Call For Short Story Submissions! [$25-$50 AUD + Royalties + Printed Copy] **UPDATED**

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Anumie

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Please note that AbsoluteWrite and my personal website http://belindapepper.com are the only places I am advertising this offer. So if you have friends who might like to participate, please refer them here or to my site for info. Thanks! :D


PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED A NUMBER OF TIMES.

PLEASE READ THROUGH THIS POST AGAIN BEFORE SUBMITTING YOUR STORY.

I’m looking for short story submissions to be included in a series of anthologies.

Would you like to participate in a mass experiment that will benefit you and other writers? Think you’ve got what it takes to write a kickass short story? Read on!

ANTHOLOGY INFO AND UPDATES WILL BE POSTED BELOW, SO PLEASE BOOKMARK THIS POST

SUBMISSIONS OPEN: September 1st, 2012
SUBMISSIONS CLOSE: Once anthology positions are filled
EXPECTED ANTHOLOGY RELEASE DATE: December 1st, 2012

What Are My Goals?

I’d like to establish the best way for authors to market their work for the biggest profits.
First and foremost, this knowledge is for my own benefit. When I publish my stories, I want them to be as successful as possible, as quickly as possible. But secondly, I’d like to teach my fellow writers to replicate my success (this is me trying to make a deposit to my karma bank).
The goal of these anthologies is to test marketing strategies and establish the best method. I consider my “project” successful when the authors earn a great sum in royalties and I earn enough to at least cover all my expenses.



ANTHOLOGY INFO

So what will these anthologies be about? What sort of story should you submit?


Accepted genres:
  • Thriller (Adult)
  • Mystery (Adult)
  • Action (Adult)
  • Low-tech sci-fi (Adult)
  • Horror (Adult)
Allowances:
Swearing, violence, drug use, gore, etc is permitted, as long as these things don’t preceed the telling of a good story.
If including sex scenes, please don’t make them excessive/ pornographic. I’m not publishing erotica. NO RAPE SCENES (personal irk).

Plot:
I’m not giving specifics regarding plot. I want the writer to be creative. I’m providing rough book covers below as your “prompt” for the story. If your story suits the book cover, that’s all I’m asking for.

Book Cover “Prompts”
(Please note that the book covers below are just rough drafts)

covers1-2b.jpg

covers3-4b.jpg



PAYMENT

If your submission is accepted, you will receive your advance payment:
2500 words: $25
5000 words: $50

I’ll be paying in Aussie dollars (AUD).
All payments will be made via PayPal.

Please keep submissions as close to one of the above word counts as possible, as you will be paid appropriately.
If, however, you produce an awesome story and it is not close to one of the above word counts, talk to me and we’ll see if I can work out a custom payment for you.

I’m aiming to publish three to six short stories per anthology.

Once the anthology earns out its advance payments, I will pay royalties, to be paid out every 3 months.
So if an anthology has 5 short stories, and each short story author was paid $25, the anthology would have to earn $125 in profits before royalty payments begin.

Royalties will be 10% of profits earned per anthology.
So if an anthology has 5 short stories and has earned out its advance, each author will receive 10% of the anthology’s profits. This means that 50% of the book’s profits will go to the authors.

Royalties will continue to be paid for a further 2 years after publishing rights have reverted back to the author.



PUBLISHING

As all publishing costs will be coming out of my pocket, initially the anthology will only be published in digital format. Each contributing author will receive a digital contributer's copy of the book.
If the books earn enough to support a publishing run*, I will publish paperback and/or hardcover versions of the book.
If the books earn a publishing run, each contributing author will receive a printed contributer's copy of the book.

*I’m currently waiting to hear back from the printers regarding price quotes.


MARKETING

I will be taking care of all marketing. Authors need not have any further input beyond the actual short story itself. Of course, authors are welcome to help promote the anthology, but it’s not expected.

Initially the anthology will be published in digital format, so all marketing strategies will focus on getting as many digital book sales as possible.

If the anthology is published as a paperback and/or hardcover, it will be distributed through the Ingram Book Company (a reach of 30,000 wholesalers, retailers and booksellers in over 100 countries). It will also be made available to Amazon customers, Barnes & Noble, and any other book distributers/sellers I can reach.

I will be employing every successful marketing method I know of, as well as testing new methods.

