Harper Voyager Update for May

Hello, I’m back! Eurovision ended with a grand final competition on Saturday in Malmö, Sweden. Emmelie de Forest of Denmark won the top prize with her song “Only Teardrops.” Well done, Europe. This is a beautiful and haunting song, and Emmelie de Forest has a strong, impassioned voice. Take a look at her winning performance.

While I was busy (obsessed?) with Eurovision and my 12 Points To… blog, other things happened in the world. In particular, Harper Voyager came out with a new update. For those not in the know, back in October 2012 Harper Voyager opened a two week submission slot for unsolicited manuscripts. Those accepted would be published as part of a new digital imprint. If you are a speculative fiction author, this was a big deal.

Of course, they received thousands of submissions. They’ve been very good about keeping those authors updated via their website. Here is a quote from their latest update.

Another update on the digital submissions! As per the previous update post, we received 4500+ entries, and by early March we had responded to 2905 entries.

We have now reviewed all the submissions in our inbox and responded to 3595 submissions that were not right for our list. The remaining 948 are marked for further reading and consideration.

You can read the full update here.

I haven’t heard back yet, which means my novel “Fake” is one of those 948. This is very exciting and even flattering. Regardless of the outcome, I’m happy to be part of this group.

Submitting your manuscript is a nail chomping experience, but it is necessary if you want to be a professional writer. Even if you plan to go the indie route, it doesn’t hurt to submit a short story here and there. It gives you the experience of pulling together a professional manuscript. Rejections aren’t pleasant, but occasionally editors will include a nugget of invaluable critique.

If you are ready to submit a novel or short story, or even a piece of creative nonfiction, you really should subscribe to Cindi Myers’ Market News blog. It’s a (mostly) weekly blog that contains news on markets open to manuscript submission. Cindi has been doing this for years and she is a fabulous, generous person. While visiting her blog, you can check out her novels as well.

Hey readers, I haven’t forgotten about you. A tasty freebie by Neil Gaiman has been made available by HarperCollins. It can be downloaded for numerous eBook formats.

How to Talk to Girls at Parties By Neil Gaiman How to Talk to Girls at Parties by Neil Gaiman
A short story from New York Times bestselling author, Neil Gaiman. Plus an excerpt from his new novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

Another Neil Gaiman freebie you can find online is his Sherlock Holmes/H.P. Lovecraft mash-up, A Study in Emerald. It is available in PDF format and is a short, fun read. Enjoy!

Harper Voyager Update and Random House Controversy

For those writers who, like myself, have been waiting to hear back from Harper Voyager regarding publication in their new digital imprint, there is an update on their website dated March 4, 2013. It states in part:

We have now responded to 2905 submissions that were not right for our list. 851 have been marked for further reading/consideration, and 787 are still to be read (1638 in toto).

You can find the full post here.

Of course, the best thing we can do while we wait is to keep writing, working on other projects and submitting other work. Which brings me to the Random House controversy.

Several months ago, I noted that Random House had also opened a new digital imprint and I included a link to the submission guidelines. You can find the original article here. I found out this weekend, thanks to an Examiner post by a writer friend, Nicole LeBoeuf-Little, that the contract terms of the digital imprint have stirred the ire of the SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.) When the SFWA speaks, writers of all genres should listen. After all, they are the source of the cautionary writers’ website, Writer Beware.

Main points of the controversy include no advance royalties, profit from a book first going to pay for producing that book, and Random House owning all rights to a book, in all forms, for the life of the copyright. The story has gone viral, making it to the virtual pages of The Guardian, Forbes and Publishers Weekly. In the article linked below, Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware restates the SFWA’s position and provides a response sent by Random House.

SFWA De-Lists Hydra; Random House Responds

However you feel about the controversy, this should be an action call to all creatives. If you are offered a contract, read it carefully. If you can, consult a lawyer. Remember that you can offer counter terms, i.e., if you don’t agree with something in the contract, you can state how you want it to be changed. If you and the other party can’t agree to the terms, walk away.

Writing a novel is an art, selling that novel is a business. Creative people need to hone their business skills in order to be successful.

Harper Voyager Submission Update for February

It’s been a little over a month since Harper Voyager posted their last update for digital submissions, so I thought I’d check again. There is a new update, dated February 1, 2013. It states in part:

We received slightly over 4500 entries. We have now responded to approximately 2220 entries that unfortunately were not for our list.  This leaves us with roughly entries. Of those, about 543 are to be considered further, and just under 1800 still need to be read. So we are almost halfway through.

