10 things I have learned editing an anthology

It’s not exactly rocket science, you’d have thought. Except, well, yes, it is. But not in that way. Rocket Science is not my first go at editing. Back in the early 1990s, I co-edited two issues of a magazine called The Lyre. However, in those days it was all snail mail submissions. There was also no reading period – it was open submissions for the lifetime of the magazine. In other words, I thought I’d know what to expect when Rocket Science‘s submission window opened. However…

1. That story you have in your head which perfectly illustrates the theme of the anthology? You will never be sent that story.

2. Always remember that variety is good. Your readers won’t want to read twenty stories exactly the same – no matter how good the stories are.

3. Do not make the submission address less than blindingly obvious in the hope that spambots won’t scrape it. It may also fool some writers who want to submit.

4. There will always be people who will submit something that’s not on theme.

5. There will always be people who can’t keep to the requested word limits.

6. There were always be people who format their manuscripts to some weird personal layout, rather than what’s asked.

7. There will always be people who include little or no personal information in their cover emails, despite the guidelines asking them to provide some.

8. There will always be people who do not read the guidelines.

9. It doesn’t matter what the editor said about your story. They rejected it. Move on. Don’t email the editor and explain how they misunderstood and/or did not fully appreciate your story.

10. If they sent you a personal rejection, a thank-you email is not necessary (but it is nice).

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3 Comments

Filed under submissions

3 responses to “10 things I have learned editing an anthology

  1. Very interesting to see. 🙂 I have a suspicion all editors will be familiar with these writer errors and inattention to guidelines. 🙂

  2. Carmelo Rafala

    I still get people emailing me their manuscripts, when the guidelines of Immersion Press clearly state we do not accept unsolicited submissions.

    I mean, really, what did you not understand?

    It’s both funny and irritating.

  3. Uh, this is about the page numbers, isn’t it?

    I couldn’t get my text converter thingy to make them, so I just sent it and hoped for the best!

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