PictureImage: NY Times
On Tuesday, October 27 Galway Kinnell died of leukemia at his home in Sheffield, Vt. He was 87 years old.

Galway Kinnell was one of the great American poets. He won both a Pulitzer and a National Book Award for his poetry, and should, in my opinion, have joined Robert Frost - whose poems also evoked the fields and forests of New England - among the ranks of  Poet Laureates.

Kinnell was not a gentle poet. His poetry was direct, no-holds-barred, and straight from the gut. He used natural imagery to convey the profoundest of human experiences in a way that defied convention and dragged us back to our roots.

Of his poems, one of my favorites is The Porcupine, which I had the pleasure of hearing him read. One stanza (I can still hear Kinnell's powerful, booming voice) has stuck with me for 30 years.

"I roll
this way and that in the great bed, under
the quilt
that mimics this country of broken farms and woods,
the fatty sheath of the man
melting off,
the self-stabbing coil
of bristles reversing, blossoming outward--
a red-eyed, hard-toothed, arrow-stuck urchin
tossing up mattress feathers,
pricking the
woman beside me until she cries."

Kinnell was a big man, a big poet, and a true son of New England. He will be sorely missed,

Read the NY Times article HERE.

If you have a flair for design, and don't have a lot of cash to spare for a professional service, you can make your own book cover for free.

There are dozens of graphic programs that don't cost a penny and provide high quality graphics. Features range from simple editing tools (rotation, special effects, text insertion) to 3D design and animation. As far as image manipulation is concerned, the sky is the limit.

I've listed some of the most popular (and easiest to use) programs below.

When designing a book cover, keep in mind the following:

1) Your book cover will appear as a thumbnail, so make sure the title is clearly visible.

2) Don't get carried away with too much detail. Busy cover images get lost in a thumbnail.

3) Advertising studies have revealed that people are most attracted to faces.

4) Avoid white - at least around the edges. You book cover will appear against a white background.


Picmonkey - A free photo editor and collage maker that works in your browser. You can get a good idea of what Picmonkey can offer on Pinterest. Features: text, overlays, photo touch up, collage (simply upload images), and editing tools. Picmonkey is easy to use, so if you are a novice, start here.

Paint.net – A free image and photo editing software for Windows based PC's. This program was voted #19 out of the top 100 programs of 2007 by PC World. It has full support for layers and special effects, the tools are top notch and highly recommended by many users. There is a strong online community for support and frequent updates to the software. Comparable to Adobe Photoshop.

Ultimate Paint -  Offers a freeware program with more than a hundred advanced image effects and correction filters. Works with Windows.

Pixelmator - An application for Macs that produces high quality images. It's not free, but you can try it for 30 days without paying a cent. They provide tutorials, support, and a blog to help you get going.

Gimp - A free editing and retouching software program that can be used with Mac, Linux and Windows (anything after XP). Gimp has many of the features of Photoshop: layers, clone tools (to copy pixels), blur and sharpen tools, color gradients, image enhancement, and so on.

Inkscape - A professional vector graphics editor for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. It's free and open source. Features include: layers, drawing, text tools, shape tools, moving, and many more. The website has an image gallery and tutorials.

DAZ Studio - A program for making 3D images and animation. Particularly useful for sci-fi and graphic novel illustrations.

Here are three new agents actively building their client lists. Writers House is a large well-established agency located in New York. If you google Alec Shane and Cassie Hanjian, you will find several interviews with them. The Purcell Agency, which specializes in children's books, was founded by Tina Schwartz.
Alec Shane of Writers House

About Alec: Alec majored in English at Brown University, a degree he put to immediate use by moving to Los Angeles after graduation to become a professional stunt man. Realizing that he prefers books to breakaway glass, he moved to New York City in 2008 to pursue a career in publishing. Alec quickly found a home at Writers House Literary Agency, where he worked under Jodi Reamer and Amy Berkower on a large number of YA and Adult titles. Twitter handle: @alecdshane.

What he is seeking: Alec is now aggressively building his own list. On the nonfiction side, Alec would love to see humor, biography, history (particularly military history), true crime, “guy” reads, and all things sports. “What I’m looking for in fiction: mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, historical fiction, literary fiction, and books geared toward young male readers (both YA and MG). What I’m not looking for: Romance (paranormal or otherwise), straight sci-fi, high fantasy, picture books, self-help, women’s fiction, food, travel memoir.”

