A submission call has been making it’s way around the internet this week. I’m not going to post it here for a few reasons: 1, I don’t think it would serve a useful purpose. 2, I don’t want anyone to think I condone this practice in any way. 3, I’m pretty sure the publisher (ahem, author who puts out books *eyeroll*) is taking enough crap without adding any more fuel to the fire. 4, Jim Mcleod of Ginger Nuts of Horror wrote his own post on the subject that DOES include that info.) So, that being said…
What’s the problem with this particular submission call? The fact that contributors are expected to PAY (that’s right, PAY, not be paid) for the privilege of being included in the book(s). That is a BIG problem. Money should always flow TO the writer and while there are a few exceptions to that rule, money should not flow AWAY from the writer unless they’re self publishing (in that case, spend as much as you can afford on doing it right.) Think about that for a minute, writers. You are expected to put your time into not only writing a story, but editing and proofreading it as well, and then paying the editor on top of that. That’s madness! Ask yourself who benefits from that, exactly? Is it the contributors? Because I’m thinking no. The only payment offered is a royalty split, which may be fine under normal circumstances, but after you’ve edited and proofed your own story and paid for “cover, formatting, and promotion” as well? No. NO NO NO!
If you want to put out an anthology, pay for it. I don’t care how! Crowd fund it if you want. Save up some money from your paychecks for a while. Clean out your attic and sell junk on eBay. Heck, rob a bank! (author’s note: don’t rob a bank). The point is, you have to respect the project, which means not taking the cheap way out, you have to respect your authors, which means paying them as much as you can afford, and you have to respect your craft by putting out the best book possible, which doesn’t usually involve scamming the people who created your content.
As my good friend Gabino Iglesias said in his very eloquent post on the subject, “Remember that getting your work in a superb anthology is better than getting published in a dozen shitty ones.” THAT is the message I’d like any newbie or new-ish authors that might be reading this to take away. I’ve been in your shoes (and not all that long ago) and I made mistakes because I didn’t value myself or my work enough, because I was dying to see my name in print I sold myself short. Don’t do that. Don’t buy into the scam of “exposure” for a tiny self published anthology that might sell half a dozen copies to friends and family. IT’S NOT WORTH IT! Seeing your name in print IS an amazing feeling, but I can promise you it’s SO MUCH BETTER to see it in a great book, accompanying the names of people you respect and admire, and that you are proud to be involved in. Don’t settle. Start at the top of the list of books/publishers you enjoy and work your way down. And if someone EVER tries to charge you to appear in an anthology… Run. (maybe after laughing in their face…)