Monday, January 13, 2014

Sun versus Snow Submission Format


Here's the moment you've all been waiting for! The proper format for sending your Sun versus Snow entry!

The submission window opens at 12 noon (EST) on SATURDAY, January 18th! The window will close at 8pm (EST) on Sunday, January 19th. Please do not send before 12 noon on Saturday. Early entries will be deleted. (There is plenty of time. No need to all send entries at 12 and clog the email.)

We are accepting all age categories and genres, excluding erotica. You must have a complete and polished manuscript. NaNoMoWri projects are probably not ready.

Michelle and Amy will make 14 picks each for their teams, plus their Free Pass winner. These 30 will go up on our blogs bright and early Thursday, January 23rd. Mentors will make exclusive comments on January 23rd and 24th. All other comments will be deleted. 

Then January 25th - 27th everyone can comment! Please make your comments helpful and constructive. Anything deemed unacceptable will be deleted. 

Entrants are REQUIRED to comment on three other entries during this period from January 25 - January 27th.  We are looking for useful feedback, including what works for you and what didn't.

Entrants will then have two days to revise their entries and return them using the contest email. Entries must be returned by 8pm (EST) on January 29. Entries that don't make it on time forfeit their spot. (Please be on time. We won't have time to go hunting for you.) 

Amy and Michelle will hustle like crazy to format the entries and have them up for the agent round on February 1st. Which is why we are strict about late entries. 

On February 1st, the fifteen agents will make requests using phrases to show whether they prefer sun or snow. Such as: This query is pretty as a snow angel, send a full. Or Throw me my sunglasses, I need a partial. Agents will review all entries, regardless of affiliation toward Sun or Snow teams.

To participate, you have to be following both our blogs (Michelle and Amy). We also encourage you to follow us on twitter using the hashtag #sunvssnow as we will be tweeting about mentor and agent activity.

The Format:

Send submission to Sunversussnow (at) yahoo (dot) com. Only one submission per email address or person is allowed.

Here's how it should be formatted (yes, include the bolded!) Please use Times New Roman (or equivalent), 12 pt font, and put spaces between paragraphs. No indents or tabs are needed. No worries if your gmail doesn't have Times New Roman. 

Subject Line: SVS: TITLE, Age Category + Genre 
(example: SVS: PYGMY HAZARDS, MG Fantasy)

In The Email:

Title: MY FANTASTIC BOOK (yes, caps!)
Genre: YA dystopian (Age category and genre. YA/MG is not a genre.)
Word Count: XX,XXX

My Main Character is most uncomfortable with: 

Stories thrive on conflict and making your MC suffer. Tell us which weather would make your MC the most uncomfortable or unhappy. 

Example: Little Bit is from a world where the sun sends out deadly radiation so the sudden arrival of snow would freak her out and give her a heart attack. (Can be in your MC's POV, but doesn't have to be. 100 words or less.)


Query goes here! Include greeting and main paragraphs. Please leave out bio, closing, and word count + genre sentence. 

First 250 words:

Here are the first 250 words of my manuscript, and I will not end in the middle of a sentence, even if I hit 259 words


Confirmation emails will be sent to all queries received. If you don't get one, ask one of us on twitter. 

Again, the picks will go live on January 23rd. You'll have to wait until then and no amount of bribery, even with chocolate, will make us tell. We will be giving hints on twitter however! 

Good luck!  

Feel free to leave questions in the comments or on twitter.


  1. Let the games begin! Thanks, Michelle!


  2. Excited for this to kick off! One question - does our response to the question have impact on which team we're on, or will both you and Amy pick entries regardless of which type of weather our character is most uncomfortable with?

    Thanks for putting this together!


    1. We will pick entries from both sun and snow. Putting sun or snow in your answer will not influence our choice.

  3. How exciting!!! Thanks for doing this Michelle.

  4. This sounds like so much fun. And I LOVE that last smiley. lol

  5. Hi Michelle,

    Do you count possessive pronouns like "Ben's car" as two words, or do you let evil MS Word count it as three words instead of the two it actually is?


    1. Thanks a new one on me. Word counts it as three? Okay. That stinks.

      Umm. Sadly, we'll have to go by the Word count as I'm not able to count every submission by hand, so to speak. Just not time.

      If you go over by a word or two we're not going to fine you. Just don't go over by ten+. Hopefully you don't have that many possessive pronouns. :-)

    2. See how tired I am already. It should say "That's a new one on me."

    3. I wonder if that word count rule depends on your version of MS Word. My version (2010) counts "Ben's car" as two words, not three.

  6. Hi,

    Are non-fiction works accepted? I'm writing a biography of my grandfather. I have not yet completed the book.


  7. I also wonder about non-fiction (in my case, a completed memoir). If memoir is acceptable, may I enter both it and a work of fiction, or do I need to pick one?

    1. Amy answered me on Twitter. No NF. Never mind...

    2. Also only one entry per person. No submitting two different books.

  8. When you say to include the greeting in the query, what do you mean by that? Thanks!

    1. The Greeting is the "Dear Agent" line of the query letter. The salutation. In this case you may use "Dear Agent" or "Dear Amy and Michelle" or skip it altogether if you wish.

  9. For my feeble mind, do I have this right?
    1) Have a polished fiction manuscript send-ready. Subscribe to two blogs.
    2) Email the full pitch in the proper format to the sunvssnow address. on Jan 18/19 during the appointed hours.
    3) Look at the two blogs on 1/23. If yours is not there, quit. If it's there, go to step 4.
    4) Read mentor comments 1/23-1/24.
    5) Read all comments on your work and comment on three other works 1/25-1/27.
    6) Email the full revised pitch in the proper format to the sunvssnow address by 8pm 1/29.
    7) Respond to agent/editor requests (if any).

    Thank you for indulging me.


    1. Looks good! Mentors will have from 1/23 - 1/27 to leave their comments. Giving them the first two days to themselves are just a head start.

      And you might add step 3b. Help other writers by commenting on 1/25 - 1/27 even if you don't make it through.

  10. One more thing, if that's okay. How long do you want the queries to be? I'm guessing two paragraphs or no more that 200 words, but I've seen agents who want no more than three sentences.
    Any guidance?

    1. I'd say the sweet spot for full query is 250 words. Leaving off the bio and word count sentence for the contest makes it a little less than that.

      We have no requirement on count for the query, but a too long query will probably work against you.