Saturday, March 26, 2016
Leg 1: What you write
Leg 2: How much you write
Leg 3: How much you learn
Leg 4: How you market
It's not complicated, but it's an interesting, and I think useful, way of thinking about what you want to do, how to focus, and how to balance your writing-related activities. Scott discusses each leg, how they support your work, and how it fits together. Check it out. (Scroll down a bit once you get to the page, about half way. Start at the paragraph right above the table diagram.)
Thursday, March 24, 2016
Anyway. Great workshop as always. I only sold one story (an SF mystery to John Helfers for an anthology called No Humans Allowed,) but I had a great time anyway, and learned a lot. I had a chance to talk to a bunch of folks, get to know some new people and some people who've been around, but we just never had a chance to really sit down and chat before.
The whiteboard John built his TOC on. My story's on the right, in darker marker; it was a "Hold" at first, and he decided to add it at the end, when he was filling in stories to make his wordcount.
We wrote stories ahead of time, as always. About 45 attendees wrote about 250 stories, totalling 1.1 million words of fiction. The reading was like a tidal wave, seriously. We're supposed to be learning to read like editors -- who definitely do not read every word of every story that's submitted -- but it's hard when you're dealing with quality this high. If this were open-submission slush, most stories could be rejected after a paragraph or two. That's not the case here. This is a pro-level, invite-only workshop, and people who attend are ridiculously good at this stuff.
Six of the editors -- John Helfers, Kerrie Hughes, Kris Rusch, Mark Leslie (aka Mark the Kobo Guy), Kevin Anderson and Rebecca Moesta -- had established books they were reading for. We got guidelines for one book per week we were writing, and had a week (or a bit less) to write a story in accordance with the guidelines and get it in. Dean Smith was the odd guy out this year; he read all the stories and had to put together an anthology out of the ones the six other editors didn't choose, coming up with a set of stories that created some kind of theme as he went. He ended up with a bunch of stories on the theme of Hard Choices, and he had to fight a few of the other editors for some of those stories.
It was fun to watch. :) If the editor for whom a story was specifically written doesn't want it, any other editor who thinks it'd fit their book really well can steal it. All the editors with established books had dibs over poor Dean, who often found himself wanting a story, but standing in line behind two or even three other people. By the time he put his TOC together on the last day, he said the process had been a lot harder than he'd expected. I definitely wouldn't want to have to do it, although watching him do it was educational.
Most of the workshop was spent watching and listening as the editors went through the stories one by one, evaluating, disagreeing, arguing. There were a lot of WTF?? expressions scattered through the week as one or more editors loved a story that one or more other editors hated. Discussion got pretty heated once or twice. In the middle of all of this, Kris reminded us that this was because the stories were all very good. If this were a beginner workshop, where all or most of the attendees were still learning how to write, the editors would all agree. Obvious flaws would stick out to everyone. In this group, everyone can write, so the disagreements and arguments were all a matter of individual editors' taste. Even the common disagreements that sounded like craft issues -- like Kris and Dean insisting that a lot of stories had "no setting" (since they're both really aware of setting) while John and Kerrie often loved those stories and thought they had just the right amount of setting, or that the characters and plot were so interesting they hadn't noticed or didn't care that there wasn't much setting -- were really matters of taste. There are readers like Kris and Dean, and there are readers like John and Kerrie.
And that's the point. Just because one editor, or even five editors, rejects your story, that doesn't mean it sucks. It might just mean it wasn't to that editor's (or those editors') taste. Keep trying. Some of my stories that didn't sell would've sold to one of the other editors if they'd been editing that particular volume. Which is the point. Keep going. Too many writers get a rejection or three, decide the story sucks and stop sending it out. Don't do that!
As we've done before, we had sign-up lunches in small groups with most of the editors, and a few other subject matter experts, like Christy Fifield, who writes fun cozy mysteries, and is a hotel Controller in her day job; she's a great source of info for finance and accounting and such. We also had an audio expert, and someone who writes comics for major publishers, for folks who are interested in that. I went out with John, Dean and Christy, and had a great time with each of them, and the other writers who signed up to go with.
Other days we grabbed lunch with whoever was available, and there's plenty of talent in the room and lots of brains to pick. Dinner was also chaotic in a fun way, and I hung with a lot of different people at various times. Sometimes it's fun sticking with a few friends -- I usually do that at SF conventions, that sort of thing -- but at this kind of event, the more people you can hang out with and get to know, the better. The networking at these events is worth the workshop fee all by itself.
Allyson, the Publisher at WMG, announced that they're starting up a companion line of anthologies called Fiction River Presents. These will be reprints of stories that've already been in Fiction River, remixed in various ways. Fiction River is starting its fourth year now, and a lot of people only heard about it recently. Doing the reprint volumes is a good way of giving folks different mixes of stories, so if one theme from the past didn't appeal to you, maybe another will and you'll see some stories you'd have otherwise missed.
From the WMG site: "Appropriately, the first volume, Debut Writers' Showcase, commemorates first sales by up-and-coming authors. Future volumes will revolve around themes such as family, thrillers, offbeat stories, and Readers’ Choice."
My first professional sale was "Staying Afloat" in How to Save the World, and that story will be in the Showcase volume.
Othere random bits I noted down during the workshop:
Short fiction is an entryway to your work for people who've never read any of your other stuff.
Anthologies are an exception to BookBub's one-book-per-author-at-any-one-time rule. You can only have one novel up at a time, but you can have multiple multi-author anthologies, or a novel and an anthology, or whatever combination.
If you're looking to build up your sales ranking on sites like Amazon, advertise sales on multiple sites in succession rather than all at once. Start with BookBub and then go through others week by week. BookBub will raise your book up the ranks, and the smaller lists will keep it up there.
