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Harper Voyager opens doors to unagented submissions

Harper Voyager has launched an international talent search, with aspiring writers invited to submit their un-agented manuscripts directly to the publisher.

The HarperCollins sci-fi and fantasy imprint will be opening a two week window in October where writers can submit their novels, with plans to publish selected titles digitally.

UK deputy publishing director Emma Coode (pictured), alongside Australia’s associate publisher Deonie Fiford and executive editor Diana Gill from the US, said: “No other publishing company has done a coordinated submission period for un-agented authors across three continents, and all of us at Harper Voyager and at HarperCollins Publishers are absolutely thrilled to the launching this new opportunity. We look forward to discovering and digitally publishing many new exciting voices globally at Harper Voyager.”

The portal to submit will open at www.harpervoyagersubmissions.com on October 1st, and remain open until October 14th. Adult and young adult titles will both be accepted, in any genre, although epic fantasy, science fiction, urban fantasy, horror, dystopia and supernatural works will be particularly well received.

Manuscripts should be at least 70,000 words, up to around 120,000.

On its website, the publisher says that it are looking for enough projects to launch a new e-book each month. Each contract will cover world English language distribution, with Harper Voyager reserving the right to also publish the books in physical form.

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Isn't one of the main draws of a traditional publishing contract the idea that your books will be available in book stores? I'm a little wary of a search for un-agented manuscripts meant to be published in ebook form only and I'm curious how the terms of the contract offered will compare with, say, amazon, barnes & noble, createspace, lulu, and other avenues open to authors today.

I wonder if the lucky winners get to hand over all rights at non-standard industry splits as part of their prize?

@Creepy Query Girl: I think you are right to be concerned. The playing field is very level in ebooks and a traditional publisher doesn't have the advantages that they do for brick and mortar. To get a 17.5% royalty rather than a 70% royalty sounds like the publishers are trying to pick some easy low-lying fruit...but it will likely be the authors that lose a lot of money as the publishers make a 3x off their works. Just something to consider.

has anyone heard anything about their submissions yet?

Isn't one of the main draws of a traditional publishing contract the idea that your books will be available in book stores? I'm a little wary of a search for un-agented manuscripts meant to be published in ebook form only and I'm curious how the terms of the contract offered will compare with, say, amazon, barnes & noble, createspace, lulu, and other avenues open to authors today.

I wonder if the lucky winners get to hand over all rights at non-standard industry splits as part of their prize?

@Creepy Query Girl: I think you are right to be concerned. The playing field is very level in ebooks and a traditional publisher doesn't have the advantages that they do for brick and mortar. To get a 17.5% royalty rather than a 70% royalty sounds like the publishers are trying to pick some easy low-lying fruit...but it will likely be the authors that lose a lot of money as the publishers make a 3x off their works. Just something to consider.

has anyone heard anything about their submissions yet?