SUBMISSIONS GUIDE

An unofficial document produced by some writefag for his fellow fa/tg/uys, ca/tg/irls and c/lit/lickers. Collects advice from the web and relevant White Dwarf articles. For more tips, go to http://www.blacklibrary.com/ and http://www.thebolthole.org/ Do read the following website properly: http://www.blacklibrary.com/Getting-Started/FAQWorking-For-Black-Library.html . Writefags should also check out Dan Abnett’s Dear Ryan Articles: Part One, Part Two, and Part Three

The next bit is from the website Incunabulum
A Sample Synopsis by Matt Farrer
NOTE: This was posted by Matt Farrer on the Black Library forums on 18th Oct 2004 This is the first part of the submission for the story "Jahama's Lesson", which was published in INFERNO and subsequently in Way of the Dead. This is the synopsis part; the second part was an actual extract from the story, a page or so long, which I haven't included. A few notes on this. Firstly, a spoiler warning for those of you who want to read the story first, since this gives the ending. (Yes, that's deliberate: put in the complete story, plot twists and all, don't hold anything back.) Secondly, yes, the story here is a little different to the one that appeared in the magazine. There were some alterations to the structure, with more switching back and forth between the two plot strands and less of the backstory I describe in the synopsis. Also, when I made the submission I didn't realise Helldrakes were sea creatures not flying ones, so the story was adjusted for that. Most importantly for those of you looking for something to base your own synopses on, is that the BL likes a short "high concept" summary of the summary right at the start, maybe a couple of sentences or so to convey the narrative hook of the story. If I were submitting this now the first paragraph would be something like: Overview: A slave raid led by a Dark Elf noble turns into catastrophe when the Assassin he thought he was sending on a suicide mission turns out not to appreciate being double-crossed. With that, this was the submission I sent in. Inferno! story synopsis - "Jahama's Lesson" (Warhammer Fantasy) Khreos Maledict, Duke of Clar Karond, Master of the Black Ark Exultation of Blighted Hope, is riding though the night over the coast of Bretonnia as his Black Ark waits out to sea under an enchanted fog. Riding with him, in a howdah mounted on a Helldrake, are his nephew, Khrait, a senior Witch Elf named Miharan and her protegé, an Assassin named Jahama.

They are riding to a range of low hills halfway to the castle of the Duc D’Argent, a nobleman for whom the Dark Elves have a deep hatred. He’s been a thorn in Naggaroth’s side, winning a number of stinging victories against the Dark Elves and having the gall to launch an annual tournament in celebration of his success against them. There has been one such festival, and Khreos is here to make sure there is never another: to destroy the Duc on what would have been the eve of the second tourney will be fitting retribution for his insolence in standing up to the Dark Elves. There’s another agenda, too. A number of the major Dark Elf noble Houses have had their noses bloodied trying to bring the Duc to heel. The more nobles humiliate themselves by being defeated by him, the greater the prestige for the one who finally succeeds in capturing or killing him. Now Khreos has hatched a plan in co-operation with the Witch Elves that he is sure will bring him victory, prestige, and position at the Witch-King’s court. Jahama is one of the finest Assassins in the the Witch Elves’ stable. Instead of simply marching on the Duc’s castle, Khreos will send Jahama ahead of his force, to slip into the castle with magical aid and move through it in the dead of night butchering the sleeping warriors within. By the time Khreos and Miharan lead their forces to the castle at dawn, the resistance will have been gutted, the Duc drugged and captured and the would-be tourney-goers ready to be rounded up as sacrifices and slaves. What Duke Khreos hasn’t mentioned is that this is a suicide mission. He has no intention at all of allowing the Assassin and his Witch Elf controllers to share any of the glory that will come with finally bringing the Duc down. The castle is much more heavily-defended than Khreos has let on, and although he expects Jahama to do a great deal of damage he also expects him to die. Jahama and Miharan are unaware that they are Khreos’ expendable pawns. The sentry on the castle walls hasn’t a chance, falling without even seeing what killed him. Jahama slips into the castle like a shadow… but as he moves through the halls, his choice of targets is nothing short of bizarre. A couple of servants, a squire, an elderly Knight long past his fighting days, with easy kills on good targets passed up. Finally, Jahama makes one bungle too many and the hue and cry begins. At the gates there’s a tense, fierce fight with the garrison, and as Jahama cuts his last opponent down and slips away into the night a folded paper is dislodged from his belt. It’s a map, showing his way to his rendezvous point! Is he trying to lure the Duc into a trap? No, the trap isn’t for the Duc. The story ends at the rendezvous, about two hours after dawn. The enraged Bretonnians rode out in force as soon as they realised what the map was, and caught Khreos utterly unprepared: dead Dark Elves pile the road, and Jahama finds the dying Khreos crawling away from his dead Cold One. Jahama explains with relish his lesson for Khreos: an Assassin, of all people, knows a suicide mission when he sees one. He and Miharan had seen through Khreos’ clumsy double-cross from the beginning, and decided to play along until they could retaliate in the most devastating way. And with that Jahama sets off, alone but satisfied, to the bay where a boat to the Black Ark will be waiting.

