Gramarye is now open to manuscript submissions!
What Makes a Gramarye Book?
Have you written a strong, character-driven novel that might be right for Gramarye? Would you like to see a print version in all major bookstores, audiobooks, ebooks, and for Gramarye Gold editions, a special, enhanced eBook version? Is the core story ripe for transmedia development, including films, television, toys, games, and more? If so, we’d like to talk to you.
All Gramarye properties begin as books. That said, we are open to non-book projects that could be initiated effectively in book form. Have you written an ambitious screenplay that has the depth of character and story to be a novel before a film? Maybe you’ve developed a game that would benefit from the release of an epic novel. Right now, we are only looking for projects that align with our core businesses (books, film/TV, and games) but we will always launch with a novel. Please note that we are not taking pitches. Your property must exist in some fully developed form before we will consider a submission.
We will be paying generous advances and royalties. We’re working hard to ensure that it’s the most author-friendly contract in the industry.
We’ll also be investing in significant advertising and marketing campaigns using traditional as well as social and digital media. Plus, authors will have the opportunity to participate in a year-long incubation program where our editorial and mentorship teams work with you to polish your manuscript and prepare it both for publication and adaptation across media channels.
We welcome content from diverse voices. Everyone with an unforgettable story is invited to submit.
How To Submit
First, please read this page carefully.
You don’t have to have a literary agent, that’s okay, but if you do, you’ll be at the front of the line. To submit your manuscript, send a synopsis and the first 50 pages to Lou Aronica at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Are We Looking For?
We have one primary goal. Every book we publish is one we think will be the very favorite book of at least one person somewhere in the world. A secondary goal is to find books that we think we might be able to develop into great writer-driven films and television shows. Not every book we publish will be ripe for media development, but every one will absolutely be a story we believe in.
In short, we’re looking for high-quality, character-driven fiction. For genres, we’re looking for science fiction and fantasy, literary fiction, women’s fiction, and mysteries and thrillers. We are primarily interested in adult, new adult, and young adult.
We are not looking for nonfiction, including memoirs.
Gramarye Gold—our signature, tentpole line. These are big world/big idea stories that are ripe for transmedia development. We are especially interested in science fiction and fantasy, as well as mystery/thrillers.
Sequoia—literary works of speculative fiction that engage both the heart and the intellect.
Augury—a launchpad for exciting new voices in speculative fiction.
Lamppost—Speculative fiction from established authors, including authors who have been “orphaned” by their current or previous publishers.
Vitas—a sister to our Sequoia line, Vitas books are literary fiction books that you’ll be thinking about and talking about long after the last page is turned.
Grapevine—women’s fiction, ideal for bookclubs or reading with a nice glass of wine.
Hemlock—pulse-pounding thrillers and brain-twisting mysteries. We strongly prefer strong, colorful leads. Franchises are especially welcome.
We’re looking for great writing, vivid, compelling characters with depth, and stories that make us think and feel … and keep us turning the pages late into the night. We’re looking for stories that we feel truly passionate about. That’s not all, though. We’re looking for some very specific characteristics, especially for our Gramarye Gold line.
Focus on genre with proven success in the transmedia space.
We prefer the following genres:
1. Fantasy (high, epic, or urban)
2. Paranormal/paranormal romance
3. Science fiction
4. Cozy mystery
5. Thriller (spy, action, etc.)
6. Women’s Fiction
Iconic Dialogue — Things that will be said for years to come. Think of Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, The Godfather, and The Princess Bride. Ideally, the dialog is rich with subtext. These lines are spoken by:
Strong, memorable, iconic characters. This is likely the most important criteria of all. Ideally, audiences should be able to quickly describe main characters clearly without mentioning what they look like or what they do for a living. Think how easy it is to do that for, say, Mary Poppins, Norm from Cheers, George Bailey or Mr. Potter from It’s a Wonderful Life, or Rick from Casablanca. Better yet, think how easy it is to do that for the main characters from the original Star Wars, and how hard it is to do so for the prequels. Characters are defined by (among other things) their strengths, their flaws, their courage, their mistakes, their quirks, their passions, their relationships, their words, their actions, their past, their circumstances, their drives, and their relatability. Ideally, the main character(s) should be in some way aspirational. The characters must have depth — a past, relationships, pain, aspirations.
The main character’s (or characters’) development arc should mirror to the action/story structure arc. The arc of the story supports the action, but it also supports the character’s change and growth as a person. In Casablanca, the action parallels Rick’s growth from a broken, selfish, bitter man to a self-sacrificing hero. Ditto Han Solo in Star Wars and Harry in when Harry Met Sally. Dara Marks wrote a brilliant book on this idea called Inside Story.
