Here are two new literary agents seeking clients. Rob Kirkpatrick (The Stuart Agency) is looking for memoir, biography, sports, music, pop culture, current events, history, and (on a very select basis) literary fiction. Rachel Burkot (Holloway Literary) is interested in women's fiction, thrillers, romance, YA, and literary fiction.
Rob Kirkpatrick of The Stuart Agency

​About Rob: Rob Kirkpatrick joins The Stuart Agency after working as a senior editor at multiple publishing houses for more than a dozen years. Titles he has helped publish include The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll’s Best-Kept Secret; Shrinkage: Manhood, Marriage, and the Tumor that Tried to Kill Me; Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. (Viv Albertine); Vagos, Mongols, and Outlaws (basis for the miniseries Gangland Undercover); The Peasant Prince: Thaddeus Kosciuszko and the Age of Revolution; The Agent: My 40-Year Career Making Deals and Changing the Game (Leigh Steinberg); Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging ‘70s; Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs! My Adventures in the Alice Cooper Group; The Kennedy Chronicles: The Golden Age of MTV Through Rose-Colored Glasses; Black Noon: The Year They Stopped The Indy 500; Cohn-Head: A No-Holds Barred Account of Breaking Into the Boys Club (by ESPN’s Linda Cohn); and Jerry Rice’s latest book, 50 Years, 50 Moments. Rob completed a PhD in English and also is the author of several books himself. 

What he is looking for: Memoir, biography, sports, music, pop culture, current events, history, and (on a very select basis) literary fiction.

How to submit: Submissions should be sent directly to: rob@stuartagency.com. For nonfiction, please send query letter outlining your credentials along with proposal; for fiction, letter with synopsis and full manuscript.
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Rachel Burkot of Holloway Literary

About Rachel: Rachel Burkot of Holloway Literary has been in the publishing industry since 2009. After completing an internship with two literary agencies, reading mostly young adult and thrillers, she then worked as an editor for Harlequin, acquiring category romance, contemporary romance, multicultural romance and women’s fiction. She has decided to transition her skills to the agenting world in order to be an advocate and champion for her authors because she loves finding new talent and helping authors’ dreams of publication come true. Rachel’s career highlights include helping her authors achieve prestigious romance book nominations and two selective awards, including the National Readers Choice Award, and several top reviews in Romantic Times magazine for her books. Follow Rachel on Twitter at @Rachel_Burkot.

What she is seeking: Rachel is drawn to voice-driven fiction, particularly in young adult; quirky, three-dimensional, flawed characters, including and especially secondary characters; beautiful writing; books that explore good people in morally complicated situations; and complex, detailed plots. Rachel is interested in representing:

  • Women’s fiction
  • Upmarket/book club fiction, i.e., Emily Giffin, Liane Moriarty and Diane Chamberlain
  • Young adult (no fantasy or paranormal unless it’s very light)
  • Contemporary romance, i.e., Kristan Higgins
  • Category romance with unique, memorable plots, i.e., Natalie Charles
  • Southern fiction
  • “Dark” women’s fiction/thrillers, i.e., Gillian Flynn or Mary Kubica
  • Urban fiction
  • Literary fiction
How to submit: Send your one-page query to submissions [at] hollowayliteraryagency.com. Email a brief query and the first five pages of your manuscript pasted in the body of your email. In the email subject header, write “Query: [Title/Genre].” If Rachel is interested, she’ll respond with a request for more material. If she’s not interested in your query but thinks it will be a good fit for others at the agency, she’ll share your submission. Due to the number of emails the agency receives, Rachel will only respond if she’s interested.
 
 
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Here are nine agents actively seeking horror. All are from reputable agencies. Be sure to check their stats on AgentQuery.

1. Maria Vicente (P.S. Literary)

Maria holds a B.A. in English Literature from Carleton University and a B.Ed. from the University of Western Ontario. She has affinities for literary prose, strong character development, original storytelling formats, and anything geeky.

What she is seeking: Young adult and middle grade horror. (No adult.)

How to submit: How to contact: E-query query [at] psliterary.com with “Query for Maria” in the subject line. “Do not send attachments. Always let us know if your manuscript/proposal is currently under consideration by other agents/publishers. If you don’t receive a response to your query within 4-6 weeks it means a no from the agency.”
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2. Veronica Park (Corvisiero Literary)

Veronica Park is an agent, author, journalist and marketing consultant with more than seven years of experience writing and editing for publication. 

What she is seeking: “I would love a YA, contemporary retelling of any of the horror “classics” like Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Picture of Dorian Grey, or anything by H.P. Lovecraft.”

How to submit: E-query query [at] corvisieroagency.com and putting “Attn: Veronica Park – Query – [BOOK TITLE]” in the subject line. She prefers to see your query letter, synopsis and 15-20 page sample pasted into the body of the e-mail. For bonus points, include links to your social media profiles in your email signature.
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3. Rebecca Podos (Rees Literary)

Rebecca Podos is a graduate of the MFA Writing, Literature and Publishing program at Emerson College

What she is seeking: Young adult and middle grade horror only. (No adult.)

How to submit: Submit a query letter and the first few chapters (pasted in the e-mail) to Rebecca [at] reesagency.com. No attachments.
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4. Sarah LaPolla (Bradford Literary)

Sarah LaPolla joined Bradford Literary Agency as an agent in 2013. She had previously worked in the foreign rights department at Curtis Brown, Ltd., and became an associate agent there in 2010. Sarah received her MFA in Creative Writing (Nonfiction) from The New School in 2008, and has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Ithaca College.

What she is seeking: Young adult horror only. (No adult or MG mss.)

How to submit: E-query sarah [at] bradfordlit.com. Put “Query: [title]” in your subject line. Please email a query letter along with the first chapter of your manuscript and a synopsis. Please be sure to include the genre and word count in your cover letter. No attachments.
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5. Jill Marr (Sandra Dijkstra Literary)

Jill graduated from San Diego State University with a BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing and a minor in history. She has a strong Internet and media background and nearly 15 years of publishing experience

What she is seeking: Adult stories only. No YA or MG. “I’d like to find a horror story like Joe Hill’sHeart Shaped Box, the kind of tale that pulls you in so completely, and yet you feel like you can only safely read it during the day. I’d also love to see more gritty and atmospheric stories with plenty of plot turns–think The Silent Girls by Eric Rickstad. I like weird and creepy like Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Shock me.”