A workshop attendee who writes romances puts out a new short story each month. He makes it free on his blog for a week, with a buy button on the page. He sells a few during the free week, then when the story comes off of free, sales shoot up. He sells the e-books for $2.99 and paperbacks for $5.99, and he gets bookstore/warehouse sales; he sees batches of 10-15 of the paperbacks selling. He does this once a month, and now makes a third of his income off of short fiction this way.
"Free" is the most popular search term on Kobo, always, no matter what else is going on or what hot book's been released.
Writers are generally pretty awful at writing our author bios. I'll admit I hate doing it, and the standard one I use isn't great. An author bio should talk about your writing. It doesn't matter that you have five cats unless there are cats prominently in your work. It doesn't matter that you like to garden or knit unless your characters are gardening, or some detail about historical knitting is a plot point in your story. What do you write? What have you published? Have you won any awards? Or been nominated? Made any significant bestseller lists? When writing your author bio, remember -- not too long, not too short, not too modest. Most of us seem to have a problem with that last bit. :P
If your story is set during a big, horrific event, it's hard to get your readers to hang on to it. If you deal with it head-on, it's better to deal with a smaller part and make it representative of the larger events, with a close emotional grab. Trying to deal with the whole, sweeping thing will probably require a lot of tell-tell-tell narrative, which can get boring. Keep the reader down IN the events, focused on a representative character. Also, use little details, like in the middle of a huge event that's caused shootings or protests or whatever, there are going to be closed streets. Have your characters deal with that, to make the larger events have an impact on their lives in a given moment.
Make your manuscript readable. Small fonts are bad. Courier is iffy.
Make sure your name and the page number are in the header of every page, because some editors still print things out to read. If they drop a stack of pages, or they go for coffee and the printer spits the pages for a dozen stories all over the floor, the editor's not going to bother to play literary archaeologist to figure out which pages belong to your story and what order they go in.
Give your story a significant file name. Some markets call out file name formats, in which case follow that. But if a market doesn't specify, don't call it "Story.doc" or "Fantasy.doc" or whatever.
Story titles should be memorable. On the one hand, that means that calling something "Aftermath" or "The Game" or "Conflict" probably isn't a great idea because that kind of title doesn't call a particular story to mind. On the other hand, words and names in your title should be reasonably familiar and pronounceable. You want readers to be able to talk about your story to their friends, and editors to be able to remember your title when thinking about their up-coming book or issue, or when talking with their staff. They can't do that if they can't remember or pronounce your alien name, or your transliterated Arabic phrase. Put the linguistic fireworks in the story, not in the title.
First person can be very distancing because the reader is NOT the person doing whatever
There's a convention of a type of mystery fiction by people who don't know police procedure perfectly and that's fine. You're just aiming for a different audience of readers than the folks who are experts on procedure and make that a major focus of the narrative.
Put something in the body of the e-mail when you sub a story, or even just edits. Blank e-mails with just an attachment end up in the spam filter. Also, you're trying to foster a relationship with the editor, so say hi, looking forward to working with you, something. Not a Christmas letter, but a line or two.
If a published story gets picked up for a reprint, gets into a Year's Best, nominated for an award, whatever, let the original editor know. They might want to use it in their marketing, and even if they don't, it's a fuzzy to them too, just to hear about it.
If you're writing about one of a series of events, what's special about this occurrence, this character? Why are you writing about this particular one and not the previous one, or the next one, or the first one? Let the reader know why this person/thing/occurrence has a story written about it.
We were talking in the workshop about the layoffs at Random Penguin, which happened while we were there. Someone there who knows people at PRH said that Nora Roberts's editor was one of the people layed off, which... seriously? How could anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together for mutual warmth argue that that particular editor wasn't pulling in enough money for the business to justify their salary?? o_O So when word came out about a week later that Ms. Roberts had taken a hike up the road to St. Martins, I wasn't at all surprised. That was a ridiculously expensive round of layoffs for Random Penguin; I'm sure someone was called to explain WTF they were thinking, or will be when the company start to feel the lack of Ms. Roberts's sales in their bottom line.
We had a funny thing happen on the way home. I rode back to Portland with Lyn, who was driving, and Laura. We stopped at Laura's hotel to drop her off, and ran into Brenda in the parking lot. Brenda had dropped Michele off at the airport and decided, spur of the moment, to stay at that hotel herself. Lyn had planned to drive farther before stopping, but with two other writers from the workshop there, she decided what the heck, that she'd stay there too, so she ran in to get a room. I think she and Laura ended up sharing. I had a room at another hotel a couple miles away, and was having dinner there that night with a writer friend who lives in Portland. Under other circumstances, though, it would've been pretty awesome to have one more "workshop" night at the hotel. Or better yet, if they'd all been in mine -- it's the hotel I always stay at when I'm flying out of Portland, and my husband got a great deal on a suite. I had a for-real suite, with a main room and a separate bedroom, and my main room had a full size dining table and six chairs. We could've stayed up for hours gabbing. :) Maybe next year.
I had a great conversation with Amelia, and a decent flight home the next morning. I came down with the creeping crud a couple of days later, but the trip itself went wonderfully well. I'm already signed up for next year, and there's still space. If you write short fiction, the Anthology Workshop is an awesome experience, and one I can't recommend strongly enough.
Thanks to Dean and Allyson for organizing the event, all the editors for helping make it happen, and all the attendees for making it rock. So long as they keep throwing these workshops, I'll keep going.
Saturday, March 12, 2016
Markets with specific deadlines are listed first, "Until Filled" markets are at the bottom. There are usually more details on the original site; always click through and read the full guidelines before submitting. Note that some publishers list multiple guidelines on one page, so after you click through you might have to scroll a bit.
