The Barrow

2/17/10

Opening the Floodgates... Pyr Now Accepting Unagented Submissions

If you look at our Contact Us page, you will notice a change to the Pyr Submission Guidelines. As I have been hinting at for a few months, the Very Big News is that we are now accepting unagented submissions! That's right - we are joining the ranks of those few publishers fool enough to accept unagented, unsolicited material.

Now, right off - let me say that we are only accepting them if they follow our guidelines, and we are accepting them only in certain subgenres. Before you holler: This is not to say that Pyr will only be publishing in these subgenres, only that the amount of agented submissions we already receive in other subgenres is sufficient to our current needs. (We're still publishing science fiction, don't worry!) Read into this only that we are experimenting with casting a wider net in certain areas.

So, back to the Very Big News. How is this possible, you ask? Aren't you up to your eyeballs as it is without accepting unagented submissions? Well, yes, eyeballs and then some. Which is why last week we hired an editorial assistant slash slush reader. I'm very pleased to announce that starting immediately, Rene (pronounced Renee) Sears will be the official slush reader for unagented submissions. Rene is an avid sf&f reader who has already read a sizable portion of the Pyr catalog and has a good idea of what it is I look for. So she'll be the one drowning under the flood of submissions sifting through the chaff and passing the wheat on to my desk. Note that this is a new experiment, and if it doesn't produce the expected results, our guidelines could change again in future. And note, also and again, that you must follow our guidelines. Unsolicted submissions sent to my Facebook, Twitter and Personal Webpage are going to go on being ignored! (I have to have some kind of life, after all.)

So, without further ado, I'm hereby declaring the floodgates open.



Pyr® publishes only science fiction and fantasy novels. We are not currently looking for short story collections, anthologies, novellas or nonfiction. We prefer novels in the 100,000 to 130,000 word range. For science fiction, we do not consider material under 85,000 words in length. For fantasy, we do not consider material under 95,000 words in length.

  There are two required methods of submission, depending on whether or not you have agent representation:

  Unagented submissions: Email submissions ONLY—and ONLY in the subgenres of epic fantasy, sword & sorcery, and contemporary/urban fantasy. No horror, science fiction, or slipstream. Only full manuscripts accepted—no partials or outlines. Please send an email which includes your name, address, telephone number, and a one to three paragraph synopsis of your work, along with the manuscript attached as a Word doc or RTF file, to RSears at prometheusbooks dot com. Note that due to the volume of submissions a detailed reply in the case of a rejection may not be possible (and is unlikely).

  Agented submissions: Email submissions strongly preferred! Please query first with an email to Editorial Director, Lou Anders (Landers at prometheusbooks dot com).  The email should include a one to three paragraph synopsis of the project in question in the body of the email. Please do NOT include the manuscript or sample chapters with the initial query. Our needs are specific enough, and the volume of submissions we receive high enough, that we can save everyone time in this manner.  Again—only agented submissions at this address.

30 comments:

NewGuyDave said...

Wow. That is sweet. How long will this last for?

*rushes to scan Shadowslayer over quickly*

Rene Sears said...

Thank you, Lou! I am excited to help out and looking forward to the flood.

Joseph said...

So when you say it's pronounced, Renee, that's the spelling I typically see for such a name. So is it ren-E (long E) or ren-A (long A)?

The Erudite Ogre said...

Wow. This is very big news, very exciting to hear. Clearly I need to get cracking on my manuscript!

Angela Korra'ti said...

Coming in off of Twitter where I saw this link retweeted! I'm sure I speak for every other writer out there with a manuscript in the appropriate sub-genres when I say thank you very much for getting the word out about this! I hope we won't overload your servers with the deluge. *^_^*;;

s9 said...

Very nice news. I'm pleased to see it. (Of course, I would be more pleased if the novel I'd written matched more closely what your slush reader is hunting. Sigh. Still, excellent news.)

Clifton Hill said...

Let us all take a moment of silence out of respect for the strained eyeballs at Pyr as a result of this...

Yes, yes, I'm sure I'll take advantage, when my manuscript is ready that is. Lucky for me, my fantasy piece just passed the word threshold.

Rene Sears said...

Joseph, it's pronounced with two long Es. Like ree-knee.

Thank you for the manuscripts that have already come in, and I'm looking forward to more of them.

Nick Burnette said...

Lou is cutting back on coffee AND accepting unagented submissions? That seems counterproductive :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Lou. Have been eyeing off your imprint for some time, but with no agent could do nothing. I did bring back a Pyr glass from Denvention though. Much cherished.

I hope you guys don't mind submissions for antipodeans.

