I hope at least a few of my readers noticed I’ve been away for a few weeks 😉
Between family issues, travel to internet-free zones (yes, they do exist – welcome to the 21st century!), laptop failure (I smugly take full backups daily) and various other distractions, I have had to let my blog simmer unattended for a while.
Those “distractions” were not all bad; they included a determination to make serious progress on my novel and the final edits on three short stories in soon-to-be-released anthologies. Meanwhile, I had another short story published (in
Science Fiction Consortium‘s first anthology, available from all good online bookstores and by clicking on the cover image).
In between, and from some unknown unconscious prompting, I developed an urge to write a detective novel. As is my way, I simply had to get ideas down out of my head and onto the hard disk. My “notes” turned into 30,000 words, which I will develop later. Seeing the rapid growth of this story in a genre far from the scifi I usually write was most satisfying, but also most distracting from my priority list.
And so, drifting sideways back into the theme of my recent posts…
Many established authors and “writing gurus” advise new writers to enter short story contests or submit to anthologies as a first step to getting published. I.O. Kirkwood in my previous guest post gained her first publication in that way. (She was too modest to say she won inclusion in the “No Revolution Is Too Big” compendium.) My own current list of 6 published stories are all competitive submissions.
I should state that this only applies if your writing is appropriate to the short or micro fiction format. It has certainly worked for me in getting my work published.
So what are the benefits?
- it flexes your writing muscles
- themes supplied from outside can prompt ideas for longer stories, or extensions of the short stories you submit (the movie “2001” grew from a short story, “The Sentinel“)
- if your story is accepted, you will gain the gratification of being judged and being found good
- contests : many contests publish all submissions on the organisers’ web page, giving you exposure
- anthologies : the followers of perhaps twenty other contributing writers will get a chance to eyeball your work, breaking you into new areas of readership your own social networking cannot access
But do not expect to get rich from them.
- contest prizes are often quite small – big prize contests are highly-competitive
- anthologies usually pay $20 to $50 flat fee, or a percentage of income after publication costs (editor, cover design, publicity, etc.) shared with the other contributors
And watch out for the rights issues
- they usually want unpublished work (nothing that has appeared anywhere publicly – your website, Wattpad, etc. …)
- they usually want to hold onto the rights for 6 months to 5 years, during which time you cannot republish
- read the terms and conditions !
- understand the terms and conditions !
However, there are so many contests and anthologies seeking submissions out there on the web.
Try googling and good luck!