[Note that Ghosts on Drugs has pushed its deadline to 1 May, so if you were thinking of subbing to it but 1 March came and went, you have few more weeks.]
31 March 2016 -- All the King's Men -- ed. Shane W. Smith
All The King’s Men is a two-volume epic science fiction anthology edited by Shane W Smith, the author of The Lesser Evil, Peaceful Tomorrows, The Game, James Flamestar, and Undad.
All The King’s Men takes a look at the lives of those on the periphery, ordinary people struggling to make sense of their lives and dreams in a galaxy torn apart by civil war.
Each of them is fleeing something different, but they've all come to the same place. When their ship is marooned in deep space, they pass the time by sharing stories. Things that have happened to them, events they've witnessed, rumours they've heard...
The anthology is seeking contributions from writers. Contributions may be in the form of prose short stories or short comic scripts.
Comic scripts: $12.50 per page.
Prose stories: $0.04 per word.
[In Australian dollars.]
[Okay, there's a LOT more here, so I'm just going to send you to the web site. Submission Guidelines Background Contributors/Pay Rates/FAQs Story Ideas]
31 March 2016 -- Fairytales Slashed: Volume 7 -- Less Than Three Press
FAIRYTALES SLASHED: VOLUME 7 — LGBTQIA Anthology Call — Nothing is as timeless or appealing as fairytales. From the light-hearted and sweet to the dark and twisted, from spins on classic favorites to tales brand new, everybody loves to know what happened Once upon a time...
Less Than Three Press invites you to submit your LGBTQIA fairytales to our longest running and most popular series.
== Deadline is March 31, 2016 (give or take, we won’t kill you for sending it off the following morning).
== Stories should be at least 10,000 words and should not exceed approx 20,000 words in length.
== Stories must be fairytales in nature, whether you write your own version of Snow White, etc. or come up with something completely original.
== Stories may be any pairing except cisgender heterosexual M/F (trans* M/F, M/M, F/F, poly, ace/aro, and all permutations thereof are acceptable).
== Stories must have a happily ever after (HEA) or happy for now (HFN) end.
== Any sub-genre is gladly accepted: sci-fi, mystery, contemporary, steampunk, etc.
== All usual LT3 submission guidelines apply.
Fairytales Slashed: Volume 7 is a general release anthology, which means authors will receive a flat payment of $200.00 once LT3 has a signed contract. Authors will receive one copy each of the ebook formats LT3 produces and two copies of the paperback compilation.
Stories should be complete before submitting, and as edited as possible—do not submit a first draft. They can be submitted in any format (doc, docx, rtf, odt, etc) preferably single spaced in an easy to read font (Times, Calibri, Arial) with no special formatting (no elaborate section separation, special fonts, etc). Additional formatting guidelines can be found here here.
Questions should be directed to the Editor in Chief, Samantha M. Derr, at email@example.com (or you can ping her on twitter @rykaine). Submissions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
30 April 2016 -- Let Us In -- Time Alone Press
Let Us In will be the first horror anthology released by Time Alone Press.
Payment $.06 per word. PLUS Half of royalties distributed among the writers after the recovery of initial costs (paid twice per year).
Official acceptances will be announced on July 1st 2016. Join award-winning author Ray Garton on our table of contents! His new story "Shadow Children" has already been purchased to appear [UPDATE we have also accepted a story by another prominent Horror writer who is also a well known editor. Full announcement after the contract is official].
We are looking for stories of approx. 4000 wds (but, let the story decide). Poetry that keeps to the theme may have a chance, as well.
The theme of the anthology will be lightly shaped as we go, but here is the gist:
Write for us the horrors that we invite into our lives, whether willingly or with reluctance. These are horrors that need our permission to enter.
Why do we allow them into our lives?
Because they entice us?
Because we need to escape a current hell?
Because we are curious?
Because we want them to save us?
Because we want vengeance against someone else?
The Monsters here may be human or non-human.
Open your imagination to anything.
We’ll take traditional vampires or werewolves, demons, or forces from other dimensions. Give us abusive spouses, or "saviors" from outer space with tricks up their sleeves. Any of that, or anything else that I may have missed, anything that you think fits.
Style: Go wild. I don’t care how loud and nasty it gets or how quiet and deep. Just make it Good.
You may send submissions through Submittable.
30 April 2016 -- Dark Clouds -- ed. Sue London; Graythorn Publishing
Graythorn Publishing is open for submissions of science fiction short stories for the DARK CLOUDS anthology to be published in June 2016.
Did you know that humans emit clouds of microbes? Over a million particles an hour. With that sort of chaos something is likely to go very, very wrong.
Send us your completed short story of 3,000 to 10,000 words.
Stories must relate strongly to the theme, and be primarily science fiction, although genre mashups with horror, romance, mystery, etc. will be accepted. Rights purchased for six months.
Please submit to email@example.com.
Pay: 3 cents/word
30 April 2016 -- Unidentified Funny Objects 5 -- ed. Alex Shvartsman
Unidentified Funny Objects is an annual anthology of humorous SF/F. UFO4 headliners included George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, Esther Friesner, Piers Anthony, Mike Resnick, Karen Haber, Gini Koch, Tim Pratt, Jody Lynn Nye.
For UFO5 we’re seeking all style and sub-genres of speculative humor.
SUBMISSION WINDOW: April 1 – April 30, 2016
LENGTH: 500-5000 words.
Limit of 1 submission per author — even if you receive a response before the submission window closes please do not send more unless directly invited to do so.
PAYMENT: $0.07 per word + contributor copy. Payment will be made upon acceptance. Our preferred method of payment is via PayPal, but you may request a check.
