Tag Archives: anthologies

Dragon Writers: An Anthology

dragonwritersEvery year for the past three years, alumni from the Superstars Writing Seminar submit short stories for an anthology published by Wordfire Press. The anthologies began as one of Kevin J. Anderson’s lessons to up-and-coming writers: no matter how silly a writing assignment may seem, if you accept it, you must do the best job of it you can. If your task is to write a story about purple unicorns, make it the best damned purple unicorn story ever written.

Thus One Horn to Rule Them All: A Purple Unicorn Anthology was born, followed a year later by A Game of Horns: A Red Unicorn Anthology. And guess what? From a seemingly silly concept, a lot of great stories emerged.

A third anthology called for a change of themed creature, and we are now pleased to present to you Dragon Writers: An Anthology. It’s available now in both Kindle and print formats. Regular readers of this blog will see a lot of names they recognize in the table of contents, and not just Fictorians, but such luminaries as Brandon Sanderson, David Farland, Jody Lynn Nye, and others. As always, James A. Owen provided the cover art (as well as the forward this time around, because who better to write a forward about dragons?) and Lisa Mangum provided her expert editorial services.

As with the previous years’ anthologies, all proceeds from the sales of this book will go to the Don Hodge Memorial Scholarship Fund, which helps aspiring writers further their education on the business side of the publishing industry. Please check it out, and we hope you enjoy!

Weird Antho Angst

It’s not the waiting the kills… it’s the waste.

One of the more common ways of getting into the writing business and building “street-cred” is to peruse the calls for submissions on sites like Duotrope.com, Ralan.com, and Submission Grinder. Those sites are great for providing loads of opportunity. The problem is that many of the themes listed are pretty specific. Most of them run along the weird paths of cross-genre or niche topics that are hell-and-gone from the mainstream.

Sure, it can be fun writing a story about zombie porn or purple unicorns, but it’s also exceedingly risky. And yes, I have a buddy who is in a zombie porn antho called 50 Shades of Decay, and I just had a story come out in a purple unicorn anthology titled One Horn to Rule Them All. I can say with confidence that the quality of stories in these off-the-beaten-track collections is on par with mainstream fiction, and can be even better as a result of the topic.

The problem stems for the fact that once you write the story, you have to wait weeks or even months to hear back on whether you made the cut. That’s the same as with any short story submission, certainly, but with one of these, the bar is sometimes a bit higher than “normal” fiction. With regular fiction the bar is established and fairly well understood by the community. With non-traditional anthos, however, you not only have to write a good story, you must more accurately discern the tastes or intent of the editor or publication putting out the call for submission.

It can be like trying to hit a kangaroo from orbit with a drunken koala.

(Just let that visual sink in for a minute).

Now, if you make it in, great. But statistically speaking, the odds are that you won’t make the cut. That’s where the real pain comes in. If your story isn’t selected, you have one to six-thousand words that you’re going to play hell placing elsewhere. I mean, what are the odds that Asimov or Fantasy & Science Fiction want something that was written specifically for someplace else? It can be done, but those are pretty long odds, especially if the story wasn’t good enough to make the cut for the antho.

There are no easy roads into the business, and while weird anthos are one of them, you may want to go with the more mainstream topics when you’re first starting. Once your writing is cleaner and you’re placing stories more frequently, or even at will, then it’s time to hit the weird stuff.