Monday, July 1, 2013

July Secret Agent Early Info

Please note: This is NOT the call for submissions! The contest will open next Monday, July 8.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES (please read carefully):

*There are TWO WAYS to enter: a) via email to authoress.submissions(at) OR via web form at
* THIS WILL BE A LOTTERY: The submission window will be open from 2:00 to 7:00 PM EDT.  The bot will then choose 50 entries at random.
* 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-June) 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.  The word count is set at 255 to accomodate appropriate endings.  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)


  1. If you're submitting an entry by email, what is a screen name? Thanks!

  2. Is there a bottom limit of length for what's counted as a 'novel' for SA contests? I have a story that will be ready for entering soon, if there's a contest that fits, and it's about 60k, and I'm not sure if that's too short for this?

  3. Eric -- Your screen name is whatever name you use here to identify yourself.

    Ailsa -- 60K is fairly short for YA, but it's still considered novel-length.

  4. Thanks Authoress! It isn't YA, so won't be going in this one, I was just wondering for future secret agent rounds.

  5. I've got a novel finished that I'm currently polishing (should be done in 2-3 days), but I'm also heading out of town for a holiday. So, if my entry is chosen, would it be ok if I comment on the minimum of entries (5 if I recall correctly) or as many as I can manage and do the rest upon my return?

  6. Will MG happen another time, or is it included in the YA category for this contest?

  7. Katharina -- Whatever you can manage is fine!

    Laura -- This contest includes only YA, as stated above.

  8. @Ailsa: There is a lot of chatter about wordcount depending on the genre. I just did a google search "wordcount by genre" and found a blogpost by Bookends which I would trust. You can do more specific research by genre. 60k is ok for YA but may be on the short side for say a single title adult contemporary romance, while 80-90k is probably more the norm.

    Here's the link to the post I found going back a few years: Bookends Lit Agency Blog

  9. It's so inspiring to see opportunities like these for aspiring writers. They don't happen often enough! There IS hope, friends. Good luck + bubble writing dreams to all. :-D

  10. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity.

  11. This sounds amazing. Thank you for having an opportunity like this for everyone!

  12. Can you enter this and the Adorable Editors contest at the same time?

  13. The Adorable Editors Contest isn't until July 16. You may enter both!

  14. So now it's open to MG manuscripts now? Thanks for this amazing contest!!

  15. Alas, still can't enter - mine's adult fantasy. :(

  16. Question, please: Technically I have been offered a prize in the last 12 months (October, 2nd place), but the Secret Agent immediately rejected me, stating she gets queasy at the thought of humans turning into mermaids (or any type of similar shape-shifting). She admitted she never would have made a request, if she had known my story's premise. The missed opportunity was no one's "fault," just not enough info in that first 250 words for her to spot the complete mismatch. May I please try again?

  17. I have to leave for a meeting and went ahead and posted so I don't miss the deadline. I hope that's okay (if not, I will understand).
    : )

  18. Skywriter -- the rule is 6 months, not 12. You're golden. :)