FORMAT: RTF or DOC. Standard Manuscript Format or something close to it (We won’t take points off if you prefer Courier over Times New Roman or some such).
SEND TO: Submissions link will be posted on April 1.
RIGHTS SOUGHT: First Worldwide print and electronic English Language rights. Exclusivity for 90 days from date of release. Non-exclusive rights to keep the anthology in print across different publishing platforms afterward. Preview sample contract.
POLICIES & RESPONSE TIME: No reprints, multiple or simultaneous submissions please. Do not send any stories we already considered for a previous UFO volume. You may query after 30 days. Please send only one submission per author unless directly invited to send more.
WHAT WE WANT: We’re looking for speculative stories with a strong humor element. Think Resnick and Sheckley, Fredric Brown and Douglas Adams. We welcome quality flash fiction and non-traditional narratives. Take chances, try something new, just make sure that your story is funny.
Puns and stories that are little more than vehicles for delivering a punch line at the end aren’t likely to win us over. The best way to learn what we like in general is to read a previous volume.
WHAT WE DON’T WANT: These are the tropes we see entirely too much of in the slush pile. You will improve your odds if you steer clear of these:
* Deals with the Devil / Djinn in a bottle variants
* Stereotypical aliens probing people, abducting cattle, and doing other stereotypical alien things.
[Click through for an About Us and a FAQ.]
30 April 2016 -- Semi-Colonic Irrigation
Ever spotted a semi-colon tattoo? Nope? Well, if you ever do, just know that the individual has likely survived suicide – or is perhaps wearing a permanent tribute to a loved one.
They’re wearing a STORY. A story of survival, a symbolic punctuation of life. A portrait of struggle, a pause to think about mental illness. A life, not yet over, unready to be finished; a book, awaiting its next chapter.
I know how depression feels. I know how events can spiral out of control, with one piece of shitty news after another. I know how smallstuff rapidly becomes bigthings. And I know just how easily a camel’s back breaks.
This anthology, SEMI-COLONIC IRRIGATION, is in aid of as-yet-undetermined charities. We’re initially looking to raise funds for counselling services and those who offer support to survivors.
As it’s a charity anthology, we shouldn’t be paying our contributors, right? Wrong. This is where we get to fuck with tradition. Now, I am not suggesting that publishers of ALL charity anthologies *should* pay their writers, it’s just something I’m personally choosing to do because I believe writers are worth it. So get over it.
The main charity aspect of this book, the donation we shall be making, is AWARENESS. We could help someone with this book. We could save a life – just the one. And that, my friends, is priceless. If we raise a tenner or even ten grand, that’s a bonus. We can’t give a greater gift than a part of ourselves.
We’ve already been inundated with fabulous pieces – some of which we’ve accepted. Some guys and gals have refused payment, or offered reprints for free. In one case, I’m doing a full edit on a novel in exchange for a story that I just had to have. So, as you can see, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to this ‘un – feel free to barter!
Shouldn’t we wait until all subs are received before making decisions? Nah -fuck that. I’m WINGING this – I don’t do protocol, don’t do rules. If you send me something I absolutely MUST HAVE, I shall impart my decision as soon as I’ve read the thing.
The same applies to rejections. If your piece doesn’t suit the anthology, we’ll say so…but we’ll say why. Please don’t expect NICE, though. That’s not to say I’m a horrorbag, but I’m just warning ya: I’M HONEST. No bushbeatin’ to be seen here. Themz the rules – if you wanna stay in the kitchen, you gotta handle the heat (or something like that).
The book shall be self-published. Get over that, too. Because, like charity anthologies, self-publishing is somewhat frowned upon. It’s the content – and the heart of the book -that matters.
We’re seeking a mixture of fiction and non-fiksh. And there shall be a brief introduction thus: SOME OF THESE STORIES ARE TRUE. Ambiguity is the order of the day – because we want the reader to THINK…to consider their own social footprint – is there anything they could do to help? Do they know the warning signs? What should they do? Is there anywhere THEY can go for advice?
WHAT WE WANT FROM YOU:
I’ve never been arsed about book *sales, or motivated by awards. I’m serious about the art. To that end, we need wordstuff that LEAPS OUT. We want touching. We want raw. We want real, gritty, dirty, emotional, horrible, beautiful stuff.
*Sales would be nice, though, especially considering the charity aspect (100% of proceeds shall be donated straight to charity). BUT, we do expect our contributors to plug away and share the living shit out of the thing.
Give me poetry. Give me prose. Give me poetic prose or proseful poetry. Plays. Essays. Anything and all of it. We want you to think so far outside the box that you weren’t even in the forest where the trees were felled that made the cardboard.
The brief is this: your piece must be on the subject of depression, mental illness, and/or suicide (survival or otherwise). Don’t worry about your piece being depressing/dark as fuck, we’re not looking to offer trite inspirational bollocks here. We’re quite simply looking for REAL. To help people living with mental illness know that they are not alone. To break down barriers and fuck taboos off for good.
Give us FICTION, or NON. Give us autobiographical accounts, or anecdotal stuff you heard down the pub when you were a bit pissed. I don’t care, as long as your wordiness punches me in the heart. Do it via comedy, even. Irony/satire/out-and-out sarcasm are all welcome here.
And please – don’t tell us which category your submission falls into. We don’t wanna know if it’s a true story, we just want warm VOICES to which the reader will listen.
This ‘ere bookie pays 10 cents a word. If ya want payin’, please submit originals only, please – no spondoolies for reprints.
Send your subs in double-spaced loveliness, Arial or Times New Roman point 12 (well, anything apart from that hideous COMIC CRAP typeface will do). Don’t worry TOO much about formatting ’em – it’s the words wot count.
