2016 Updates!

Please review this page carefully as our submission policy has recently changed.

What is Paper Lantern Lit?

PLL is a literary incubator. We come up with story ideas, we plot them using our knowledge and experience with narrative structure, and we coach authors through the writing process. Like architects, we envision, design and layout all the basics of a book, but it’s our writers who inhabit them and bring them to life. When a project is ready, we sell it to one of the publishing giants. We have an excellent sales record, too; check our Bookshop for more details.

How do you differ from a publisher or agency?

We are not a publisher or an agency, though our company does have certain similarities to an agency: we seek out excellent writers, work with them on a project, and then sell the project to a publisher. However, at Paper Lantern Lit, we develop all of our book ideas in-house. So while a traditional agency looks for finished manuscripts, we only care about finding the best new writers out there and fostering their voices. We pride ourselves on cultivating emergent authors, and providing them a context in which to further learn their craft.

So, if you “hire” me as a writer, would this be a full-time job, part-time, or freelance?

None of the above, really, although you might call it freelance. We are looking for writers to write books! If you can do that part-time, great. If you need to chuck your desk job and tuck in at a computer all day, that’s fine with us, too.

How do I get paid? How much will I earn?

Writers are hired based on work-for-hire commission agreements, and are paid competitively in accordance with industry standards. Remuneration varies on a project-by-project basis.

How can I write for PLL? 

We accept rolling submissions via Submittable, which means that writers are welcome to submit 10-page fiction samples to us at any time. However, our submission schedule operates on a quarterly reading period, which means that once you submit your sample, you could go 3-4 months without hearing from us. We appreciate your patience as we read through all of the submissions!

Once you’ve submitted a sample, there are two options: If your submission is declined, we welcome you to submit again whenever you like. If your submission is accepted, this does not guarantee that you will audition for one of our projects.  Rather, it means that we think you have promise as a writer, but we will only follow up if we feel that you might be a good fit for a specific project. 

Fortunately, we accept many talented writers; unfortunately, we simply have more candidates than projects at any given time. If you don’t audition for a project within six months of being accepted, you must re-submit. 

What if my sample is accepted and you contact me for an audition?

 If your sample is accepted and we happen to have a project for you, we will send you a 1-2 page summary of a project we are currently developing, called a “spark page.” We will ask that you return to us a chapter or two that demonstrates your interpretation of our idea or spark. Many consider us “story match-makers” because we truly look for synergy between our concept and your voice. We need to see how you would take our concept and make it your own. If we love what you do, we’ll send you a contract and ask that you develop a few more chapters. You’ll help us shape this into a dazzling 70-ish page proposal, which we will submit to publishing houses. If the project sells, you will be paid to write it, as described above.

We know this process can seem somewhat daunting! You are always welcome to email us at fellow@paperlanternlit.com or marketing@paperlanternlit.com with questions.

Does this job require me to relocate?


Who are the people behind Paper Lantern Lit?

The founders of PLL are Lexa Hillyer and Lauren Oliver, successful published writers and editors with more than ten years of experience at major commercial YA and Children’s Publishing Houses. See “The Architects” for more details.

What kind of time commitment can I expect to make?

That depends on how fast you can write! We want writers who are committed to their craft. We are invested in helping to hone their voices and in generating absolutely first-rate proposals and books. This can be a time-consuming process, it’s true. But hey, that’s the life of a writer.

Why don’t you accept full-length manuscripts?

We are looking for writers, not manuscripts, because our focus is on building story from the ground up. We are the story architects, after all! You might say we prefer to work on new designs rather than renovations: this way we can always vouch for the end result—we can guarantee a sound structure.

Can I pitch you my awesome idea about dinosaur alien prom queens?

Not at this time. We know lots of you have excellent ideas for novels. In fact, we believe almost any idea can be great, but execution is just as important to us as the original concept. So we prefer to focus on specially-crafted in-house “sparks” that we’ve spent months cultivating. We don’t just come up with ideas on the fly—we take the time necessary to analyze the concept, build a solid plot, and assess its viability in the market. However, we do invite intense creative input from our authors. PLL’s goal is to build a solid construction, but it’s up to our authors to give the book life, to inhabit it, to make it their own.

Congrats on making it to the end of this page! By now you should have an idea of WTF is up. You can submit your sample by clicking here.