Open Door Month – Guidelines

This page is archived for reference purposes – our Open Door Month has now ended. During the whole of the month of March we will be accepting unsolicited manuscripts. Please click here and read this page, first. We’ll still be here when you get back.

OK. Assuming you’ve just clicked through and read our page headed  “March 2011 – Open Door Month”, you now know what to expect.

The notes below will tell you everything you need to know about submitting your manuscript. IF IT’S NOT MENTIONED ON THIS PAGE (and the one linked, above), IT’S NOT WORTH WORRYING ABOUT, SO DON’T FEEL YOU NEED TO QUERY THE SMALLEST DETAIL.

This is the email address you need:

submission [at]

What we’re not looking for:

  • • Anything that could be reasonably described as “wacky” or “zany”.
  • • Anything other than science fiction, fantasy (including urban fantasy) or horror (in their many guises).
  • • Paranormal romance.
  • • Book 2 or later in an existing series.
  • • Books that have already been published elsewhere (including self-published as eBooks or print-on-demand).
  • • Books that have not yet been completed.
  • • Children’s books.
  • • Anything shorter than novel length (approx 70,000 to 130,000 words, but check out our guidelines on this page for more detail).


How to submit:

Email us at the above address.
The subject line of your email should be SF (for science fiction novels), Fantasy (for all forms of fantasy novel) or Horror. We have email filters in place to drop your submission into the right folders for our readers to find them. If your subject header is anything other than SF, Fantasy or Horror, it will be seen, but it will be seen after the SF, Fantasy and Horror folders have been emptied. Other than this, we will be reading manuscripts in order of receipt.

Include a single file containing your submission.
We prefer RTF files. Word files are OK, as are PDFs. If you don’t know what these terms mean, ask a tech-savvie friend.

Your file should contain the following:

  • Page 1: Your name, your contact details (email address is essential, snail mail address is handy, too), the name of the novel and its wordcount. Feel free to include a brief biography here, if you feel it is relevant.
  • • Pages 2-3: A full synopsis of the novel, including brief descriptions of the major characters. You must include details of the novel’s ending – no keeping us in suspense until we buy the book off you! Feel free to include a paragraph or two of your intentions/inspiration if you wish (this last bit is not essential). We will also smile on you if you can include a one-sentence summary of your novel, here. Yep – you read that right.
  • Pages 4 onwards: The first 5 chapters of your novel. If your chapters are very short, or very, very long, send us no less than 10,000 words, no more than 15,000.

Notes on formatting.

  • • Single-spaced entries are preferred. Don’t use Courier font!
  • • If your manuscript contains italics, use italics. Do not underline, instead.
  • • Start a fresh page for new chapters.

You will get an automated response, confirming we have received your submission.

  • • Do not send us more than one file.
  • Do not send us your full manuscript at this point.
  • • Do not send in multiple submissions (if you have more than one book ready, send us what you consider to be your best work, or the work you think best suited to Angry Robot).
  • • Do not resubmit your file if you discover a few typos you want to address (we’re not worried about the occasional typo).

We are expecting a large number of submissions, and it is likely that it will take us quite some time to work our way through them. If you’ve not heard back after six months, feel free to contact us (though read our CONTACT page first, as if we are experiencing longer timescales than anticipated, we’ll put a note up there).


If you have not followed the guidelines, above, your submission might be rejected without even being read, so give yourself the best chance of success..


What happens next

We have a team of experienced readers in place to read the submissions we receive.

If the reader does not think your submission is suitable for Angry Robot, you will receive a rejection. The reader might choose to offer some feedback, but this is not guaranteed, and due to the sheer volume of submissions we expect to receive, we will not be able to enter into discussions about individual manuscripts.

If the reader thinks your sample might be suitable, he or she will contact you to ask you to send in the full manuscript.

After sending in your full manuscript your reader will then make a decision whether to reject the novel, or to pass it up to the full time editorial staff at Angry Robot.

(An important aside: If you receive a rejection, we’re rejecting the novel, we’re not rejecting you. We simply feel that the novel isn’t right for our imprint, for one or more of a wide variety of reasons.)

If it gets to the editorial team, this could easily add another couple of months to the process, as we will be considering it along with all the other manuscripts we receive from authors we already publish, authors we’re hoping to publish, and submissions from literary agents.


If your novel is accepted for publication…
Now, we don’t want to offer any unreasonable expectations, here.  The chances are slim. We reject the vast majority of manuscripts we receive, and many of these are from established writers, or writers who – through their agents – have already had their novels polished. However… there may be some real gems submitted, and your manuscript may well be one of them. If so, this is a summary of the process you and your book will go through:

1. Submit partial manuscript.
2. Receive email from reader, asking for full novel.
3. Novel gets forwarded to Angry Robot’s editorial team.
4. Editorial team get excited by another great find.
5. Editorial team prepare documents for the Acquisitions Team, and supply them with the first few chapters of the novel
6. Acquisitions team (including Angry Robot editorial team) discuss the manuscript. The team includes representatives from Sales (UK and US), Marketing, Licensing, Finance, other editorial and other trusted voices.
7. A decision is made to make an offer. Terms of the offer will depend on the projected sales (paperback, eBook and licensing).
8. An offer is made to you.
9. After accepting the offer, a contract is drawn up and signed by both parties.
10. We open an imaginary bottle of champagne to celebrate (you’d rather we spent the money on marketing your book, right?)
11. Your novel is placed into the publishing schedule (probably some point in 2013, though possibly a little earlier).
12. We work with you on polishing the manuscript, and work with you to develop your public profile.
13. We publish the novel, and bask in the critical and commercial success.*


Remember: we’re accepting submissions all the way through March. Don’t send your manuscript early if you think it still needs a final coat of paint before being read – you have a whole month. Doors close on March 31st, midnight GMT.


Good luck – we hope we’ll be working with you, soon!



*Not guaranteed, unfortunately.

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