Read why here.
Hi Mary — I continue to check back to your blog to see if there are any updates on you, your family and your home. You are in my thoughts!!
Thank you! The rains have begun, and the community is slowly recovering.
Hi Mary! Thank you so much for opening up your comment section to questions! I just wanted to check and see if you would consider a Post-Apocalyptic (which has nothing to do with social or political structures , strictly survival post-apocalypse) novel as falling under Dystopian? Or do you (and the market) consider them to be separate?
Thank you again!
Hi Christina, in my case yes, that’s dystopian. I’m not looking for it right now because I have multiple clients who write it.
Dear Mary Moore:
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and expertise! I know many writers are grateful for the advice and direction you offer. A question beyond merely querying you. Can a writer who’s had five novels published traditionally, one of which sold 100,000 copies, approach an agent BEFORE the novel is completed, especially if the story appears to the writer to be fresh (your term on the blog today!)? For obvious reasons, psychologically and editorially, the ability to receive feedback in advance of finishing a novel is invaluable, as would be understanding whether its commercial concept, and writing ability, seems to be solid for the current marketplace. Again, many thanks!
It is really hard and rare to sell a novel based on a proposal. Unless the author is a big name, i.e. Neil Gaiman or Margaret Atwood, or they have a close and successful relationship with their editor, most publishers would be hesitant. And for that reason so will most agents. In my particular case I would want the manuscript to be finished the best it could be before seeing it.
Hi Mary, I queried you about two years ago with a project that was an Adult Fantasy. You requested the full ms and ended up passing (but provided wonderful feedback – thank you!). The manuscript has been extensively revised since then and is now a YA Fantasy (which is probably always where it should have been). I was contemplating requerying you, but definitely don’t want to waste your time if you’ve already given the project a hard pass and wouldn’t consider reading the new YA manuscript. Should I refrain from requerying or would you consider a query?
Hi Lorraine, thanks so much for thinking of me. My YA fantasy list is pretty full right now, so I’m probably not going to have a chance to consider this for quite a long time.
It was worth a shot! 😉 Thanks for the quick response!
I was wonder if you would be willing to look at a manuscript that has a mix of teen fiction, fantasy and paranormal genres.
I’m not really looking for young adult paranormal right now, but thanks for asking.
I have a word count question. For my debut novel I decided to write what I know–epic fantasy. I outlined the series and, after an extensive editing process, completed the first installment at about 210,600 words. I’m still very early in the querying process, (though I have already sent it your way), but I received my first rejection today about 30 minutes after querying the agent because my manuscript is very long for the genre. I understand that 200k is not within the ideal word count range for “fantasy,” but many “fantasy epics” are far more than 200k, and if I were to edit my manuscript down to 115k I would likely be cutting important characters and portions that set up for events in the rest of the series. It would hardly even feel like the same story to me. It’s very disheartening; I did everything I could to replicate the quality of work that goes into a multi-POV fantasy series like Wheel of Time or A Song of Ice and Fire, only to be automatically rejected because it’s too long while my inspirational authors wrote even longer books as their first installments!
Do I need to be seeking out agents who specifically are looking for fantasy epics? Or, if it is widely unacceptable to query a 200k+ word manuscript, how did books like Name of the Wind get published? Thank you for all the work you do to make people’s dreams come true!
200k will definitely make some agents wary, especially for a debut. The reason for this is because publishers are less likely to make the larger investment needed to cover print run costs on an epic length book by a debut author. Fyi, GRRM’s debut novel wasn’t more than your average length, GoT was his fourth or fifth successfully published book, so he already had the author cache to convince publishers to take the leap. Patrick Rothfuss won awards from excerpts of NAME OF THE WINDS before it got picked up by Daw. (Daw is also one of the few publishers that will take on lengthy epic fantasy from a debut author). Even the hugely-successful JK Rowlings wasn’t allowed to write bigger books until the first few did really well. You’ll notice book one in the HP series is so much shorter than book 7 that it’s almost laughable. So yes, you have a much harder hill to climb than other new authors. However you can seek out agents, such as myself, that are willing to give it a chance as long as the writing is solid. If that doesn’t work, than consider writing something new, i.e. a simply high fantasy, as your breakout, and return to your epic once you’ve established your author brand. Or go the Rothfuss route and get yourself noticed by publishers in other ways. Good luck!