How to submit: E-query jmsubmissions [at] dijkstraagency.com. “If you have not heard back from us six weeks after sending your letter, you may assume that we have passed. Please send a query letter, a 1-page synopsis, a brief bio (including a description of your publishing history), and the first 10-15 pages of your manuscript. Please send all items in the body of the email, not as an attachment.”
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6. Alec Shane (Writers House)

Alec is Assistant to Jodi Reamer. And while I continue to work under Jodi's careful tutelage, I am now also in the process of actively building my own list and currently represent a fairly eclectic mix of Children's and Adult fiction and nonfiction. I'm eagerly looking for both.

What he is seeking: "Great horror - I haven't been scared to turn off the light in far too long and something needs to be done about it."

How to submit: 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.
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7. Lane Heymont (The Seymour Agency)

What he is seeking: "Well, my all time favorite novel is Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley. It’s everything, Gothic horror, science fiction, and a dash of the weird unknown and possesses what makes these genres great."

How to submit: How to connect: Send all queries to lane [at] theseymouragency.com. The subject line should be “QUERY: (Title)”. Please past the first five pages in the body of the e-mail.

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8. Evan Gregory (Ethan Ellenberg Literary)

Evan Gregory is a Senior Agent.

What he is seeking: “Alien. Abduction. Whitley Strieber and Fire in the Sky scarred me for life. Also if you can write a contemporary Lovecraftian yarn I want to hear from you (especially if you’re TheBoyInTheClock).”

How to submit: Please send submissions to agent [at] ethanellenberg.com to the attention of Evan. “For email submissions, we ask that you paste all materials into the body of the email in the order mentioned below. For example, if you were submitting fiction you would begin with a brief query letter, followed by your synopsis, followed by the first 50 pages of your manuscript. We will not open attachments.”

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9. Heather Flaherty (The Bent Agency)

Heather began her publishing career as an editor at Random House.

What she is seeking: Young Adult. “I like really good horror and ghost stories… not gory-for-gory’s sake or overly disgusting, but cringing, dark, bloody twisted, and even lovely. I’m seeking Alice Madness Returns meets Anna Dressed In Blood.”

How to submit: flahertyqueries [at] the bentagency.com. Please do not query Heather if you are also querying Beth Phelan of The Bent Agency, who is also on this list. Paste the first ten pages of your book in the body of your email.

 
 
Here are two agents actively building their client lists. New agents are a boon to writers. They are young, enthusiastic, and willing to go the extra mile for their clients. Stacey Graham (Red Sofa Literary) is looking for humor books, humorous memoir, dark middle grade, New Age with a strong platform, quirky nonfiction (YA/MG and adult), history, and horror. Shaun Dolan (Union Literary) is seeking literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, memoir, pop culture, and sports narratives.

Stacey Graham of Red Sofa Literary


About Stacey: Stacey is an associate agent for Red Sofa Literary after years of being on the other side of the literary blanket. She is the author of four books, as well as being a freelance editor, ghostwriter, screenwriter, and works closely with Boundary Stone Films.

What she is seeking: Humor books, humorous memoir along the lines of Jenny Lawson or John Cleese, dark middle grade, New Age with a strong platform, quirky nonfiction (YA/MG and adult), history, and horror. She is not looking for YA fiction or adult fantasy.

How to submit: Please query Stacey at stacey[at]redsofaliterary.com. If it’s a good fit, she will request the first three chapters or a finished book proposal.
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Shaun Dolan of Union Literary

About Shaun: Shaun Dolan previously worked with award winning authors – including National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winners and finalists, Story Prize Winners, and B&N Discover Award Winners – as an assistant at WME. Shaun is a graduate of the University of Michigan.

What he is seeking
: As an agent at Union Literary, he’s interested in both muscular and lyrical literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, memoir, pop culture, and sports narratives. He’s willing and able to dive into the trenches editorially and looks to foster new, exciting voices. (The agency does not represent romance or science fiction.)

How to Submit: sd [at] unionliterary.com. “Due to the high volume of submissions we receive, we will only be in contact regarding projects that feel like a match for the respective agent. Rest assured, every incoming query is being read and evaluated. We prefer to receive submissions by email with sample pages attached in .doc or .docx format. Please do not send .pdf files. Nonfiction submissions should include a query letter, a proposal, and a sample chapter. Fiction submissions should include a query letter, a synopsis, and either sample pages or a full manuscript.”
 
 
PictureHouston writers huddling together for warmth.
February is a brutal little month, and this year it's going to be one day longer.
Why not brighten the dark days with a stimulating conference?

There are nine conferences this month. (All of them are located in warm parts of the country, you will notice.) As usual, these conferences are jam-packed with opportunities to pitch your novel, hone your craft, and hobnob with industry professionals.

Make sure you read these tips first:

Valuable Tips for Pitching to an Agent or Editor 
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Writing Conference of Houston, Feb. 6, 2016, Houston, TX. A full-day of “How to Get Published.” Attending agents: Paul S. Levine (Paul S. Levine Literary); Patricia Nelson (Marsal Lyon Literary); Rachel Brooks (L. Perkins Associates); Tricia Skinner (Fuse Literary); and Eve Porinchak (Jill Corcoran Literary).

The Writers Studio, sponsored by the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, February 11- 14, 2016, Los Angeles, CA. The conference offers workshops in fiction and creative nonfiction, as well as writing for television and film. Workshop instructors include fiction writers Colette Sartor and Mark Sarvas; nonfiction writers Barbara Abercrombie, Samantha Dunn, and Alison Singh Gee; fiction and nonfiction writer Daniel M. Jaffe; and literary agent Nancy Nigrosh. The cost of the studio is $855 through January 11, 2016, and $940 thereafter. 

San Francisco Writers Conference, Feb. 11-14, 2016, San Francisco, CA. The SFWC presenters list includes bestselling authors, literary agents, editors, and publishers from major publishing houses. There will be experts on self-publishing, book promotion, platform building, social media, and author websites. Attending agents: This large conference usually has 20-30 agents in attendance. Check the website for the list. 

South Coast Writers Conference, Feb 12 - 13, 2016, Gold Beach, Oregon. "The South Coast Writers Conference is an eclectic gathering of writers of various genres, novice and published authors, returning and first-time attendees. It is our goal that participants and presenters leave the conference inspired and renewed, with new insights and skills, and better connected to fellow writers and resources. Participation in workshops is limited to 30 students or fewer, so register early to secure a seat in the workshops you want." Faculty: Jason Brick, Barri Chase, Miriam Gershow, Peter Brown Hoffmeister, Anne Osterlund, Kate Power & Steve Einhorn, Bruce Holland Rogers, Heidi Schulz, Eric Witchey and Carolyne Wright. Costs: Friday workshops $55 each; Saturday conference $70 (earlybird-$60); songwriting workshops $20 each. Catered lunch $12.