Submission guidelines: I accept e-mail and snail-mail queries (although email is preferable), and will usually respond within 4-5 weeks. Please send the first 10 pages of your manuscript, along with your query letter, to ashane [at] writershouse.com with “Query for Alec Shane: TITLE” as your subject heading – no attachments please! If sending via regular mail, please include a SASE with proper postage.
Cassie Hanjian of Waxman Leavell Literary

About Cassie: Prior to joining Waxman Leavell as an acquiring agent this year, Cassie held positions at the Park Literary Group, where she specialized in author support and foreign rights, and at Aram Fox, Inc. as an international literary scout for publishers based outside the United States. She holds a B.A. in English/Creative Writing from the University of South Florida, a Graduate Certificate in Publishing from the University of Denver’s Publishing Institute and an M.S. in Publishing from Pace University. Follow her on Twitter: @Cjhanjian

What she is seeking: page-turning New Adult novels, plot-driven commercial and upmarket women’s fiction, historical fiction, psychological suspense, cozy mysteries and contemporary romance. In nonfiction, she’s looking for projects in the categories of parenting, mind/body/spirit, inspirational memoir, narrative nonfiction focusing on food-related topics and a limited number of accessible cookbooks. Cassie does not accept submissions in the following categories: science-fiction, fantasy, paranormal, Young Adult, Middle Grade, Children’s, literary fiction, poetry, and screenplays.

How to submit: Send a query letter only to cassiesubmit [at] waxmanleavell.com. Do not send attachments, though for fiction, you may include five to 10 pages of your manuscript in the body of the email.

Tina Schwartz of The Purcell Agency

About Tina: Literary Agent Tina P. Schwartz is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI), and is the Co-Rep for her local chapter. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Columbia College (Chicago) in Marketing Communications. After a long career in Radio Sales and Marketing, she turned to her true passion, selling manuscripts. Schwartz started The Purcell Agency in July of 2012 after spending twelve years writing and marketing her own work, along with helping several others get published. She sold her first book contract in 2004, and sold ten nonfiction titles for one author to traditional publishers in the Teen and Youth markets. Since opening the agency, she has sold several middle grade and young adult novels, along with some nonfiction works for teens. 

What she is seeking: Chapter books (all kinds except fantasy); Middle Grade (contemporary/realistic, sports, mystery, humor, multicultural, issue driven [no fantasy]); Young Adult (edgy, issues, contemporary/realistic, light romance, sports, mystery [no fantasy]). Tina is also seeking nonfiction Chapter books, Middle Grade, and Young Adult – all topics. She is not seeking: Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Paranormal or Picture Books submissions at this time.

How to submit: TPAqueries [at] gmail.com. Mention if you are a member of SCBWI. 

To submit nonfiction for a teen or grade school audience: Table of Contents + Intro and sample chapter, author’s credentials. To submit fiction: Query, 1st three chapters + synopsis. No attachments. Include sample work in body of e-mail.
I am a fan of free writing contests: 

1) Having a deadline forces you to finish your manuscript, 

2) If you win, you can call yourself an "award-winning author" which is great for your pub cred. (That's like street cred - without the tattoos.)

3) And if the contest is free, what have you got to lose?

The Fountain 100th Issue Essay Contest

Deadline: November 30, 2014

"You and Your 100-Year-Old Self"

The Fountain invites you celebrate their 100th issue by writing an essay to yourself on your 100th birthday. What would you say to yourself at that age? What would your 100-year-old self tell you back? Would it be a conversation of praise and/or regret? Perhaps praise for the achievements in your career, but regrets about a lost family? Or warnings about the mistakes you made in your projected future or in your past; pitfalls you happened to be dragged into, temptations you could not resist; or celebrations for the good character you were able to display and sustain over a life; a precious life wasted or a life lived as it was meant to be.
• Contest open to all writers worldwide

• Essay word count must be between 1,500 and 2,500 words

• Essays must be submitted through the essay contest page at www.fountainmagazine.com/essaycontest

• Cash prizes:

1st Place - $1,500

2nd Place - $750

3rd Place - $300

Two Honorable Mentions - $200 each

Creative Loafing's 2015 Fiction Contest “Crush”

Deadline: November 3, 2104

Submit a manuscript of no more than 3,000 words. All works of fiction must in some way incorporate “Crush” — as a theme, a metaphor, or some good ol' fashioned puppy love. Be creative, take risks, and send us your best work. In the words of Ernest Hemingway, feel free to write drunk and edit sober. Either way, the word count is strictly enforced.

