Monday, 11 July 2016

Hints and tips for submitting for an anthology

Once again I am coordinating an anthology – this time it is ‘Love & Lust in Space’ for Sexy Little Pages publishing firm (the previous two were Men for Hire 1 and 2 for Luminosity Publishing).

I love reading through submissions and picking and choosing which stories will fit together for the final anthology, but the hard part is rejecting stories.

Reasons I may reject a story:

1.   It doesn’t fit the requirements – in particular the length of the story! It may be that authors are too excited about submitting and don’t read the requirements clearly or that they think they can extend/decrease it at editing stage. However, I will reject these before even reading (with a note that if they extend or decrease the words to fit the requirements I will reconsider along with other submissions. I may still reject it based on the other points below).
TIP FOR THE AUTHOR: read the submission requirements.

2.   It may be a great story but it doesn’t fit with the tone of the anthology or the other stories submitted. For example, the synopsis for the anthology might be contemporary but an author might have taken you at your word for far out ideas and come up with a story that is more suited to sci-fi. It doesn’t mean an outright rejection – rejection for the anthology, but it might be possible to suggest to the publisher that it will be a good standalone story. I know that some publishers have had stories submitted that are the wrong genre altogether, eg, a car manual sent to a romance publisher!
TIP FOR THE AUTHOR: consider the spec for the anthology and/or type of story that publisher produces.

3.   Writing issues, eg, poor grammar and punctuation, head hopping issues, overlong paragraphs. I have gone back to authors who have asked me to look at their stories with exactly these issues. Head hopping is something new authors in particular have a problem with (eg, changing the point of view back and forth from one character to another making it hard on the reader to know which character is doing the thinking). Other reasons for these issues might be dyslexia problems or just having a story inside that you want to get out. Unfortunately, you also have to work at the ‘craft’ of your writing. We all have some writing issues when we submit our stories, but try to give it a really good edit before submitting (some authors even have ‘beta’ readers to comment before they submit). Now, I am the first person to admit that when I submitted my first story I had a lot of head hopping issues, but my publisher was kind enough to explain the issue and work through it. This isn’t always easy with anthologies as you can only accept such a few stories that you go with the best ones.
TIP FOR THE AUTHOR: only send your submission when you are sure it is of good quality (that doesn’t mean it will be rejected if there are a few mistakes but if an acquisitions editor is pulled out of the story because of multiple mistakes, it will affect whether they choose you or not).

4.   The deadline has passed – I have been known to extend the deadline if an author is desperate to submit or I am still wanting more submissions (so have other publishers). However, once stories have been selected and the decision confirmed with the publisher it is too late.
TIP FOR THE AUTHOR: try to get it in before the deadline but if all else fails contact the editor to see if the deadline can be extended

5.   Wrong sexual orientation. Sometimes we leave it open to see how many MF/MM or menage stories are submitted with the intention of having two or more anthologies but if you only get one MM story, for instance, it is not going to sit well with the others if they are all MF. In that case, we have held that story back (with the permission of the author) and put out a new submission call for a follow up anthology for MM only stories (as in the case of Men for Hire 2). Some publishers specify MF or MM only in their requirements.
TIP FOR THE AUTHOR: not much you can do here as it depends what other stories are submitted but if the requirements as specific make sure you send it to the right address with appropriate subject heading

6.   There is at least one other story submitted with the same type of plot, for instance, two or more hunky alien men arriving on Earth looking for their soulmate. They may be different enough, but if one had enough to choose from I will pick a range of storylines to make it an interesting anthology.
TIP FOR THE AUTHOR: Try to make your story unusual enough or have a twist bearing in mind what I said in number 2!

The deadline for Love & Lust in Space anthology is 6 August (no intention of extending the deadline at this moment in time!). Further details below and here

Sci-fi is a great medium for erotica where any type of pairing is acceptable, locations are immensely varied from spaceships to strange and futuristic worlds, and exciting objects can be used in sex play. We’re looking for innovative stories of people enjoying great sex in the future encompassing a range of diverse characters. Sex-positive stories only, please. Your tone can be as romantic or filthy as you like, but this is an erotica anthology so sex of some kind has to take place, but it isn’t necessary to have an HEA.

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