As one of the writers whose work was accepted in the next anthology from Improbable Press (which makes me quite happy!), I’d like to share some thoughts on submitting to anthologies.
Here’s how I see anthology calls for submissions: They’re cool writing prompts that could lead to publication. Sometimes this works out, sometimes it doesn’t. The story I submitted to “Strange Fire: Jewish Voices from the Pandemic” got accepted (and the anthology is out this month!). Stories I’ve written for consideration in other anthologies have gotten rejected, and I’ve been researching magazines/other publications to send them (some sources I like: The Submission Grinder, Erica Verrillo’s Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity blog).
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But sometimes the stars align and an already-written story fits what an anthology editor wants. For instance, my story that just got accepted for “Dark Cheer: Cryptids Emerging,” out in 2022 (preorder link to come when it’s available). So you never know. But I’m pretty happy about both of these acceptances.
The same goes for contest submissions. I didn’t advance in this year’s NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge, but I did end up with a fun sci-fi rom-com story that I hope to find a home for.
If you’re willing to accept the risk of your story getting rejected – which is kind of a requirement for being a writer – then writing for anthologies or contests can be a good part of an overall submission strategy.
Whether you’re submitting to Improbable Press or one of the many other publishers out there, good luck and let your creativity shine.
Marlaina Cockcroft writes modern-day stories about folklore and misunderstood monsters for children and adults. Short stories have been published in Strange Horizons (under Marlaina Gray) and Daily Science Fiction, as well as the upcoming anthologies “Strange Fire: Jewish Voices from the Pandemic” (out in June 2021) and “Dark Cheer: Cryptids Emerging” (out in 2022). She lives with her family in New Jersey. You can find her online at marlainacockcroft.com or on Twitter at @mdcroft.