1st place, $500

2nd place, $250

3rd place, $100

Deadline is Mon., Nov. 3, 5 p.m.

Winners will be published in Creative Loafing and honored at an awards ceremony.

Entry form and rules click HERE.

The Culture Trip Award

Deadline: November 30, 2014

The Culture Trip offers a $3,000 prize for the entrant whose article attains the highest readership within 3 months of publication. 
The Prize

• USD $3,000 for the most-read article

• USD $2,000 for the second most-read article

• USD $1,000 for the third most-read article

• Honourable mentions on social media for the 10 most-read articles


• First or second degree students within final year of degree program; or students who graduated since May 2013

• Interest in a career in art, culture, food, travel sector

Submission Process:

• Send an email to award@theculturetrip.com asap and no later than November 30, 2014, with 'Trial article - topic request' in the subject line, to receive your allocated title for an initial trial article

• Receive your trial article topic within 5 working days

• Submit your trial article no later than December 30, 2014

We will judge the trial articles on quality of writing, structure, research, readability. If successful, you will be invited to submit your competition article(s) asap and no later than January 15, 2015. You can choose your competition article(s) topic(s) as long as it is within The Culture Trip's remit and it pertains to one or more countries. If preferred, The Culture Trip can set you a topic.

We aim to edit and publish successful trial articles (between December 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015) and suitable competition articles (between February 15 and April 15, 2015).

Competition entries will be published between February 15, 2015 and April 15, 2015

Award Ceremony and Press:

• September 30, 2015, London. Flights/transportation and accommodation covered by The Culture Trip (for the three winners)

Writing Guidelines:

For more information on style, formatting and length, please refer to published articles, as well as The Culture Trip’s writing guide: theculturetrip.com/write-articles/


The Vermont Writers' Prize

Deadline: November 1, 2014

The Vermont Writer's Prize is sponsored by Green Mountain Power and Vermont Magazine, is open to Vermont writers, including seasonal residents and students enrolled in Vermont colleges.

Genres: Short stories, poetry, plays, or essays on the subject of Vermont.

Prize: $1500 and publication.

Read details here.


Shaughnessy Cohen Award for Political Writing

Deadline: November 5, 2014

Restrictions: Titles must be published in Canada between July 9, 2014 and December 31, 2014. Self-published books are not eligible.

Genre: A book of literary nonfiction that captures a political subject of relevance to Canadian readers and has the potential to shape or influence thinking on contemporary Canadian political life.

Prize: Winner: $25,000; Finalists: $2,500.

Read details here.

William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grants Program for Unpublished Writers

Deadline: November 15, 2014

Restrictions: Writers must not have published a book, short story, or dramatic work in the mystery field, either in print, electronic, or audio form.

Genre: Mystery stories of the Agatha Christie type - i.e., “traditional mysteries.” These works usually feature no excessive gore, gratuitous violence, or explicit sex.

Prize: Each grant may be used to offset registration, travel, or other expenses related to attendance at a writers' conference or workshop within a year of the date of the award (no later than May 2016). In the case of nonfiction, the grant may be used to offset research expenses. Each grant currently includes a $1,500 award plus a comprehensive registration for the following year's convention and two nights' lodging at the convention hotel, but does not include travel to the convention or meals.

Read details here.

Brooklyn Non-Fiction Prize 

Deadline: November 15th, 2014

This prize is sponsored by the Brooklyn Film & Arts Festival.

Genre: Non-fiction essay between 4 to 10 pages, set in Brooklyn about Brooklyn and/or Brooklyn people/characters.. (Up to 2500 words).

Read details here.