30th Annual Southern California Writers’ Conference (and Retreat), February 12-15, 2016, San Diego, CA. Faculty: 60+ working, professional authors of fiction, nonfiction & screen, editors & agents. "Founded and run by professional writers the SCWC provides veteran and emerging talent with authoritative guidance to help distinguish those manuscripts that are ready for market consideration." Cost: $325-$425. Manuscript critique & one-on-one consultation additional. Limited to 175 conferees.

Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference, February 18 - 20, Tempe, AZ. "The conference features lectures, panel discussions, readings, and craft classes in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and publishing. The faculty includes poets Alberto Ríos and Hugh Martin; fiction writers T. Geronimo Johnson, Stephanie Kuehn, and Manuel Munoz; and nonfiction writers Lee Gutkind and Xu Xi. The cost of the conference is $350 for standard registration until December 17 and $400 thereafter. Deadline is February 12.

Alabama Writers Conference, February 19, 2016, Birmingham, AL. A full-day of “How to Get Published.” Attending agents: Julie Gwinn (The Seymour Agency); Kurestin Armada (P.S. Literary); Veronica Park (Corvisiero Literary); and Lauren MacLeod (Strothman Agency).

Atlanta Writing Workshop, February 20, 2016, Atlanta, GA. A full-day of “How to Get Published.” Attending agents: Cherry Weiner (Cherry Weiner Literary); Kurestin Armada (P.S. Literary); Pamela Harty (The Knight Agency); Veronica Park (Corvisiero Literary); and Sally Apokedak (Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency).

St. Augustine Author-Mentor Novel Workshop, Feb 25 - 28, 2016, St. Augustine, Florida. "The St. Augustine Author-Mentor Novel Workshop creates an intimate and professional environment that combines private meetings with small-group workshops, thus enabling aspiring authors to wisely approach the writing and publication of their novel. At the St. Augustine event, aspiring authors will:
1) Work one-on-one with top authors and savvy market professionals.
2) Apply advanced story and narrative technique to their novel-in-progress.
3) Hone and improve their writer voice and style.
4) Learn the necessary inside mechanics of the publishing business.
5) Leave the workshop with a detailed plan to work towards publication of their novel.
Group workshop sessions will be interspersed with agent and author consultations, workshop assignments, as well as consults with workshop leaders." Faculty: Authors, agents, editors, including Ken Atchity, Robert Olen Butler, Kimberley Cameron, Lyssa Keusch, Robert Bausch, Michael Neff, Tina Wexler, Jackie Cantor, Tom Colgan, Leis Pederson, Jane Smiley, Elise Capron, and more.

 
 
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Here are 16 magazines that want your work - essays, short stories, flash fiction, regular fiction, humor, humour, complaints, fantasy, mythology - you name it, they want it! 

All of these are paying markets. 

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Bitch Magazine: Pitches wanted for 'Kids These Days' Issue

"This issue's goal is to explore childhood as more than just a rite of passage or a target market. We want to hear about parenting, youth culture, and generational crossover today. 

What does it actually mean to be an '80’s, '90s or 2000s kid, and what does our collective nostalgia say about us? We also want to look across generations—what can kids these days learn from the past, and vice versa? How have cultural products from Sailor Moon to Netflix influenced the framework of our world? What does the evolution of writing—from the elimination of cursive to the universe of emoji—mean for the future of language and understanding? 

This issue will look last everything from kitschy advertising and formative cartoons to single motherhood and the school-to-prison pipeline in an attempt to fill out the often overlooked pockets of youth as a culture force."

Payment: $200 for features

Deadline: February 1, 2016

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The First Line

Genre: Short story, any genre, with a first line “Unfortunately, there is no mistake,” she said, closing the file.

Length: 300 - 5,000 words

Payment: $25-$50

Deadline: February 1, 2016

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Skirt! Magazine 

"Skirt! publishes two personal essays every month on topics relating to women and women’s interests. All essays for consideration should be submitted in their entirety and be between 800 and 1,100 words. Essays must fit one of our monthly themes."

Genre: Personal essays, theme is "Happiness" 

Payment: $200 per piece

Deadline: February 1, 2016 for "Happiness" issue

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Canadian Comedy Anthology

"Submissions can be on any topic you want, so long as the end result falls within the definition of “Hey, that’s funny.” No topic is taboo; no target is safe. Comedy being a necessarily subjective genre, we’re looking to cast the widest possible net. We will take all stories at face value. The final set should run the gamut of genres and styles, encapsulating the many forms humour may take. Texts of subtle wit will contrast with bawdy humour, giggles will compete with guffaws, gutbusters will share space with others that make you stroke your chin and offer up a mild “Hmm… that’s a good one.” The book as a whole will be a meeting of multiple styles united under the genre of comedy, a meeting place for the wittiest dreamers across the whole spectrum of CanLit. We want this book to showcase as broad a diversity of Canadian writers as possible in terms of location, background, race, gender, genre, experience, and more."

Restrictions: Open to Canadians only

Genre: Funny stories, plays, poetry

Length: Up to 5,000 words

Payment: 5 cents a word (CAN)

Deadline: February 7, 2016

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New Legends: The Hero • The Antihero • The Vigilante, Book 2

"We are looking for exceptional, well-written, engaging stories with subject matter reasonably free from sexually explicit content, gore, and obscenities."

Genre: Short story. Your story can be of any genre, but must be relevant to the theme of the Hero, the Antihero, and the Vigilante.

Length: 2,500 - 8,000 words

Payment: $25 per story

Deadline: February 8, 2016

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Subterrain

"Poetry, fiction, nonfiction exploring the idea of secrecy. Personal, corporate, governmental, military -- secrecy is used to cement personal relationships, to guarantee state security, to harbour knowledge. Some consider secrecy one of the main sources of human conflict. We intend to open the doors on the subTerrain confessional."

Genres: Poetry, fiction, nonfiction submissions wanted for Issue 73: Secrets

Payment: $50 per page

Deadline: February 15,  2016 (11:59PM PST)

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On Spec

Genre: Speculative fiction and poetry

Length: Up to 6,000 words (stories)

Payment: $50 to $200 depending on word count

Deadline: February 15,  2016 for stories, poetry is accepted all year

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People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction

"We’re looking for science fiction short stories of up to 10,000 words, reflective of the issue’s theme, written by writers of colour."

Genre: Speculative fiction

Payment: 8 cents per word

Deadline: February 19, 2016

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New Myths

NewMyths.com publishes speculative fiction of every stripe except graphic horror. We like each issue to have an eclectic variety of stories:  funny, frightening, hard and soft sci-fi, adventure, thoughtful, etc.

