Here are guides for submitting a novel proposal. There are also guides for submitting cover artwork.
If you DO NOT have a literary agent:
Sorry, we do not currently accept proposals except from literary agents. If you do not have an agent, anything you send us will be discarded, unread. Do not send your proposal.
Every couple of years, we relax this rule with an Open Door period when we accept unagented proposals. However, we just had one and have no firm plans for when the next one is, so that door is currently closed.
If you DO have an agent, or are an agent:
We are accepting proposals sent via a literary agent. Your agent should read the guides that follow, then drop us an email via incoming@… or query us through our contact page.
When your agent writes to us, we will require a brief (two pages maximum) pitch, with a summary of characters, plot and your intentions/inspiration; plus ideally the complete manuscript or if it’s not complete at least the opening five chapters or so (maybe 10,000 words). Don’t go into exhaustive detail on the plot; an enhanced back cover blurb is sufficient. If you have an established SF or online presence – like a thriving blog, good-sized Twitter following, or are generally active in the SF community already – we’d love to hear about that sort of thing too. It may just be us, but we also really love it when pitches include a snappy one-sentence summary of the novel, right at the top of page one.
This pack should be emailed to us, either as Word or RTF text tiles, or at a push PDFs. Please don’t send us a complete manuscript without an accompanying pitch/synopsis. Note that we never accept hard-copy manuscripts or proposals, and any paper submissions sent to us will be discarded without acknowledgment.
We typically estimate 10 weeks to read and respond to a proposal; more if you’ve attached a full manuscript. All times are approximate and depend upon workload elsewhere in the ever-expanding 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, short story collections or non-fiction at this time. No poetry or plays, graphic novels, nor 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.
We might be based in the UK but do not assume we are just a British publisher. Our books will be published in all English-language territories, notably the UK, US and Australia – and most sales are in the USA. As a result, you’d do better to regard us as a US publisher who can also get you into bookshops in the UK and elsewhere. Which means that 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 ebooks as standard too, and we also have good links to sell third party extras like audiobooks and translation if you need them.
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, capable writing that’s been properly polished
• Pacy storytelling
• Characters that live, have a “voice”, 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
• And often… a 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.
Further reading… More helpful notes on submitting a novel… Pitch Perfect by our ex-editor Lee Harris