The Caregiver Story Contest 

Deadline: November, 30, 2014

This contest is held by Shield HealthCare. Their annual caregiver story contest is on “What Makes Caregiving Rewarding?”

Genre: Nonfiction, inspirational.

Prize: Top 3 Story Winner Prizes: $500 American Express Gift Card, One-year subscription to Today's Caregiver Magazine.

Entry form and details here.

IV Edition of the International Flash Fiction Competition

Deadline: November 23rd. 2014

"Museum of Words"

The slogan of this contest edition will be, Mandela: Words and Concord. The rules of the competition are as follows:

Writers from any country may enter their microfiction into the competition.

Submitted stories must be original creations; writers are free to cover any subject.

Writers may only enter a maximum of two stories. Stories may be written in the following languages: Hebrew, English, Arabic or Spanish.

A first prize of $20,000 will be awarded to the winning story. The three remaining finalist stories in the remaining language categories will receive a $2000 runner up prize.

Stories must not exceed 100 words. Entries must be sent exclusively by filling in the entry form that can be found on the foundation website:  www.fundacioncesaregidoserrano.com or www.museodelapalabra.com. All stories entered must be original, unpublished in all means (paper, electronic publications, network...) and have not been awarded in any other contest. Those who do not meet this condition will forfeit the entry.

The author certifies that the story sent is of his own authorship.

The competition will end on November 23rd, 2014 GMT+1, on the International Day of the Word as Bond of Humankind.

The finalists will be judged by a selected jury. The list of finalist’s titles will be published on the website of the César Egido Serrano Foundation.

The César Egido Serrano Foundation reserves the right to publish the finalist’s stories.

The decision of the jury is final.

Entry in this contest implies the total acceptance of their rules.

Texts failing to comply with any of the rules will be disqualified.

2015 Neltje Blanchan Memorial Writing Award

Deadline: Nov. 17, 2014

Also see2015 Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Writing Award for women authors living in Wyoming

The Neltje Blanchan Award, $1,000, is given annually for the best poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or script which is informed by a relationship with the natural world.

This award is designed to bring attention to writers in Wyoming who have not yet received wide recognition for their work, and to support emerging writers at crucial times in their careers. Poets, fiction writers, essayists, and script writers who have published no more than one book in each genre and who are not students or faculty members are invited to apply by submitting manuscripts and an entry form by the deadline.

Guidelines for the 2014 Blanchan and Doubleday writing awards


You may enter if you meet the following requirements:

*You must not be a full-time college student or full-time college faculty.

* You must be at least 18 years old and a legal resident of Wyoming, living in the state for at least ten months of the year, since July 1, 2013.

* To receive an award, you must remain a Wyoming resident until Dec. 31, 2015, living in the state for at least ten months of the year.

*You must not have received a Blanchan or Doubleday award in the last four years. You may apply for these awards if you received a 2013 (or previous year) creative writing fellowship.

* You may not have received a 2015 Arts Council creative writing fellowship.

* You may enter if you have never published a book, if you’ve published only one full-length book of fiction, poetry or nonfiction, or if you have published no more than one book of poetry, one of fiction, and one of nonfiction (self-publication excluded).

Manuscript guidelines

* Submit work in one genre only (poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction or script).

* Writing may have been previously published.

* Manuscript must be consecutively page-numbered. Include title of work and page numbers on each page.

* Your name must not appear anywhere on the manuscript.

* If you submit more than the allowed page limits (see below), extra pages will be removed; you will not be notified.

* If novel or play/film synopses are part of the manuscript (this is often helpful to the juror), include them in the total page number count.

Length requirements:

* Poetry, maximum length: 10 pages. Type single-spaced, with no more than one poem per page.

* Fiction and creative nonfiction, maximum length: 25 pages. Type double-spaced.

* Drama and screenplays, maximum length: 25 pages. Must be typed and presented in the standard, industry-accepted format for the type of script submitted.

Submission procedures:

* You may enter each competition once only, by Nov. 17, 2014.

After you submit your application:

* Your name and credentials are not available to juror; all manuscripts are identified by number. Juror will not critique individual manuscripts.

* Manuscripts will not be returned.

If you win an award:

* Winners will be notified after Jan. 12, 2015.

