The SCWC*SD offers conferees optional Advance Submission Critique of manuscripts, followed by 15-minute 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 Irvine (LA20) conference by no later than August 18th, 2023. Advance Manuscript Critique is available only to registered Full Conference or Saturday/Sunday Conference registrants. Appointment times for individual one-on-one consults will be made available at the Registration Desk upon check-in.
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
How do I submit my material? (Instructions)
First, be certain that the manuscript pages you’re submitting are the final version of the pages you want read. Do NOT send multiple, “updated” versions. There is no need to submit weeks before the deadline. Wait until you are absolutely certain the pages are ready, then:
- Save your cover letter as a PDF, DOC or DOCX file. (No other format accepted.)
- Save your manuscript pages as a PDF, DOC or DOCX file. (No other format accepted.)
- Attach the saved PDF, DOC or DOCX files to an email addressed to MSG [at] WritersConference.com.
- Enter “Advance Submission(s) from YOUR LAST NAME” in subject line.
And that’s it. We will confirm receipt so you won’t have to worry.
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?
Our 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. If you do not choose a backup reader–and not an already selected alternate “first choice” reader–one will be arbitrarily selected for you should the need arise.
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 the first 10 pages of your manuscript, in standard professional submission format. A cover letter must also be included, but does not count as part of your total number of manuscript pages (check reader’s bio for exact number).
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)
- 1″ margin all the way around
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!)
Think of your cover letter as you would a query letter. A couple samples of good query letters:
Should I include a synopsis?
No. A synopsis should be included only if a reader requests one. 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 10).
Do you accept submissions via email?
Yes. The SCWC accepts advance submissions via email, preferably in PDF format. If you are unable to convert to PDF file format, DOC and DOCX file formats are also acceptable.
Where do I email my advance submission?
Email your submission(s) as an attachment to Michael (msg [at] WritersConference.com). Include “Advance Submission” in the subject line of your email. Be sure to include your email address on your cover letter.
Can I mail hardcopy of my advance submission?
While email is our preferred choice, you may also submit materials to our postal address: SCWC, PO Box 433, Redmond, OR 97756.
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.
What is the deadline for submitting?
Deadline for the SCWC*LA19 (Irvine) is August 18, 2023, 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 via email or phone.
What time will my one-on-one appointment(s) be?
The bulk of advance submission appointments will take place on Saturday, with a few rare exceptions that are rolled into Sunday morning. You will receive appointment time(s) when checking in at the front desk to pick up your name badge and final schedule.