That is very informative; thank you! And thanks for giving those of us who do exceed typical word count guidelines a chance!
I have been hard at work writing a series of four novels in a series, the first of which is complete at a little over 109,000 words. I would classify my science fiction novel to be mostly Asian cyberpunk, although instead of heavily using computers and hackers, it uses television shows as an allegory to represent alternative dimensions and/or obfuscate a group’s true intentions, be it an entertainment troupe or the government within my book. An example I give is that war within my book has been reduced to entertainment and is generally considered a commodity. Another example revolves around an entertainment troupe’s creation of a serial involving the real-life mysterious death of a high-profile actor and the accusation of a director from a rival troupe. For the physical setting, the Asian world that I’ve built is clockwork, yet the driving force is plasma and not steam, including holographic portals called “holoviews” and buildings that can continuously change form and function. What is your take on it, and are you interested in this kind of science fiction?
Hi Josh, this sounds interesting, but your explanation is confusing. It’s a better idea to submit to agents directly, rather than “pre-query” as tempting as it may be. Query letters (and in my case my sub form) are (ideally) to avoid this kind of confusion and allow the agent to get an clear idea of what you’re writing.
I’m trying to figure out if what I’ve written would be considered ‘urban’ fiction, at least as it relates to market oversaturation. It takes place in a city, and the first book centers on the most rundown section (it’s a series, with later books expanding into the whole city and probably beyond), but it’s steampunk with a Victorian-ish aesthetic. I don’t know which part of that agents and/or publishers would see first. Any thoughts?
It’s hard to say without reading it. It sounds more like it would classify as steampunk over urban fantasy.
Alright, thank you.
How long does it usually take you to read a full MS once received?
It depends, I try to read them by 6 months, but often take longer. Read my blog post here and here about the process.
Hi, Mary! I’m curious as to your guidelines for Dystopian, as the novel I plan to submit to you has some dystopian themes.
Thank you for you time!
Hi! I’m not seeking dystopian right now as I already have 3 clients who write it and the market for it is over-saturated so it’s difficult to sell to publishers. Sorry this isn’t better news.
I’m currently writing out my manuscript and have been curious as to whether you accept submissions from teenaged authors?
I accept submissions from anyone at any age as long as they are in English. 🙂
My novella that I want to publish is about an arranged marriage between two mer clans and the mermaid princess who is 107 equivalent to 17 years old does want to marry but at the end she does to a merman prince named Kai. Jewel also has vision, telepathy, and healing powers that come out of her body in the shade of her mer-tail. She also is a mer healer.
Apologies, but I don’t represent novellas. Good luck!
Hi. I am trying to send a query on posted form, but it will not “send” because I don’t have a website. How do I get around this?
You can leave it blank, it’s not required.
I have a website focused more on the world and the stories then about myself. Its a work in progress. Would that be alright?
Yes, that’s fine, cheers.
Are you still looking for magical realism? My MS is high concept commercial/magical realism and I think it’d be perfect for you.
Really like your writing and looking forward to hearing back!
I am, although I tend to prefer latinx MR. Cheers.
Hello, ms Moore. A real pleasure to contact you. My name is Minas Tsambanis and i have completed a science fiction-space opera novel. I would really like to take a look at it. Sci-Fi is not a well received genre in Greece and i really want to try to introduce it outside. Problem is that it is writen in greek. Is it essential to convert it into english before attempting submission it?
In my case, yes. I will only consider submissions in English. I believe this is the case for most literary agents. Good luck!