* You’ll receive $1,000 (after Jan. 12, 2015). At the discretion of the juror, no award may be given.

* You’ll sign a contract which verifies that you’re eligible to receive this award.

* You must remain a resident of the state through Dec. 31, 2015, living within its borders for at least ten months of the year.

* You’ll need to supply a resume and photograph for publicity, and the Council will ask permission to publish some of your work in its publications.

* You’ll retain the right of publication to the work you produce during the award period.

* You must fill out a final report, due June 1, 2015, which asks questions about how this award helped you and what you accomplished during the year. There are no requirements regarding work you complete during the award period or how you use the funds.

* You will receive an additional stipend to travel to Casper in September 2015 to read your work along with the Doubleday winner and the contest judge at the annual Casper College Literary Conference. 

While literary contests are increasingly open to self-published authors, only a few of them have no entry fee. (This is because contests are intended to generate income for their sponsors.)

If you do decide to enter a paid contest, make sure its sponsor is worth putting on your resume. (Joe Blow's novel of the year contest will do nothing for your career.)

The Book Designer Monthly Ebook Cover Design Awards

Joel Friedlander's self-publishing site is heavily trafficked, so this contest is well worth entering. There is no restriction on publication date, but the e-books must be published at the time of submission. If you don't yet have a cover for your book, looking at previous winners is great inspiration.

The Guardian Legend Self-Published Book of the Month

"The Guardian is the first national newspaper to champion self-publishing on a regular basis. The prize has been created with Legend Times, an award-winning independent publishing group, with companies including traditional fiction publisher Legend Press and a self-publishing company New Generation Publishing." Restrictions: Open to UK Residents only. How to enterClick HERE for complete rules.

Historical Novel Society Indie Award

HNS Indie Award, first offered in 2014, recognizes excellence in indie-published historical novels. Restrictions: English language only. Prize: The winner shall receive £100 or $100 ($100Aus). Deadline: Closing date January 31, 2015. How to enterClick HERE for complete rules.

You Write On

"For an opportunity to be eligible for the YouWriteOn Book of the Year Awards, simply join YouWriteOn.com at any time for free and upload your opening chapters or short stories. Each month the highest rated books receive feedback from editors for leading publishers, such as Random House and Orion, whose authors include Dan Brown, John Grisham, Bill Bryson and Ian Rankin. These stories enter the YouWriteOn BestSellers Chart and are then eligible for our Book of the Year Awards in the next year."

Click HERE for additional free contests.

Here are two new literary agents actively building their client lists. Patricia Nelson is an agent at Marsal Lyon, one of the most respected literary agencies in the country.

As always read the agency website to see if your book will be a good fit, and be sure to follow all submission instructions. (Click on the name of the agent and agency under the photos for links.)
Patricia Nelson of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

About Patricia: Before becoming an agent at the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, she interned at The Angela Rinaldi Literary Agency and in the children’s division at Running Press. Patricia received her bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary in 2008, and also holds a master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in Gender Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. Before joining the world of publishing, she spent four years as a university-level instructor of literature and writing. Follow Patricia on Twitter at @patricianels.

What she is seeking: Patricia represents adult and young adult fiction, and is actively looking to build her list. On the adult side, she is interested in literary fiction and commercial fiction in the New Adult, women’s fiction, and romance genres. For YA, she is looking for contemporary/realistic fiction as well YA mystery/thriller, horror, magical realism, science fiction and fantasy. She is also interested in finding exciting multicultural and LGBTQ fiction, both YA and adult. In general, Patricia loves stories with complex characters that jump off the page and thoughtfully drawn, believable relationships – along with writing that makes her feel completely pulled into these characters’ lives and worlds.

