Not really. As of March first, I partially closed submissions. Currently I am only taking submissions from agents and authors I have met at conventions. Why would I do such a crazy thing?! The answer is complicated. I am the only one who reads submissions here and I have too many to handle. If I were an author, I would not want to wait a year to hear from an editor, but that is where I am right now. Roughly nine months behind. If and when I get caught up, I will re-open. You'll just have to watch the submissions guideline page on the Midnight Ink website. http://www.midnightinkbooks.com/ I am attending several conventions this year and will figure out a way to list them here on the blog.
Do you need an agent? No. Does it help? Yes. Not only does having an agent get me to look at a submission sooner, but a good agent has already worked the author on the manuscript. That is one more level of development and editing. Beware of bad agents who just slap their name on it and send it out. They are out there and they aren't doing you a service.
What am I looking for? Such a dangerous question! If I say I want a police procedural, I will be flooded with them! Instead, I want a story with a captivating voice. I want to start reading a manuscript and get lost in the story. I want to know the characters, love them and be afraid for them. I need a plot that is somewhat realistic. If you write humor, make me laugh. If you write suspense, I better be biting my fingernails by the end. (how else do you measure a page-turner?!) I want to finish a manuscript and be in agony that there isn't a follow up to read immediately. I want it all. Is that too much to ask for?
I tend to get passionate about books. I LOVE storytellers, those who can weave plot lines through a book or through several books. That is what I want to acquire and by doing so, together we'll continue to build Midnight Ink into a powerful and vibrant crime fiction publisher.
And in the meantime, don't let you lolcat ruin the ending!