Bigger Isn’t Always Better, or Writing Short Fiction For Fun And Profit, Volume 4: A Foot In The Door


Those long, lonely, rejection-letter-filled nights, have you ever thought to yourself, “Gah! If only I knew what these people wanted from me!”

Here’s a tip: when publishers put out calls for submission, they’re telling you just that.

As you may or may not know, I got my foot in the door with one of my dream publishers, Samhain, by answering a call for submission. In the end, the novella I wrote wasn’t selected for the collection I submitted it for, but an acquiring editor took an interest anyway. A couple months later, I had a contract in hand for a single-title release. I also had a relationship with a great press, and I’m in the beginning stages of working on my third title with them.

If you’re interested in getting your foot in the door with a specific publisher, take a peek and see if they have any editor-wish-lists on their site or any open calls for submission. The call might not be for the manuscript you currently have in your hand, ready for querying. They might be looking for something shorter, or something on a different theme. But here’s the thing: keep the long game in mind. If they like your submission for the special call, it opens the door for being able to talk with them about your other work, too.

Quality romance and erotica publishers like Samhain, Ellora’s Cave, Carina and Entangled all put out calls from time to time. Even Avon has been known to. Whoever you’re looking to publish with, keep an eye open and an ear to the ground, because you never know when an opportunity will arise.

Current calls for submission for short fiction in romance and erotica (click link for further submission details):

Couples’ Erotic Romance Stories
: June 1, 2013
Word count: 1,500-4,000 words
Publisher: Cleis
Theme: The guidelines are pretty flexible, with a preference for heterosexual couples and contemporary settings

Best Women’s Erotica 2014
Due: July 1, 2013
Word count: 2,500-4,500 words
Publisher: Cleis
Theme: Again, . guidelines are wide open, so long as the story is sexy and focused on a female, primarily heterosexual audience.

Paramour (Valentines 2014)
: August 1, 2013
Word count: 15,000-20,000 words
Publisher: Total-E-Bound
Theme: May-December romances featuring an older woman and a younger man.

: August 1, 2013
Word count: 5,000-18,000 words
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Theme: Male/male stories centered around the winter holidays

One Night In…
: open call
Word count: 10,000-40,000 words
Publisher: Entangled
Theme: Contemporary romances that start out as ‘one night only’ affairs. Open to pairings of any orientation.

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