My priority will be making each anthology as successful as possible, so I’ll be marketing each book like it was my own baby!


INDIVIDUAL DISTRIBUTION

I would prefer to keep the short stories together as an anthology. But if I find that as part of a successful marketing strategy it would be best to release the short stories individually as well as an anthology, I will do so.
Of course, if a short story is published separately from the anthology, the story’s author will receive 10% of profits earned from the individual story. This is in addition to the royalties earned from the anthology. Royalties from individual sales will be added to and paid with royalties earned from the anthology.


COPYRIGHT

The author submitting the story must own full rights. The story must be completely original and not previously published or otherwise distributed in any other form, either digitally or otherwise.

After your submission is accepted and the advance is paid, I will be granted exclusive publishing rights. You will no longer have the right to publish or distribute the story either digitally or otherwise, in whole or in part, without my permission, for a period of 2 years.

After this two year period, rights will be reverted back to the author, though I must still retain rights to publish the work (in the formats established during the initial 2 year period- I will NOT be granted permission to release new formats).

Please note that I’m pretty laid back, so if you ask for permission to use the work (e.g. to release an audio book) during the initial 2 year period, chances are high that I will grant permission as long as it doesn’t conflict with my marketing/publishing efforts.
Stories that are submitted but NOT accepted will remain the property of the author. I will not print or otherwise distribute any stories either digitally or otherwise, in whole or in part, that have not been accepted.



EDITING

I will not accept rough drafts. But if your story shows a lot of promise but needs a little work, I may ask you (the author) to make the changes. If the work shows promise and I think I can help, I’m also happy to help work with the author with editing/rewrites, free of charge.


SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

Submissions begin September 1st, 2012.

Submissions close once the spots for the anthology are filled (I may create a new anthology to accommodate submissions if I get heaps of great work, money permitting).

Emails should be sent to writers AT belindapepper.com
(replace “AT” with “@” and remove spaces)

The subject line of the email should be as following:

Submission – [anthology name] – [Author name] – [Word count]

For example:
Submission – Innocent – John Doe – 2465



Within the body of your email, include the following info:
  • Your real name
  • Your pen name (if applicable)
  • Your Paypal address
  • The anthology your submission is for
  • Story title
  • Word count (word count as given by Microsoft Word is fine)
  • A short synopsis
  • Anything else you want to share
Note: Please make sure your synopsis is as good as possible! I will treat the synopsis as a sample of your writing skills. If your synopsis is awful, I might not read your story.
Attach your short story submission as a Word Document (please ensure the file format is .doc).

The title of your Word Document should be as follows:

[author name]-[anthology name]-[word count]

For example:
JohnDoe-Innocent-2465.doc

I’m not going to be too picky about the exact formatting of the Word Document, as I will likely be changing the formatting anyway. Please just make sure it’s easy to read (e.g. clear font, fat margins, decent line-spacing, a space between paragraphs, etc).

Please do not submit rough drafts. Submissions should be edited to the best of your ability.

Please do not submit any short stories that are in the process of being considered by agents/publishers/etc.

You are welcome to submit more than one story per anthology, and/or submit a story to each anthology.

Please do not resubmit rejected submissions.


RESPONSE TIME

Obviously my aim is to respond to submissions ASAP. But please give me 4 weeks per submission to respond.
If I haven’t responded by 4 weeks, feel free to send a follow-up to check that I received your work.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks for taking the time to read this MAMMOTH post! I sincerely hope I’ve offered something of value to you guys and gals!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. You can reach me quickest via email, but I’ll be sure to check here for comments too, just in case.
 
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Izz

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Sounds like a neat endeavor, Belinda :)

Quick question (i'm pretty sure i didn't see this in the post above or on your site): what genres are you looking for, or is it all-inclusive (i.e. you'll be publishing literary stories next to SF, etc)?
 

escritora

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After I pay for your work, I may decide to make edits to the work myself (or hire an editor to make the edits for me). If, after such changes, you no longer wish to be recognised as an author of the work, just let me know and I will remove your name/pen name from the work.

Is this normal in the Anthology world? The publisher can make changes and the writer doesn't have the option of withdrawing the story and giving back the payment?
 