You can read the entire update here.

So, if you haven’t heard yet, sit tight. You’re still in the running! Many thanks to Harper Voyager for being so good about keeping anxious authors updated.

If you received a rejection from Harper Voyager, or didn’t make the deadline back in October 2012, you may want to consider submitting your manuscript to Random House. The publisher recently launched three new digital imprints and is seeking unsolicited manuscripts. This is a great opportunity to be published by a major publishing house. You can find more information here.

Is your manuscript not quite ready yet? Need a little advice to help polish your prose? I found a few free-for-now writing guides that look interesting and informative. One is a humorous essay written by a New York Times bestselling author and published for free by HarperCollins.

How to Write a New York Times Bestseller in Ten Easy Steps (eBook Original)  How to Write a New York Times Bestseller in Ten Easy Steps by Jason Mulgrew
For a few “glorious” weeks, Jason Mulgrew’s first book, Everything Is Wrong with Me, appeared on the New York Times bestseller list, before dropping off and returning to the deep obscurity to which it belongs. Jason Mulgrew has not been able to shut up about it since and now believes that he is qualified to write the following primer, “How to Write a New York Times Bestseller in Ten Easy Steps.” Please accept our apologies in advance.

  Hook Me: What to Include in Your First Chapter by Rebecca Talley
Writing a book can be daunting, especially when it comes to writing the first chapter. Improve your writing skills and learn to write the best first chapter possible with these writing tips. A checklist and a first chapter analysis are included in this easy-to-understand, concise guide on writing fiction.

Writer's Block: Vanquished! Using Images, Oracles and Brain-Hacks (Practical Writer)  Writer’s Block: Vanquished! by Nancy Hendrickson
Most writers experience a block at one time or another. It may manifest as procrastination,lack of inspiration or any number of personal issues. The good news is, there are easy solutions to get you writing again, including the use of Images; Oracles; Brain-Hacks. Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, are a budding novelist or a freelance magazine writer, you’re guaranteed to find at least one technique to vanquish writer’s block forever!

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Harper Voyager Submission Update

In September 2012, I wrote about the big news that Harper Voyager, the science fiction and fantasy imprint of HarperCollins, would be accepting unsolicited manuscripts from October 1 through October 14. Novels that made the grade would be published in digital format.

At the time, the guidelines stated that writers who hadn’t received a response by January 15, 2013, would not be hearing from them as their manuscripts had been rejected.

This policy has been updated and changed! From the Harper Voyager website:

We had originally set a January 15, 2013 deadline for responses to potential projects. We’re reading as quickly as we can–and in fact have our eyes on a few submissions already–but we will not make the 1/15/13 response date . And we do not want to keep you hanging if we have read it and it is not right for us.

So, we are changing our policy and will indeed be responding to each and every submission. The first wave of responses will go out in January.

If you do not hear anything via email, your submission is still being considered, and is still in consideration until you receive a response. We will also do an update in mid January to let you know how far along we are in the process.

You can read the entire post here: Digital submission update.

So, if you submitted your manuscript back in October, don’t give up hope! Keeping my fingers crossed…

Harper Voyager Submission Deadline Extended

I just checked and the Harper Voyage submission form remains active as of 8:45 a.m. MDT (I live in Colorado, if that helps.) The Harper Voyager website posted this message:

We apologize for the early closing of the form. Technology error! We have now re-opened it and extended the period until this time tomorrow, October 15th.

There was no time stamp on the message, so I can’t say how much longer the portal will remain open. Here are the links:

I’m certain the staff at Harper Voyager feel bad about the confusion and they have done their best to rectify the situation. From what I can tell in the forums, they spent the weekend at New York’s ComicCon, which must have been crazy crowded and they had to have been crazy busy.

Harper Voyager has provided a great opportunity for unpublished writers. If you want to show them a little love, think about buying one or more of their books. Don’t have a lot of cash? You know you’ve come to the right place. Harper Voyager is offering two new eShorts by bestselling authors and the prices are nice.

“Pet Shop Boys ” by Kim Harrison costs $0.89. “The Asylum Interviews – Trixie” by Jocelynn Drake costs $1.99. Both are approximately 100 pages in length. Electronic copies are available on Amazon, B&N and iTunes. You can find both books here.

