Hey everyone. The blog post today is as much for writers as it is for everyone else. We’re going to talk about the submission process.
Now comes the fun/mind numbing portion:
Depending on your choice of genres/themes, you could have either crap tons of submissions or hardly any. And, once again, depending on your earlier choices, the quality of these submissions could range across the spectrum.
(I also want to add as a side note that everything you’ve read about story submission criteria applies across the board to micro/indie/large publishers. If I, the editor, tell you to put something in PDF format, put it in freaking PDF format. If I tell you put it in .DOC, put it in that format. If I say “email it to me and make sure you paste it into the body of the email”, just freaking do it. We’re like your parents. We have reasons for our effin’ rules, and we want them followed. We aren’t going to explain the why’s to you, but they’re there for a reason. If you don’t follow MY rules that I took time to type out and post for a reason, it’s a pretty decent indicator of the quality of your story.
((Also, another helpful hint to aspiring anthology creators: Do yourself a favor and accept only .DOC or .RTF file formats for short stories. Every layout software out there works with these two formats. They also both allow track changes for the editing process, better formating, and printing.))
I can’t remember the exact number of submissions Dieselpunk received, because I didn’t have to go through the slush pile. I was also only asked to offer my opinion twice on story selection (which is about one more than average on a normal PULP! book). But I know it was easily fifty or more quality submissions. Which can sometimes be more a curse than a blessing. What’s worse than having to winnow a selection of fifteen stories down to twelve? Trying to winnow a selection of sixteen stories down to twelve. Yes, the quality of the book is better, but the selection process is that much more brutal as you try to encapsulate all the aspects of your genre together, as you produce the editor’s creative take on a subject matter.
When Chris and I started Twit Publishing, he and I established firm protocols on job duties and powers. We’re brothers, after all, and the fights over what stories would go in to each anthology would be EPIC if we both had creative control. Luckily, he and I have very similar tastes, so I hardly ever have a problem with any of the stories he chooses.
But, with Dieselpunk, there were several stories that Chris loved, but couldn’t decide if they fit the genre. Mainly, it’s because they fell outside that neat time frame established by fans. So, we had to look at thematic elements, settings, and elements of the characters. Were they more steampunk? Or did they evoke a definite art deco feel in the mind of the reader? Was that a drinking house the characters were in? Or did it feel more like a jazz club?
Stuff like that.
So, that’s kind of a glossy overview of the process. Remember, I took only six-hundred words to describe what is actually several months worth of work. It’s grueling, with a lot of reading, re-reading, and arguing.
And I haven’t even gotten to the editing part. That’s tomorrow.