Finding the next Sophie Kinsella – call for submissions

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By Jade Craddock

It’s not often these days that publishers hold open submissions for manuscripts, even less often still that these calls are specifically for chick lit. But that’s exactly what Adria J. Cimino and Vicki Lesage – founders of publishing house Velvet Morning Press – are doing. And here they tell us all about their latest drive for chick lit and the dos and don’ts of submitting. So what’s stopping you? Get those manuscripts in. ♥

1. Can you tell us a little bit about Velvet Morning Press?

We are a boutique publishing house that discovers new authors and launches their careers. We are authors ourselves and started our company because we know just how hard it is to get published and make a name for yourself. We want to help other authors reach their goal of getting published.

2. Can you tell us about your current call for submissions?

We are looking for finished manuscripts in the chick lit genre. We are looking for polished pieces that draw us in from the beginning and have us hooked until the end! You can read our full submission guidelines here:

3. What are you looking for in a chick lit novel?

Readers of chick lit are looking for a light read with a happy ending and some bumps along the way. We want to feel good when we read your manuscript, and probably laugh out loud a few times. The writing should be impeccable–a “light read” is no excuse for an aimless plot and poorly constructed sentences. Take the reader on a fun journey! We love a good boy-meets-girl story but we’re also looking for new takes on traditional themes. We like diversity in our characters and new adventures.

4. What is the most important quality that any manuscript should have?

It should keep the reader hooked. Every chapter, scene, paragraph, and sentence should have a reason for being there. Your reader should never be pulled out of the story because of something that doesn’t flow right or drags. We’re looking for submissions that we pick up and can’t put down until we’re finished (or one of our kids needs us)!

5. Can you tell us a bit about how you assess submissions?

We request that you send a short cover letter, a synopsis, and the first five pages of your book. If we are hooked by the end of those five pages, we’ll ask for the full manuscript. So hook us! Start out strong and hint at what’s to come. Also, make sure those five pages are perfect. If they’re free of typos and are generally clean, we’re much more likely to request the full manuscript.

6. What are your main dos and don’ts for authors when submitting?

DO tell us about your other work and your plans for future books. DO proofread the heck out of your manuscript. DON’T rush to submit; make sure it’s perfect first. DO send us cupcakes to help influence our decision. DON’T actually do that 🙂

7. How can authors make themselves stand out?

Apart from a compelling synopsis and manuscript, you have to sell yourself, too. Are you open to feedback? Easy to work with? Savvy with marketing? Planning to write a whole series of books? We’re looking to form long-lasting relationships with our authors so we can build their careers. We want to work with people who can be a part of the VMP team and share our spirit.

8. What impresses you when reading manuscripts?

The pacing. It’s very hard to turn off the editor’s hat and just read a story for fun. But when we read a really good piece, we notice page after page has flown by and we can’t wait to find out what happens next!

9. What plans have you got for Velvet Morning Press going forward?

We’ve had a great start publishing literary/contemporary fiction and several anthologies. We recently published our first chick lit book (Survival of the Ginnest) and have a women’s fiction title (Entanglement) coming out June 2015. We’re looking forward to expanding our chick lit category because as fans of the genre ourselves, we know that once readers get hooked on a certain author, they tend to devour all their books. We want to find these new chick lit authors and make that happen for them. Who wouldn’t love to be the next Sophie Kinsella?

10. What would be your message to anyone considering submitting their novel to VMP?

Polish off your manuscript TODAY and submit! Well, don’t actually submit today–maybe have a few friends read it first and be sure you’re presenting your work and yourself in the best possible light. But submit it soon!


Velvet Morning Press is a boutique publishing house that discovers new authors and launches their careers. VMP publishes fiction in a variety of categories, short story anthologies and special projects. Adria J. Cimino and Vicki Lesage are the women behind VMP. Both authors themselves, Vicki and Adria use their experience in writing, editing, publishing and marketing to bring the work of other writers to bookshelves.


  1. Vicki Lesage

    May 22, 2015 at 12:55 am

    Thanks for the article! We look forward to getting some great submissions from your readers!

  2. Adria J. Cimino

    May 22, 2015 at 1:44 am

    Thanks so much for the interview! We hope to get some great submissions. We love discovering new talent…

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