Good luck to everyone who submitted a manuscript to Harper Voyager. I’d love to hear back from anyone who gets accepted.

Harper Voyager Submission Portal Reopened

This morning, a reader posted on my blog that the Harper Voyager Submission portal closed early, at midnight on October 13. This appears to have been a mistake and the portal is reopened. The deadline still appears to be midnight, October 14. I’m not sure how this works for different time zones. I suggest submitting your work ASAP. If I hear about an extension on the submission deadline, I will let you know.

Harper Voyager Guidelines

Harper Voyager Submission Form

Market News and Writing Guides

Market News

Only four days left to submit a completed speculative fiction novel to Harper Voyager. You can find more information on the Harper Voyager website.

Maybe you can’t submit to Harper Voyager. Maybe you don’t have a completed manuscript, or write in another genre, or have some short stories or nonfiction articles you’re dying to get out there. Have I got a resource for you? You bet!

Cindi Myers uses her WordPress blog to generously provide writers with market news. Although she is primarily a romance writer, she posts opportunities for all kinds of genres. Whether you write fiction, nonfiction, horror, Christian, poetry, literary, etc., you’ll probably find something relevant to your style of writing.

You can find her blog here: Cindi Myers Market News’s Blog  If you’re on WordPress, you’ll want to hit the “follow” button.

If you’re working on a novel or working up to a novel, and need a little help and inspiration, I found a couple of freebie writing guides that look promising. As always, you don’t need a Kindle to download these babies. The Kindle app is available for computers, tablets and smart phones.

Free Today on Amazon

  Screenwriting Tricks For Authors by Alexandra Sokoloff
Are you finally committed to writing that novel but have no idea how to get started? Or are you a published author – but know you need some plotting help to move your books and career up to that next level? Screenwriting is a compressed and dynamic storytelling form and the techniques of screenwriting are easily adaptable to novel writing. You can jump-start your plot and bring your characters and scenes vibrantly alive on the page – by watching your favorite movies and learning from the storytelling tricks of great filmmakers.

  Writing Your Way: The Great American Novel Track by Julie Smith
WRITING YOUR WAY is all about finding your own best writing method, not a writing teacher’s idea of what’s right for you. It’s for the pre-published novelist who’s way past finding her inner writer and just wants some nuts-and-bolts advice that’ll help her through the plot knots and POV power struggles.

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Oh No, the Synopsis Monster!

A Synopsis Resource

As I noted in a previous entry, Harper Voyager, the scifi/fantasy imprint of HarperCollins, is accepting unsolicited manuscripts from October 1 to October 14, 2012. To submit your manuscript, you must fill out a form that includes, along with your completed novel, a query letter and a very brief synopsis.

This took a couple of writers I know by surprise, since they have neither a query letter nor a synopsis. Who out there thinks these are scary monsters they’d rather not deal with? Note that I am raising my hand. However, I did manage to write both.

The query letter is the most important, I think, because it’s your main marketing tool. It’s the first thing an agent or editor will read, so it’s got to be good. I took my crappy pitch and query letter to the San Francisco Writers Conference. After a number of workshops and some professional advice, I managed to improve greatly on both. Note that my pitch is incorporated in my query letter. What made the difference is that I finally figured out how to to tell my story briefly, with a hook, and that I wrote my query in my voice.

I can’t recreate my conference experience for you, but I can recommend an inexpensive book that can help you write both your synopsis and your pitch.

In Write a Great Synopsis – An Expert Guide, author Nicola Morgan details her Write from the Heart method using her Crappy Memory Tool. She gives step-by-step instructions to guide you through a process that will lead to a 25-word pitch, a hook paragraph and a synopsis. This short book is an invaluable resource and well worth the cost at $3.99.

Her method can help you craft a synopsis of any size. If you want to submit your novel to Harper Voyager, but are hesitating for lack of query and synopsis, you may want to take a look at this book. Keep in mind that her method isn’t as easy as 1-2-3. You still have to do the work and create a polished product. However, I’m very pleased with the synopsis I came up with after working through her method.

For more information about the Harper Voyager unsolicited manuscript submission period, go here.

You can submit your manuscript here.

Harper Voyager Now Open for Submissions

Harper Voyager, the scifi/fantasy imprint of HarperCollins, is accepting unsolicited manuscripts from October 1 to October 14, 2012.