Izz

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Is this normal in the Anthology world? The publisher can make changes and the writer doesn't have the option of withdrawing the story and giving back the payment?
No, definitely not normal. Missed that in my reading before. That's a bit of a red flag for me, actually. Typical procedure is for an editor to work with an author on edits, with the author having the right to refuse changes (though in my small experience as a small zine editor, very few writers get tetchy over edits).
 

escritora

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Typical procedure is for an editor to work with an author on edits, with the author having the right to refuse changes

Thanks, Izzy. That's exactly what I'm used to and wondered if the anthology world worked differently.

Also, I'm wondering why Belinda will be credited as a co-author instead of an editor. And why her name needs to appear at all. The latter is simply curiosity. The "co-author" part is a concern.
 

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This made me squick:
After your submission is accepted and the advance is paid, copyright is transferred to me. The story will become my property. You will no longer have the right to publish or distribute the story either digitally or otherwise, in whole or in part, without my permission.
So once sold, we can never sale it again as a reprint. Not even to a podcast. Also means you can't put an excerpt up on your own site, which a lot of writer do to help garner interest.
 

Anumie

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Thanks for the feedback everyone! :D

Sounds like a neat endeavor, Belinda :)

Thanks! I'm pretty damn excited about it. :D

Quick question (i'm pretty sure i didn't see this in the post above or on your site): what genres are you looking for, or is it all-inclusive (i.e. you'll be publishing literary stories next to SF, etc)?

Will be publishing this information shortly at the bottom of the original post. I was just eager to get the "bones" of this project up for feedback & questions. ;)

Also, BIG thanks for the feedback regarding the editing issue. I certainly don't want to do anything that will put off writers! Doing things that way seemed to make sense when I first planned this all out, but I see now that it's probably not the best clause. I will change the original post shortly- please let me know how I go. ;)

The co-author thing (as well as the editing thing, actually), was written under the presumption there was a good chance I might have to rewrite passages to make it read better/ pack more punch/ etc.
But I think that rather than making this a clause, I'll simply work directly with the author on a case by case basis.

I certainly don't want to take away the spotlight from the real talent behind the work (thus why I'm keeping the author name on the work despite taking over copyright). If I can work it out so I AM just an editor/publisher/marketer, all the better.

Okay, I'll edit my clauses a bit. Bear with me. :D

And thank you for not shooting me down! I'm new with this kind of project, so I'm totally open to tweaking my clauses.

Updates and further info incoming!
 

Anumie

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This made me squick:
So once sold, we can never sale it again as a reprint. Not even to a podcast. Also means you can't put an excerpt up on your own site, which a lot of writer do to help garner interest.

Without my permission. ;) And chances are darn good that I'll grant permission, unless your product will be in direct competition with what I'm trying to market.

The goal of this is to create a highly successful marketing method for authors. My work would be hindered if I'm forced to compete with an identical product.

I want to work with the author, not against him/her. So I'll do everything I can to make sure the author gets the maximum benefit without ruining my own hard work.

Let me know if the copyright thing is still putting people off.
 

defcon6000

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So I have to ask for permission... even ten years from now? Most (if not all) anthologies only retain exclusive rights for a few years, then it reverts back to the author. I prefer it that way, rather than having to continual go back and ask the editor. And if you die (because I'm morbid like that), who do the rights go to then?
 

Anumie

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So I have to ask for permission... even ten years from now? Most (if not all) anthologies only retain exclusive rights for a few years, then it reverts back to the author. I prefer it that way, rather than having to continual go back and ask the editor.

Hmm, good point! I only need exclusive rights for as long as it takes me to establish my marketing method. Will fix up that clause, too!

And if you die (because I'm morbid like that), who do the rights go to then?

Lol That's okay, so if I die, rights go to my next of kin/ person who takes over all my business ventures. That person can either choose to revert copyright immediately and "close up shop" as it were, or wait until my copyright period is up.

Thanks again for the feedback! Mucho appreciated. :D
 

escritora

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(thus why I'm keeping the author name on the work despite taking over copyright).

The norm is the author retains copyright of the work. For example, in my book with Penguin, my name is listed as the copyright holder for the text.
 

