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Make Your Own Mayhem

We are very happy to see submissions, and we guarantee to look at everything that comes in. (But we warn you that anything addressed to “Dear Sir/Sirs” automatically loses 12 points.) To avoid wasting both your time and ours, we ask that you note the following:

  1. At present, we publish only mystery fiction. There may come a time when we will publish other genres, but we do not currently have any plans to do so. Additionally, we are not equipped to publish novellas or short stories; our minimum length is about 75,000 words.
  2. We accept electronic submissions only; regrettably, if you send hard copy (either a manuscript or a previously published book) we are not able to acknowledge, read, or return it. Submissions should be in Word (.doc or .docx) format (PDF is an ok second choice) sent to Your name and email address must appear in both the synopsis and the sample chapter.
  3. We ask that your submission include the following and only the following: A brief synopsis, and a representative chapter, which may but need not be the first chapter. In writing the synopsis, please confine yourself to a maximum of four SHORT paragraphs: The purpose here is to offer a rough outline of the story, not to give a scene-by-scene breakdown, as in a shooting-script. When we go into the movie business, we’ll let you know.
  4. If something in your background makes you particularly well suited for writing this story – for example, if your manuscript is set in the world of investment banking, and you spent eight years working at Goldman Sachs, or if you’ve written a book about forging Old Master paintings, and you have a doctorate in art-history – we’d love to know about it. Random biographical facts, such as where you grew up, how long you’ve been reading mysteries…they are really just clutter, from our POV.
  5. It will help all of us, you included, if you spend a few minutes looking over our list and getting a sense of what we publish. The mystery genre is very broad, and we lean toward some areas a lot more than toward others. For example, we love books with plots concerning literature, philosophy, religion, academia, history, music, art, politics, food and wine, theater, magic, and anthropology, and/or with settings outside the U.S., particularly if you have some real expertise in the area in question. By contrast, we’re much less interested in standard-issue genre stuff (private-eyes with drinking problems, spunky gals who trip over dead bodies, etc.), and we have a positive allergy to protagonists with cute names. In general, we stay away from hard-boiled (especially if it’s set in the U.S.) and from action-oriented thrillers. We don’t mind a certain amount of violence (hey, we publish books about murders), but we don’t generally find it cool or interesting for its own sake.

We think of ourselves as focusing on “literary mystery fiction,” which is our way of saying that prose matters a lot to us. We love wit, we love elegance, we love distinctive narrative voices. And while we may sound a little snotty, the truth is that we would love nothing more than to find your witty, elegant, distinctive manuscript in our inbox.

Finally, we suggest very strongly that you write something you would want to read, rather than something you think conforms to the conventions of the genre. If we’re interested in your manuscript, we can absolutely help you make it more marketable. But there is no substitute for passion and an authentic voice.