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FAQ: How Does the Swoon Reads Selection Process Work?

Every season we get a lot of questions about how the Swoon Reads process works. Here’s a round-up of some of the most frequently asked:.

Is there a deadline for when to submit my book?

Yes and no. You can submit your unpublished YA novel on Swoon Reads at any time, but we do have specific cut-off dates for each selection season. We will only consider books submitted before that date at our next Edit Board meeting. We typically have 3 "deadlines" each year (end of January, end of April, and end of August).

The best way to keep track of the next deadline is to watch this blog and follow us on your social media channel of choice. We will have reminder posts and countdowns on our various accounts to help you keep track.

Why does Swoon ask writers to leave their manuscripts up for six months?

We have a LOT of manuscripts on site and the number is constantly growing, so it can take a bit of time for our fantastic community to sift through them. So, we ask authors to give us time for the process to work. After six months, a manuscript will have been eligible for at least one full season, and we can get a fairly accurate gauge of the community’s response to it.

How many books do you select for publication each season?

We’ve taken as few as two and as many as six. We could take more. We might take only one. It really depends on the feedback we receive during the process.

My book wasn’t selected this round, what now?

You have a couple of options. One, you can leave the book up on the site for another round. As we mentioned earlier, there are a lot of manuscripts on site and sometimes it can take time for a book to find its audience and bubble up to our attention. There have been instances in the past where a book has been chosen from an earlier season pool. If you choose to go this route, we would recommend looking at your cover and description on site to make sure it is accurately marketing your book and maybe even doing some promotion for your book on social media, so that it gets the attention and audience it deserves.

Or, if you feel that your book had a fairly large audience but still wasn’t chosen, or if it’s been on site for a couple of rounds, we recommend taking a look at the feedback you’ve received on site and some of our Open Edit Letters, and see if you want to revise and resubmit. Or perhaps consider submitting a different manuscript. We’ve also had several authors whose first books on site weren’t quite ready for publication, but they used the feedback they got on site to write second or third books that were exactly what we were looking for.

A lot of people voted for my book, but it didn’t get selected. Can you tell me more about how the process works?

Sure. As you know, once you submit your book on site, our community reads, rates, and comments on it. We don’t really consider this feedback “voting” though. Swoon Reads isn’t a popularity contest. Instead, we use this feedback to judge the community’s interest, investment, and excitement for a given manuscript. What do they love about the story? What do they feel needs work? What really makes this manuscript special?

We gather all of this feedback and use it to help decide which manuscripts our in-house readers should look at. We have a whole team of wonderful in-house volunteers, all amazing publishing professionals, who are constantly reading on site, focusing first on the novels that our community is most excited about.

Then, three times a year, we gather our Edit Board together in a room and discuss the manuscripts that had the most love and excitement. What did we love about the manuscript? What drew the community to it? What are the author’s strengths? What needs work? How much work does it need? And most importantly, what makes this manuscript stand out as different and swoonworthy?

Then, after that discussion is held, the Edit Board will vote on each manuscript (individually on its own merits, not against any of the other novels under consideration), and the ones with the most support are selected for publication.

It’s all a very collaborative process that depends greatly on the support we see for your manuscripts on the site and the insightful feedback we’ve gathered from our readers.

If your manuscript wasn’t chosen this round, don’t despair. As I mentioned above, we’ve definitely looked at manuscripts from writers who were very talented, but whose current manuscripts weren’t quite ready for publication yet. Maybe the characters were amazing, but the worldbuilding wasn’t quite there... Or the world was fantastic, but we couldn’t quite see where the plot was going… Or the story was great, but the characters didn’t really feel authentically teen… There are a lot of reasons why a manuscript might not be ready for us to acquire. (Again, see our open edit letters for more specifics.) But, we remember these writers and manuscripts and pay attention to their activity on the site.

Have authors ever revised and resubmitted and been selected for publication later?

YES! We love it when authors take feedback from the site and revise their work. We always pay attention when a writer revises and resubmits, and appreciate the effort and dedication that takes.

Got any more questions about how our selection process works? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll answer!

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Swoon Reads Staff

For more information, check out the "Meet the Team" section of our About page (swoonreads.com/about).

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