Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Guidelines for the Coming Apocalypse: A Call for Submissions

I’ve decided to expand the pool of writers for the next anthology from Elephant’s Bookshelf Press. In light of this, it behooves me and our editorial team to share some clear guidelines about what we’re looking for.

One thing shouldn’t need to be said, but I’ll say it anyway: We’re looking for quality. We’re not the Statue of Liberty. We’re not looking for your tired or poor stories. If you have one yearning to breathe the free air outside of the trunk where it’s sat for the past twenty years, make sure you give it some mouth to mouth. Inspire your manuscript with a healthy dose of vitality. That worked for some writers published in Spring Fevers.

What we’re looking for right now are submissions for The Fall. It will be an anthology of short stories that are dystopian, apocalyptic, or post-apocalyptic in nature. More to the point, they will deal with endings and subsequent beginnings. To be sure, we writers can be a depressing lot if left to our own maudlin devices. And some of the stories will carry a dark cloud along with them, which means we’ll need some that, perhaps, blow those clouds away and cleanse the palette and the prairie.

I’m looking for one submission per author. Sorry, no previously published stories. If it’s appeared on your blog already, let me know, but that is not an automatic kill in my book. Send submissions to The deadline is August 17. If you have something ready before then, you are most welcome to send it early. It will definitely help us stay on schedule. Sorry, there's no payment for an accepted story. .

These stories can take just about any form: science fiction; young adult; middle grade; heck, even romance if you can swing that. The restriction is erotica. It’s not that I don’t appreciate a well-told sexy story, but they're not always appreciated by readers – or writers whose stories appear right after the erotica, for that matter.

The maximum length is 10,000 words. That’s a maximum, not a target. None of the stories in Spring Fevers came close to five figures.

For ease of formatting and time-saving on the copyediting and final proofing, please adhere to the following format styles:

·         Use Times Roman;

·         12 pt. type;

·         1" margin all around;

·         Double-spaced lines;

·         Do not add extra line between every paragraph;

·         Instead of an extra line between a paragraph to denote a break, please use a single “#”;

·        Paragraphs indented 0.5". Please use the autoformat settings on Microsoft Word for paragraph indentations rather than manually inserting a tab or individual spaces. This feature is found under the ‘Paragraph’ format window;

·        Use a SINGLE SPACE following a period at the end of a sentence, NOT two spaces;

·        Use STRAIGHT QUOTES rather than SMART QUOTES. This is an autoformat/autocorrect feature in Word that, if checked, turns straight quote marks and apostrophes into ‘curly’ quote marks and apostrophes. This can cause formatting issues when the text is converted to a final font and style for publication. Under WORD OPTIONS, click on PROOFING, then on AUTOCORRECT OPTIONS, then make sure the line that says ‘Replace straight quotes with smart quotes’ is UNCHECKED.

Should you choose not to adhere to these guidelines, your story will still be considered. It’s an annoyance, but it’s not a deal breaker. The more you can do in advance, the faster the editing process will go and the cleaner and more consistent the final published book presentation will be.

Because that’s part of what we’re looking to create, too – a clean, consistent book that readers enjoy by authors whose work they want to read again and again. Ideally, you’ll discover that Elephant’s Bookshelf Press, LLC, will produce books and anthologies that entertain the reader and keep them thinking. A laugh here and there is also appropriate.

After all, whether you’re facing the end of the world, the end of a relationship, or the end of a blog post, it’s good to be able to smile and say, “Yeah, that was pretty darn satisfying.”

If you have additional questions, feel free to post a comment here, or you can send it to the email address above. A comment will allow me to respond for everyone. Because if you were confused, it’s possible others were too.

Thanks in advance to everyone!


Jean Oram said...

What fun!

Do you mean scene break for this bit: "Instead of an extra line between a paragraph to denote a break, please use a single “#”;"

Didn't know about those curly quotes! Learned another new thing today--definitely not wasted!


Matt Sinclair said...

Thanks, Jean! Yes, that was for a scene break. Good point!

Matt Sinclair said...

Well, whaddayaknow! There was a new submission in the mailbox this morning! Thanks!

Amanda said...

Oh, sounds like fun! I have a dystopian short sitting around, but it has been previously published in an ebook anthology. The publisher closed up shop and all rights reverted back to me, nor is it for sale any longer.

Would that disqualify the work?