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Submission Guidelines: Clan Destine Press

Clan Destine Press will not be accepting unsolicited submissions. Stand by for announcements of when the portal will reopen! In the meantime…

Unsolicited Manuscripts

Clan Destine Press will open its portal yearly for a defined period, during which unsolicited manuscripts are welcome. Please DO NOT submit to us outside this period as it's unlikely your manuscript will even be looked at.

Clan Destine Press' Mission

It is the prime objective of Clan Destine Press to uncover, foster and promote brand new Australian genre writers.

We also want to encourage already-published authors to cross-over and dabble in new worlds. So, if your other publisher wants to wedge you in the genre-box where you sell best for them, but you want to try something new, something daring, something right outside your pyramid… then visit our alternate universe. We don’t mind at all that someone else got you first, because we’re the publisher who leap into the unknown with you.

Our Quest

Clan Destine Press is seeking crime, mystery, speculative fiction, fantasy, science fiction, horror, urban fantasy, historical, thrillers, adventure, paranormal, steampunk, and ah-ha! – which is any combination of the aforementioned – for Adults and Young Adults.

Manuscripts should be at least 60,000 words.

We want inventive, clever and original works of page-turning genre fiction; riveting cross-genre stories; books that are heroic, questy, feral, dark, funny, spine-tingly, fast-paced, serious, silly and sensible.
We’re after novels that are straight, gay, queer, ancient, contemporary, gothic, retro, post-apocalyptic, earthbound and/or galactic.
We specialise in genre fiction but – for some strange reason – we also like fictional (& factional) cats, dogs, alpacas, cosmic toucans and saw-toothed bunnies.

Apart from this predilection for strange and furry creatures – both real and un – we crave exciting, plot-driven, boundary-pushing fiction with fully-fledged characters and a strong sense of place.

What We Love

Spies, private eyes, pirates, assassins, ninjas, psychos, crooks, cops, slayers; fast cars, rocket bikes, attack helicopters, starships, spaceshuttles; powerful magic, evil overlords, scurrilous underlings, swords, wands, sais, mythological beasties, devils, angels, ghosts and succubi; ghoul, vampires, werethings, witches, wizards, immortals and zombies; pharaohs, scribes, gladiators, queens, Amazons and other mighty warriors; archaeologists, adventurers, sidekicks, gods and demons; spaceships, guns, chainmail, warp drives, strange lands, familiar streets, time travel and watchcats.

Submitting Your Fabulous Novel to Clan Destine Press

Round 1 – email

Your email should introduce you, the title of your book, its word count and genre. It should also feature a blurb – you know the few paragraphs on the back of a novel that tell you ‘enough’ of what it’s about, so that you’re tempted to open the cover and read the first line. The blurb that ‘sells’ your book should be no more than 200 words.

Attached to your email should be three documents – all in MS Word (.doc not .docx)

1.    A one-page cover letter that includes your name, contact information (email, phone, snail-mail address); the title and genre of your novel; and a brief bio. Your bio should include any previous publications (short stories or novels) in any paying market, and the publisher; plus any credentials, life skills or qualifications that may be relevant to your novel.

2.    A three to five-page synopsis of the entire book. This should include all important plot elements, including the end of the story, an insight into (main)-character development.

3.    The first three chapters (but no more than 10,000 words) of your book; prepared in standard manuscript format.

Standard manuscript format = margins of 2.5cm (25 mm) all the way around; indented paragraphs, without line breaks between; double-spaced text; 12 point Times New Roman.

Do not justify the text.

Make sure the header – on every page – of your manuscript includes either your name or the title of the book (top left) and the page number (top right).

Round 2 - our job

The Clan Destine Press editorial department will do its best to read your submission and get back to you – either way – within three weeks. If we are interested, intrigued, can’t wait to get our hands on the whole thing, we will ask to see your complete novel.

Round 3 – if we request

If we request your novel, you will then send a hard copy of your complete book by snail mail. Yes, we will give you the secret co-ordinates to enable you to do this.

Your printed manuscript must be prepared in standard manuscript format – on white paper, printed on one side of the page only. Do not bind the manuscript in any way.

Include with your manuscript a copy of your original one-page cover letter including your contact details (and email address in an easy to find format).

We will confirm receipt of your book by email.

Round 4 – we read, you wait

Seriously that’s what happens. We will endeavour to read your novel and get back to you – again, one way or the other – within eight weeks.

If we require more time we will let you know.
Mostly, needing more time will have next to nothing to do with your book.

Sometimes we require more time because – having opened the submission portal for a brief six weeks – yours might not be the only manuscript we’re considering.

Sometimes we require more time because we will also be working on books already in-production.

Round 5 - two possibilities

1. WOW! We love your novel and offer you a contract. Fabulous news; much woo-hooing; champagne/ coffee – whatever; enough said, really.

