Here are guides for submitting a novel proposal. There are also guides for submitting cover artwork.
If you DO NOT have a literary agent:
Alas, we do not accept unagented proposals at this time. If you are a writer without a literary agent, do not send your proposal on the off-chance, because it will not be read. Such submissions are discarded unread. Once every couple of years or so, we will try to relax these conditions for a brief Open Door period. Our last one finished in early 2016, but right now we have no firm plans for the next one. Please don’t keep messaging us to ask when the next one will be; when we know, we will be sure to shout about it.
If you DO have an agent:
We are accepting proposals sent via a literary agent, or if you have been recommended to us by an author already on our list. In these specific cases only, your agent is welcome to submit proposals for a new novel to us. In these instances, read the guides that follow, then drop us an email via incoming@… or query us through our contact page.
We will require a brief (two pages maximum) pitch, with a summary of characters, plot and your intentions/inspiration; plus the opening five chapters or so (maybe 10,000 words). If you have an established SF or online presence – like a website, good-sized Twitter following, or are generally active in the SF community already – we’d love to hear about that sort of thing too. We really like it if you could include a one-sentence summary of the novel, right at the top of page one. Special note for literary agents: this really, actually does apply to submissions sent in by you too – send a proper synopsis, please, not just in your initial enquiry!
This pack should be emailed to us, either as Word or RTF text tiles, or at a push PDFs. Please don’t just send us a complete manuscript without an accompanying synopsis. Meanwhile, we never accept hardcopy manuscripts or proposals, and any sent to us will be discarded without acknowledgment.
If we like what we read, we will then ask for a full plot breakdown or the entire, finished manuscript. We typically estimate 10 weeks to read and respond to a proposal; more for a full manuscript. All times are approximate and depend upon workload elsewhere in the Robot empire.
What We’re Looking For
We’re publishing novels, either standalone or as part of greater series. We’re not looking to publish short works such as novellas, short stories, shot story collections or non-fiction at this time. No poetry or plays, graphic novels or anything else that is plainly not a prose novel.
All our books are “genre” fiction in one way or another – specifically fantasy, science fiction, modern/weird fantasy – and just occasionally horror. Those are quite wide-ranging in themselves; we’re looking for all types of sub-genre, so for example, hard SF, space opera, cyberpunk, military SF, alternate future history, future crime, time travel, and more. We have no problem if your book mashes together two or more of these genres; in fact, we practically insist upon it.
At Angry Robot we’re publishing books for adults. Although we sometimes use the phrase “post-YA” to describe AR titles, we are not looking for any specifically junior, YA or teenage titles to publish right now. All our books cover adult themes, situations and “language”, and most of our protagonists are adults.
Our books will be published in all English-language territories – notably the UK, US and Australia – so we’ll be buying rights to cover all those. If you are only offering rights in one territory (eg US or UK/Commonwealth only), we will struggle to do a deal with you. We require rights to ebook and audiobook versions as standard too. If your work has already been published, even just as a self-published or ebook-only release, we will not be interested, sorry. We are not contracting any work-for-hire titles; we offer advances and royalties appropriate for a medium-sized publisher of good standing.
Beyond all of this, what we’re really looking for in your writing is this:
• A “voice”, that comes from…
• Confident writing
• Pacy writing
• Characters that live, have real relationships and emotions, even in extreme situations
• A sense of vision, a rounded universe that lives and breathes
• Clever construction, good plotting, a couple of surprises even for us jaded old read-it-alls
• Heightened experience – an intensity, extremity or just a way of treating plot or situation in a way we’ve not come across before. “Goes up to 11”, if you know what that means.
As always, Angry Robot is absolutely committed to the publication of works by writers of all genders, ethnicities, colour, orientation, nationalities, and religious or political beliefs. We make publishing decisions based on the quality and commercial viability of the works submitted to us for consideration, and not on the personal backgrounds of the authors.
Got any further questions? Contact us.
More notes on submitting a novel… Pitch Perfect by Lee Harris