I share this tale of woe incurred by my last 2 submissions to anthologies so I might save someone else. Please stop, listen to the little man in the back of your mind sending out warnings.
Elm Books sent out a call for 2 new anthologies, one a mystery (very. very cozy) and the other a SciFi/fantasy that must have a protagonist with a disability, light not gloomy.
I thought, "Boy, do I have a story for you." It had been a pretty dry time for anthology calls and I was delighted. I had a fantasy story I'd written on a whim several years ago that didn't seem to fit anywhere. I also had a mystery story I could send.
I sent off both stories, ignoring the little man telling me to beware. It was only when I asked the editor some questions did I really get nervous. You have to sign off your rights for SEVEN YEARS! For a short story. First warning, #1 my writer-friends, check to see about your rights for the story.
I ordered and read their previous mystery anthology. Big warning #2: The stories were good, inventive, but something was wrong. It finally hit me at the next to the last story I read - The stories were all different, the characters were different, BUT THE VOICE WAS THE SAME. It seems to me that the editor really wanted to edit those stories and put his imprint on them.
And Warning #3, no mention of when the new anthologies were due out.
Stories had to be submitted on November 30 for one genre, and December 1 for the other. Concern about how this anthology was edited, etc., had me nervous. So I gave myself a January 31 deadline. No hear, no deal. Yeah, yeah, I know the holidays were just ahead in November and December, but they always are every year and should have been taken into consideration when setting the deadlines.
By January 30 I hadn't heard a word, which still gave me time to jerk my stories out of consideration. The only other time I did that was when the editor didn't return emails past an acceptable time. Although he was a friend of mine, I called back the stories.
I later learned he had personal problems. I didn't feel guilty about reneging on that particular anthology. Nothing happened it, no progress was made and it seemed it was never going to reach publication, anyway.
So, I called back my two stories and started looking at other short story calls. Make a Note - **January and February are loaded with calls for submissions**.
BUT, guess what! I'll be darned if I didn't get this email on February 2, 2018!
Dear Authors — > I’m thrilled to inform you that > we’ve chosen your stories for our upcoming Death by Cupcake anthology. > There were a lot of stories submitted, and we only chose the > very best. > > I also want to thank you for your > patience during this process. I know it took a long time, > but the resulting anthology will be well worth it. > > We are still hammering out the > contract details. However, please keep your eyes open for a > short story contract arriving in your email soon. > > Congratulations and best regards (yada, yada, yada) >_________________
So, I guess my stories will be in the Anthology. It's always great to get another publication but one needs to do their homework. Look for those 3 Warnings!
So, if you have uneasy feelings about submissions, talk it out with someone. Google the publisher and see what other authors have to say. If you don't, you could end up in a Seven Year Contract that you really don't want.
As you can see, the road to indie publishing can be daunting, and it’s littered with the carcasses of failed books. But if you choose this path, do it with your eyes wide open and make every effort to present your book in the most professional manner possible—because your competition is not only other indie-published books whose authors have figured out how to navigate that road, but books from the traditional publishers who built it.
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Roh Morgon is an indie author of “urban fantasy with a romantic bite.” She recently released two books from her series The Chosen—a second edition of Watcher: Book I of The Chosen with a new edit, additional scenes, and a new cover; and its sequel, Runner: Book II of The Chosen. She can be found on her blog, Facebook, and Amazon.
Here’s a short blurb on Watcher:
Sunny Martin’s been a monster - or so she thinks - since the night she was drained of her blood and left for dead. But when she falls in love with Nicolas, the mysterious leader of The Chosen, she discovers a startling truth behind her savage nature which may force her to choose between her heart and the last remnant of her human soul.