The Requirements for Submitting Anything

If you don't read this page, don't complain when I reject you.
 

Requirement #1: Good Writing Mechanics

Command of English. If you're not a competent writer, I will not read past the first page. If you have the best story EVER, it won't matter if you cannot present it professionally. I don't mind a typo here or a misspelling there, but if the first few pages is full of them, something's wrong.

Vocabulary. You don't have to be a walking thesaurus, but I'm looking for intelligent, competently written stories that transcend the sixth-grade reading level.

Good dialogue. If your dialogue is contrived, I'll stop reading. I advise that writers read their dialogue out loud; if it sounds contrived, you'll probably know.

Please, edit your manuscripts and polish them until they shine before submitting.

Requirement #2: Story Structure

There are many definitions of "story," but mine are very specific. If your story doesn't have the following five elements, don't send it:

Protagonist. There must be at least one. He can be good, bad, or indifferent, but he should be flawed and have some motivation for working toward the plot's resolution.

Antagonist. There must be at least one. He can be good, bad, or indifferent. It can be nature, or the protagonist working against himself, or something intangible. But he/she/it must work against the protagonist.

Plot. There must be a real plot; something must happen.

Resolution. The plot must be resolved, and your protagonist must participate in that resolution; he cannot be a bystander watching it all happen. (To paraphrase Twain, a story should accomplish something and arrive somewhere.)

Change. At the end of the story, the protagonist must have changed in some way. If he's the same guy he was at the beginning of the story, it won't fly for me.

If your story lacks ANY ONE of those things, don't send it. If you don't like the requirements, please don't submit. I will reject any story lacking those five elements, no matter how well it's written.

Requirement #3: Manuscript Format

Observe standard manuscript format, or something reasonably close to it. If you don't know what that means, don't submit. Learn it.

The basics: double-spaced; one-inch margins; Times New Roman; name, address, phone, email, copyright, word count, etc. on page one; title, name, and page number on every page; no extra spaces between paragraphs; indent each paragraph; and for scene breaks, don't use lines of asterisks or blank lines but use a pound sign (#). Really.

Requirement #4: Submission Rules

Submission format. Electronic submissions only, in Word .DOC, .ODF, or .RTF. No PDFs.

Reprints. Reprints might be okay, but DO NOT submit something that appeared online. And yes, I check.

Simultaneous submissions. I'm okay with these; just tell me, and let me know if it sells elsewhere.

Multiple submissions. Probably not, unless I've worked with you before.

Requirement #5: You Understand the Following...

You understand that all publications are published as print-on-demand books through Ingram's Lightning Source division, and as ebooks.

You understand that all anthologies are open until filled, and I am very slow to fill as I am very picky.

You understand that the response time depends on when I read. Sometimes I read immediately; other times I queue things up and read occasionally.

You understand that, in addition to a contributor's copy, I offer a lot of money for stories, but I pay based on shared royalties. My contracts are forever; my plan is to maintain titles until they make money and, hopefully, reward contributors. I'm a writer first, and I know how frustrating it is to submit to a shared-royalty anthology that makes the editor a few bucks and folds. My anthologies are slated to be around a while. I generally pay $500 and up for a story.

You understand that if you didn't read this page, you have no right to complain about anything covered above later.

 

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