SPEAKING of words and counting, please limit your piece to 5k.
***Please give extra thought to your opening paragraph. If I’m not hooked, I probably won’t get past page one***
HOW IS THE BOOK BEING FUNDED?
Once all subs are accepted, a Kickstarter campaign will be launched. That may seem like an arse-about-tit way of doing things – but make no mistake, this book will be published ANYWAY, even if I have to offer myself up for medical experiments to pay you guys (it’ll just take longer that way, that’s all).
DATES ‘N’ SHIT
Subs to be in by 30 April 2016, folks.
Outcomes by 31 May, or ad-hoc if sooner (see above).
Payment on completion of contracts – which will hopefully be out by 30 June (or sooner: if I’ve got it, you can have it).
^Dates ‘n’ shit are subject to change at Ms. Semi-Colonic’s discretion (i.e, if the medical experiment thing has to happen).
These are YOUR stories and as such, you own ’em and can do what you like with ’em. If you wanna republish, that’s fine – just at least have the courtesy to wait until this thing’s gone to press. Cheers.
Submit by email to: Lin@indelible.org.uk
P.S: Swearing is definitely permitted. Just in case you were wondering.
[NOTE: I usually wouldn't list a book that has neither a publisher nor an editor name listed on its guidelines, but this is an interesting project so I'm taking a chance. If you choose to write for this book, do your due diligence, and as always, read the whole contract before signing.]
1 May 2016 -- Survivor -- ed. JJ Pionke and Mary Anne Mohanraj; Lethe Press
In this SF/F anthology, we’re looking for stories of everyday trauma survival -- from a barmaid on an intergalactic space station who was abandoned by her parents, to a farmer’s son bullied by his peers, who withstands and resists their abuse. We also welcome stories with a war setting, such as stories about veterans and refugees. The key component for all of these stories is how relatively ordinary characters survive and thrive, given the traumatic experiences they’ve had.
Note: we aren’t necessarily looking for happily ever after. Trauma survival rarely ends in happily ever after, though it can, and hopefully will, end in closure and a coming to terms.
We’re soliciting speculative fiction up to 10,000 words, though we prefer 4000 – 8000. Payment is 3 cents / word for print and electronic rights, to be published by Lethe Press. You need not be a trauma survivor yourself to submit. Simultaneous submissions are fine.
Send up to 3 submissions as attached files (.doc, .docx, or .rtf format) to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: SURVIVOR SUB [title]. Questions should also go to JJ Pionke at that address. Submissions close May 1, 2016, but will be considered on a rolling basis.
1 May 2016 -- Ghosts on Drugs -- ed. Hy Bender and Will Paoletto
Bestselling author Hy Bender (BookProposal.net; 16 books including 5 Dummies books, a Complete Idiot's Guide, and The Sandman Companion; The New York Times, Mad Magazine) and book developer Will Paoletto (Enterprise Cometh; My Bad Parent) are putting together a short story fiction anthology titled Ghosts on Drugs.
And we're inviting you to send us a story so great that we can't resist saying "yes" to it.
The only rule is that a tale include some version of at least one ghost who's on some version of at least one drug.
And both key terms are broadly defined—e.g., a ghostwriter hooked on cough syrup could fit, and a dead ancient god with an inhumanly intense craving to be worshipped again could too.
Also, a story can run anywhere from 2 pages to 30 pages, so a short-short tale that's a solid fit for the collection will definitely be considered.
We expect many of the stories will be a mix of comedy and fantasy. However, the book is also open to horror, SF, adventure, drama, etc., as well as any combination of genres. Whatever the category, we're seeking stories that are extremely entertaining, appeal to a wide-ranging audience (high concepts are especially appreciated), and provide an emotionally satisfying ending (smartly crafted character arcs/transformations are especially appreciated).
We're aiming to include some of the world's top comedians, a bunch of superb writers, and one or two celebrities who happen to be drug fans.
Some of the advantages of being in this anthology:
== Getting a credit for a book that's likely to receive substantial attention because of its cool high concept, wildly inventive range of ideas, and exceptionally fine writing.
== Having your name alongside other impressive celebrity talents (if you're a star) or taking a helpful step on your career path (if you're not a star yet).
== Receiving payment on our acceptance—15 cents a word for the first 2,500 words and 6 cents a word after that (to encourage tight writing).
== Receiving a share of the royalties (based on word count).
== Working with Hy—a world-class editor—to make your story the very best it can be.
If the above sounds appealing, then please feel highly encouraged to submit material. The initial deadline is March 1st, 2016. (This might get extended, or not, depending on what comes in.)
For the sake of saving you time and effort, we recommend running an idea by Hy first to ensure it isn't redundant with something we've already purchased for the collection. However, if you prefer to just write and send us a complete story, that's great too.
Please send anything related to the anthology to Hy Bender at email@example.com.
Looking forward to your playful, inventive, genius (or so-stupid-it's-genius) ideas and wonderful writing.
1 May 2016 -- Strange California -- ed. Jaym Gates and J. Daniel Blatt
Strange California is a FICTION anthology. We are looking for short fiction works (1,000-6,000 words in length).
What Jaym is looking for: “Solid research, strong voice, and a clear understanding of your plot and setting. Think outside the box. Don’t worry about being the best out there, that’s what editors are for, just write the best you have in you. You’ll get extra points from me if your stories are relevant to current events.”
What Jason is looking for: “The unexpected. Not just in plot but in tone and style. California is an amalgamation of cultures and perspectives. I’m wanting to see works that carry that same approach! Mix genres and more.”
