Sunday, October 12

'Under Your Skin' submitted!

Dear Editors

I am submitting my novella 'Under His Skin' for your consideration. It is a gay paranormal romance, complete at 18,200 words. Since it is divided into two parts and an epilogue I have not been able to provide you with the requested chapters, but I have attached an extract that I feel is the equivilent.

'Under His Skin' follows an artist, Barnabas, who rescues a stranger from a storm and nurses him back to health. The stranger is revealed to be a selkie, which Barnabas reacts badly to and refuses to continue their burgeoning reltionship. The selkie eventually proves his love for Barnabas by chosing him over his seal skin.

My previous publication credits include a short story in Diorama Comics Hallowe'en Anthology and several pieces in my university's creative writing magazine.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Natalie Kingston

So, yep, I've submitted the selkie story. Went through Redlines and Deadlines advice on cover letters, which didn't really help me! They posted on reccomendations, and encouraged people to submit potential cover letters, not a single one of which actually conformed with their reccomendations. Most of them had several paragraphs of blurb, and though the editors were suggesting they should be cut, none of them really came back to the original point that it should only be a few sentences.

Anyway, since the selkie story is 18000 words, I figured I might as well go for the short blurb. The rest was fairly easy; it's much the same as a short story submission. The difficulty on finding cover letter advice for longer pieces is a real pain; searching for query letters works a bit better, but most of that isn't relevant to somewhere like Ellora's Cave. I think I've muddled out a compromise, and at least it's not too long!

I was going to post about suspension of disbelief, but I've been distracted by the burning need to buy 'Best Little Whorehouse in Texas'. This weekend introduced me to the fact that I was apparently wrong about Dolly Parton. Honestly, that's why I submitted the selkie story today; save myself from a thinking post. I just spent three hours writing and rewriting that cover letter instead.


Erastes said...

Hi, hope you don't mind me commenting, found your blog through Google alerts.

Good luck with the submission. The best advice I ever read about query letters was from Miss Snark. Her blog is no longer active, but the archive is still there and has a huge wealth on cover letters. However the key words are "short, snappy, relevant." Your letter fulfils those pretty well. What I'd suggest though is that you run it through spellcheck or a friend's eyes as typos in a cover letter will often put the editor/publisher off, and you have three spelling mistakes in this.

The other advice that I'd give is that if they ask for "the first 3 chapters" then that's what you give them - this usually translates to the first 40 pages (double spaced) - I've read time and time again that you should always give them what they want, not what the writer thinks they want.

Again, I hope you don't mind me commenting. Your blog looks interesting (I'm also a writer of gay fiction, living in England) and I'm going to add you to my Livejournal as an RSS feed.

nkkingston said...

No problem with you commenting at all! There is an rss feed on lj 'sigkinks', if you want to add me.

I can only spot one spelling mistake - 'reltionship' - so if you could point out the others I'd be grateful. I ran it through spellcheck a few times, and I did read it through, but I guess you can't trust either your own eyes or a machine's.

The problem with first three chapters (and the final chapter, in the case of Ellora's Cave) is that it's simply not in chapters, and I didn't want to send them the whole thing. It's not paced for chapters, and felt clunky and forced when I tried; plus, chapters were coming out about about four double-spaced pages each, which is pretty short. Word count wise, it's the equivilant of three of my average chapters, and the epilogue. The submission guidelines assume a longer novel, but they accept pieces from 10,000 words up, so they probably run into this problem quite often.

nkkingston said...

Never mind about the spelling: MS Word provides where Thunderbird spellcheck does not. I shan't be using on that again. Admittedly, Ellora's Cave has enough cons to balance the pros, and if they reject on that basis I have a nice long list of alternatives, and besides, I can always resubmit with a better cover letter.