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!

Digital Market News

Two new markets have opened for digital genre fiction. This is great news for anyone who is interested in digital publication and has a completed manuscript.

I found these markets through the Cindi Myers Market News Blog here on WordPress. If you are a writer, you need to subscribe to her blog. Ms. Meyer’s provides publishing market news on a weekly basis (with occasional breaks.) She’s been doing this for years, is a great writer and fabulous person. I’ve shouted her out here before and shall do so again.

Big Six publisher Random House is launching three new digital imprints. From the Random House website:

To the already-existing LOVESWEPT imprint for romance and women’s fiction, RHPG will add the following digital-only imprints:  ALIBI, for mystery/suspense readers; HYDRA, for sci-fi/fantasy enthusiasts; and FLIRT, for the rapidly-growing college-age New Adult audiences.  In addition, this digital-only program will seek out the best and brightest names in the next generation of authors, enabling us to cultivate a team of writers in the publishing world’s most prolific and lively genres.

To learn more about this exciting opportunity, go here.

Submission guidelines are here.

Prime Books, an independent publisher of science fiction and fantasy, is launching a digital imprint called Masque Books. From the Masque Books website:

Masque Books is Prime Books’ new digital imprint. Our emphasis is on both general sf/fantasy, and sf/f romance. We plan on launching with twelve titles in July 2013 and publishing six titles a month thereafter.

Further information and submission guidelines can be found here.

Best wishes to all who submit their manuscripts to these markets! Let me know how it goes.

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…

First Draft and Beyond

Free eBooks and Short Stories

After writing 50K words and winning NaNoWriMo 2012, I had resolved to finish the manuscript for my latest fantasy novel, “The Wayward Way” by the end of December. I’m four days late, which I’ll blame on the holidays ;), but it is accomplished. I have a completed first draft. It’s a huge mess, but it’s something I can work on, polish, greatly improve and hopefully get published.

I opened my email and saw that a writer friend, Nicole LeBoeuf, had just published an Examiner post on New Year’s resolutions for the working writer. The article has all kinds of great, pressure-free suggestions. One that particularly caught my eye was the suggestion to apply to attend Viable Paradise.

Viable Paradise is a one-week, intensive workshop for speculative fiction writers, limited to 24 participants. The list of instructors is jaw-dropping and include big guns in the genre such as Steven Brust, Elizabeth Bear, Teresa Nielsen Hayden and Patrick Nielsen Hayden. This year, the workshop will take place from October 13 through October 18 on Martha’s Vineyard. The application period runs from January 1 through June 15. The cost to apply is $25.

It’s been on my mind for a while to apply to attend this workshop. The overall cost is not cheap. How could it be with such great instructors and at such an awesome location? But if you don’t invest in yourself, who will? I’ll give it some deep thought and if I do decide to apply, you’ll be the first to know.

For those who may not know, Patrick Nielsen Hayden is the manager of the science fiction and fantasy line at Tor Books. Teresa Nielsen Hayden is a consulting editor for Tor. I’m a huge fan of Tor and attending workshops taught by them would be spectacular!

What is Tor Books looking for in terms of writing? One of the best ways to figure that out is to read what has already been published. Today, I found a couple of free YA speculative fiction anthologies called Fierce Reads. These are available for most eReaders. You can find the download options near the bottom of each page.

Tor.com publishes original short fiction which can be read free on their website. Each story also includes a fabulous illustration. You can find the stories here.

  The Fierce Reads Anthology
This anthology includes short stories from five fierce young adult authors! Inside, you’ll find a magical mermaid tale from Anna Banks, a fantastical Russian-influenced story from Leigh Bardugo, an electric thriller from Jennifer Bosworth, a post-apocalyptic drama from Emmy Laybourne, and a cybernetic fairytale from Marissa Meyer. This free anthology will give you an exciting taste of the fierceness of these authors’ debut novels.

  The Fierce Reads Anthology: Volume 2
This anthology includes short stories from six fierce young adult authors! Inside, you’ll find a futuristic zombie tale from Ann Aguirre, a science fiction thriller from Gennifer Albin, a nautical mermaid story from Elizabeth Fama, a story full of unicorns from Lish McBride, a postapocalyptic story from Caragh O’Brien, and a paranormal alternate future from Marie Rutkowski. This free anthology will give you an exciting taste of the fierceness of these YA authors’ novels.

Descriptions provided by Macmillan

Disclaimers and Disclosures

These free books are potentially limited time offers. There is no guarantee either 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!