How to contact: Please send a query letter by email to: Patricia [at] MarsalLyonLiteraryAgency.com and write “QUERY” in the subject line of the email. Please note that the agency now accepts electronic submissions only. In all submissions, please include a contact phone number as well as your email address. “If we are interested in your work, we will call or email you. If not, we will respond via email. Our response time is generally 1-4 weeks for queries and 4-8 weeks for sample pages and manuscripts. We welcome unsolicited materials and look forward to reading your work.”
Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency

About Julie: Before joining The Seymour Agency, Julie Gwinn most recently served as Marketing Manager for the Christian Living line at Abingdon Press and before that served as Trade Book Marketing Manager and then Fiction Publisher for the Pure Enjoyment line at B&H Publishing Group, a Division of LifeWay Christian Resources. Last year she was awarded Editor of the Year from the American Christian Fiction Writers and won B&H’s first Christy award for Ginny Yttrup’s debut novel Words. She has more than 25 years public relations and marketing experience and has also worked in marketing for several Nashville non-profit organizations including the TN Assoc. for the Education of Young Children, the Nashville Area Red Cross and the YWCA. She is married and has two children.

What she is seeking: Christian and Inspirational Fiction and Nonfiction, Women’s fiction (contemporary and historical), New Adult, Southern Fiction, Literary Fiction and Young Adult.

How to submit: E-query julie [at] theseymouragency.com. Be sure to include: genre/target audience, word count, contact information, references (conference, recommendation, etc.). No attachments, please. All of The Seymour Agency agents ask that you paste the first five pages of your manuscript into the bottom of your email. “Simultaneous submissions are acceptable for queries and partials. However, we only review complete manuscripts on an exclusive basis.”
Bowker, the distributor of ISBNs, has reported a 16.5% increase in new print books in 2013, as well as a significant increase in self-published books to 450,000 - up from last year's total of 391,000. The figure of 450,000 may, in fact, be on the low side. Amazon, a huge platform for self-published ebooks, does not require ISBNs. 
What does this explosion in self-published books mean for authors? Obviously, more books means more selection and increased competition. But, the ebook world is just beginning to open up in highly populated parts of the globe (e.g. India, China), so there are also more readers. Distribution networks for ebooks are also expanding rapidly.

Self-Published Books Topped 450,000 in 2013
By Jim Milliot, Publishers Weekly, Oct 08, 2014

Although it comes with a number of caveats, Bowker's newest report on the number of self-published titles rose again in 2013, increasing 16.5%, to 458,564. The increase was due entirely to the release of new print books which rose 28.8% to 302,622 offsetting a decline in self-published e-books which fell 1.6%, to 155,942.

The totals are based on self-published titles that have an ISBN registered with Bowker as of August 6, 2014 with the year referring to the year of publication provided by the publisher. The report also does not include titles published through Kindle Direct Publishing since books created there do not need an ISBN, and also does not include titles from Nook Press. In addition, it is likely some titles are double counted as self-published authors who do both print and e-books often give different ISBNs to the same title. Beat Barblan, Bowker director of identifier services, explains that the counts are ISBNs, not titles, “and indicate trends rather than absolutes. We’re consistent in the way we calculate this each year, making the reports accurate reflections of trends.”

The report, Barblan continued, shows a self-published market that is maturing into a serious business. He pointed to an 8% increase in the number of ISBNs registered by small publishers--publishers that registered fewer than 10 ISBNs--as evidence of a move by self-publishers to business--owner rather than writer only.

Small publishers registered 46,654 ISBNs in 2013, placing that group fourth among companies that registered ISBNs. The Big Three in 2013 were Amazon’s CreateSpace which registered 186,926 ISBNs last year, followed by Smashwords which registered 85,500 ISBNs and Lulu which had 74,787 ISBNs. The different Author Solutions divisions had 44,574 ISBNs. The CreateSpace figure reflects only print ISBNs, while Smashwords includes only registered e-books.

PictureFirst Snow by taenaron, deviantart.com
There can be no doubt about it, the digital revolution has changed the face of publishing.

Random House, one of the Big 5, is getting on board with its Hydra digital science fiction imprint (better late than never).

HarperCollins has also joined the fray with its Voyager imprint, and Simon & Shuster has launched Simon451 (both of these are now closed to submissions).

Below are four established science fiction publishers accepting eBook manuscripts from authors.

Make sure to read their submission guidelines carefully before you submit.


AboutTor.com is a short fiction market edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Liz Gorinsky, Ann VanderMeer, and Ellen Datlow, with support and reading from Carl Engle-Laird, Cory Skerry, and Bridget Smith (and occasional others).

What they are looking for: Tor.com welcomes original speculative fiction short stories and poetry, including SF, fantasy, horror, alternate history, and related genres. They are particularly interested in stories under 12,000 words.