We plan to fund the cost of the stories, as well as cover art, layout, and production, via a Kickstarter campaign that we will launch mid 2016. Our track record with Kickstarter, thus far, has been very successful and includes anthologies such as War Stories and Genius Loci.
Writers will receive $0.06 per word, to be paid out of the Kickstarter. As creators ourselves, we are planning on introducing stretch goals to further raise the word rate.
The submissions period opens March 1, 2016. Submissions period will close May 1, 2016. We’ll be responding to submissions in June, 2016.
DIRECTIONS TO SUBMIT
Please submit all submissions through Submittable with a cover letter that clearly identifies the title of your story, its word count, your name and contact information, and the aspect of California you are examining. Your manuscript should be formatting using the standard manuscript guidelines as a *.doc or *.docx file. Please note that we will only accept unpublished works for consideration. Submissions that do not meet these requirements will be deleted unread.
[NOTE: Click through for several screens' worth of description of the sort of California weirdness and atmosphere they're looking for, which I left out for the sake of space.]
1 May 2016 -- Blood in the Rain II -- ed. Cecilia DuValle and Mary Trepanier
For the vampire erotica anthology Blood in the Rain II, available October 2016, we seek short stories of 2000–7000 words. We lean toward works from Northwest authors (Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Alaska) but are open to authors from anywhere.
Your story must include both a vampire and an erotic element, but it doesn’t have to be a “true” vampire, whatever that is, and the vampire doesn’t have to be the story’s focus. Erotically, we’re open to anything from a sexy tease to hardcore porn. We encourage stories nonstereotypically including people who are LGBTQI (or A if you can make it work), people of color, and people any age above 18.
Most of all, we want compelling characters having hot sex, with a story that draws us in. And a vampire. Bottom line: Make us horny.
We pay within 30 days of publication: $75 plus two contributor’s copies.
The Nitty Gritty:
== Send your story as a .doc, .docx, .rtf, or .pdf file to firstname.lastname@example.org, with SUBMISSION and the story title in your subject line (for example, SUBMISSION: My Sexy Vampire Story).
== Use traditional manuscript format for your story. If you don’t know what that is, see this handy guide. And for the love of the gods, proofread before sending.
== Give us a short cover note, ideally with an author bio.
== Let us know if your story’s a reprint. We might take the perfect reprint, but original work is preferred.
== Send as many submissions as you want, but we’re not likely to pick more than one story from any writer.
== We’re buying first North American serial rights, first North American audio publishing rights, first world online rights, and archival rights (that is, to potentially archive your story on our website).
1 May 2016 -- Gents: Steamy Stories from the Age of Steam -- ed. Matthew Bright; Lethe Press
OVERVIEW: Seeking gay male erotica set during the Victorian/Edwardian era. Content level can range from the mildy steamy to the burning hot. Original fiction preferred, but reprints considered.
LENGTH: <6k words; longer stories will be considered, but not preferred. (If in doubt, submit anyway.) PAYMENT: 3 cents per word / reprints 1 cent per word. Cap: 6k words. Payment upon publication. Notes: == My editorial preference is for erotica that feature strong character and story, rather than simply who-put-what-where type stories. == I want the anthology to be diverse and eclectic. That means above and beyond stories that simply feature men in top hats, I’d love to see stories that really explore the oddities of Victorian era sex lives. So that’s diversity in characters regarding age, body types, backgrounds, etc.–so Victorian waifs and urchins are more than welcome, but there’s lots of others I’d like to see–and diversity in genre (steampunk! spec fic! surrealism!) and setting (London is great, but you can venture outside.) == Lethe Press always aims to represent the entire queer spectrum of identities, and with that in mind I welcome stories featuring genderqueer, trans* or otherwise non-cisgender, non-binary, etc., providing in some way the story meets the theme of "Gents". As before, if in doubt, submit anyway. Submit to: email@example.com. Subject line: "Gents submission / AUTHOR NAME." Queries welcome.
13 May 2016 -- Sword and Sorceress 31 -- ed. Elisabeth Waters
Stories should be the type generally referred to as "sword and sorcery" and must have a strong female protagonist whom the reader will care about. See previous volumes of Sword and Sorceress for examples. We do not want stories with explicit sex, gratuitous violence, or profanity. We are NOT a market for poetry. We are willing to consider stories set in modern times (urban fantasy), but we won't buy more than one or two of those for the anthology. We always want something short and funny for the last story.
No reprints. No simultaneous submissions.
With regard to multiple submissions, do not submit more than one story at a time. If we've rejected your first one, you may send one more, as long as it's before the deadline. We have occasionally bought someone's second submission. We have never bought a third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, or eighth submission. If you send us two stories, and we don't hold either of them, wait until next year to try again. Please do not re-submit stories we have already rejected (including stories rejected in previous years).
If you have not previously sold to Sword & Sorceress, please read What is a Short Story? and Why Did my Story Get Rejected? before submitting to us.
Please do not explain or describe your story in the e-mail (cover letter). If your story can't stand on its own, fix the story.
Reading period: Saturday, April 16 to Friday, May 13, 2016. Stories received before or after this period will be deleted unread.
Response time is expected to follow MZB's traditional standards: you should hear within a week if we're holding your story for the final line-up or rejecting it.
Length: up to 9,000 words, with preference given to shorter stories. The longer a story is, the better it has to be. Long stories should be submitted early in the reading period.
Formatting and Submission:
Format with one-inch margins on all four sides of page. Please do not use a header or footer.
Your legal name, full mailing address, and email address must be in the upper left corner, single spaced. Skip two lines, center the text, then put the title, with your name (or byline) on the next line. We're not going to be as rigid as MZB was about pen names, but we expect them to be reasonable, rather than cute.
