Hi everyone! Today I am excited to welcome author Azalea Moon to the blog. She is here as part of the Storm Moon Press anniversary blog tour and is going to talk to us a bit about writing for anthologies. You can also comment at the end of the post to be entered into Storm Moon’s big anniversary giveaway so be sure to check it out.  So a big welcome to Azalea!

At the start of every year, I make rounds to various publisher websites, checking out their new anthology calls. This year my number one stop was Storm Moon Press’ anthology calls page. Why? Well, their anthology calls are some of the most original I’ve seen. Oh, and can I mention the tons of sexy story ideas to boot. Characters came talking to me right away: “Write me! Write me!” Ah, the mindset of a short story author.

But some people think ‘short stories’ and cringe. It’s hard to wrap up everything–angst, romance, plot, comedy, action, and the HEA–in a story less than 20k words long. However, there are tons of opportunities in writing a short story for an anthology not only for new authors, but multi-published authors as well.

The reasons why anthology calls are there are the following: to kick a muse or two, to find something new an author’s never written about, to introduce publishers to new authors, and for authors to find new publishers they’ve never worked with. Or in simpler terms, it’s all about having fun and getting acquainted.

If you’re a never-before published author, the general submission procedure can be a daunting one. Let’s say you’ve just finished your 60k word novel. Now you must go through it again with a fine-tooth comb and make sure you’ve followed the publisher’s guidelines to a tee. And what will the editing process be like once it’s accepted? Is the staff friendly to work with, the editors, the cover artists?

When I decided to try my hand at writing, I learned that submitting to an anthology, like those available by Storm Moon Press, can answer these questions. It’s also the easiest way to become familiar with a publisher’s editing process, marketing strategies, and their staff.

One could also speak with any of their in-house authors, which is also a great idea to get a feel for a publisher, but to get a hands-on experience, submitting and going through the process is the way to go.

Anthology shorts are also a great promotional tool and can bring more readers to your longer books, whether you’re a multi-published author or a newbie starting out.

And, quite possibly one of the best benefits is that writing short stories helps hone your writing skills, which in turn shows an acquiring editor that you can weave words into an interesting story. Oh, and did I mention, if you’re in a creative slump, checking out anthology calls can help stimulate your muse?

Being in an anthology compilation also means publishing credits when you’re submitting to other publishers or agencies. And despite the digital age turning all books into ebooks, some anthologies are still printed. That means your name could be on a physical book, to hold, to loan out, to swoon over; and Storm Moon Press does sell copies of anthologies at conventions, so those who purchase will see your name.

Now that I’ve touched on the benefits of writing for anthologies, I’ll point out one of the most frequent complaints. The payout. It’s true, depending on the publisher, some anthologies pay very little which has some authors shying away. Be sure to check the guidelines and the word requirement and compare that to the work being put in. Is a 4k short story conclusive to a tiny payout? Most likely so.

However, when you look at the benefits, a small payout could be well worth it for an author’s career. Visibility, promotion, and continued learning.

Some publishers also run anthologies to benefit a cause, such as a foundation or society, meaning you may not make royalties or get paid a lump sum for your story, as all the moneys paid will go to that specific cause, but it’s a great way to show your support, and all the benefits to writing short anthology stories apply.

So, take a look at the anthology calls for 2013 on Storm Moon Press’ page.  There are plenty of them, all sorted by genre, theme, and pairing. From sweet and fluffy, to completely taboo, and the entire spectrum of the QUILTBAG. If you’re searching for a lesbian or trans* call, they are there, and SMP is looking for more authors of lesbian fiction and trans* fiction. Or if you’re looking for something more taboo–say about fisting–there’s a call for that, too.

Helpful tips to submission:

  1. Check the publisher’s submission guidelines. And check them twice. Nope, it’s not just a Christmas song. Then, follow them to a tee.Guidelines aren’t there to make it hard for the author, but to make the acquiring, editing, and publishing procedures easier. You’re also more likely to be accepted if they see you can follow directions.

    Remember: if the publisher asks for double spacing, don’t submit your story with single spacing.

  2. Stick to the word count required. If the word count is 3,000-6,000, try to stick to those guidelines. If you’re unsure that your 6,500 word story is okay, don’t be afraid to contact the publisher/anthology editor, unless the guidelines specifically say not to.
  3. Check out the publisher’s contract (if available for download, or email and ask for a copy) and read it over, including their pay rate/royalties pertaining to anthologies. Some publishers (like Storm Moon Press) have their anthology payment policies right there on their websites. All you have to do is look, and if you can’t find them, ask for them!
  4. When in doubt, contact the publisher or acquiring editor with your questions. Chances are they’re happy to give you any extra information you need.

Giveaway Opportunity!

This guest post is part of Storm Moon Press’ 3rd Anniversary Blog Tour! Comment on this post or any other post on the blog tour with your e-mail address, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win the Grand Prize of receiving 1 FREE e-book each month of 2013 from that month’s new releases for a total of 12 free e-books! Runners up will receive a $25 gift certificate to their choice of Amazon or All Romance eBooks. For more details and to find out about our 3rd Anniversary, head over to Storm Moon Press’ Official Blog. Thanks for joining us!

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