The Art of Turning the Page

You are reading a book and suddenly the picture goes black, the world falls silent. What went wrong? Then you hear a floor board creak. What is about to go wrong? Horror and thrillers are all about the anxiety, the need to get to the next word, even though you are fighting to resist turning the page. You want the goosebumps to go away, but the journey to the other side seems too onerous to navigate. If you can just turn the page and get past it…whatever it may be. Then you realize what the danger is and you begin yelling at the character to change course. Going forward is definitely not a good idea. As I read submissions for the Rogue Writing Contest, it takes many forms. Some its come wrapped in incredibly imaginative, polished first fifty page submissions. When I request the full manuscript, the anticipation is intense. I love it when you keep me up all night, turning the page. Here are a few ways to keepCatPancakes my eyes glued to each word and turning the page ’til THE END.

New dogs or old dogs, it’s in the tricks. Antagonists present themselves in many forms. Some we’ve seen before, some are fresh new concepts. The strength of the manuscript lies in delivery. Spin, twist, or the great black box, it is your unique approach that compels me to read on. For serial thrillers, what is it about your protagonist that makes me love to love him or love to hate him so strongly that I keep checking to see if the next book is out yet?

polishPolish, polish, polish. Story is important, but please don’t front load your efforts. Be professional and consistent in your habits. Don’t just clean up the first fifty pages. Trust me, I will know. Concept and attitude will take you far and we are excited to polish the gems, but travelling to the mine and digging should have already taken place. Know what is acceptable to publishers. If you are still in the process of final polish, be honest when you submit the first fifty pages.

Know what you’ve got. Carefully read the submission requirements, then send all materials in the format they are requested. We are on your side and we want you to succeed as much as you do. In fact, it is our business. We request materials from you in a way that will assist you in selling yourself and your manuscript. It’s not about following the rules; it’s about getting us to read the next word. Those first words are in your email, the next are in your query letter, then marketing plan and synopsis. After an initial glance at those, if you have really done your homework, your manuscript might rise to the top of the reading list. It is important to understand your audience and your career. Great manuscripts do not simply sell themselves.

Know where you’re going. We take extraordinary interest in our signed authors, not justAssassinWithScope their manuscripts. Your manuscript is filled with opportunity to reach readers. Spend some time understanding who will read your book and why. Then share that knowledge with me in your query letter and marketing plan. We are not looking for experts, but just like the writing craft, marketing is an important part of your career. Displaying an understanding and enthusiasm in all areas of a writing career tells a publisher that you have the potential that is imperative to success. We take that spark and nurture it in Assent Academy to set you on the path to get there.

Keep me terrified, out of breath, trapped. I will always be thirsty for more. Introduce me to characters so real that I find myself worrying about them while standing in line at the grocery store or while driving, not just while I’m reading. Wrap it all up with your imagination and excitement to grow with a publisher, and we have a relationship that will have us both wanting to turn the page over and over again for years to come.

Assent Publishing’s Bad Day Books Imprint is accepting submissions for the ROGUE WRITING CONTEST until October 31. There’s still time to thrill us or scare us to death!


  • “ROGUE WRITING” Contest submissions accepted from July 1, 2013 through midnight (U.S. Eastern Time), October 31, 2013
  • All subgenres of horror, thriller, suspense, and apocalyptic fiction accepted
  • Manuscript must be complete
  • Word counts accepted – full length (70,000 to 120,000 words) and novella (40,000 – 50,000 words)
  • You must note “2013 ROGUE WRITING Contest” and book title in subject line of submission email
  • One “ROGUE WRITING” contest submission per author
  • Follow ALL Bad Day Books Imprint Submission Guidelines
  • All submissions will be judged by Assent Publishing Imprint Editors and Acquisitions Editors

“ROGUE WRITING” Grand Prize Winner will receive:

  • Assent Publishing Contract including all benefits offered through Assent Publishing – professional editing, professional cover design, print and ebook formatting, distribution, intense marketing training through the AssentAcademy, and the unparalleled Assent Publishing commitment to author success
  • A ROGUE WRITING GRAND PRIZE WINNER Promotional Announcement Blitz promoting the winner and their book ($2,000 value)
  • 50 FREE print copies of their book
  • 10 Months (ten, 2 hour sessions) of One-on-One Author Marketing Coaching with Author Success Coach and Dean of the Assent Academy, Deborah Riley-Magnus ($2,000 value) 
  • An Opportunity to Speak as the Rogue Expert in their own Assent Publishing ROGUE WRITING GRAND PRIZE WINNER blog for one full year
  • $100 toward membership in a writers organization or guild of the winner’s choice
  • A Kindle Fire

“ROGUE WRITING” Top 5 Finalist Submissions will receive:

  • Assent Publishing Contract including all benefits offered through Assent Publishing – professional editing, professional cover design, print and ebook formatting, distribution, intense marketing training through the AssentAcademy, and the unparalleled Assent Publishing commitment to author success
  • ROGUE WRITING WINNER Promotional announcements for the author and their book ($200 value)

Contest submissions can be Supernatural, Paranormal, Contemporary, Psychological, and Humorous Horror; Psychological, Military, Crime, and Mystery Thrillers / Suspense; any Apocalypse welcome. Assent Publishing’s Bad Day Books Imprint is currently accepting horror, thriller, suspense, and apocalyptic submissions in addition to contest entries. Send your submissions and “ROGUE WRITING” contest entries to Good luck! We can hardly wait; the suspense is killing us! Please visit us at


About baddaybooks

Les Denton is the president of Assent Publishing, LLC, and managing editor of Bad Day Books, Assent’s horror, thriller, and suspense imprint. Les founded Assent to bring quality authors and readers together within this evolving book publishing industry. She is excited to be the only publisher to present Assent Academy, the first of its kind, which offers professionally taught marketing, book business curriculum, and customized advice at no charge to our authors throughout their careers with Assent Publishing. Les also writes and surrounds herself in that environment. When ebooks were just starting to heat up the market, a fellow writer approached her with stories of successes in the publishing realm. She recognized this fresh opportunity, an exciting new frontier where authors have more opportunity than ever before. Because of that readers are meeting new authors every day. Having spent the last decade as a knowledge management and technology executive, talent acquisition and motivation were her passion. The time seemed right to start bringing all the energetic imaginative resources she had found together. The result is Assent Publishing, a team of talented editors, artists, and marketing mavens with a splash of technologists. We are navigating an exciting new frontier where authors have more options than ever before. At Assent, the process begins by diligently scouring new material to find the jewels. Once we begin a relationship with an author, they have unparalleled access to resources and guidance that does not end upon publication of their book. As part of every contract, Assent Academy offers marketing and business curriculum and customized advice throughout our authors’ careers. We are dedicated to author success. Because of that readers are able to meet extraordinary new authors. Though she has returned to her native Pittsburgh, PA, Les has lived in varied climates and landscapes throughout the East Coast and Chicago. She is the proud owner of a wiener dog named Theodore who works in the community as a Therapy Dog and serves as the perfect ear for read-aloud editing opinions.
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