The New and Missing Adventures: how to have your submission rejected

Words of Wisdom(?) from Kate Orman


This FAQ is intended for people who are considering sending a New or Missing Adventures submission in to Virgin Publishing - especially people who haven't submitted anything to a publisher before.

Now, Virgin have zillions of NAs and MAs sent to them every day by hopeful writers, many of whom have never put pen to paper before. The sheer volume of submission means that YOU WILL PROBABLY BE REJECTED. With so many new writers to pick and choose from, and so many established authors on thier books, Virgin can safely reject just about anything that comes their way.

There are many things that can cause your manuscript to be rejected. Many writers, especially newbies, insist on making one of the following blunders, no matter what advice they have received - from another writer, from Virgin, it doesn't seem to matter!

So here's a list of ways to make sure your New or Missing Adventure is rejected!


  1. Whatever you do, don't send a large envelope plus return postage (or IRCs) to Virgin to get the latest writers' guidelines. If you don't know what's happening with the series, you can be sure of a rejection slip. (Virgin's address is inside every New and Missing Adventure.)

  2. Don't read any of the New or Missing Adventures. That way you can come up with terrific continuity errors, or better still, repeat an idea that's already been published!

  3. If you succeed in getting a rejection slip, immediately write back and argue with the editor over why your book *should* have been accepted. That'll make you look as unprofessional as possible!


  1. Include the Valeyard. (Stories involving the Valeyard are *automatically* rejected.)

  2. Include the Daleks.

  3. Include any other monster from the TV series. Showing a lack of originality, plus possibly creating an expensive copyright problem, is a great way to get that rejection slip! (There have been several NAs recently with old monsters - but all of them were written by well-established authors.)

  4. Include so many spelling, grammatical or punctuation errors that Virgin would have to pay to have the manuscript edited and re-typed. (Remember, the manuscript you send in, if accepted, is marked up and sent directly to the printers for typesetting.)

  5. Write it by hand, on both sides of the paper, with no margins - or otherwise ignore the instructions in the writers' guidelines. Make sure you don't include page numbers or put your name on any of the pages - that way your manuscript could actually be lost altogether!

Those are just a few ways to guarantee a rejection slip. But even if you avoid all those pitfalls, it's still very likely that your manuscript will be rejected. (Lots of mine have been.)

Rejection slips are normal and healthy. I hear that Asimov was still getting them up until the time of his death. If you're a writer, a rejection slip may bruise you, anger you, and cast you in the pit of despair - but it won't stop you. Take a deep breath, come up with another idea, and try again.

Good luck!