Here are some of my preferences for submissions that come to me for consideration for City Owl Press (not relevant for my freelance work):

Strong characters regardless of gender
     (they don't have to start out strong, they can and should build up to it).
Vulnerable characters
     (yes you can have both this and a strong character).
Relatable characters
     (readers need to be able to relate to them in some way, even if its small).
     (whether it's sexual orientation, culture, or otherwise)
Unique or interesting settings, or stories where settings are important to the plot.
Third person past tense 
     (not passive writing, past tense. There's a difference.).
Well polished work with attention to grammar
     (shows your professionalism).
Unique spins, creatures, points of view, etc.
Strong, well developed romance that builds organically.
Writers who do their research
     (know my likes, dislikes, genre length preferences, etc, follow submission guidelines).
Writers who strive to improve their craft.
Writers who are already working on their author platform.

Unlikable/unrelatable characters
     (unless its the antagonist, of course).
Lack of attention to plot detail
     (gaping holes that should have been caught in your editing rounds).
Sloppy drafts or non-standard formatting
     (something that shows you didn't edit thoroughly or are trying to make the work standout with font, format, etc.).
Cliques or re-tellings
     (unless they poke fun at themselves, or are brilliant and original in their own way).
First person present tense
     (I like first person when its done well, but third is my preference. Present tense has to be brilliantly done or I won't even consider it.)
Flashbacks, info dump, and backstory
     (these can be used, but there is a time and place. Read through my posts for specifics on these).
One-dimensional antagonists
     (your bad guy needs to be interesting and well-developed).
Lack of action, tension, or elements to drive the plot forward.

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