Genre: Speculative fiction

Payment: $50 per story, $20 per poem

Deadline: February 28, 2016

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LESS THAN DEAD — LGBTQIA Anthology Call

Length: At least 10,000 but not more than approx 20,000 words in length

Genre: Zombies! Stories may be any pairing except cisgender heterosexual M/F (trans* M/F, M/M, F/F, poly, ace/aro, and all permutations thereof are acceptable).

Payment: $200

Deadline: February 28, 2016

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SpeckLit

"As the name suggests, we focus on speculative fiction and non-fiction – fantasy, science fiction, myth, fairy tale, dark fantasy, etc… – all on a more or less PG level. We also celebrate the quick review – of books, movies, video games, TV shows, or any media that contains some sort of speculative fiction element. Long reviews tend to give away too much (how many times have you seen a 3 minute trailer and decided you don’t need to see the movie itself?). A drabble review gives you just what you need – whether the item under review suits your tastes or not."

Genres: Speculative fiction, nonfiction, 100 words 

Payment: 5 cents per word

Deadline: February 28, 2016

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The New Quarterly

Restrictions: Canadian citizens only

Genres: Prose and poetry

Payment: $250 for a short story and $40 per poem or "postscript" story

Deadline: February 28, 2016

Note: Postal submissions only


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Ninth Letter

"Ninth Letter is a published semi-annually at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. We are interested in prose and poetry that experiment with form, narrative, and nontraditional subject matter, as well as more traditional literary work."

Genre: Prose, essays, and poetry.

Length: For poetry, submit 3-6 poems (max. 10 pages) at a time. For fiction and nonfiction, please send only one story or one essay at a time, up to 8,000 words.

Deadline: February 28, 2016

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Lazarus Risen 

"Lazarus Risen will seek SF (no fantasy or horror, please) short stories that explore the economic, political, social and psychological consequences of life extension, human cloning, the hard upload and other forms of the biological singularity. Dreams of immortality and eternal youth are almost as old as human culture itself. But what would the world look like if everyone could live and be young forever? What would it look like if only some of us had that privilege? These are only some of the questions your story might try to answer. Surprise us, shock us, illuminate us but most of all tell us a great story."

Genre: Science fiction, short stories

Payment: 4 cents per word (Canadian)

Deadline: February 29, 2016

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Funny Fantasy Anthology 

Genre: Short stories, humorous fantasy (reprints only)

Payment: 2 cents per word

Deadline: February 29, 2016

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Triangulation: Beneath The Surface

Genre: Speculative fiction.

Length: Up to 6,000 words. There is no minimum word count

Payment: 2 cents per word

Deadline: February 29, 2016


 
 
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February is a short month, but it does not lack for writing contests.

There are 42 contests this month, and they span the gamut of prizes and genres.

Some have regional restrictions, and others have age restrictions. These are indicated, but always read the contest guidelines to make sure you are eligible.
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Online Writing Tips Short Fiction PrizeGenre: Short story of 2000-5000 words. Prize: £150. Deadline: February 1, 2016. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.

Southern Exposure Writing FellowshipsRestrictions: Open to residents of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo counties in California. Genre: Art writing. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: February 1, 2016. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.

Creative Nonfiction's Learning From Nature Contest (no entry fee if by mail). Genre: Essay. Prize: $5,000. Deadline: February 1, 2016. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.

Great Plains Emerging Tribal Writer AwardRestrictions: Open to tribally-enrolled writers from the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Nebraska who have not yet published a book of creative writing. Genres: Fiction, creative nonfiction, drama, or the screenplay (20 double-spaced pages maximum) or poetry (15 pages maximum). Prize: $500. Deadline: February 1, 2016. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.

Gannon University Poetry ContestRestrictions: Entrants must be a US high school student or a home-schooled student in grades nine through twelve.Genre: Poetry. Each student may enter 1 or 2 poems; each poem may be no longer than 50 lines. Prize: First Place: $100.00 Second Place: $75.00 Third Place: $50.00. Deadline: February 1, 2016. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.

The Danuta Gleed Literary Award for best first collection of short fiction in the English language was initiated by John Gleed in honour of his late wife to promote and celebrate the genre of short fiction, which she loved. Restrictions: Canadian residents only. Prize: A $10,000 prize will be awarded for the best first collection of published short fiction in the English language. Two finalist will also be awarded $500 each. Deadline: February 1, 2016. Read full guidelines HERE.

Janet Heidinger Kafka PrizeRestrictions: Open to women, US citizens only. Genre: Novel. All entries must be submitted by publishers who wish to have the work of their authors that were published in the year 2015 considered. No self-published works or works from vanity presses will be accepted. Prize: $7,500. Deadline: February 1, 2016. Read full guidelines HERE.

The Levis Reading Prize is sponsored by the Department of English and its MFA in Creative Writing program at Virginia Commonwealth University. Restrictions: The prize is given annually for the best first or second book of poetry published in the previous calendar year. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $5000 . Deadline: February 1, 2016. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.

The Jim Baen Memorial Short Story AwardGenre: Short story of no more than 8,000 words that shows the near future (no more than about 50-60 years out) of manned space exploration. Prize: Publication as the featured story on the Baen Books main website paid at the normal paying rates for professional story submissions. Deadline: February 1, 2016. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.

Paterson Poetry PrizeGenre: Poetry. Book of poems, 48 pages or more in length, published in 2015. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: February 1, 2016. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.

$1000 for 1000 Words Creative Writing Contest is sponsored by the Leyla Beban Young Authors Foundation. Restrictions: Students enrolled in grades 6-12. Genre: Short fiction of exactly 1000 words. Prize: Two $1,000 scholarship prizes will be awarded, one for grades 6-8 and one for grades 9-12. Seven $100 cash prizes will also be awarded for winning entries, one per grade level. Deadline: February 1, 2016. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.

Wednesday Club Junior Poetry ContestRestrictions: High School Students in grades 10 through 12 in High Schools in St. Louis and the St. Louis area. Genre: Poetry. Two individual poems. Prizes: $100, $80, $60, $40, $20, $10 for all honorable mentions. Deadline: February 1, 2016. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.

Wednesday Club Poetry PrizeRestrictions: Adults over 18; living within a 50-mile radius of St. Louis. Genre: Poetry. Two individual poems. Prizes: $500, $300, $150. Deadline: February 1, 2016. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.

Charles Crupi Memorial Poetry ContestRestrictions: Open to high school students in Michigan. Genre: Poetry. Prize: 1st place - $250 and publication in The Albion Review, 2nd place - $150 and publication in The Albion Review; 3rd place - $100 and publication in The Albion Review. Deadline: February 6, 2016. Read submission guidelines HERE.

