Open Door

We recently announced a new Open Door submission period. (Yay!) In brief, this means that we will be relaxing our agented-only rule for two months, allowing any unrepresented writer to send us a pitch for their fantasy or science fiction novel.

Our open period will run across December–January. We are deliberately doing this so you can, if you wish, use the extra encouragement of NaNoWriMo to help you get that book finished and polished up.

We tend to open our doors this way once every eighteen months or so. Among the authors we have found and published this way are the winner of this year’s John W Campbell Award at the Hugos, that man Wesley Chu, as well as lovely folk like Lee Battersby, Lee Collins, Cassandra Rose Clarke, and the upcoming Peter McLean.


Open for submissions: 1st December 2015

Doors close: Midnight GMT on 31st January 2016. Anything sent after that time will not be read.


In brief, a previously unpublished, original, novel-length work of speculative or fantastical fiction.

Length: Novel-length, which we’re arbitrarily judging as 70-150,000 words. Your novel should be finished.

Age: Adult-level please. Your book should be for an adult audience. This means a specifically Young Adult or Middle Grade novel is not appropriate in this instance. Sure, there may be secondary characters who are teenagers or children.

Subject: Anything broadly in the subject of science fiction or fantasy, a book that would sit in the adult SF/Fantasy section of a typical bookstore. This includes steampunk, dark fantasy, alternate history, military SF, modern fantasy, horror, space opera, dieselpunk, cyberpunk, whatever else they come up with between now and the closing date. Look at our existing range of 150+ novels for a good indication of what we publish already.

Diversity: Angry Robot tries hard to find and publish fiction from a wide range of ethnic, gender, sexuality and lifestyle perspectives, but we know we can do more. We are also aware that some folks feel that their voice is unlikely to be heard. We are deliberately saying: we want to see diverse books, so please don’t hold back.

Submission contents: Send a brief (2-3 page) synopsis of your book, plus the first few chapters (approx 3-5 chapters, maximum 10,000 words). Please also put a one-sentence summary of your novel at the top of page one. Don’t forget to include your name and contact details, plus the word count of the finished novel. If the book is the start of a series, tell us (very briefly!) about the following volumes you have planned. If there’s something very notable about you as a person, within the SF/F community or the world at large, feel free to mention it. Put this all in one document, not several.

Submission format: Send everything in one Word or similarly text-based document (a .docx, .doc or .rtf file). Don’t send a PDF. Set it all in a readable, serif typeface common to most computers (eg Times New Roman, Cambria). Set lines to double line-space. Don’t put two spaces after a full stop. Insert a page break between chapters or introductory matter. Don’t obsess, though – as long as we can read it, all will be well.

Language: You can live anywhere in the world, but your work must be in the English language.


In short, we are looking for books to buy for Angry Robot to publish as part of its regular schedule. The reward will be the offer of a book contract, to publish your novel (as physical book, ebook and audiobook) in the US and UK. This will pay you a professional advance and royalties, and it will be a standard AR contract. If we do offer to publish your novel, you are more than welcome to then sign with an agent to oversee arranging the final deal, or sign with us directly if you prefer. This is not work-for-hire and you will retain all rights to your work.


Submit your work on our page from 1st December 2015:

[ URL to come on 1/12/15 ]

The Submittable system is a handy automated website that lets you to post your proposal where we can read it, and allows us to secretly read and comment on it amongst ourselves. You will need to create a log-in, which will allow you to post your work, and also revisit your submission and contact details if you need to.

When you post your proposal on Submittable, you will get an email back from us acknowledging receipt. If you do not get one, something went wrong or the reply went into your spam folder.

If anything seems to have gone wrong, email us via this website’s Contact page. (Don’t send proposals that way.)

And then, if we really like what we read, we will ask to read the full manuscript – with a view to buying your book for the Angry Robot list.

We expect to reply to everyone within 3-6 months, depending very much on how many proposals we receive. Ideally though, the more the merrier.

Wishing you the ver best of luck!
Your Robot pals

We’ll keep adding to this FAQ as the period runs on. Read this first, but if any other question arises feel free to post it the Comments box, and we’ll update regularly.

The Big Rule
Don’t sweat the small stuff. These guides are as precise as we can make them, but there are grey areas, as in any creative endeavour. We won’t be picky to the point of evil. We don’t mind if your sample is a couple of hundred words over or under, or you have short chapters so you’ve sent seven, or you have two teenagers in the background of an otherwise adult novel. Don’t worry, and definitely don’t obsess. We won’t be mean if you’ve obviously approached this with some care and attention.

Never mind that – I am going to completely, flagrantly disobey most of the main rules, but you’ll still read my submission, won’t you?
No, sir.

My novel is right on the border of one or more of the above rules, should I still send it?
It’s up to you but we say yes. If you’re close, feel free to submit it.

My novel is almost on your word count but it’s only 68,300 words, can I send it?
Yes – read the Big Rule.

My sample chapters hit 10k words but end halfway through a chapter…
Finish up that last chapter.

I put my book out as a self-published ebook, can I submit?
Sorry, no. Send something new please.

My book was published in (insert country name) but not elsewhere – can you pick it up for other countries?
Alas, no.

I’ve put a few work-in-progress chapters up on Wattpad/my writing blog/another free online venue?
That’s OK.

I have this same book on submission elsewhere.
Not a problem; we think you should take every opportunity you can. If you get an offer elsewhere be sure to let us know.

My book isn’t SF or fantasy, it’s really more like angels in a sort of steampunk world only set in the 1960s, and for some reason I’ve decided that this book is therefore not covered by the term “SF/Fantasy”…
Yeah, that counts – anything that would fall into the general area of fantastical or speculative. The same applies to dark fantasy, space opera, urban fantasy, modern horror, weird stuff that is set nine million years ago and has no magic but is probably some form of mashed-up dieselpunk swords and sorcery historical retelling of King Lear but with trolls and…

My book is really YA, should I send it?

My book is a bit borderline to YA, but does include fully adult situations and is really intended for adults, should I send it?
Use your judgement, but that sounds like a yes.

My book is adult, very adult indeed…
Judgement call. Very sexually explicit works are only rarely picked up by mainstream publishing houses, including us. The same goes for books where romance is foregrounded, ditto zany humour. It’s up to you, but your chances are slimmer.

Epic poem?
No, sorry.

Short story collection?

A novel set in someone else’s proprietory world?

How many submissions can I send?
One, for one book. Feel free to mention plans for further books in the sequence if there are any, in your synopsis. Your proposal must be for the first book in the series.

Do I have to send the opening chapters rather than an excerpt from later?

Should I tell you the whole plot or leave you guessing?
Tell us the whole plot, please, and only take 2-3 pages to do so.

I have done lots of illustrations for the book, maps too, and a cover.
Don’t send them.

I have an agent but I want to submit…
Great, get them to submit to us through the more usual route, but separate to this event.

You took a fair old while replying to everyone last time, will things be better this time around?
Yes, we will be much quicker this time. We had something of an excuse – as you may have heard, in the middle of last year, our previous owners broke up our group of companies, and we spent several months in limbo. Once we were picked up by Watkins Media Ltd, we were quick to finish reviewing all out standings submissions, reply to everyone – and offer Peter McLean a deal for his forthcoming novel Drake. We are ready and waiting, the decks are cleared, and will be much quicker at reading and replying this time. Our expected response time is 3-6 months, but this depends upon how many manuscripts we receive.

Do you have a quota of how many books you are looking for?
No, could be 1, could be 10. If they are great books that fit our range, we’ll offer on them.