This publisher does not ordinarily accept unsolicited submissions, so this is a big opportunity for speculative fiction writers with a completed manuscript. Please note that they are not accepting uncompleted manuscripts. Your novel must polished and ready to submit by October 14, 2012. Books that are accepted will be published digitally, not in print format.

You can find the guidelines here. Read them carefully.

You can submit your manuscript here.

FYI, along with your manuscript, you also must submit a brief synopsis, no more than 1,500 characters, including spaces, the best scene or first 1,000 words of your novel, and your query letter.

Good luck!

Big Opportunity for Speculative Fiction Writers

Harper Voyager Opening for Submissions

Do you have a finished or near finished speculative fiction novel? Have you been hoping for an opportunity to dive into the slush pile of a Big Six publisher that doesn’t accept unsolicited manuscripts? Now, or rather almost now, is your chance!

Harper Voyager, the scifi/fantasy imprint of HarperCollins, will be accepting unsolicited manuscripts from October 1 to October 14, 2012.

Here’s more info from the Harper Voyager website:

For the first time in over a decade, Harper Voyager are opening the doors to unsolicited submissions in order to seek new authors with fresh voices, strong storytelling abilities, original ideas and compelling storylines. So, if you believe your manuscript has these qualities, then we want to read it!

We’re seeking all kinds of adult and young adult speculative fiction for digital publication, but particularly epic fantasy, science fiction, urban fantasy, horror, dystopia and supernatural.

The books that are accepted will be published digitally, meaning as eBooks. The FAQ states there is a possibility these books will also be published in print. If your heart is set on your novel being in print, this might not be the way to go. However, if the idea of a Big Six publisher taking on your novel in any format excites you, I’d say go for it!

You manuscript must be polished and completed by the time of submission. Harper Voyager does not accept unfinished manuscripts. Please take this seriously. Submitting your really good idea that you know they’ll just love will make you look like an amateur. Always take submission guidelines as stated.

Click here to get the full scoop.

Need some help with that polishing? Or are you not ready yet, but need inspiration and guidance? Below I’ve listed some writing guides that are free on Amazon today. Remember, you don’t have to have a Kindle to download these books. They can be read using the Kindle app on your computer, tablet and smart phone.

Free Today on Amazon

  Be Your Own Editor by Sigrid MacDonald
Are you uncertain when to use affect or effect? Loath or loathe? Compliment or complement? Do you struggle with character development, establishing realistic dialogue and composing articles, proposals or manuscripts? Be Your Own Editor by Sigrid Macdonald offers a crash course in grammar basics, starting with punctuation and proper use of the dreaded apostrophe. It suggests ways to identify frequently misused words; to devise strong characters and background settings in fiction; and to structure nonfiction.

  The Big Ten of Grammar: Identifying and Fixing the Ten Most Frequent Grammatical Errors by William Bradshaw
Have you ever hesitated when choosing between I or me? Have you had trouble figuring out tricky pronouns like who or whom? What about those always-troublesome comas–do they go before or after the quotation marks? If you’re anything like the rest of us, you struggle with these age-old grammatical issues. In this practical and easy-to-understand handbook, Dr. William B. Bradshaw identifies the ten most common errors in English grammar and helps you to recognize and correct these mistakes, enabling you to write and speak with greater clarity in your personal and professional life. The Big Ten of Grammar is the perfect guide for students, teachers, and professionals to use in brushing up on their grammar.

  Writing Xpert: The Winning Novel by Allen Applen
Professional strategies and skills by the author of two breakout thrillers: The Russian: A Spy Thriller, and Gulf Striker: A Thriller. Writing Xpert is designed to encourage and instruct the beginning novelist. If you want to succeed in writing a winning novel, this book is filled with powerful ideas, tactics, and strategies—a “must have” for your book shelf.

  Unleash Your Inner Creative Writer in 30 days by Rob Patrick
Do you want to become a successful creative writer, but are stuck in a rut? Have you tried all the methods and still find yourself coming up blank when it is time to put pen to paper? If so, then this straightforward guide is your means to becoming the creative writer that you always wanted to be. In 30 shorts days you will be on your lifelong journey to creative writing bliss and self fulfillment.

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.

Books that I have previously listed will occasionally come up free again. I add those to my current posts for people who didn’t see them the first time.