Donna

Anonymous said...

Lol.That's from antipodeans.

ces said...

Was it the coffee cold turkey that did this?

Seriously, this is wonderful for all those who don't have agents, and very inspirational for those just getting started writing or who have been thinking about it.

I'm curious though - do those who manuscripts get rejected get their manuscript sent back to them with comments?

Congratulations on doing this!

ces said...

Oops! I hadn't read the entire post - forget my question, you answered it.

More Dr. Pepper needed . . .

Lou Anders said...

Well, Rene had 12 manuscripts by end of day yesterday, so at that rate, I doubt the comments will be more than "Thank you but this doesn't suit our needs at this time." It's really really hard to comment on every rejected manuscript - you would spend your whole day editing the books you didn't want as opposed to the ones you do. Also, the truth is that the vast majority of manuscripts can probably be rejected on the initial pages. Sad but true - if the first pages don't grab you, the latter ones are unlikely to. And first pages are all the casual bookstore browswer is going to give you, so they have to rock.

von Darkmoor said...

Hey Lou - cool of Pyr to open up like this - I hope Rene finds something good for you...and that both of you have time for Dragon*Con ;)

Hey, regarding that 'casual bookstore browser' comment, of course the first page must rock, but I've been discovering a rather (to me) disconcerting habit my wife tells me she and her gal-friends have -- they flip to roughly the mid-to-3/4 part of the book and read a two-page or so spread to decide if they like the writing. She doesn't read the first page any more to help decide a reading purchase. Now me, I could never do that and risk the chance of despoiling a mystery, I like my sense of wonder to carry as long as possible, but this is a rather interesting development. I wonder how widespread it is. Thoughts?

Lou Anders said...

It is widespread enough that I was waiting for someone to call out the trend! But really, a book is good start to finish or it isn't! The best stuff anyway, and why publish anything but the best?

Jean Marie Ward said...

This is fabulous news for all writers! Thanks, Lou. Welcome, Rene. I hope I'll get the chance to meet you on the con circuit.
Meanwhile, my inner Virgo is seeking one clarification for future reference. Do you want urban fantasies to conform to the the 95K fantasy minimum or the 85K SF minimum? I only ask because most of the UF books I see on the shelves seem to run much shorter than epic fantasy.
Thanks and cheers,
Jean Marie

Jon Sprunk said...

This is great news. Big kudos to Lou and his excellent staff.

Lou Anders said...

Hi Jean Marie,
Good question. Someone asked me about 70k urban fantasies and that seems seriously too short. Split the difference?

Jean Marie Ward said...

LOL Works for me. Cheers! May you and Rene find more wonderful books than you ever expected!

Lonnie said...

I thought high fantasy was dead. I didn't care when I sat down to write my first novel last year, I wrote the fantasy novel I always wanted to read! Now you're accepting fantasy novels for consideration--someone pinch me, because I must be dreaming. I just sent you my 125K word novel and now hope for the best. Good or bad I'm not going to stop writing fantasy regardless what the publishing pundits say.

Natalie said...

Wow! Congratulations Rene, and kudos to Pyr for being open to such an author-friendly structure.

Any chance that you might need any help, Rene...? I'm already doing much the same job as an intern in a New York literary agency, and I adore it (yes, even reading the bad manuscripts!); I've never seen a manuscript I couldn't enjoy on some level, even when I can tell right away that it's not the right fit.

Mostly, I'm just kicking myself that you got there first. But, hey, there's always room for more editorial assistants, right?

Dave Felton said...

Your poor eyes!

May you find some gold in all that...

Err verbiage. ;-)

NewGuyDave said...

This made the Galleycat weekly roundup, right up there with Tiger Woods and Mattel's baby iPad!

http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/weekend_reading/weekend_reading_tiger_woods_unagented_submissions_and_baby_ipad_152671.asp?c=rss

Lou Anders said...

Thanks. Yeah, from Galleycat, io9 picked it up.

Cathy said...

I'm so excited to see that epic fantasy lives! Will Pyr accept YA epic fantasy if it within the word count? Thanks!

Lou Anders said...

Yes.

Amy said...

This is awesome! My writing critique group linked me. Very exciting. Love your company.

Salaris said...

When you ask for a one to three paragraph synopsis, are you looking for a hook or a full synopsis of the novel, including the ending? Normally when I hear the word "synopsis" I'd expect the later, but I was surprised by the length.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

This is a very general question that I noticed was not in your guidelines...
I was wondering what sort of response time was given for manuscript submissions to you?
There may not be one because of the staggered submissions you recieve, but I was merely wondering if you could give me an estimate.
Thank you very much