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Let me know if the copyright thing is still putting people off.
Yes, it is still off-putting to me. :)

When i sell a short story to a venue, i'm not really selling the short story. I'm selling the rights to print that short story for a period of time (exactly which rights are usually detailed in the contract--first electronic rights, reprint rights, audio rights, etc). Usually i'm selling those as exclusive rights (so i can't sell the story elsewhere, self-pub, etc) for a period of time (i've seen contracts that have varied between 3 months and 3 years--though most are between 6 months to a year from date of publishing), possibly with an option for non-exclusive archival rights once the time period for the exclusive rights is finished (if the venue is an e-zine, for example).

That period of exclusivity purchased is what gives the purchaser a real advantage, because it means the story can't be published elsewhere during that time period. Zines, anthologies, etc, really only have a limited window in which they're going to sell, so that works well, while still allowing the author opportunity to make more money from their creation after the period of exclusivity has finished.

I would not feel comfortable selling my copyright to a story. Even after i've sold rights to a story somewhere, the story remains my property.

Most contracts also have a reversion clause, which sets out how long the market is allowed to hold the work without publishing it before all rights revert back to the author.

There are example contracts around which you might want to look at. Here's a link to Lightspeed's typical contract (they're an SFWA-approved market, and very well respected): http://lightspeedmagazine.com/ls_docs/lightspeed_original_contract_template.pdf
 
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Anumie, i notice you've changed your guidelines re editing (i'm not trying to pile on, honest :), just hoping to help).

Bear in mind that it's quite normal, and expected, for an editor to work with an author on edits (though not usually major rewrites) once a story has been purchased. It's certainly a good idea to send a revise and rewrite request before a story's purchased if you think there needs to be major changes before you'd publish it (this also gives the author an easy option to not pursue if they don't want to make the changes), but if the story only needs minor edits then working with the author on them after buying the story is all good :)
 

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Thanks again, Escritora & Izz!


I've changed the copyright section to give me exclusive publishing rights only, for a two year period (hopefully long enough to do what I need).

After that period, I retain non-exclusive rights to continue publishing the product/s I already have in circulation.

With Defcon's comment in mind, I also altered the payment plan so that royalties will be paid for a further two years after the rights go back to the author (author receives royalties from me for a total of 4 years).

This stops me from being forever tied to managing royalty payments.

I'm hoping this is fair to the author. By the end of two years, I should have a very solid marketing strategy. This strategy will be shared with the authors at the end of the initial 2 year period. This gives the author 2 years (the same time I had) to market their own work (if they choose) before they lose my support in payments.

Just as an FYI, authors are welcome to "knock me off my perch" with the info they glean from my marketing strategy. Only fair! ;)

I've added info regarding the anthologies to the original post. :D

I'm going to be crazy busy for the next day or so, but will be back here asap to see if you all have further feedback for me!

And thank you again for "setting me straight" kindly. I feel like such a dork for not getting clauses right the first time around. :p

Cheers all!
 

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PUBLISHING
As all publishing costs will be coming out of my pocket, initially the anthology will only be published in digital format. Each contributing author will receive a digital copy of the book as a gift.

If the books earn enough to support a publishing run, I will publish paperback and/or hardcover versions of the book.

If the books earn a publishing run, each contributing author will receive a printed copy of the book as a gift.

This is a bit vague. How much copies does the book need to sell to validate a print run?
 

Anumie

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This is a bit vague. How much copies does the book need to sell to validate a print run?


I'll see if I can gather more information on this for you all. It's difficult to get exact amounts before I have the product in hand (including number of pages, etc), but I'll see if I can get the distributors to give me a ceiling cost so we at least know the "worst case scenario".

Will give the update the second I have the info in hand!
 

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By the way, are there any AWers who think they might be interested, given the changes to the clauses?

I'm immensely grateful that you've all helped me with the details, but I'm also hoping that my writers will be AWers! :D
 

eternalised

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I would be interested, if there's a genuine possibility of this becoming a paperback (I'm a bit of an old-fashioned person, and I want to fill an entire book case with books I contributed in.) I'm also excited to see what you'd come up with in terms of marketing.

I'm a bit of a marketing enthusiast myself (worked as a publicist, now offer freelance publicist services) and from that point of view, my only concern may be that to gain a larger audience some of the covers may not be that attractive. They look pretty simple (especially the last two, they're basically just images with a font slapped on). But apart from that, it looks like you got the basics covered to make this successful.