The rest of the manuscript should be single-spaced, with the first line of each paragraph indented 1/2 inch. If you need to indicate a break, put "#" on a line by itself, centered. Do not underline; use italics instead. Do not use bold face. We prefer Courier New font, size 12.
Word count will be determined by our word processor; that way it will be the same for everyone.
Save your document as an .rtf file (rich text format or interchange format, depending on what your computer calls it). E-mail as it as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org. The subject line should be "SS31, your last name, story title" (e.g.: SS31, Bradley, Dark Intruder) -- we don't want submissions caught in the spam filter.
Rights purchased: first rights, non-exclusive eBook and audio book rights.
Payment: 6 cents per word as an advance against a pro rata share of royalties and foreign or other sales.
15 May 2016 -- Young Explorer's Adventure Guide -- ed. Corie and Sean Weaver; Dreaming Robot Press
We’re looking for stories that:
== Have a main character that a middle grade reader (ages 9-12) can identify with;
== Show a diverse set of real characters;
== Are well written, fun to read and encourage a love of reading science fiction;
== Tell of adventure, space, science. Give us rockets, robots and alien encounters, and we’re pretty happy. Steampunk, time travel, weird west and alternate history are all fine.
== Are between 3,000 and 6,000 words.
We’re especially looking for stories:
== Of adventure! We love a good dystopia as much as the next robot, but remember – this is the young explorer’s adventure guide.
== Where the main character is of a population that has traditionally been under-represented in science fiction, e.g. girls, people of color, differently abled people;
== Where the main character has agency, exercises it, and isn’t just along for the ride.
We’re not interested in:
== Stories where the female characters primarily exist to be rescued or as a prize for the males;
== Stories where the primary plot or subplot is romantic in nature;
== Stories with graphic violence or any form of sexual activity;
== Stories about the first girl to do X, surprising everyone;
== Stories that depict any ethnicity or gender as universally bad or stupid.
Please note: although we’re aware kids have a wide and varied vocabulary, we’d prefer not to have swearing in the stories. If your story has swearing, please rephrase before submitting.
Submission deadline, mechanics and planned schedule
== Anthology will be open for submissions from January 15– May 15, 2016, with a reading period of June and July 2016.
== While we prefer original stories, if you have something perfect that had a limited run elsewhere, query us and we’ll talk;
== Acceptance notices will be sent by July 31, 2016;
== In August we will launch a crowd-funding campaign to help with pre-publication costs. Regardless of results of crowd-funding campaign, we are committed to publishing the anthology. We’ve successfully funded the previous two anthologies this way, chances are favorable.
Rights and Payments
== Authors will be provided with a complete Anthology Contract for review and consideration with the notice of accepted submissions.
== In keeping with SWFA’s new guidelines, we pay $0.06/word on final edited word count for one-year exclusive worldwide rights, print and electronic, and two contributor copies. Payment upon final edit.
== We also buy the nonexclusive right to republish, print, or reprint the complete anthology in any language or format after the first year.
== If the crowd-funding fails, please note that we are still committed to this anthology, and will find other ways to fund the project. However, there may be delays. If authors feel the need to withdraw their submission due to delays, we understand.
== We will provide professional editing, primarily for issues of grammar and spelling.
== If authors have other questions about rights or payments, please contact us before submission. We want to make sure all concerns are addressed.
More questions? Check the full description page for last year's anthology here. Have more questions? Contact us!
31 May 2016 -- Where the Stars Rise -- ed. Lucas K. Law & Derwin Mak
Proposed Sub-Title: Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories
Proposed Series Title: Laksa Anthology Series: Speculative Fiction
Genre: All original short speculative fiction
Theme: This speculative fiction anthology contains original stories to celebrate Asian diversity, featuring an Asian main character, Asian setting and/or some amount of Asian elements, by authors with an Asian heritage.
We consider Asian countries as those defined by United Nations in Wikipedia. Authors do not need to reside in Asia to participate in this anthology.
We welcome translated story from other languages to English (no English reprints, please).
Proposed Anthology: We are looking for stories to celebrate character diversity (ethnic, age, walks of life/socio-economics, sexuality, etc.). We leave the question as to what determine Asian theme open so not to restrict creativity. No stereotypes or clichéd portrayal of cultures or stories based purely on showing the strangeness or exoticism of a culture. No erotica. Cross-genre is encouraged. This anthology is geared towards Young Adult and Adult.
== A portion of Laksa Media’s net revenue from this anthology will go directly to support Kids Help Phone.
== Laksa Media will donate CAN$500 upon the publication of this anthology to Kids Help Phone.
Length: <7,000 words File Format: .doc, .docx, or .rtf only Use Submittable to submit your story for this anthology (DO NOT USE the Laksa Media online submission form).
No reprints: No simultaneous submissions: No multiple submissions.
We want to have a balance between science fiction and fantasy, with at least 50% science fiction.
However, anthology editors tend to receive more fantasy than science fiction submissions. Therefore, we encourage more science fiction stories of all varieties (space opera, time-travel thrillers, interesting new approaches to classic themes, near-future technology, techno-thrillers, science mystery, Asian-punk) because, for an ethno-cultural based anthology, they would help to mitigate the Orientalism that influences Western perceptions of cultures east of Constantinople.
Our media is already filled with mystical gurus, genies, and kung-fu monks. We are not saying our anthology has no room for fantasy-based stories, but we are saying that we need to expand the perception and show that Asians do know science and engineering, that they’re not just mystics with magical powers.
We are happy to accept fantasy-related fiction, but we are prioritizing the reading of the SF submissions.