The core of the story must be about a character (or ensemble of characters), and his/her transformation, no matter how much action or suspense is layered on top.
Elements of found family — think of the gang from Cheers, the crew of the Starship Enterprise, the kids from Harry Potter, or the team from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. People that aren’t of blood relation but are working toward a common goal to find a sense of belonging.
Mythic resonance — people living mythic lives in a landscape of consequence, and an Orphan/Wanderer/Warrior/Martyr structure (think Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Casablanca). On a related note, a sense of an encounter with or experience of the numinous — the Force in Star Wars, the Voice and ballpark in Field of Dreams, the instances of rescue grace and wonder in Harry Potter.
Mirror the real world and the experiences of the audience through a metaphoric lens (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Maze Runner, Hunger Games)
We prefer a strong sense of milieu — atmosphere, place, and/or setting … we are especially interested in projects where the setting is almost a character in the story. More specifically:
A detailed, immersive world that readers long to explore: Middle-earth, Hogwarts, Winesburg, Ohio, the London of Dickens or Conan-Doyle, the DC/Marvel Universes, Charles de Lint’s Newford, Narnia, Twin Peaks, the kingdoms of Frozen and Tangled.
Iconic Locations — Bag End, Tara, the Star Wars cantina, the Emerald City, Rick’s Café Americain, Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, the Death Star. Easily recognizable and (usually) a place you long to visit.
Iconic (and merchandisable) images — lightsabers, the Star Trek delta, the Narnia wardrobe and lamppost, magic wands, cars like the Batmobile and the Mach 5, etc. Also: cosplay potential.
Elements of wish fulfillment (Narnia, Harry Potter, Star Trek). Examples: the desire to be special/the chosen one, the desire to be in a wonderful, magical place, longing to find one’s tribe (found family), etc.
Plant and Payoff/Causality … story elements planted pay off later in the story, and one event causes another, which causes another, and so on. Think of dominos knocking over the next dominoes in a chain, where each tile is larger than the last. Chris Soth is fond of saying that the “queen died and the king died” is not a story, while “the queen died and the king died of sadness” is a story, because there is causality. The last ten minutes of It’s a Wonderful Life contains more than 30 payoffs to moments established (or planted) earlier in the story, so every ounce of that emotion is earned.
Broad “four quadrant” appeal (men and women, old and young) and transmedia franchise potential. Properties should be appropriate for transmedia exploitation.
The material must “travel.” In other words, it is highly visual so that it can easily translate for international markets.
For Gramarye Gold, the story must lend itself to the Gramarye format. There must be scenes we can film, must support games, unlockable content, and social without distraction. Sophie’s Choice would make a poor Gramarye Gold Book, but it would be a perfect fit for Vitis.
In most cases, we prefer a contemporary setting, but we are open to all compelling milieus.
Each title must have a specific, targeted, identifiable audience that congregates. We love diversity and underserved audiences.
Story must target at least two of the following segments: young adults (12 to 17), new adults (18-25), and adults (25-40).
Next, to help ensure that your story can be adapted with integrity:
Story Structure (Part 1)
A 4-act structure, or (if yu must) a 3-act structure, with act 2 broken in half with a midpoint turning point. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, read the books by Chris Soth and Syd Field, or watch this video.
Each scene must have a reveal of plot or character.
Each scene must forward the plot and the development of character.
Dialog must make use of subtext.
As mentioned, dialog should be witty and quotable (The Princess Bride)
Story Structure (Part 2)
1-10% into the story, we must setup main character’s internal desire (In Star Wars, Luke wants to leave the farm and have adventures in the wider galaxy).
12%, call to action (Luke sees the Hologram of Princess Leia).
25%, inciting incident (Luke finds his uncle and aunt dead and goes with Obi Wan to become a Jedi).
50% midpoint center of story, major turning point … things start going downhill (Luke discovers that the princess is aboard the death star).
75% into the script, everything goes to hell, nothing worked, all is lost (The rebels have one slim chance to destroy the death star and survive).
95% final climax and reveal, payoff all of your setups (Death star goes boom).
In most cases…. 100% denouement scene, show the character for 1 scene after the resolution (the medal scene in Star Wars, Rick and Louis’s “beautiful friendship” scene in Casablanca). In some rare cases, such as Inception and The Usual Suspects, the shock of the lack of such a scene can be equally effective. This point is the only one which may occasionally be an exception.