Monday, July 16, 2012

July Secret Agent Early Info

Please note: This is NOT the call for submissions! The contest will open next Monday, July 23.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES (please read carefully):

*There are TWO WAYS to enter: a) via email to authoress.submissions(at) OR via web form at
* There will be TWO SUBMISSION WINDOWS:  9:00-11:00 am EDT for the first 25, and 7:00-9:00 pm EDT for the second 25 plus alternates. (This is NOT a lottery.)
* 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 (January-May) 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 WON A CONTEST WITHIN THE PAST 12 MONTHS (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.
* Email 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:
  • MG -- All genres EXCEPT fantasy and paranormal
  • YA -- All genres EXCEPT fantasy, paranormal, and romance
  • New Adult fiction -- All genres EXCEPT fantasy, paranormal, and romance


  1. Interesting. This is precisely why I made the conscious decision not to write YA paranormal anymore. Considering this blog's readership, I'll be curious to see how many people will be able to enter this time around. As always Authoress, this continues to be a wonderful service you provide. And educational in so many ways.

  2. Woo-hoo! I've been looking forward to this - and my genre's in there.

    I'm both excited and nervous - like I have particularly hyperactive butterflies in my stomach :-)

  3. Does "Manuscripts THAT HAVE BEEN IN A SECRET AGENT CONTEST DURING THE PAST SIX MONTHS (January-May) will not be accepted..." mean that any manuscript submitted to a contest is excluded, even if it wasn't selected by the bot for further consideration?

  4. Anon -- Any manuscripts that have been IN a SA contest are not eligible. If you submitted but were not chosen by the bot, then you weren't IN, and you are free to submit to this month's contest. :)

  5. This seems like an appropriate time to tackle something that has me stumped: the category vs. genre thing.

    Will agents take on any genre of book because they know how to penetrate the appropriate-aged (category) market?

    Is the idea that an agent has a contact with an editor/publisher that targets EITHER a genre or a category?

  6. If we have a naughty word in our first 250, should we use ***? Specifically, I have the three letter "A" word for rear end :)

  7. I'm wondering: Where do you draw the age line for New Adult fiction? My heroine is 26...

  8. Ack -- it's the invasion of the anonymouses!! Anonymi?


    1. Yes, I would appreciate *** for nasty words, because then I won't have to do it myself. :-) (I'm okay with hells and damns, but nothing else.)

    2. New Adult is, apparently, 18-30. Sounds like you fit.

  9. I thought New Adult was basically college age. If NA goes up to 30, what's the difference between NA and adult fiction with an MC in her twenties?

  10. Lanette -- Good question, and I have no idea. I'm just sharing what I've read. I agree with you that there is certainly no distinction. (And, personally, if I wrote a novel with a protag aged 19 or 20, I would just call it an adult novel.)

  11. I suppose it depends on the contest or the agent. :) My first draft is only a third complete, so I have to sit this one out anyway, but I never thought of my multi-cultural novel about a 24yo experiencing life on her own in a foreign country to be NA. I still don't think of it that way, but it's nice to know there are more options when I start shopping for an agent. Thanks, Authoress.

  12. I was happy to read that "any sub to a SA contest from Jan to May may not enter." Then I got stumped by "any sub to a SA contest is in eligible." Mine was in the Jan 2011 contest. Eligible or not? Thanks.

  13. Yat-Yee -- That comment was in reference to a question ABOUT the 6-month subs. If yours was in January's, then you are not eligible for this month's contest. You will, however, be able to enter again starting next month! :-)

  14. Thanks for the clarification, Authoress. My sub was in January *2011*, a year and a half ago. :) That makes me eligible, no?

  15. Yay-Yee said Jan of 2011, so she IS eligible for this one, methinks. :-)

  16. does YA satirical horror count as "paranormal?" There's mention of a ghost, but no appearance of said ghost ... I'm talking zombies

  17. It may be that I'm unfamiliar with the instructions, but I'm curious.

    It says in the submission instructions that this is not a lottery, but then also that "You will receive a confirmation email with your lottery number" at the end.

    Lottery or no? Thanks! :)

  18. Anon -- I'm pretty sure zombies counts as paranormal.

    WriteinPencil -- Oops, sorry -- editing error! :)

  19. Hey, sorry if this is a stupid question, but do you want the query AND the first 250, or just the first 250? Seems like you usually ask for the query, but I couldn't find any mention of it in this post. :/

    Sorry if I'm blind and just missing it.

  20. Amber -- Secret Agent contests never include the query. Just your first 250 words. :)

  21. Hi Authoress
    I've never entered before and was wondering if science fiction counted as fantasy. There isn't always a clear separation. My YA is 'pure' sci fi - with spaceships and stuff, no aliens popping out of chests though.

  22. Hi, Ailynn! SF is definitely separate from fantasy, so go ahead and enter. :)

  23. I'm curious if anyone has an answer to this...

    is submitting via the form or sending an email faster?

  24. I fooled around and fooled around with that darn form, and I couldn't get the format correct. Can anyone help? No matter what it looks like in the box on the left, it insists on being different on the right!

  25. Oh crap, I submitted but I misunderstood the guidelines - I thought "New Adult" fiction meant new ADULT fiction, as in "new fiction for adults." Sorry for the idiocy. I did get picked in the first round - should I withdraw?