Q&A
Q: Do Black Libary want to know the ending? A: (by Matt Farrer) "They most certainly do. One thing that really ****es them off is submissions that leave out the ending. Think of the synopsis as a full engineering blueprint of your story. The BL want to look at all aspects of it to see how each component fits together, how the parts move, what happens when you fire it up. They need to see everything in the story to be able to do that, especially the ending. I usually include a page to a page and a half from the story as a sample along with the synopsis. There are no hard and fast rules as to which bit of the story this has to be from - my choice tends to be either the bit that I feel is the strongest and most interesting part of the text; the part that contains a crucial development, character insight or plot moment; a bit of the story that I'm not sure the synopsis does justice to and that I want them to see written out; or, of course, the bit that I actually happen to have written at the time I send in the sub "

Q: "b) one paragraph on the author's motivation, comments, inspirations etc" Do the BL actually want this? I can see no possible use for it. A: (by Narrativium) I think that depends on what you mean by motivation, inspiration and comments. If it means "I want to be a writer/be famous/have my name on something/get money", yeah, it's pointless. If it's "I want to write a story in which commissars match their background, treating their troops like the cannon-fodder they are", or something along those lines, then maybe they have a point. Q: Can I submit more than one entry? A: (by Rik Cooper) Yes.

FAQ Excerpts:- taken from Tales From A Dark Millenium FAQ posted by Christian
Dunn on 19th Jan 2006

NOTE: This FAQ was for a previous competition, and is old. Q: To what extent does the ‘never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue’ apply, can you use other words if sparingly, or not say anything to carry the dialogue and leave it as it is (as long as it is clear who is speaking obviously)? A: A skilled writer will make it apparent from the narration exactly how a line of dialogue is delivered. If an argument between two characters is described as ‘heated’ then it’s a safe bet that any dialogue between those characters will be ‘shouted’, ‘said angrily’ or ‘said in a raised tone’ without the author having to spell it out to the reader. If information is redundant or duplicated then don’t convey it to the reader. If it’s one of those situations where no matter how skilled a writer you are you still cannot convey the exact inflection of a character’s voice then feel free to add a verb. No more than one though. Q: How much invention can writers show in their stories? Can we fill in the details with all manner of weird and wonderful things? A: You can invent anything you like as long as it remains true to the spirit and style of Warhammer 40,000 but why would you need to? If you have an idea for an Imperial Guard vs Orks story that involves talking trees then that’s just a weird SF story with some 40K elements thrown in. The Warhammer 40,000 universe is so vast and rich that the only things you should be inventing are things that, by necessity, aren’t covered by the background of the tabletop game. For instance, the Hyrusian Imperial Guard regiment might refer to the spade that comes as part of their kit as a digging tool because their language has no word that literally means spade. This is acceptable invention within the context of a short story. Having elite units of Hyrusians riding around on orange war hippos armed with custard launchers isn’t acceptable invention. Q: ‘Easy on the Hooptedoodle’ says to avoid detailed description of characters. Is this a writing tip or an indication that we shouldn't attempt to describe the characters we know of in the conflict? A: Both. Q: Can you do a story not revolving around a battle between various forces, for example a more horror/mystery type story? A: Dark Millennium is a card game that uses a WAR in the Pyrus Reach as its backdrop. It is in turn the based upon the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop WARgame. Draw your own conclusions about the kind of stories we’re looking for. Q: Oh, and perhaps the most important question for me (schaferlord). Is it ok to have a narrative voice poking fun and making witty asides about what's happening in the story? A: I’m not sure how you’ll be able to do this and still retain a suitably 40K tone to the story but feel free to try. Q: How much will it cost to bribe the judges? A: A lot more than a mere box of chocolates, my friend. Q: When will this torment end? A: You really should have read the small print when you agreed to the terms and conditions for entering this competition. Your torment will end when one or more of the following conditions are met: man sets foot on Saturn, Elvis is elected president of the USA or a Briton wins Wimbledon. Until then you are our meat puppet to torment as we see fit.