Writers' & Artists' Yearbook Short Story CompetitionGenre: Short story. Prize: £500 and publication. Deadline: February 7, 2016.

IGGY/Litro Young Writers' PrizeRestrictions: Open to 13–18 year olds. Genre: Short story. Prize: £1,000 and publication. Deadline: February 8, 2016. Read submission guidelines HERE.

Federation of BC Writers Literary Writes Awards 2016Genres: Short fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, and writing for children. Prize: $100 top prize per category. Deadline: February 9, 2016. Read submission guidelines HERE.

Bethesda Literary Festival Essay and Short Story Contest. The Bethesda Urban Partnership & Bethesda Magazine have partnered to honor local writers at the Bethesda Literary Festival held April 15-17, 2016. Genres: Essays and poetry. Adult and high school student categories. Restrictions: Residents of Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia are eligible. Prizes: First Place: $500 and published in Bethesda Magazine. Second Place: $250. Third Place: $150. Honorable Mention: $75. Deadline: February 12, 2016. For more details click HERE.

Library of Virginia Literary AwardsRestrictions: Open to writers who were born in or are residents of Virginia or, in the case of nonfiction, books with a Virginia theme, are eligible. Genre: Books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction published in the previous year (2015). Prize: $2,500. Deadline: February 12, 2016. For more details click HERE.

Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Contest for Canadian YouthRestrictions: Canadians, grades 7 - 12. Genre: Poetry.  Prize: $400 (CAN). Deadline: February 15, 2016.

Harold Morton Landon Translation AwardGenre: Poetry collection translated from any language into English and published in the previous calendar year. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: February 15, 2016. Read details HERE.

Wiley-Silver Prize in Civil War HistoryGenre: First book or monograph in Civil War history published in the previous year. Books published in 2015 are eligible. Books or monographs published by scholarly or popular presses are eligible. Prize: $2,000. Deadline: February 15, 2016. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.

New England Youth Outdoor Writing ContestRestrictions: The contest is open to students in New England. Submissions from students in grades 6-8 will be entered in the Junior Division; grades 9-12 will be entered in the Senior Division. Genre: Prose or poem, The topic must be outdoor-oriented (fishing, hunting, boating, canoeing, hiking, camping, nature, ecology, etc.). 500 words max. Prize: $125, $150. Deadline: February 15, 2016. Read details HERE.

Prospero PrizesGenre: Poetry. Prize: $150 and feature publication. Deadline: February 15, 2016. Read details HERE.

Raiziss/de Palchi Translation AwardGenre: Poetry - translation into English of a significant work of modern Italian poetry. Prize: $10,000. Deadline: February 15, 2016. Read details HERE.

Scotiabank Giller PrizeRestrictions: Open to books published in Canada in English. Books must be published in Canada in English between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016 to be eligible for the 2016 Prize. Must  be nominated by publisher. Genre: Fiction. Full-length novel or collection of short stories published in English, either originally, or in translation. Prize: $100.000 to the winner and $10,000 to each of the finalists. Deadline: February 15, 2015.

Writers' and Artists' Yearbook Short Story CompetitionGenre: Short Story. All entries must be original unpublished prose of 2,000 words or fewer. Prize: £500. Deadline: February 15, 2015. Read details HERE.

Al Smith Individual Artist FellowshipsRestrictions: Open to Kentucky poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. Genre: Literary arts. Prize: $7,500 Deadline: February 16, 2016. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.

The Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award supports the work of a promising early-career nonfiction writer on a story that uncovers truths about the human condition. Genres: Nonfiction journalism works in progress with “strong, character-driven narratives with detailed scene writing and lyrical description.” Restrictions: The award will not fund proposals to report on armed conflicts where journalists are already imperiled, nor projects that are mainly investigatory. Prize: $12,500 grant and use of the NYU library. Deadline: February 16, 2016. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.

Moment Magazine's Publish-a-Kid ContestRestrictions: Open to children 9-13. Genre: Book review. Prize: Publication and a free book. Deadline: February 16, 2016. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.

Christopher Tower Poetry CompetitionRestrictions: Open to UK students between 16-18 years of age. Genre: Poetry, one poem, maximum 48 lines. Theme is "wonder." Prize: £3,000. Deadline: February 19, 2016. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.

Reader's Digest 100-word-story competitionGenre: 100-word story. Prize: £2,000 and publication. Deadline: February 20, 2016.

The Lakefly Writers ConferenceRestrictions: Open to residents of Wisconsin. Genres: Short story fiction:  1500 words or less. Any genre. Theme: Wisconsin Choices. Flash fiction:  500 words or less. Any genre. No theme. Poetry:  All poems, free verse to formal and everything in between—75 lines max. Theme: Wisconsin Choices. The Jean Nelson Essay for Young Adults: For young adult writers (ages 12 through 17). 2500 words or less. Theme: Notable Wisconsin figure (living or dead) who most inspires me. Prize: First place winners will receive a cash prize of $100; second place winners will receive $75; and third place winners will receive $50. Winners must be able to attend an awards ceremony at 6 p.m. Friday, May 13, 2016 at the Oshkosh Public Library. Deadline: February 26, 2016. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.

Central PA Writing ContestRestrictions: Open to legal residents of Pennsylvania who are at least 18 years old. Genre: Short fiction, 1500 words max. Original, unpublished, work of fiction only; no poetry or nonfiction. Prize: $500, runner-up $200. Deadline: February 26, 2016. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.

SLF Working Class/Impoverished Writers Grant is sponsored by the Speculative Literature Foundation. Genres: Speculative fiction, magical realism. Restrictions: Applicants must be working class (see guidelines page for definition) and demonstrate financial hardship. Available to international writers. Prize: $750. Deadline: February 28, 2016. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.

The Atlantic & College Board Writing PrizeRestrictions: Open to high school students 16 to 19 years of age. Genre: Essay. 1,000 to 1,500 words. Prize: $5,000 and publication in September issue of The Atlantic. Deadline: February 28, 2016. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.

The Gabo Prize for Literature in Translation & Multi-Lingual TextsGenre: Literary translations and multi-lingual texts. Prize: $200. Deadline: February 28, 2016. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.

Science Fiction & the Medical Humanities Writing Competition.  Genre: Science-fiction short stories (and also self-contained novel excerpts) of up to 3000 words that address themes of medicine, health, and illness. Prize: £300.  Deadline: February 29, 2016.

