Super secret tips!
GETCHER SUPER SECRET TIPS RIGHT HEAH!
Okay, here's a thing: Improbable Press (IP) is putting together a new anthology, and delightfully someone emailed asking if I had any super secret tips on how they could get their story accepted for it.
BOY HOWDY YES.
Super Secret Tips For Getting Your Short Story Published
Actually, there aren't tips plural, there is tip, as in one, and that is this:
Get out your magnifying glass. Squink one eye closed. Then peer through that glass at the submission guidelines for the anthology. I'm talkin' close. Read them. Absorb them into your spirit. Believe them.
Believing is a biggy. You wouldn't think it is, but it is. When some folks see a publisher has asked for a 5,000 word story, they believe the publisher really wants a 9,500 word story. Or though they asked for a tale about the secret life of caterpillars, they actually want an ode to butterflies.
They do not.
Really, no, they don't.
So in the case of the call for submissions for Improbable Press' cryptid anthology, we said we'd especially like Own Voices. What that means is this: if you're a Greek person, write us a story about Greece or a Greek cryptid. If you're an amputee, if you're Buddhist, if you went back to college at 63, bring something from these things into your story because we're not likely to see that, y'know?
And no, this does not mean write only what you know, it just means factor in the unique glory of you. That's what we asked for, so give us that.
There are no guarantees that perfect adherence to guidelines means publication. A press might end up with too many stories or a very similar one; things happen which you can't control. But following this one super secret tip will get you so much closer to acceptance for the next anthology or the next press.
I promise, every time you follow the submission guidelines, you're already so far ahead of those who don't. So just keep doing that.
And doing that.
It takes awhile for almost all of us. Keep going.
(And thank you to the question Person Who Asked, I hope it helped!)
Atlin Merrick is commissioning editor for Improbable Press and is happy to answer polite, "dumb" questions because actually no question is dumb. So ask 'em!