The Words Matter Anthology, Volume One: Call for Submissions

I’m happy to announce the planned publication of the very first anthology of writing for students, clients, and friends of Words Matter Creative Writing!

This anthology will be a collection of stories, excerpts, essays, and other writing created by YOU.

I’ve been teaching, blogging, podcasting, and lecturing/speaking about creative writing for more than five years, now. Throughout those years, I’ve been continually surprised, moved, and inspired by the writing produced by students, clients, and fellow writing-path travelers. I’d love to share some of those stories with other writers, and the wider world.

The anthology will be available in both paperback and eReader editions, and will be available for purchase at all book retailers and via online ordering through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million and other traditional retailers.

Who Can Submit?

This anthology will be open to submissions to anyone who meets one of the following criteria:

  • You have taken a creative writing class I taught
  • You have attended Florida Wild Writers or another seminar or workshop I led
  • You have worked with me as a private writing coach, editor, or critique partner
  • You have found creative value in my blog, podcast, or public speaking appearance and you have applied something I said to your own writing life
  • You purchased and used my work book about Legacy writing to kick-start your own personal or family history writing

One question I am often asked by potential students of my creative writing courses and classes is this: Have any of your writing students been successful?

“Yes,” I say. “They write such wonderful things!!”

This anthology will be a way to show off some of the best work you’ve done.

What Can I Submit?

Here are some general guidelines for submissions:

  • Maximum length: 10,000 words. There is no minimum length. (Flash fiction, vignettes, poems, and other short-form pieces will be considered.)
  • Genre: I am open to including fiction of any genre (except erotica). Creative non-fiction (including essay, memoir, slice-of-life, etc.) is great, but I’m not looking for book reviews, editorials, or essays about the craft of writing or the writing life. Generally, I am not interested in printing a “blog post” unless it can stand alone and read as a well-crafted essay. Poetry will be considered, though my only real gauge for poetry is, “Do I like this and do I find it to have a lyrical and interesting rhythm.”
  • Book or novel excerpts are definitely OKAY for this anthology. If you have published a book and would like to include the first chapter, that will be an opportunity to publicize your book. If the book is not yet published, that’s fine, as well. Excerpts that are self-contained are super, but not necessary.
  • Reprints are fine! If your story, essay, or book was published online or in print, that’s great. Just be sure you currently hold the reprint rights to the book/story/etc. Also, let me know that it was previously published, and where it was published so that if your submission is accepted I can give proper attribution to the original publisher.
  • Please limit your submissions to TWO pieces, maximum. It is highly unlikely that any one writer will be featured TWICE, but if you have two pieces you think are publication-ready, you may submit both.
  • Send me your best writing, but don’t send me something you hope to place in another periodical. Most literary magazines will NOT accept reprint manuscripts, and if your piece is chosen and printed in this anthology, it will be considered “published.” (This is not true, typically, for book excerpts.) If you have a story you really hope will land in the Paris Review, don’t send that piece to me.

If you have a piece you are considering submitting, and you aren’t sure if it meets the guidelines, please contact me and we can discuss it.

Manuscript Format for Submissions

I’m not super picky about manuscript format. I’m not an editor who believes in putting twenty roadblocks in your way, then disqualifying you for tripping over one.

I do, however, want to make the reading, selection, and editing process as easy as possible for myself and my guest associate editors. With that in mind, please use this format guide to make your manuscript as easy for us to handle as possible:

  • Submit a word processing document in either Microsoft Word (.doc) or Apple Pages format. Please do NOT send a PDF, because that makes it more difficult to import your work (if selected) into the type-setting document for the book.
  • Please use either Times New Roman (or Times) or Arial or a similar, basic, easy to read typeface. (Yes, those of you who enjoy teasing me by sending me stories in Comic Sans font, I’m looking at YOU!!)
  • Use a 12-point font size.
  • Double-space the lines.
  • One inch margins on all four sides.
  • At the top of the first page, please include the following (single-space, preferably): Your name, your name as you wish to see it in print (if different), your physical address, your email address. It is very helpful if you can also print the approximate word count with this other header information.
  • Please include page numbers, preferably in this format: “Page x of z” (i.e., “Page 1 of 12”. This is done via the “page number” and “page count” feature of your word processor. If you are unable to include the page count, it is ok to simply have “Page 1” etc.)
  • You do not need a summary or to provide additional context to the manuscript at this time. If your piece is chosen for publication, and the editorial staff concludes that additional context is needed, we will work with you to make that happen.

How do I Submit?

Submission is simple. Send an email to my submissions email (not my regular email) by clicking here.

In the email, please do the following:

  • Tell me your name, the title of your submission, the genre/type of submission, and your eligibility (based on the Who Can Submit section, above).
  • Let me know if this is a reprint, and if so, where it was previously published. (If you have published the work on a blog, an open online forum, or some other electronic means that is open to the general public, such as Facebook, Tumblr, Pintrest, etc, it is considered “published.”)
  • Include your manuscript file as an attachment to your email, not in the body of your email.

What Happens After I Submit?

  • Deadline for submission is August 31, 2015. Manuscripts received after this date will not be considered.
  • After the submission period is closed, I will work with associate editor volunteers to read and evaluate the submissions.
  • We will select manuscripts for inclusion based on the quality of the work. I intend to have the selection done by the end of September. If you have not heard back from me by this date, please feel free to contact me and inquire about the status of your submission.
  • Authors will be notified via email of acceptance or “rejection.” (It’s a tough word, but one writers have to find a way to get comfortable with.)
  • Writers whose work is accepted will be sent a basic contract for publication. If there are edits (beyond simple copyediting) that are required or requested, I will work with that writer to make those changes. No one’s work will be altered in any significant way without their permission and cooperation.
  • Accepted authors will need to submit a photo and brief biography.
  • The editorial staff will work to edit and type-set the publication into a “galley” or proof copy. The proof copy of your story will be sent to you for approval.
  • Once the stories are approved, we will finalize cover and printing details, and the book will be published.

What’s In It for Me?

I cannot offer monetary riches, but I can offer you publication credit. Every author whose work is accepted for publication will also receive TWO printed copies of the book: one for you to display, and one to give away, if you wish!

Each author included in the anthology will also have a brief biography included in the “Contributors” section of the book. In that section, you can provide contact info or links to your books, website, blog, or other literary endeavors.

I will also make free eBook copies of the anthology available to contributors who wish to give away a copy on their blog, Facebook page, Goodreads accounts, etc. Additional copies of the book will be available to contributors at a discounted rate.