frequently asked questions

What is CAKE Literary?

Cake Literary is a literary development company committed to creating quality multi-platform content for middle grade, young adult and women’s fiction audiences, all with a strong focus on diversity. We are not publishers, but rather a pair of writers with our pulse on the publishing marketplace who work on crafting concepts and developing new voices. Once we develop a concept and find a great writer to work with us, we take these projects to the major publishing houses – where they’re turned to exciting, diverse, and un-put-down-able fiction.

Wait, so CAKE Literary isn’t a publisher?

No. We are a company that comes up with, crafts and markets concepts – a literary think tank of sorts. We’re all about creating the recipe for an idea, finding the right voice for it, then bringing it to the market, so that you can find kickass books on a shelf near you. We aim for delicious and diverse ideas that work in multiple media – from books to films to television and on the web.

Is CAKE a literary agency?

No. We’re a book packaging and literary development company, which means that we don’t represent writers, but rather literary projects are developed in-house. But CAKE is committed to finding and fostering great new voices and pairing them with smart, high concept ideas that can bring them to a whole new level.

Why are you called CAKE Literary?

Because we think dessert is the best part! We’re committed to creating stories that are delicious, layered, and very satisfying – and come in all flavors!

Why does CAKE LIT need me?

CAKE Literary is a development company, meaning we come up for the concepts for properties that can be leveraged in multiple media – ideas that translate well to books, film, television and/or the web. With strong backgrounds in structure and storytelling, we create the concepts. Then we look for writers with unique, fresh voices who are interested being a part of the process of bringing these projects to readers. CAKE is all about collaboration. We may come up with the idea, structure and form, but it’s the writer’s voice and writing that bring it to life.

What kind of experience do writers who work with CAKE have?

While some instruction in writing is often helpful, we’re looking for unique and diverse voices – whether you’re MFA-trained or self-taught, a newbie or a writer who’s been toiling in the trenches for years. Our background gives us insight into the writing process – and the publishing industry – so we do the heavy-lifting of concepting and selling the project to the big houses. But it’s the writer’s voice that carries the story from start to finish – so finding the right fit is a key component of CAKE’s mission.

What kind of books does CAKE create?

CAKE is focused on high-concept fiction – that astounding, “why-didn’t-I-think-of-that” idea that can be conveyed in a single sentence. But what makes us different from other packagers is our commitment to diversity. We think you can totally make a book with organic, relevant diversity compulsively readable by layering it in, having it play a part in characterization and occasionally plot, without making the whole book about diversity. That’s what we hope to do with each CAKE project.

How many writers do you audition for a project?

Given the commitment each proposal requires, we’re dedicated to finding the right voice for each project. That means we only audition one writer at a time for any given concept – with the hopes, of course, that the writer will be a perfect fit. Know that if you’ve been asked to audition for a particular project, you’re the only writer working on it at that time. This isn’t, after all, a bake-off!

How many projects do you work on at once?

As a development company, CAKE Literary has several projects in different stages of development at any given moment.

Do you accept agented writers?

We are open to submissions from both un-agented writers and writers with representation. We ask that writers with representation ask their agent to submit materials on their behalf.

I’ve never published before. Can I still submit?

CAKE Literary is looking for original and diverse voices, whether the writer has been previously published or not.

Why should I write for CAKE?

For unpublished writers, CAKE Literary offers a stellar way to break into the publishing market, knowing you’re in strong, confident, and informed hands. Plus, if you’re looking for a writerly education, working with CAKE is a crash course – you’ll learn about structure and storytelling, taking and making edits and the publishing process. It’s our business to create the concepts and sell them to publishers, so working with CAKE allows you to focus on the best part – the writing. For published writers, working with CAKE is a great way to supplement your writing income between book deals.

What books does CAKE love?

Given our diverse backgrounds, we our tastes run the gamut – from classics like The Secret Garden and Anne of Green Gables to exciting newer reads like The Hunger Games and Jandy Nelson’s The Sky Is Everywhere. And then, of course, there are those guilty pleasures. (Pretty Little Liars, anyone?) But at heart, we love layered, lyrical storytelling. And sound structure.

What is CAKE looking for in a writer?

First and foremost, CAKE is looking for a strong sense of storytelling and a unique voice. But it doesn’t hurt if you’re a deadline-driven writer who can take direction, knows how to complete projects in a timely manner and can still manage to hold your own over coffee and cake with two feisty (but friendly) New York City chicks.

What are your writerly pet peeves?

We try not to be too judgmental about this, given that every writer has his or her own style. But there are some writerly no-nos to keep in mind: frequent (and unnecessary) tense shifts, passive voice, storytelling that lacks heart.

Does CAKE hire writers fulltime or freelance?

All writers hired by CAKE work on a work-for-hire, contract basis, which is another way of saying freelance. The time you commit to CAKE depends on how quickly you can complete a project. But as with any business, CAKE expects its writers to be committed to finishing what they start and we pride ourselves on being able to meet our deadlines with quality content that exceeds expectations.

How does work-for-hire work? C’mon, let’s talk money.

Work-for-hire means that CAKE Literary owns all rights to the concepts we create. Writers are paid competitively on a per project basis. We’re a writer-oriented company, which means we set contract terms that feel comfortable for both CAKE and its writers. We’re writers after all!

Alright, I’m in. How do I submit?

If you’re a writer and would like to submit to us, you can get in touch via our Submittable page. All submissions should include a resume, biography and 10-page representative writing sample, along with your contact information. If we feel that your voice is a good fit for an existing project, we'll email you to set up a brief chat. If you seem like a strong candidate, we’ll ask you to audition by writing some sample pages for a specific project. To be clear, very few writers will be asked to sample for a particular project – this isn’t a bake-off, er, write-off! Essentially, we’re interested in seeing how your voice interprets our idea. If you’re the right match, you’re the writer for that project.

What if my idea is similar to something CAKE is developing already?

CAKE Literary is constantly developing new titles and concepts in-house. Given the nature of the IP business, please note that CAKE may already have independently developed or may in the future develop a project with ideas or themes that are similar to your submitted material. In submitting material to CAKE, you understand and acknowledge that you will have no interest or claim therein.

Where can I find out more about CAKE?

As you’ve probably guessed, Sona and Dhonielle love to yap it up – so you can find guest-posts and Q&As on the web that will tell you more about CAKE and our mission. Google us – or check out the links on our Writer Resources page.