How to submit: Don’t query, just send your story. Submissions should be emailed to (tordotcomsubs)(at)(gmail.com)—the first part spelled out (“tordotcomsubs,” not “tor.comsubs”). They should be in something approximating standard manuscript format and be sent as *.doc (not docx), *.rtf, or plain-text attachments. They should not be sent as text in the body of the email. Read full guidelines HERE.


AboutHydra is the digital science fiction imprint of Random House. 

What they are looking for: They are interested in short content (customarily between 15,000 and 30,000 words) and full-length works (customarily between 40,000 and 60,000 words). Unlike tor.com they are open to previously-published manuscripts as long as the submitting author now controls all electronic and print publishing rights. 

How to submit: Submissions are through a form on the website that asks for basic information and a 1500-word excerpt from your book. Expected response time is 2-4 weeks. Publication is subject to execution of a mutually acceptable publishing agreement. The form is here.

Harlequin Digital First

About: Harlequin (now a HarperCollins division) is best known as a romance publisher, They began to branching into digital publications in 2013. Science fiction is new on the Harlequin scene.

What they are looking forSpace opera, sci-fi, and fantasy stories (10,000 words minimum).

How to Submit: Submit only completed, fully polished manuscripts along with a query/cover letter and synopsis. In the subject line of your query, please type the manuscript title, your name and the genre of the manuscript. Queries must include the following and will not be reviewed if any piece is missing:
  • In the body of the email: a brief, introductory query letter including genre, word count and a short description of the book, as well as any pertinent information about the author, including both legal name and pen name, full mailing address, and any writing credits.
  • As an attachment: the full manuscript saved as an RTF, DOC or DOCX file, with file name TITLE_MANUSCRIPT where you substitute your book's title in place of TITLE.
  • As a second attachment: A 2–5 page synopsis of the book, detailing character development, plot and conflict/story resolution. Attach as an RTF, DOC or DOCX file with file name TITLE_SYNOPSIS where you substitute your book's title in place of TITLE.
Please be sure to put the following information on the first page of all files: manuscript name, author pen name/legal name, email address, full mailing address, phone number, genre and word count.

Submissions should be sent to:  Submit_HDigital@Harlequin.com

Baen Books

About: Baen Books was founded in 1983 by science fiction editor and publisher Jim Baen (now deceased). Baen was one of the first publishers to use the Internet as a means of "spreading the word" about a book or author. Publishes in digital and print format.

What they are looking for: Science fiction with powerful plots with solid scientific and philosophical underpinnings are essential for science fiction submissions. For fantasy, any magical system must be both rigorously coherent and integral to the plot, and overall the work must at least strive for originality. Manuscripts should be at least 100,000 words. 

How to Submit: Send your manuscript by using the submission form at:  http://ftp.baen.com/Slush/submit.aspx

Attach the manuscript as a Rich Text Format (.rtf) file. Any other format will not be considered.

Send the manuscript as a single file (do not break it into separate chapter files). The form only accepts a single file so any synopsis and contact info needs to be in the file with your manuscript.

Your submission must include your name, email address*, postal mailing address, and telephone number on both your cover letter and the first page of the manuscript. *[If you have an alternate permanent email address, please include it, in case your primary account goes out of service.] Include a plot outline if possible.

Click HERE for more details.

Aspiring authors spend a great deal of their time and effort researching agents, writing queries, and perfecting pitches. Often, they are so delighted when an agent - any agent - takes an interest in them, that they tend to say "Yes, a thousand times yes!" before giving the long-term consequences of the union the cold, hard reflection it deserves.

You are not married to your agent. But, if you are not well suited to one another, getting a "divorce" can be tricky, especially if your agent has already sold one of your books. A split-up can involve a custody battle: changing the terms of your contract, lawyers, hard feelings.

And there will be gossip. The publishing industry is more provincial than you might think. Editors love to gossip among themselves about authors, and those editors often become agents, who also do their fair share of gossiping. If you end up divorcing your agent, everyone will know about it.

Guess whose side they will be on?