Frequently asked questions - Submission guidelines for Black Library
The next open submissions window will begin May 1st 2011 and end July 31st 2011.

In 2011 Black Library will be looking for new writers to join the hallowed ranks of our bestselling Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 authors. Prospective authors will be able submit to us in the following ways: Short Stories We require a single paragraph summary, a 500-1,000 word synopsis and 1,000 words of sample text. If accepted the final word count for short story manuscripts is typically between 5 and 8 thousand words. Novels We require:
• • •

a 1,000 word summary chapter-by-chapter breakdown of the entire novel (no more than 6 pages) and the first 3 chapters (10,000 words minimum).

When accepted the final word count for novel manuscripts is in the region of 100 thousand words. Writers whose work we consider fit for publication will be contacted within 8 weeks of a submission window closing. Rejected submissions will not receive a response. Any submissions which do not adhere to the submissions guidelines will be rejected. Unfortunately, we are not currently looking for Horus Heresy or Time of Legends submissions . Please e-mail all submissions as a single attachment (in Word format, 12pt Times) to: submissions@blacklibrary.com (this e-mail address is for submissions only and we will not reply to any queries we receive via this address), there is no automated receipt response.

Frequently asked questions - Editing and Proofing for Black Library

How do I report a typographical error in one of your books? Please contact us listing the book title, page number and details of the error. I have no experience as a professional editor / proof reader but think I could do a good job We recommend that you visit the Society for Editors and Proofreaders website for pointers and information on breaking into the industry.

Frequently asked questions - Submissions
Why don’t rejected submissions receive a response? Past experience tells us that we’ll receive many hundreds of submissions, even during such a short submissions window. Responding to every single one would take up valuable time better spent working on the fantastic novels and short stories that are worthy of publication. What’s a summary/synopsis/chapter-by-chapter breakdown? Black Library publish professional work by professional authors. Consider finding out the answer to the above question your first step to becoming a professional author, perhaps visiting your local bookstore or library for reference material or searching for reading material on professional writing may help. Can I include a prologue / prelude in my novel submission? Please only include the first three chapters as requested in the guidelines above. Why do you have a submissions window? Why don’t you accept submissions throughout the year? As with all publishers, we have times of the year that are busier than others. By only having a limited submissions window it allows us to schedule the rush of submissions during a period where the extra work will be manageable. Is there a particular army/race/event you are looking for? We are looking for stories of great adventure which fit the world of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 universe. Can I include an established character in my proposal? We recommend that you don't use characters already established elsewhere in Games Workshop publications or Black Library novels as this may mean your story won't fit well.

What time period can I set my story in? All submissions should be set in the contemporary timeline for Warhammer and within the 41st millenium for Warhammer 40,000. I have the best idea ever for a Horus Heresy/Time of Legends novel. How do I submit it? Wait until you’ve had a few novels published and wait for us to invite you to submit it. How many submissions am I allowed to make? As many as you feel you want to, but keep in mind that we are looking for quality not quantity so it may be worthwhile to keep to your very best idea first and discuss other ideas later if we accept your submission. I’ve written a novel that isn’t based in the worlds of Warhammer, will you publish it? I’m sorry, but we only publish novels based in the worlds of Warhammer. I’ve written a book of poetry, will you publish it? No. I am a professional artist and would like to submit my work, asI think it would be appropriate for use as Black Library illustration,how do I go about this? Please send three or four screen resolution Jpegs to contact@blacklibrary.comat least one of these pictures MUST be based in either the Warhammer orWarhammer 40,000 settings. Don’t send a link to your website or hundreds of images, choose three or four images that best represent your work. Can you give me any feedback or advice on my artwork? I’msorry, we do receive many requests like this, but responding to everyone would take up valuable time which we feel would be better spent ensuring the novels we produce will be as fantastic as possible Will I need to have my entire story written by the end of the submission period? Don't worry about when you will need to be finished by, if we are interested in your submission we will work with you to produce the finished story later.

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