Event Horizon Magazine Science Poetry CompetitionGenre: Poetry. Submitted work shall be inspired by and/or incorporate scientific thinking, concepts, or principles. Prize: $500 and publication. Deadline: February 29, 2016. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.

National Indigenous Writing ContestRestrictions: Open to Canadian Native Americans. Genre: Short story, under 3000 words. Story must contain Indigenous content. Prize: $2,000. Deadline: February 29, 2016. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.

Spirit First Meditation Poetry ContestGenre: Poetry. Submissions may be of any length and any style but must have a theme of Meditation or Mindfulness. Prize: $200. Deadline: February 29, 2016. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE.

The Penny Fiction Flash Fiction CompetitionGenre: Flash fiction stories told in exactly 16 words. Prize: $25 and publication. Deadline: February 29, 2016. How to enter: Read submission guidelines HERE (scroll down).

 
 
Here are three new agents seeking clients. New agents are a boon to writers, especially to those just breaking into publishing. They are enthusiastic and willing to go the extra mile for their clients. All of these agents work for reputable agencies with impressive track records.
Alexa Stark of Trident Media Group

About Alexa: Raised in New York City, Alexa Stark earned her B.A. in Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University, where she was an Editor of the Columbia Journal of Literary Criticism. Before coming to Trident, she interned at PEN American Center and worked at Curtis Brown as a literary assistant. Alexa joined Trident in 2012 to work with Ellen Levine, and she has gained invaluable experience working with Ellen’s illustrious and bestselling authors. She also handles first serial rights for Ellen’s authors, and has sold stories, essays, and book excerpts to The New Yorker, Harper’s, Paris Review, The Atlantic, Tin House, N+1, and The New York Times, among others. Alexa continues to work closely with Ellen Levine while building her client list.

What she is seeking: Alexa’s interests are wide-ranging, but she is particularly drawn to literary fiction, upmarket commercial fiction, young adult, memoir, narrative nonfiction, popular science, cultural criticism and women’s issues.

How to submit: Use the agency’s online contact submissions form, and choose Alexa from the dropdown menu.

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Leigh Eisenman of Hannigan Salky Geltzer (HSG)

About Leigh: Leigh Eisenman joined HSG Agency in the fall of 2015. She graduated from Dartmouth College and received her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. After ten years of practicing law in the New York offices of several international firms, she decided to follow her dream of becoming part of the New York City literary landscape. She worked for a year at Folio Literary Management prior to moving to HSG. Leigh now combines her legal background with her love of books as a junior agent with HSG, actively building her own client list, and as an associate with the Salky Law Firm, providing legal counsel to authors and publishing professionals.

What she is seeking: Leigh seeks submissions in the areas of literary and commercial fiction for adults, and is particularly drawn to: flawed protagonists she can’t help but fall in love with (Holden Caulfield was her first crush); stories that take place in contemporary New York, but also any well-defined, vivid setting; and given her background, novels set in law firms or involving lawyers (but not legal thrillers).

On the nonfiction side, Leigh is interested in foodie/cookbooks (especially baking and – maybe conversely – healthy cooking), health and fitness, lifestyle, and select narrative nonfiction.

How to Submit: “We prefer that you query only one agent within HSG. Please send a query letter and the first five pages of your manuscript (within the email–no attachments please!) to leigh [at] hsgagency.com. If you were referred to us, please mention it in the first line of your query. We generally respond to queries within 4-6 weeks, although we do get behind occasionally.”

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Mitch Hoffman of Aaron Priest Literary Agency 

About Mitch: Mitch Hoffman joined the Aaron Priest Literary Agency as a Senior Agent in 2015. A 20-year veteran of the publishing industry, he was most recently Vice-President, Executive Editor at Grand Central Publishing. As an editor, Mitch published over 200 books, more than 60 of which were New York Times bestsellers. He has nurtured the careers of debut novelists as well as global #1 bestselling authors, and has worked with journalists, memoirists, scientists, historians, and members of the military and intelligence services. His list of authors included David Baldacci, Sara Blaedel, Harlan Coben, Jeffery Deaver, Roger Ebert, Senator Al Franken, Linda Grant, Dr. David Grinspoon, Raymond Khoury, John Lescroart, Brad Meltzer, Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, Tom Rob Smith, Daniel Stashower, and Don Winslow. Their books have won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Edgar Award, the Anthony Award, ITW’s Thriller Award, The Barnes & Noble Discover Award, and have been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, among many other honors.

What he is seeking: Mitch is actively building a client list of authors writing across the spectrum of fiction and nonfiction, including thrillers, suspense, crime fiction, and literary fiction, as well as narrative nonfiction, politics, popular science, history, memoir, current events, and pop culture.

How to submit: “Please submit a one page query to queryhoffman [at] aaronpriest.com. The query letter should describe your work as well as your background. Please do not send attachments. However a first chapter pasted into the body of an e-mail query is acceptable. Please do not submit to more than one agent at this agency. Due to the tremendous number of queries we receive, we are not able to respond to everyone. We will get back to you within four weeks, but only if interested.”
 
 
Here are 14 agents currently seeking science fiction manuscripts. All are from reputable agencies.

If you want to know more about a particular agent, you can check him or her out at Absolute Write, a great site where writers freely discuss their experiences with agents and publishers.  (To avoid jumping through hoops, just type the name of the agent and "absolute write" into a google search.)

Make sure you read the agency's website before you query an agent. 
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1. Paula Munier (Talcott Notch Literary)

About Paula: She began as a journalist and has authored/co-authored more than a dozen books, SHe has also worked as an editor, acquisitions specialist, digital content manager, and publishing executive. 

What she is looking for: “High concept only.” ("High concept" means literary.)

How to submit: E-query editorial [at] talcottnotch.net with “Query for Paula: [title]” in the subject line

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2. Kaylee Davis (Dee Mura Literary)

About Kaylee: Kaylee received a B.A. in English Literature and a B.A. in Sociology from Miami University, and she is certified in Copyediting from Emerson College. Kaylee joined the agency as a professional copyeditor, proofreader, and administrative assistant. She has recently been promoted to Associate Literary Agent.

What she is looking for: “Word count under 120,000.”

How to submit: Send query, synopsis, and first 25 pages to query [at] deemuraliterary.com. No attachments please.

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3. Carlie Webber (CK Webber Associates)

About Carlie: She has a Master of Library and Information Science. For ten years, she worked as a public librarian serving teens and adults, served on book awards committees, and reviewed books professionally for journals including Kirkus Reviews and VOYA. Wishing to pursue her interest in the business side of books, she then enrolled in the Columbia Publishing Course. Her professional publishing experience includes an internship at Writers House and work with the Publish or Perish Agency/New England Publishing Associates and the Jane Rotrosen Agency. 