So, before you leap into the arms of the first agent who is willing to get down on one knee, consider the following:

Does the agent have a good track record with authors? Ask around. Find some authors they have represented (you can even ask the agent for a list), and ask how happy they have been. Go to conferences, talk to writers. Try to get a sense of how the agent interacts with people. Google the agent's name and see what pops up on absolutewrite, a forum where writers talk about their experiences in the publishing world.

Does the agent adore your work? Agents can only sell work that thrills them. Does the agent stand behind your book 100%? Will the agent be willing to spend a couple of years, if that is required, to get a contract? Or will he/she dump you after a few tries?

Does the agent like you? It is important for agents to be professional, but it is equally important for them to take an interest in you. I am not talking about sharing "worst date" stories. You need to feel comfortable enough to be able to ask your agent important questions.

Can you trust your agent? A publishing contract is not the end of the road. Contract negotiations are nerve-fraying experiences. If your agent is curt, or doesn't respond to your questions (particularly if it is your first contract ), or if your agent does not explain things to your satisfaction, you may want to bail out of the relationship before your contract is finalized. (This happens a lot more than you may think.) Talk to the agent about how he/she handles contract negotiations. And listen to your gut. If you have doubts, there may be a good reason for them.

There are other considerations as well: How many clients does the agent have (too many, and they won't have time for you, too few and they aren't successful); How many publishing houses has the agent worked with (if their publishing contacts are limited to houses that also accept unagented manuscripts, it's not a good sign); What genres has the agent represented (YA fiction is all the rage right now, but if an agent has not represented YA authors before, he or she may not have the contacts you need).

Ideally, you want a long and happy relationship with your agent. If you stand back and ask yourself whether you and your prospective agent are a "good fit" right at the start, you will avoid many problems further down the road.

(In this video, Dick Cavett and stand-up comedian Dave Hill have a Tough Talk about the Amazon vs Everybody Wars. A bit of satire never hurt anybody ... not much anyway.)

It is rare to find authors united against (or even for) anything. Authors, like tigers, prefer to hunt alone. But Amazon changed all that when it affected their sales, first by pulling Macmillan titles from its list, and then by pulling pre-orders from Hachette titles.

Amazon has engaged in a number of tactics which have ruffled the feathers of not only authors, but entire governments - except for ours. 

That may soon change.

Authors United, an ad hoc group of over 1000 authors, has called for a Department of Justice investigation into possible anti-trust law violations committed by Amazon. Among the literary luminaries who have joined Authors United are: Philip Roth, Orhan Pamuk, Salman Rushdie, V. S. Naipaul, Ursula Le Guin and Milan Kundera. The estates of Saul Bellow, Roberto Bolaño, Joseph Brodsky, William Burroughs, John Cheever, Allen Ginsberg, Norman Mailer, Arthur Miller and Hunter S. Thompson have also signed on.

In a parallel move, the Author's Guild, the country's largest advocacy group for writers, met with Justice Department officials in early August. The Guild, which has more than 8,500 members, raised concerns that Amazon is violating antitrust law.

Authors United’s Next Move: DOJ

Publishers Weekly, September 24, 2014

Wednesday, bestselling thriller writer Douglas Preston, who oversees the group Authors United, confirmed that the organization intends to contact the Department of Justice requesting an antitrust inquiry into Amazon's tactics.

Authors United formed to voice the concerns of authors whose sales have been hurt as a result of the stalled sales terms negotiations between Amazon and Hachette. The Financial Times reported the group's intention to request that the DoJ mount an antitrust investigation into Amazon's approach to its business, and Preston confirmed the move to PW.

According to Preston, a letter addressed to William Baer, assistant attorney general for antitrust, has been drawn up and calls for a closer look at Amazon's practices. News of the letter, said Preston, was leaked "very prematurely."

The pending letter to the DoJ is the third action taken by Authors United. In August, the gorup made its first move by running a signed full-page ad in the New York Times asking readers to write to Amazon head Jeff Bezos. Authors United is also, currently, in the midst of putting together its second project, which involves FedExing a letter to members of the Amazon board of directors which questions whether the board approves the policy of sanctioning books. The letter states: “These sanctions have driven down Hachette authors' sales at Amazon.com by at least 50 percent, and in some cases by as much as 90 percent.”