I just submitted my query (The Color Kill) and may have a typo in the email address – amended below
Hi Paul, please resubmit with the correct email address. Thanks!
Hi Mary. I emailed my query and first 10 to you using your tweeted DVpit guidelines, but now I’m worried I should have submitted using your form. Should I submit again, via form? Thanks!
Hi Alexis, I just checked and I have your submission. Apologies it may take awhile for a response, I’m swamped!
I sent you a query a couple of weeks ago through your submissions form. I was just wondering what your process was in replying and whether or not I should assume that you are declining to ask for further material if you do not reply within a certain time frame?
Either way, thanks for taking the time to consider me.
I was thinking about doing this anyway and your question prompted me to go ahead and set up a page where authors can track their submission: http://marycmoore.com/index.php/submissions/submission-response-times/
Hope that answers your question.
Hello, Mary, I hope you are well. I’ll be pitching you in a workshop next Sunday and have a question if you don’t mind. I’m a life-long reporter and disabled Marine veteran writing an historical novel (trilogy) on my generation with a Navy nurse who served aboard the Hospital Ship Repose. My question is, should I bring the first couple of chapters to the workshop.
Don’t bring them for me. If I like your pitch, I will request you to email me your submission and give you instructions on how to. However if the workshop has other classes where you can get feedback, then perhaps they could use the pages.
In general agents don’t want any material when they are being pitched at conferences, it ends up in the recycle bin.
I think I have something that would interest you, but do you accept submissions from non U.S. writers? I am based in the UK.
Hi Jack, as long as it’s in English I will consider it. Cheers.
Are you okay with post-apocalyptic? I know it says no dystopia, but would you consider those the same?
They are pretty close. I already have 3 clients who write post-apocalyptic/dystopian, so either is hard sell with me.
I was very much surprised by your blog, more so when I discovered, without intending to, that I had read through every article in a single sitting.
Thanks for sharing,
Thank you for your lovely compliment.
Mary, I filled out your submission sheet, but was unable to get pass the “Author Website” field. I used my company’s, I own, website with no success.
The author website field is not required, so you can leave it blank.
Hello, Ms. Moore;
I have 2 questions: One of your pages says you will be open to submissions on August 1st, and another one says September 1st. I want to do the right thing, but do not know which is the correct date?
Also, will your submission form be back up, when submissions open? Because I could not find it.
Hi, originally it was August 1st, but I realized I would be traveling out of the country for most of August, so I moved it back to September 1st. Sorry for the confusion.
Yes the form will be available when I open again.
Do you only accept stories with female leads in them? And what if my story is a combination of genres you are looking for and a bit of some you are not interested in
I do accept any gender leads. I simply tend to prefer female leads, but if the writing is solid, it doesn’t matter.
As for your genre question, as long as the major genre is within what I represent I’m happy to consider.
Mary, I’ve tried to find a way to email you my submission. I do not have a Twitter account so hopefully you have a regular email. email me your email if you feel more comfortable with this.
Hi David, I am currently closed to submissions. When I am open, I don’t use email but rather a submission form. Please check back in September! Visit here for more information.
I submitted the one with the magical realism (mermaid) which fits better with your MSWL. The other one has a more realistic story and very different plot. Thanks for reading.
I write to you because your recent MSWL calls for Latino magical realism, by Latino author. Classic but Modern. And you prefer indigenous cultures and writing that glows. Sadly, I don;t have all of the above. What I have is two complete contemporary commercial YA novels set mostly in Mexico, where the main character is a 17-year-old chubby brown-skinned girl from the Maya indigenous people of Chiapas. One have magical realism with a story about a mermaid that joins the Mexican Police force to protect the main character. I’m not a Latino author. I can’t say that my writing glows. If that’s okay I can send you two queries with first pages about the two novels. Thanks for reading.
Hi Giora, if you would like to submit, please fill out the submission form. And please only submit one at a time. Thanks!
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