Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Call for Submissions & Full Guidelines

Third Person Press will be open to submissions of novel manuscripts during the month of February, 2015. All of the following details are important to us! Before submitting, be sure that you've read and followed all guidelines. 

If you are experienced with the process of submitting your work professionally, you won't find any surprises here, but there are always variations between publishers so read them to make sure. If you aren't experienced, you'll need to become familiar with this process if you want to be taken seriously as a writer, so please follow the instructions very carefully. 

Trust us, there's nothing tricky or difficult here, but there are very good reasons for all guidelines. You wouldn't believe some of the things...but don't get us started on that.


Who: Writers from Atlantic Canada
What: The first 3 chapters or 50 pages of your completed 70,000-100,000 word, speculative fiction novel AND a synopsis (3-5 pages)
When: February 1 – February 28, 2015 (Atlantic Time)
Keep Reading!

What We Want

Completed, edited, polished speculative fiction novels, YA or adult, of between 70,000 and 100,000 words. (If you have a novel manuscript that's a little longer or shorter, you may query us by email to see if we are willing to take a look at it.)
  • Do not send us a first draft no matter how good you think it is. There will be other calls for submissions. Take plenty of time to review and edit it before submitting.
  • Do not send the entire manuscript. We only want to see the first 50 or so pages. End your submission at the end of chapter--if that's a little less or a little more than 50 pages, that's okay. Please do not send us a lot more or less.
Submissions must be in the speculative fiction genre. This includes: science fiction, fantasy, horror, magic realism, paranormal, steampunk, and all their various sub-genres. Manuscripts that combine genres, such as mystery and science fiction, or romance and fantasy, are welcome, but all stories must be speculative.

If you are unsure what constitutes speculative fiction, or want to increase the chances that we’ll love your submission, please read our general guidelines. You might also want to check out this essay and our series of blog posts aimed at helping writers fix story problems. 

For this submission period, we will be open to submissions from writers in Atlantic Canada.

What we do NOT want:
  • stories or chapter books, or novels for younger readers.
  • fan fiction, graphic novels, pornography, erotica, or excessive/gratuitous vulgarity, violence or gore.
  • collections of short stories, mainstream novels, memoirs, unfinished novels

Submission Parameters

1. The submission period runs from 12:01 a.m. (Atlantic Standard Time) February 1, 2015, to 11:59 p.m. (AST) February 28, 2015. Submissions must be received within that time period. Submissions received before the submission period opens, or after it closes, will be discarded unread.
2. All submissions must be made by email only to thirdpersonpress (at) and should include a cover letter (see #4 below) and two attached files:
  • three-to-five-page synopsis of your novel
  • your manuscript file consisting of the first 3 chapters or 50 pages of your novel.
3. Your files should be attached in .rtf, .odt, or .doc format and named according to this style: File-YourLastName-TitleorPartialTitleofNovel. So:
  • Your manuscript file would be: Manuscript-Lastname-IdentifyingWordsFromTitle.rtf (or .odt or .doc - you get the idea, right?)
  • Your synopsis file would be: Synopsis-Lastname-IdentifyingWordsFromTitle.rtf
So, for example, if an author named Shelby Montgomery were submitting a novel manuscript titled "The Way of All Robots" her synopsis file would be named something like Synopsis-Montgomery-AllRobots.rtf. Shelby's novel manuscript file would be named Submission-Montgomery-AllRobots.rtf.
Use the same title short form for both the synopsis and the submission, so it's easy for us to match them up!
4. Include a brief cover letter in the body of your email, giving us a one-paragraph pitch for your novel, and telling us a little about yourself and your writing. This doesn't have to be more than a few lines. (In fact, keep it brief so we'll get to your manuscript that much faster!)

Manuscript Format

The contents of your manuscript file must be in standard submission format. If your manuscript deviates very far from this, we're not likely to read it. Here's a list of exactly what we'd like to see:
  • set a 1 inch (that's 2.5 cm) margin on all sides
  • include a title page with ONLY the following information: 
    • your name
    • your email address
    • your mailing address
    • the title of the novel
    • the word count of the novel
    • how you would classify the genre of the novel (adult science fiction, YA urban fantasy, etc.). Don't stress about classifying your novel--this is just to give us a general idea.
  • include a header in your manuscript so that it appears on each page (we don't mind if this header appears on your title page as well). The header should include your last name, the title of your novel in ALL CAPS, and the page number. Italicize it if you'd like. Like this: 
    • Montgomery THE WAY OF ALL ROBOTS 165
    • or this: Montgomery THE WAY OF ALL ROBOTS 165
    • DON'T create a header by using hard returns and spacing around it--use the "header" feature in your software to set it up. If you don't know how to do this, go online and find out! Trying to hand-format a header leads to a terrible mess the second one of us opens it in a word processor different from yours.
  • start each new chapter on a new page. The chapter number (and chapter title, if you use them), should be in ALL CAPS, like this: CHAPTER 1--AWAKENING. Space down four to six lines to begin the chapter text.
  • double-space the entire text
  • indent paragraphs--DO NOT use block paragraphing with white space between paragraphs.
  • use a standard font (Times New Roman, Arial, or Courier) in 12-point type size. Weird or hard-to-read fonts will make us annoyed with your manuscript before we even start reading it, and who wants that?
  • use standard italics (not underlining) if italics are included


Your synopsis should also be double-spaced. A 12 point font and 1 inch margins should be used. 

The most important thing we're looking for in your synopsis is the flow, arc and completeness of your story; how one thing leads to another, how your characters act and react, how it all comes together in the end. Concentrate more on that than on style, if you're having trouble. 

Do not leave out the exciting bits or the ending for the sake of "suspense." Your potential editor/publisher should know all the important things that happen in your novel.

They aren't easy or fun to write. Here are some helpful links: 

Response Times

You will receive a prompt acknowledgment of your submission. If you haven't heard from us in a week, please ask. 

Our response time for your manuscript will depend on the number of submissions we receive. If you haven't heard from us after three months, please query and we will write you back promptly to let you know where we are in the review process. 

Whew! If you've made it this far, congratulations. Follow this page step-by-step when preparing your files, and we look forward to seeing your work! Don't follow it, and we won't be so enthusiastic. Oh, maybe we shouldn't have said that...


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