UPDATE (February 15, 2016): Since our submissions call was announced, our submissions have been skewing heavily towards fantasy with little science fiction. We want to have a balance between fantasy and science fiction, at least 50/50. Therefore, we encourage more submissions of science fiction. A weak story of either genre will not be published, but a strong science fiction story currently has a greater chance of being accepted than a strong fantasy story. We will continue to accept fantasy stories.
Please use standard manuscript format! No strange or extremely small fonts!
We encourage submissions to feature the following:
== Protagonists with diverse experiences including (but not limited to) QUILTBAG, gender diversity, neuro-diverse, mentally ill, people with disability, chronic illness and other impairments, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities, any marginalized and under-represented group.
== Speculative fiction from or about diverse perspectives and traditionally under-represented groups, settings, and cultures, written from a non-exoticizing and well-researched position. Any political issues should be addressed in complex and nuanced ways, resisting the temptation to oversimplify or stereotyping the situations.
Reading Period (open for submission): December 1, 2015 to May 31, 2016
Advance Payment to Contributors: Contributors will be paid CAN 6 cents per word. The payment is an advance against royalties. A contributor’s copy is included. Payment will be on acceptance of final edited story.
Rights: First World Rights for anthology in the English-language. Exclusive rights prior to publication and for a period of one year after the publication and non-exclusive rights for the anthology thereafter where the contributors are free to resell. Exception to the exclusive rights is when the story is accepted for a “best of the year” anthology.
All rights granted will revert to the Author if Laksa Media fails to publish the Work within 24 months of the date of the signed Agreement (between anthologists/editors and authors).
1 June 2016 -- Steampunk Universe -- ed. Sarah Hans; Alliteration Ink
Much like the award-winning anthology Steampunk World, Steampunk Universe will be a multicultural anthology of steampunk stories. But this time, the anthology will focus on characters who do not identify as abled or neurotypical.
This call for submissions is aimed particularly at marginalized writers, especially those who are identify as members of a minority, LGBTQ, and particularly those themselves who do not identify as abled or neurotypical.
Stories are due by June 1, 2016 to email@example.com. Ideally, decisions will be made by July 1, and the anthology will be crowdfunded shortly thereafter. Writers will be paid $.06/word for original stories. I’m not looking for reprints at this time. Deadline extensions will not be granted. Your story should be submitted in Standard Manuscript Format (please check and double-check that your name and email address are on the first page!) as an email attachment in .doc, .docx or .rtf format. The subject of your message should read [Submission: Story Title by Author Name]. If your submission doesn’t conform to these specifications it may be deleted unread.
What I’m looking for:
Your story should take place in a non-White and preferably non-Anglophone culture.
Your story should contain and have as a focus a character with at least one disability. It should be a major element of the story. I want to explore how steampunk technology changes the lives of people who are aneurotypical or disabled, for better or for worse. I’d love to see characters who are also members of other marginalized groups (such as LGBTQ characters).
Your story should contain steampunk elements. I get a lot of submissions with steampunk exoskeletons and dirigibles, but not many with spaceships or submarines. I’d really like authors to stretch themselves and instead of just writing alternate history, set the story in a parallel universe or on another planet. Read Tobias Buckell’s excellent story "Love Comes to Abyssal City" for an example.
I have already committed to stories taking place in North America, England, and China. While we may commit to more stories featuring other cultures in those regions, we strongly encourage you to explore stories that take place in the diverse cultures of Central/South America, Asia, and Africa.
I have likewise committed to stories with prosthetic limbs, steam-powered hearts, and blindness. While I may commit to another story with those elements, we strongly encourage you to explore other possibilities.
I’m unlikely to buy stories that:
Feature a disability as a superpower, such as the trope of the autistic super-detective.
Involve the protagonist bravely sacrificing himself/herself at the end of the story so the able/neurotypical characters can survive (seriously, this is becoming a cliché)
Are longer than 5,000 words (bonus points if you can keep it under 4,000)
Contain graphic sex or violence, rape, women in refrigerators, etc. If the content of your story means you wouldn’t be comfortable reading it to your eleven-year-old, don’t submit it to me.
Have only magical elements and no technological ones. I love a good gaslamp fantasy, but this is not the market for it. I want gadgets and goggles!
The fastest way to get responses to questions is on Twitter. Questions may be directed to @steampunkpanda or @AlliterationInk. The best way to tell what kind of story I am likely to buy is to read Steampunk World.
1 June 2016 -- The Shell Game -- ed. Kim Adrian; University of Nebraska Press
PAYMENT: $100, plus two copies of anthology, plus $100 coupon to UNP Books
RIGHTS: Permission to publish (right to include work in book, ebook, and translations of the book). Author retains all other rights.
CALL FOR MANUSCRIPTS
Within the recent explosion of creative nonfiction, a curious new sub-genre is quietly emerging. Hybrids in the truest sense, "hermit crab" essays borrow their structures from ordinary, extra-literary sources (a recipe, a police report, a pack of cards, an obituary…) to use as a framework for a lyric meditation on the chosen subject. In the best examples, the borrowed structures are less contrived than inevitable, managing not only to give shape to the work but to illuminate and exemplify its subject. Here are a couple of great examples of the form:
== "The Professor of Longing" by Jill Talbot
== "The Son of Mr. Green Jeans: an Essay on Fatherhood, Alphabetically Arranged," by Dinty Moore (press full screen option to read essay)
Submissions are open for an anthology of essays of this type, to be published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2018. Seeking brand new work (not previously published). Word count between 750 and 8,000. No plain-jane listicles, please (confused about what constitutes a listicle? See this article). However, if you have a fancy-jane listicle (meaning: if you are doing something really thoughtful with the form), please feel free send it on. Simultaneous submissions okay, but please notify of acceptance elsewhere as soon as possible. Questions? Contact the editor at: kimadrian115 [@] gmail [.] com