5 pm EST.
* 2 alternates will also be accepted, for a total of 52 entries.
* 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 (October-March) 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

GO HERE to submit via our web form.

If you choose to submit via email, 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 lottery number.
* Submissions go to authoress.submissions(at) They DO NOT GO to my facelesswords address. Or any other address.
*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:

  • Young Adult (all genres)
  • Middle Grade (all genres)
Questions below!


  1. *crosses fingers* Hopefully I get lucky this month. The month of your birthday has to bring some luck, right? :) Excited it is a YA agent again.

  2. "This contest will include the following genres. . ."

    Does that mean it excludes all other genres?


  3. Karen -- Yes. Only listed genres are included in each month's contest.

  4. Good luck everyone. I have to sit this one out.

  5. Good luck to all who enter. :)

  6. ooh i'm excited! Hope i get picked!

  7. Does "Honorable Mention" count as "Winner"?

  8. Authoress, this doesn't matter to me personally since I won't be entering (even if I'd like agent attention, it seems weird to have people critique my first 250 words when they critiqued my first 500 last contest), but I just wanted to comment on your times. Last contest, I noticed a lot of people relieved to see the time for entry was extended past normal business hours, allowing them to have to send their work from home. Is there a particular reason you chose 9 to 5 as your entry window, as opposed to something like 9am to 9pm? Not everyone can access your site at work, due to company-wide site blockers.

  9. Just to confirm - all entrants submit the first 250 words, not only those whose lottery numbers were selected by the bot?

  10. Anon -- This is my traditional window, and I do prefer the windows to close at a time when I'm still awake and able to deal with any unseen technical difficulties.

    Folks who can't submit during working hours can ask a friend or spouse to submit for them. Or they can submit via email (as far as I know, work places aren't blocking gmail access).

  11. "Unseen" should be "unforeseen." I guess I wouldn't be able to deal with a difficulty I couldn't see. ;P

  12. Secret Agent announcements kill me. I mean, I'm always super excited to read entries, give critique, and see what agents say, no question. But I'm still in WIP stage, so it's also just gut wrenching to watch it pass me by, especially when I find out that the SA was my dream agent (which already happened once! Lol).

    /belly aching.

    Looking forward to another great contest. Good luck to everyone!

  13. What's a screen name?

  14. The internets tell me that some states in the US are on EST Daylight Savings Time. Can I just confirm you aren't getting more daylight in your timezone?

  15. Okay, may be a dumb question, but first 250 words means from the prologue or the actual story?

    Thanks in advance

  16. Is it all right to send in like 280 words, just a few extra?

  17. Answers:

    1. "Honorable Mention" counts as a win IF you received a prize of some sort (i.e. a request for pages or a crit).

    2. "Screen Name" is whatever name you use here when you leave comments.

    3. EDT = Eastern Daylight Time

    4. Prologue or story = your call. This is always a tough question, though I lean toward "prologue" because that is what you would send if you were querying.

    5. The word count is set at 255 to allow for sentence completion. Anything more than that will be automatically rejected by the bot.

  18. So excited! Thanks for having these contests. :)

  19. Thanks for having these contests.
    Good luck to everyone!

  20. My first contest,so excited! :)

  21. Mandy, me too! First time I have actually had a manuscript ready at the right time! Good luck! :)

  22. I just submitted! Thanks for the opportunity. I just realized though, I'm going on vacation from 4/14/12 through 4/22/12, and will have virtually no access to email or anything like that. Do you know when the contest will be decided and when/how people will be notified? I don't want to miss any notifications. Thanks again!

  23. Winners will be notified as soon as submissions end at 5 pm EDT today, and the posts go up on Wednesday morning.

  24. How should the submissions be formatted in respect to paragraph indents and stuff? Should we have a line break after each paragraph and have no tabs? Or should we have tabs but no line breaks? Thanks so much for this contest!

  25. SC_Author -- Yes, line break after each paragraph. Single-spaced, paragraphs indented (tabs are fine). If you are using the web form, you will be able to preview your submission before sending, to make sure it's formatted correctly.

  26. Authoress, I put tabs into my Word doc for each paragraph, then put my doc in the web form. The tabs showed up, but when I previewed it, they disappeared. Is there a way to fix this?

  27. Just entered! Thanks so much for doing this!

  28. SC -- I would remove the tabs and do the indents by hand. Word is a pain when you cut-and-paste from it.

    Alternately, you could type your entry in plain text, and cut and paste that way.

  29. I'm so sorry, I feel like I'm bugging you now :( But I did the indents by hand (did 8 spaces before each paragraph) and that still didn't work. I tried putting it into WordPad and then copying it from there, but that didn't work either. Can I just submit without the paragraph indents? I'm so sorry!

  30. That's fine -- it doesn't need the indents, anyway. I wasn't thinking; should have said that right away. o_O

  31. Haha, thank you :)