The SCWC*SD offers conferees optional Advance Submission Critique of manuscripts, followed by one-on-one consultation with our respective Reader(s), for an additional fee of $50. You will find Readers’ submission criterion under their individual bios on the Staff page, as they becomes available. If you are uncertain of who would be best for you, e-mail Michael Steven Gregory or phone him at (619) 303-8185 for guidance.
All Advance Submission Material must be received for the San Diego conference via regular post (USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc.) by no later than January 14, 2014. Advance Manuscript Critique is available only to registered Full Conference or NovelCram registrants. Appointment times for individual one-on-one consults will be made available at the Registration Desk upon check-in.
Address your manuscript to the appropriate Reader c/o SCWC*LA, 1010 University Ave., #54, San Diego, CA 92103. You may register first then submit your material later, so long as material is received no later than the deadline. You may also submit material to more than one Reader, accompanied by additional payment.
Read below for detailed information on formatting and what to expect from your one-on-one consultation.
All You Need to Know about Advance Submissions
What should I expect from my advance submission reader?
Everybody wants an agent. A tendency for many writers is to believe that their recently completed manuscript is polished enough to warrant professional consideration by an agent or house editor. Unfortunately, this is seldom the case.
Because so many writers work in isolation, devoid of empirically qualified, critical feedback of their material, too often the book submitted is far from ready. Many feel discouraged by the propensity of agents to simply reject their material without providing definitive solutions to making the book a title that they would otherwise agree to handle.
What’s important is to understand the agent’s job: selling books is the agent’s livelihood. While there are exceptions, the bulk of agents merely react to material submitted for one-on-one. For them the only question is, “Can I sell this book or not?” Their job is not supposed to be troubleshooting lackluster or problematic aspects of execution. And the fact is, many simply are not qualified to do so so don’t expect them to.
Keeping that in mind, take into account when choosing your reader(s) that the bulk of the nearly $4 million worth of first-time author book and screen success facilitated by the SCWC has come not from the agents on board, but from the authors. It is the working writers who are steeped in the realities of the publishing world from the writers’ side of things. And it is far more often only the working writers that can troubleshoot material in a thoughtful, substantive and communicative manner, help find solutions and even shepherd manuscripts to industry contacts.
Submit to as many agents as you wish, but don’t dismiss the staff authors accepting advance submissions simply because you think they’ll have less value in getting you published. Reality is, it’s usually the other way around.
Who can submit manuscript pages prior to the conference?
Advance submission of manuscript pages for evaluation prior to the conference, followed by one-on-one consultation with the reader(s) of your choice during the event is available only to Full Conference or Saturday/Sunday registered conferees.
How do I choose more than one reader?
Out online shopping cart is configured to easily select multiple readers. If using hardcopy registration form, select all the readers that you wish to submit to under the “first choice” column. In the “second choice” column select any readers you wish your pages to go to in the event one of the readers in the first column becomes unavailable. Think of the second column as being only for emergency backup.
Multiply the number of readers selected in the “first choice” column by $50.00 and add the figure to your registration fee.
What should be included in my submission?
Unless otherwise noted, you may submit up to the first 20 pages of your manuscript, in standard professional submission format. A cover letter and brief synopsis (for fiction and narrative nonfiction) may also be included, but does not count as part of your total number of manuscript pages (usually 15 or 20).
Can I submit pages from the middle of my book?
No. Regardless of how exceptional material may be later in the manuscript, no readers will ever discover it because of their inability to get beyond lackluster, problematic or downright sucky opening pages.
What is the *proper format* for manuscript pages?
- Times New Roman, 12 pt. font
- Double-spaced print on one side of the paper
- No double spaces between paragraphs (unless it’s a page break)
- Single space only after periods
- Header (TITLE/Your Last Name on left margin; then the page number (against right margin) starting w/page 2)
Should I include a cover letter?
While not mandatory for advance submission feedback, a cover letter is recommended if for no other reason than to apprise the reader of what genre the pages s/he will be reading is and provide a thumbnail understanding about what the story is about.
The last thing anybody wants is to submit a contemporary dark thriller, the execution of which leads the reader to believe is a comedic fantasy. (It’s happened!)
Should I include a synopsis?
The inclusion of a synopsis is up to you. If you’ve got a polished 1- or 2-page synopsis it never hurts to include it. However, writing a great synopsis is an art unto itself and the bane of many authors. After all, if you could’ve written your book in 1 or 2 pages, you wouldn’t have wasted so much time with the other 300!
In our estimates, submitting a poorly executed synopsis is worse than submitting no synopsis at all as it may serve to undermine readers’ confidence in the author’s manuscript pages. Proceed with care. Here is an approach and example of a synopsis for reference.
Is my cover letter and/or synopsis considered part of my page count?
No. Cover letters and synopses do not figure into the count of your total number of first pages (usually 15).
Where do I send my advance submission?
Address your submission(s) package to the SCWC, 1010 University Avenue, #54, San Diego, CA 92103.
Can I place multiple submissions in one envelope?
Yes. Including multiple submissions in one envelope is encouraged and will naturally reduce your cost of mailing submissions.
Do you accept submissions via email?
No. The SCWC does not accept advance submissions via email.
What is the deadline for submitting?
Deadline for the SCWC*San Diego is January 11, 2014, excluding readers who have indicated otherwise. Advance submission material must be received by the deadline. No exceptions.
What if I need help choosing a reader?
If you need guidance choosing a reader, feel free to contact SCWC Executive Director Michael Steven Gregory or SCWC Director Wes Albers via email or phone.