Category Archives: submission

The Novel Has Merit

The following email was received today at 12:20 pm from Deep River Books regarding my entry of ‘Searching for Sara’ in their Writers Contest. ‘Searching for Sara’ is an historical romance set in Richmond, Virginia, in 1894.

deep river books

Dear Nona,

Congratulations! Your manuscript, ‘Searching for Sara’, has received a “CERTIFICATE OF MERIT” in the Deep River Books Writers Contest. While you did not win first place, your manuscript was narrowed to a highly selected group of finalists and we congratulate you for your fine work. You are to be applauded for such a fine achievement as a new writer. We are sending, by mail, your Certificate of Merit certificate.

As you know, Deep River Books is a full-service partner publisher. Our goal is to publish the best manuscripts from new authors and we certainly feel yours fits into that category.

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Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award


Entry submitted @ 6:48pm PST!

As part of the entry process a 300 word pitch was required. You know? A summary of your novel? The hardest part of the novel writing process?

I have the dumbWell, I do not know what happened, but today I was able to write the synopsis for my historical romance, Searching for Sara, and it sounded great! Once I trimmed a bit of the excess, it was a succinct 300 words! (*the synopsis can be found on Searching for Sara‘s Bookshelf page)

What clicked?

Was it the fact that I began to write it last night in my head?

Was it the editing Q & A session Sunday evening?

Was it the constant barrage of questions from friends and co-workers asking me “What is it about?” that finally made the entire story roll out in my head?

Was it the 60k of words that I have since trimmed out of the manuscript?

I don’t know, but whatever it was I thank God for it. Writing a clear, concise yet drawing synopsis is HELL ON EARTH, and I have now made it to level number 3 of 9….

Nona King


Today is the first day of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award submissions. Only the first 5,000 entries will be accepted, so time is of the essence. Unfortunately, after performing some heft edits of my 2010 NaNovel, I will need to add nearly 8k words (and write the ending) before it is ready for submission. Will I make it before the 5,000 entrants cap is reached? It is hard to say. Perhaps I should enter one of my other novels? Does it clarify that it must be a NaNovel? No. In fact, here are the clarifications for entry:
Each Manuscript, Excerpt, and Pitch Must:

  • be the original creation of entrant;
  • be fictional;
  • be in the English language;
  • be of interior black and white text with no images in the document;
  • not currently or previously have been the subject of a publishing agreement with any publishing house (but an entrant may submit his/her self-published novel if he/she retains all worldwide distribution rights in and to the novel);
  • not include the entrant’s name anywhere in the Manuscript, Excerpt or the Pitch; and
  • meet the content guidelines found at

See? Nothing about that at all! So, I believe I will enter one of my complete novels….

Want additional information? See below!
To register and enter you will need to submit:

  • The full/complete version of your manuscript (the “Manuscript”), which must be a novel between 50,000 and 150,000 words;
  • Up to the first 5,000 words, but no less than 3,000 words, of your Manuscript, excluding any table of contents, foreword, and acknowledgments (the “Excerpt”);
  • A pitch statement (cover letter/summary) of up to 300 words (the “Pitch”);
  • Other registration information as asked for on the entry form (such as name, contact information, book title), and
  • An author photo (if desired), which must be in .jpg format (at least 72 dpi and 500×468 pixels)

Each Manuscript should:

  • be in Times New Roman and 12-point font; and
  • be double spaced and paginated with a 1-inch margin on all sides (in a manner enabling reformat to single-space display easily, i.e. no “hard” returns to achieve double spacing).


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A Quest Toward Publication

It is hard to believe that it has been seven months since Nick Harrison, editor of Harvest House, encouraged me to submit Searching for Sara to an agent. Unfortunately, I have lagged behind my determination to take that next, encouraged step. My excuses were fair, I suppose, as I busied myself with completing the revisions to the manuscript and working on polishing the synopsis…. But I know that I could have at least been doing research on which agents would be the best recipients of my attention. I haven’t even cracked open the Christian Writers’ Market Guide that I have had for a year.

Until today, that is.

It is a massive book, this market guide by Sally Stuart, and I commend her dedication to this yearly feat. In fact, I will need to contact her so that I can get on her yearly update list at a fixed rate. It truly is a magnificent work, daunting in the immensity of the information that it holds. But one thing gives me hope: the included CD.

Why does a CD give you hope?

Because on that CD is a Word document of the entire book! Can you believe it? All 547 pages. All 257,858 words!

Why am I so excited about that? Because it allows me to bookmark those markets that I am interested in researching. I can bookmark agent listings under categories, and more. Not only that, I can save the Word document onto my nookcolor and continue researching and reading to/from work, making notes to myself utilizing the eReader’s handy tools.

This little CD makes the task of researching editors, agents, and publishing houses a little less… insurmountable.

That is always a good thing.

Nona King

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