March 2011 – Open Door Month

This page is archived for reference purposes – our Open Door Month has now ended.

In March 2011 we are accepting submissions from unagented authors for the first time. The clock started ticking on March 1st, and we closed the doors again on March 31st. If things go well we might repeat the project later in the year.

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What we will be looking for:

We’re publishing novels, either standalone or as part of greater series. We’re not looking to publish your novellas, short stories (individually or collected in book form) or non-fiction at this time. Our novels are for adult readers; we’re not currently looking at work aimed at young teens or children.

All our books are “genre” fiction in one way or another — specifically fantasy, science fiction, horror, and that new catch-all urban or modern fantasy. Those are quite wide-ranging in themselves; we’re looking for all types of sub-genre, so for example, hard SF, space opera, cyberpunk, military SF, alternate future history, future crime, time travel, and more. We have no problem if your book mashes together two or more of these genres, but they must have that genre foundation – no thrillers with the merest touch of SF, for example.

Our books will be published in all English-language territories — notably the UK, US and Australia — so we’ll be buying rights to cover all those. If you are only offering rights in one territory, we will not be able to deal with you. We will be able to offer e-book and audio versions as standard too, plus limited edition and multiple physical formats where appropriate. We are not contracting any work-for-hire titles; we offer advances and royalties.

Beyond all of this, what we’re really looking for in your writing is this:

• A “voice”, that comes from…

• Confident writing

• Pacy writing

• Characters that live, have real relationships and emotions, even in extreme situations

• A sense of vision, a rounded universe that lives and breathes

• Clever construction, good plotting, a couple of surprises even for us jaded old read-it-alls

• Heightened experience – an intensity, extremity or just a way of treating plot or situation in a way we’ve not come across before. “Goes up to 11″, if you know what that means.

Do all those, and it will be almost irrelevant that your story is one or other sub-set of SF, fantasy or horror!

We require a brief (two pages max) summary of characters, plot and your intentions/inspiration, in that order — plus the opening five chapters. No more, no less. DO NOT send us the opening chapters of your unfinished manuscript – we’re only interested in novels that have been completed.

This should be emailed to us, either as Word, RTF or PDF files (we prefer RTFs). Please don’t just send us a complete manuscript. Please note that we do not accept hardcopy manuscripts. Single- or 1.5-line spaced please, in English.

Your opening chapters will then be read by one of our team of experienced readers. If they like what they read you will be asked to submit the full manuscript. If they absolutely adore your novel, they’ll pass it up to one of Angry Robot’s editors.

You say you want the first 5 chapters. Does that include the prologue I’ve written?

If your prologue is very short, send it, along with the first 5 chapters. If it’s chapter length, send it, along with the first 4 chapters.

What if my chapters are all very short?

Send us the first 10,000 words, or so.

What is your preferred length for submissions?

The ideal novel length depends on the genre in which you’re writing, as well as what is the right length for the specific book you’re writing. In general terms, we’re looking for (approximately) 70-110,000 for SF, or 95-140,000 for fantasy.

My book isn’t really science fiction, fantasy or horror, but…

Sorry – it’s not for us, then.

Hang on, I hadn’t finished yet. Even though it’s not scifi, fantasy or horror, it’s got a really cool…

Nope – still not for us. We publish science fiction, fantasy and horror. If it ain’t grounded in one of those (or a combination, thereof) we’re not interested. It can combine elements of other genres, of course, but it must have some sf, f or h.

Will I get a response?

Yes. You will definitely get a response, whether it’s “No, thank you – it’s not for us”, “No, thank you – but we’d like to read more of your work” or “Ooh, yes please – just what we’re looking for”.

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