We keep your hard copy as a treasured artefact and ask you to email the Word version.

Then there’s lots more work for you, and us, as your fabulous novel goes through its very own editorial process as we turn it into the real book that you always knew it was.

2. Hmm… We don’t like it as much as we thought we would; or it turns out not to be a good fit for Clan Destine Press. We say sorry it was good, but…

Because we’re not a generic manuscript assessment service, we MAY give you limited feedback; and might suggest where-to next for you. This latter may include: (sadly) the drawing board; (constructively) a good mentor or editor; or (encouragingly) a different publisher.

We will shred, burn, cast into a blackhole the hard copy of your manuscript because: a) we can’t afford to post it back to you; and b) so that no-one – human or alien – can steal your wonderful words.

CDP Definitions: From Queer to YA…

Young Adult = fiction for humans aged from 15 years old and up.

Given the bold, inventive and in-no-way-patronising calibre of so much contemporary YA fiction, then it would be cool if your novel also happened to entertain 20, 35, 50 or 70 year-olds.

Whether or not it’s aimed purely at teenagers (15+) WE know that young adults swear, fall in love, experiment with drugs, graffiti, sex, dragon-taming, vampire slaying and all manner of other really bad evils like football, shopping, texting-while-walking, and fast food.

Straight/Gay/Queer = fiction for, by or including humans who are straight, gay, queer, undecided, or yet to be identified.

Fiction that includes all manner of: friendships and relationships – platonic, soulmatey, sexual, inseparable-but-not-sexual, or evil-arch-rivalry; family units – including all possible modern-human or galactic variations on that concept; characters – gay, straight, asexual, lesbian, heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, trans-gendered, multi-gendered, androgynous, unisexual or venusian.

This definition applies equally to Adult and Young Adult fiction.

How to Impress Us

To prepare yourself for the opening of the Clan Destine Press submission portals, so you can truly impress us with your manuscript, there are a few things you must do, must avoid and must remember.
And all of these must be done before you submit your email proposal.

The Obvious

1. Avoid clichés – in your writing and your plot.
2. Sometimes a chair is just a chair.
3. Use Australian (not American) English.
4. Check your facts.

Complete your novel

Do not send a synopsis for an ‘idea’ you have; or a synopsis and three chapters of a book that is not yet finished. We’re not interested. Seriously, we’re not.

Don’t send the best bit

Do not send three chapters from the middle of your manuscript ‘because it’s the exciting part’.

If we’re not grabbed from the first line, paragraph or page then we won’t care that it really gets going 50 or so pages in.

Read your own book

Read your completed manuscript through – from start to finish. This means proof read the ‘finished version’ that you plan to send to us.

Give your novel to someone else to read through – before you send it to us.

Make sure that someone else is a reader – of many books – who might have a clue.

If you don’t already belong to a nurturing Writers’ Group whose prime purpose is regular constructive criticism and feedback – that you have heeded – then go find one, or form your own.

If it’s too late and you’ve written an entire novel under the bedcovers by torchlight without showing another living soul then, after you’ve read it again yourself, seek out another living soul.

Oh what? You’re shy? You’re about to send it to us, silly; that’s a way bigger deal than asking your best friend.

Um, speaking of friends, family and potentially-clueless strangers...

Ask someone who knows your genre to read your fabulous novel. Don’t give a crime novel to a SF fan who never reads crime; or a fantasy novel to your Aunt Ethel who only reads gay horror. Don’t give your treasure to your Mum and no one else – because Mums really can’t be trusted with their kids’ fabulous novels. And no, not even if she’s a school teacher. She may well pick up all your typos – which will be great for us! – but she will love your book just because you wrote it.

Make sure you ask Whoever to read the same version, from start to finish, that you intend to send to us at Clan Destine Press. This way you will be able to correct all your typos and grammatical hiccups before you send it to us.

Standard Manuscript Format – in English

Margins 2.5 cm all around
This really does mean 2.5 cm / 25 mm / one inch margins – left and right; top and bottom.

Text 12pt Times New Roman
This applies to your entire manuscript. The font / typeface must be 12 pt TNR – not Arial, not Calabria, not Courier or any other fancy font.

If you have an ‘in-context’ reason to have parts of your novel in a different font – please use Arial 10pt.
Paragraphing Double-space your text.

Indented paragraphs means Use the Tab button on your keyboard for each new para – preferably set to 5mm. Please don’t hit the space bar five or six times!

No line spaces means no line breaks between paragraphs; or any ‘set space’ above or below your paras.

Do not justify your text means please set your alignment Left.

Do not use fancy MS Word boxes of any kind – ever.

Submissions should be sent to Clan Destine Press' publisher Lindy Cameron.