What she is looking for: "I am looking specifically for science fiction that has elements of the world we live in now. Books set centuries in the future or a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away are probably not for me.”

How to submit: To submit your work for consideration, please send a query letter, synopsis, and the first 30 pages or three chapters of your work, whichever is more, to carlie [at] ckwebber.com and put the word “Query” in the subject line of your email. You may include your materials either in the body of your email or as a Word or PDF attachment. Blank emails that include an attachment will be deleted unread. E-mail queries only.

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4. Laura Biagi (Jean V. Naggar Literary)

About Laura: Laura Biagi joined JVNLA in 2009. Laura's writing background has honed her editorial eye and has driven her enthusiasm for discovering and developing literary talent. She studied creative writing and anthropology at Northwestern University. As a writer, she has participated in workshops at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, the Juniper Summer Writing Institute, and the New York State Summer Writers Institute. She is the recipient of a Kentucky Emerging Artist Award for fiction writing.

What she is looking for: “Only in a literary or mainstream vein”

How to submit: Follow the instructions on the agency’s submissions page.


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5. Sam Morgan (Jabberwocky Literary)

About Sam: He is a native of Shelby, North Carolina and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Communications – Media Studies and Production. Before joining Jabberwocky in late 2012, Sam worked in New York City as a television critic.

How to submit: querysam [at] awfulagent.com. Send the query and your first five pages pasted into the email. No attachments.

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6. Mark Gottlieb (Trident Media)

About Mark: From an early age, Mark showed a passionate interest in his father’s work, his founding of Trident with Dan Strone, and the growth of the company. This focus on publishing continued at Emerson College, where Mark was a founding member of the Publishing Club, subsequently overseeing its first publication under the Wilde Press imprint. After graduating Emerson with a degree in writing, literature and publishing, Mark began his career as an assistant to the Vice President of the Berkley imprint at Penguin, working with leading editors at the firm.

Mark’s first position at Trident was in the foreign rights department, assisting the department’s agents in selling the books of clients around the world. Mark next became audio rights agent. Since Mark has managed the audio rights business, the annual sales volume has doubled. Now while continuing to head up audio rights, Mark is building his own client list of writers. "I am excited to work directly with authors that I bring to Trident, helping to manage and grow their careers with all of the unique resources that are available to me at Trident."

How to submitUse the online submission form here. Make sure you direct your inquiry to Mark.

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7. Evan Gregory (Ethan Ellenberg Literary)

"I will not respond to your email unless interested. If you do not hear back from me after two weeks from sending your submission, you can safely assume that I am not interested in that project. You may submit to me again if you have a new project you think might interest me or the agency, but please do not submit the same project to the agency multiple times, and please do not submit more than one project at a time."

What he is looking for: “Action-oriented SF, military SF, space opera, but also looking for that weird stuff which really pushes the envelope.”

How to submit: Please send submissions to agent [at] ethanellenberg.com to the attention of Evan. “For email submissions, we ask that you paste all materials into the body of the email in the order mentioned below. For example, if you were submitting fiction you would begin with a brief query letter, followed by your synopsis, followed by the first 50 pages of your manuscript. We will not open attachments.”

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8. Sara Megibow (kt literary)

About Sara: Sara is a literary agent with nine years of experience in publishing. She specializes in working with authors in middle grade, young adult, romance, erotica, science fiction and fantasy and represents New York Times bestselling authors Roni Loren and Jason Hough and international bestselling authors Stefan Bachmann and Tiffany Reisz. Sara is LGBTQ-friendly and presents regularly at SCBWI and RWA events around the country.

How to submit: ”Please e-mail your query letter and the first three pages of your manuscript in the body of the email to saraquery [at] ktliterary.com. The subject line of your email should include the word ‘Query’ along with the title of your manuscript. No attachments. We aim to reply to all queries within two weeks of receipt. In addition, if you’re an author who is sending a new query, but who previously submitted a novel to us for which we requested chapters but ultimately declined, please do say so in your query letter. If we like your query, we’ll ask for the first five chapters and a complete synopsis. For our purposes, the synopsis should include the full plot of the book, including the conclusion. Don’t tease us.

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9. Lane Heymont (The Seymour Agency)

About Lane: Serving as a literary assistant for the past two years at The Seymour Agency, Lane Heymont has led the marketing efforts for their authors and enjoyed connecting clients with readers. As a lover of literature since childhood, he decided to pursue his passion as a literary agent to bring more well written books to the masses. With a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, business and literature, Lane continued his education in Creative Writing and English, attending Harvard. Lane is a member of HWA, ITW, and AAR membership is pending. He believes what John Gregory Dunne said: “Writing is manual labor of the mind.”

What he is looking for: “Military sci-fi, keep it fresh.”

How to submit: How to connect: Send all queries to lane [at] theseymouragency.com. The subject line should be “QUERY: (Title)”. Please past the first five pages in the body of the e-mail. Please do not query Nicole Resciniti (also on this list) if querying Lane.

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10. Beth Campbell (BookEnds, Inc.)

About Beth: After an academic career filled with publishing internships, Beth joined BookEnds as a literary assistant in September 2012 and was promoted to Assistant Literary Agent in 2015. 

What she is looking for: “I will look at hard sci-fi but prefer soft.”

How to submit: E-query bcsubmissions [at] bookendsliterary.com. No attachments. “If you haven’t received a response to a query after 8 weeks, we ask that you simply resend the query. It’s possible that it was eaten by a spam filter on either our end or yours.”

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11. Heather Flaherty (The Bent Agency)

About Heather: “I grew up in Massachusetts, between Boston and the Cape, and started working in New York City as a playwright during college. This pushed me towards English as a focus, and after a lot of country-hopping in my early twenties, I wound up finally beginning my publishing career in editorial, specifically at Random House in the UK. That’s also where I became a YA and children’s literary scout, which finally landed me back in NYC, consulting with foreign publishers and Hollywood regarding what the next big book will be. Now as an agent, I’m thrilled to turn my focus on growing authors for that same success.”

What she is looking for: “Soft sci-fi only.”

How to submit: flahertyqueries [at] the bentagency.com. Please do not query Heather if you are also querying Beth Phelan of The Bent Agency, who is also on this list. Paste the first ten pages of your book in the body of your email.

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12. Monica Odom (Bradford Literary)

About Monica: Monica Odom joined Bradford Literary Agency in 2015. Prior to joining Team Bradford, she worked for five years managing finance, subrights and social media at Liza Dawson Associates, and became an associate agent there in 2013. Monica earned her Masters in Publishing: Digital & Print Media from New York University in 2014, and has a B.A. in English from Montclair State University.