Also, I'm confused about whether all anthologies will be mixes of genres around the theme - like Innocents, or Crescendo) or each anthology will have their own genre. Most anthologies I've read so far focus on one genre, mainly because that's easier to sell - then you'd have like a horror anthology, for which you could probably make a scarier cover, a sci-fi anthology, etc.

Just adding my two cents here. I hope you don't mind! These are just some thoughts I have from my experience with publishers and anthologies.
 

Anumie

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my only concern may be that to gain a larger audience some of the covers may not be that attractive. They look pretty simple (especially the last two, they're basically just images with a font slapped on).

Totally agree with you there, but please keep in mind that those covers are only super-rough drafts. Each cover took the whole of 2 minutes to put together. :tongue The only reason I put them up in this early stage is to serve as a prompt for writers.

Please be assured that the covers will look A LOT better by the time they are finished! ;)

Also, I'm confused about whether all anthologies will be mixes of genres around the theme - like Innocents, or Crescendo) or each anthology will have their own genre.

I'm doing research on this right now, actually! :)

Some lines of thought (particularly regarding marketing in the online realm) are that anthologies will gain more sales if you have mixed- but closely related- genres. That is, people who read low-tech sci-fi will also likely read thrillers and horror (just as an example). By covering more genres, you have more "tentacles" out there drawing in customers. This is an overly simplified version of the tactic of course, but there's the gist of it.
There's also the matter that some stories will suit a number of genres (for example, many zombie novels can be listed under low-tech sci-fi, horror, and/or action).

But ultimately, I'll do what achieves the best sales results, even if that means marketing twice the number (or more) of anthologies so that each genre gets its own anthology.

This is part of the reason I'm not overly concerned with making a profit for myself from this endeavour.
If I have to use 100% of my share of the profits in order to gain the highest possible sales, so be it!
The purpose is to gain marketing knowledge, while also making sure the authors get maximum benefit (because of course, the next "stage of the game" is to apply these marketing tactics to my OWN books, where I'LL be the author).
 

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I would be interested, if there's a genuine possibility of this becoming a paperback (I'm a bit of an old-fashioned person, and I want to fill an entire book case with books I contributed in.)

I'm the same way. :D I'm waiting very impatiently for my publishing quotes.
 

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Hi Anumie,

The part that is throwing me off is whether you actually have the chops to edit these collections. I mean no offense, but editing is a completely different skill than writing or marketing (which are, themselves, two different skills, as you know). Having your own novel out is great, but it doesn't mean you're an editor, nor does the fact that you are a (presumably) skilled marketer.

My two cents.
 

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The part that is throwing me off is whether you actually have the chops to edit these collections. I mean no offense, but editing is a completely different skill than writing or marketing (which are, themselves, two different skills, as you know).

No offence taken- I'm a big advocate for professional editing.

If the submissions I receive need more editing than I am capable of (I do have a lot of experience with editing, though only as a freelancer), I'll eat the cost of getting it professionally done. I have a number of friends who are professional editors who are bound to give me a decent price for the service. Marketing has its perks- you meet a lot of people. :D

I also have a group of friends who are successful, published authors who will read over the work before I publish, to check I'm not about to inflict any goofy mistakes on the general public.

I want these books to be as successful as possible. That won't happen if we get a bunch of crappy reviews for typos and plot holes. ;)
 

Unimportant

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Let me know if the copyright thing is still putting people off.
Absolutely putting me off.

I'll sell first rights for pennies per word. But I've never signed over copyright -- which, in reality, would allow the purchaser to publish the work with their name instead of mine as author, and indeed has happened as such -- for less than a dollar per word.

Rights revert, but I'm not sure copyright can.

Why in heaven's name do you want to hold the copyright? (Adding: Your website says that you are asking for exclusive publication rights, not copyright. You do know that these are not the same thing, right?)
 

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Unimportant & Screenscope:
If you check the above original post, you'll see that I've changed the copyright clause based on the feedback I've received on this thread. ;)

Asking for copyright was my ignorance of accepted procedure for this kind of project. I've spent years working with contracted writers who lost copyright as soon as the work was paid for. Obviously, these scenarios were very different to what we're dealing with here. Nope, I don't need copyright- just the publishing rights. That's why the clause has been changed. ;)
 
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