Diana M. Pho Announces the #Edits4BlackSFF Project, Which Offers Free Editorial Services to Black Speculative Writers

Three-time Hugo Award-nominated editor Diana M. Pho has announced a new project dedicated to helping Black speculative fiction novelists get traditionally published. Entitled #Edits4BlackSFF, the project will select nine finalists for a free query letter review and 10-page line edit of their manuscript(s), with the winner receiving both a free developmental edit and consideration for representation from a pool of 8 literary agents.

From the project page:

I’ve always been passionate throughout my time in the publishing industry to bring BIPOC and other marginalized voices to the forefront of the science fiction & fantasy book world. Over the summer of 2020, I worked in collaboration with several supportive people in the industry who wanted to invest in my freelance editorial work to find more talented Black writers who have been lost in the noise.

Together, we aim to foster creative opportunities for Black speculative fiction writers, especially knowing the barriers that Black authors face getting their work noticed by editors, agents, and publishers. We designed the #Edits4BlackSFF Project as one small but meaningful way for creative talent to get the quality professional editorial feedback they need to succeed in getting their unpublished speculative fiction novel traditionally published.

Pho will doing the 10-page line edits, query letter edits, and the winning manuscript’s developmental edit, which will involve a process of at least four months. After revision, the manuscript will be sent for consideration to the following list of agents:

  • Jennifer Azantian of Jennifer Azantian Literary
  • Samantha Fabien of Laura Dail Literary Agency
  • Kim-Mei Kirtland of Morhaim Literary
  • Quressa Robinson of Nelson Literary Agency
  • Eric Smith at PS Literary
  • Jennifer Udden of New Leaf Literary
  • Connor Goldsmith and Laurie McLean at Fuse Literary.

Eligible applicants must identify as Black (and can “self-identify as part of other marginalized communities as well”), be without current agent representation, and not have previously published a speculative fiction novel with a traditional publisher. (Writers who have previously self-published a speculative fiction novel are welcome to apply.) The submitted manuscript has to be in the broad list of subgenres that make up the speculative fiction label, be complete upon submission, be entirely unpublished in any form, intended for readers at least 13 years of age, and have a maximum word count of 110,00 words.

Submissions will be accepted between August 7 – 21, 2020, with finalists selected by a team of BIPOC readers and announced in October 2020. Pho will select the winner, to be announced in October 2020 as well. A full list of details, guidelines, and application materials can be found here, along with more details about the financial sponsors and collaborators behind the project.


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