What she is looking for: “Ideally something that would also be picked up by non-genre readers (think The Martian).”

How to submit: E-query monica [at] bradfordlit.com. Put “Query: [title]” in your subject line. Please email a query letter along with the first chapter of your manuscript and a synopsis. Please be sure to include the genre and word count in your cover letter.”


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13. Mary C. Moore (Kimberley Cameron & Associates)

About Mary: Mary C. Moore has been with Kimberley Cameron since 2012. Mary specializes in science fiction and fantasy, although she does appreciate a wide breadth of the literary cannon. 

What she is looking for: “No dystopian.”

How to submit: Query Mary [at] kimberleycameron.com. Include “Author Submission” in the subject line. Attach a one-page synopsis and the first fifty pages of your manuscript as separate Word or PDF documents.

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14. Nicole Resciniti (The Seymour Agency)

About Nicole: Nicole has been listed by Publisher's Marketplace as a top dealmaker in the country, and named ACFW's 2012 Agent of the Year. She loves discovering new talent and helping established authors to take their career to the next level.

How to submit: Send all queries to nicole [at] theseymouragency.com. The subject line should be “QUERY: (Title).” Please past the first five pages in the body of the e-mail. [If you query Nicole, do not query Lane Heymont, who is also featured on this list.)

 
 
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Smashwords is an ebook distribution platform for self-publishers founded in 2008. Despite the dominance of Amazon, the company has enjoyed considerable success. Smashwords published 336,000 books by over 100,000 authors in 2014.

The CEO of Smashwords, Mark Coker, is a man who is dedicated to the idea of democratizing publishing. His insights are enormously helpful for writers breaking into the publishing scene, and Smashwords' annual surveys provide valuable information about strategies for epublishing success.

Below are some of the findings from the 2015 Smashwords survey. You can read the full survey (with an informative slide show) HERE.
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Key Findings of the 2015 Smashwords Survey


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1.  Wow, preorders.  For the first time we analyzed the percentage of books born as preorders (as opposed to simply uploaded the day of release) and compared the sales of preorder-birthed books to non-preorder books.  During the survey period, less than 10 percent of books were born as a preorder, even though this feature has been available to Smashwords authors since mid 2013. 

 Yet despite the low usage, two thirds of our top 200 bestselling titles were born as preorders.

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2.  Series with free series starters earn more money.  For the first time we analyzed the difference in sales between series with free series and starters and series without free series starters.  We looked at our 200 bestselling series with a free series starter and our 200 bestselling series without free series starters.  Then we added up the numbers and compared them.  First we looked at the average.  The free series starter group earned 66% more

3.  Free still works to build readership.  For each survey year, we've looked at how free ebook downloads compare to paid downloads using iBooks as our apples to apples comparison each year (bad pun, sorry!).  In the 2014 Survey, we found that free books got 39 times more downloads than priced books, down dramatically from 91x in 2013 and 100X in 2012.   I expected the power of free to fall further this year, given that this secret - which I've been advocating for nearly eight years - helps authors earn more money.  The result for 2014?  41x.  The effectiveness of free increased despite the glut of free books.

4.  Longer books sell better than shorter books.  This finding is consistent with each of the prior year's surveys, though as I mention in the presentation, this year's finding comes with a lot more caveats.  In a nutshell, I suspect the rise of multi-author box sets, often at deep discount prices, is probably throwing off the data this year, and as I discuss in the presentation, some of the dynamics will cause it to understate impact of longer books and some will cause it to overstate it.

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5.  $3.99 remains the sweet spot for full length indie fiction.  For the third year in a row, authors sold more units and earned more overall income with books priced at $3.99.  This is significant because it counters the concern of some authors that the glut of high-quality will lead to ever lower prices.  For great authors, readers are still willing to pay.  The pricing, earnings and unit sales data we share has been remarkably consistent now for four years, especially when you consider how this translates to a competitive advantage for indie ebook authors compared to traditionally published ebook authors. 

6.  99 cents is still good for building readership, but not as good as $2.99 and $3.99.  And from an earnings perspective, 99 cents underperforms the average of all other prices by about 65%.

7.  Avoid $1.99.   For the fourth year in a row, $1.99 was a black hole in terms of overall earnings.  On a unit sales basis, although $1.99 books outperformed all books priced $5.00 and above, it dramatically underperformed on overall earnings, earning 73% less than the average of all other price points.

8.  Bestselling authors and social media.  Bestselling authors are more likely to have a presence on Facebook and Twitter, and more likely to have a blog.  Not a huge surprise, though it's worth noting there are plenty of successful authors who have minimal presence on social media.

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9.  Top 10 Fiction categories during the one year period:  1.  Romance.  2.  Erotica.  3.  YA and teen fiction.  4.  Fantasy.  5.  Mystery & detective.   6.  Gay and lesbian fiction.  7.  Science fiction.  8.  Historical.  9.  Thriller & suspense.   10.  Adventure.

10.  Top 10 Non-fiction categories during the one year period:  1. Biography.  2.  Health, wellbeing and medicine.  3.  Business & economics.  4.  Self-improvement.  5. Religion & spirituality.  6.  Relationships and family.  7.  Sports and outdoor recreation.   8.  Education and study guides.  9.  New age.  10.  Computers & Internet.

You can read the full survey along with an informative slide show HERE.

 
 
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This is the first year I have looked back at my posts. (Normally, once they are up I simply move on to the next exciting idea.)

But, stats are important for various reasons. They tell us what people like to read. They also tell us what people need. Blog posts that provide answers to questions, that inform, and that explain are bound to be popular.

And for writers, anything that answers the question, "How do I get published?" will be warmly received.

(I promise that in 2016 I will continue to provide answers to that question.)

So, without further ado, here are my top ten posts - in reverse order.
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#10 10 Awards for Self-Published Books (1569 views)

#9 Should You Hire a Professional Book Cover Designer? (1948)

#8 Publisher Pan Macmillan Accepting Unsolicited Manuscripts - No Agent Needed (2129 views)

#7 Fantasy and Sci-fi Reviewers  Accepting Self-Published Authors (2616 views)

#6 2 New Agents Seeking Writers (2630 views)

#5 23 Poetry Publishers Accepting Unagented Manuscripts (2729 views)

#4 Speculative Fiction Magazines Accepting Submissions (4127 views)

#3 2 New Agents Seeking Writers: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Nonfiction, Thrillers and more (4727 views)

#2 234 Hashtags for Writers (5759 views)

#1 HarperCollins Seeking Submissions - No Agent Required (15,973 views)

 

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