Uncanny Books is not currently accepting any unsolicited manuscripts. Please see below for our last open call for novels from July 15-September 15, 2013.
Uncanny Books is a new, small-press publisher that focuses on publishing quality genre fiction: science fiction, fantasy, and horror in particular. We are interested in creating shared worlds that you and other authors can contribute to. We are looking for fun, fast-paced novels with a sense of tension and excitement in original settings that can grow and develop over time.
For this open novel call, Uncanny Books would like to hire authors on a Work for Hire basis. Because we want to create shared worlds that authors can further explore for a long time to come, we want to purchase all rights to the worlds and characters that you create for us. In other words, we want to hire talented authors to write stories that will become the intellectual property of Uncanny Books. Please keep this in mind – if we commission and pay for a novel from you, other authors may further develop the setting and characters for us in future novels and stories, also on a Work for Hire basis. (And of course we might just hire you to further develop the worlds you create for us – if we hired you once, we’re that much more likely to hire you again.) If you are unclear about what this means for you and your work, don’t hesitate to ask. We accept agented and unagented submissions, and are open to submissions from first-time or established authors. We pay a professional rate of five cents per word advance on a 20% of net profit of the stand-alone novel. This advance will be paid within thirty days of final acceptance of completed manuscript. The total length of your novel should be 50,000 to 75,000 words.
What we are looking for:
- High quality, well-written, polished novels that could form the basis for a continuing series. The novels should be able to be roughly categorized as science fiction, “traditional” fantasy, modern or urban fantasy, or horror. Our target audience is adults, rather than teens or children.
- Our interest in these genres is broad. For example, hard SF, space opera, cyberpunk, military SF, future crime/thrillers, time travel, swords and sorcery, epic fantasy, and apocalyptic / post-apocalyptic are all fine, as are many sub-genres we haven’t listed here. We also don’t mind if you creatively blend two or more of these sub-genres. We’re looking for creative works that can appeal to a broad audience while challenging traditional genre constraints.
What we are NOT looking for:
- Submissions that do not follow our guidelines.
- Unfinished novel submissions. Please, only submit if your novel is complete at the time of your submission. We may ask for a complete draft very quickly, and it needs to be polished and ready to go for review immediately.
- Short stories, novellas, or poetry; we are looking for novel-length prose fiction currently.
- Any kind of fan fiction or fiction that involves any intellectual property that you yourself have not created. You must own all the rights to the work you are submitting.
- Novels that have already been published elsewhere or that are part of an existing series. We want to publish entirely new series, not the seventh book in a series you have already self-published or published with another publisher.
- If your novel is in a genre outside of what we are currently looking for, we are just not interested at this time, no matter how well written it is. We are a small press and must unfortunately focus on just a few genres. For example, we are NOT looking for:
- Paranormal romance. We know it’s a great genre, but it’s just not what we’re looking for at this time.
- Young adult fiction; we are currently only seeking fiction geared toward adult audiences.
- Explicitly religious fiction, Christian or otherwise; we are by no means opposed to religion or religious fiction, we just aren’t looking to publish any currently.
- Humor is fine in measured doses, but if you might describe your manuscript as “wacky” or “zany,” Uncanny Books is just not the right home for it.
- Explicitly pornographic works. Some sex is fine, but nothing that wouldn’t work in an “R” rated movie, please. We’re just not looking to publish erotica at this time.
What you should send us, STARTING ON July 15, 2013:
- A short introduction telling us a little about you and any prior publications you may have.
- A brief synopsis of your proposed novel (maximum of 250 words). This should give us the central premise of the novel, briefly describe the protagonist(s), and tell us what’s unique about your proposed setting.
- A breakdown of your proposed novel, in outline or prose format (maximum of 1000 words). Be sure to provide additional details about your protagonist(s) and setting, as well as a plot summary of the entire novel.
- The first 8,000-10,000 words of your novel. Do not send the complete novel until we ask for it please.
Submissions should be contained in a single electronic attachment (in .TXT, .RTF, or .DOC format only; other formats will not be opened) to uncannybooks at gmail dot com The open call for novels will begin on July 15, 2013. Please do not submit prior to that date. The deadline for submissions is 11 PM, Eastern Time, on September 15, 2013.
What to expect from Uncanny Books:
- An automated reply telling you that we have received your submission.
- We will respond to all submissions, though that may take some time depending on the number of novel proposals received. If you haven’t heard from us by December 15, 2013, feel free to send an email query. We would ask that you not check on the status of your submission prior to that date. We will generally respond to submissions in the order received, so if you submit early, you may hear from us even before the open call period is over.
- In our response to you, we will either politely decline or ask you for the complete draft of your novel so that we can make a fully informed decision on your novel.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is Uncanny Books some kind of vanity press, and does it charge its authors money?
A: No! Uncanny Books is by no means a vanity press, and we will NEVER ask for any money from our authors. We are a micro-scale publisher — for now — but we’re a legitimate publishing company. At Uncanny Books, money flows in only one direction: from Uncanny Books to the author (and, we hope, from happy customers to Uncanny Books). Just as with any professional publishing house, when we purchase the rights to a novel, we assume all the risks and expenses of publishing that novel.
Q: Will superhero fiction be considered?
A: Yes. Obviously it needs to be set in an entirely original universe, but we’d love to publish something along the lines of Austin Grossman’s Soon I Will Be Invincible, for example.
Q: I have an awesome novel I’d like to submit, but it is much longer than 75,000 words. Should I submit it anyway?
A: This is a much tougher question than the first two. Uncanny Books is a new publisher, but we’re ambitious, and hope to launch several new novel lines this year. Our capital is limited though. If we choose to purchase one longer novel (~120k words) instead of two shorter novels (~60k words each), we need to really, really like the longer novel, because it will have a significant opportunity cost for us. If we were to accept a novel significantly longer than 75,000 words, we would likely have to significantly lower our advance for the wordcount above 75,000, almost certainly to $0.01 instead of $0.05. In other words, I would expect that the advance for a 100,000 manuscript would be (75,000 * 0.05) + (25,000 * 0.01) = $4000. (The royalty rate of 20% net would remain the same for longer novels.) I’m not happy about that, but at this juncture I think it’s the best we could do. I hope that we can do better for our authors of longer novels in the coming years. So the short answer to the initial question is: yes, feel free to submit your longer novel if what I’ve laid out here is acceptable to you, but we really are most interested in novels of 50,000 to 75,000 words.