Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Announcement

And so the time has come...

As guessed by some and alluded to by others, I'm editing an anthology, but not just any anthology.

Here is the official announcement over at Blade Red Press

Yes - Dark Pages Volume 1 is to be edited by me with help from the resources of Blade Red Press and more technical input from my guru of all things, Pharo.

This is why I've had no time to write, read other people's work, read books for review, or anything else lately - I've been reading submissions--lots and lots of submissions.

The process has been quite interesting, and very eye-opening, with a little head shaking in the mix, and a lot of pleasant surprises thrown in.

Now I have a challenge for you all - submissions for the anthology close at the end of November. I know many of you are doing NaNo, but I'm looking to blow away all the other dark anthologies out there by presenting some of the very best short fiction ever to come out of an independent small press. I want the Blade Red Press Dark Pages Volumes to be on everyone's 'to buy' list every year because the first one was killer. I want future invited editors of the anthology (if I don't get invited back), to have an extremely difficult job to top Volume 1! I want it all - insert maniacal laugh here ;c)

But I can't do that without you.

What do I want, and what have I learned so far?

As announced at Blade Red Press, there has been over 150 submissions already. The vast majority have made my life difficult in choosing whether to keep them for a second reading or pass on them. I want my life made more difficult in this regard. I want more excellent submissions.

Dark Pages is about dark fiction but this is not a horror-only anthology. I'm not interested in torture porn or blood and guts for blood and guts sake. I'm not interested in traditional tropes, but feel free to send me vampires, werewolves or voodoo if you and your entire critique group believe it to be the best thing ever written. In short - read the guidelines and stick to them as if the life of your piece depended on it - because it does. Depending on the length of the final stories chosen, Dark Pages could contain between 9-15 stories. That's less than 10% of the submissions I've received so far! With a month still to go, I'm expecting the final mark to be less than 5% of overall submissions - make yours brilliant! Stray from the guidelines and you'll be cut very quickly with no further correspondence to be entered into other than a standard rejection. I know this is harsh. As a writer, I know you all deserve more. I know you all deserve at least some comment as to why I didn't accept it or at least hold onto it for a second reading. The short answer is time and resources - we have bugger all of either. Many that don't make the cut are good enough to be published, but don't make it here because there are so many here that are outstanding - send me only your very best.

Okay - enough of the tough talk. Blade Red is paying well for the honour of using your work in this first anthology. Go check out the market pages like Duotrope or Ralan - not many antho's come out offering $25 and a copy as payment. Competition will be tough and will only get tougher as the deadline approaches. I have set my sights high on this, and expect to create a quality anthology with exceptional content as the end product.


To this point (he says with over 50 unread subs waiting for him), I have not seen enough dark fantasy or sci-fi submissions. Dark urban, western, war, yellow school buses or other not so obvious settings. Shorter is better. I will take two excellent short pieces over one excellent long piece (probably). Female authors - I don't have enough subs from the women of disturbia - in the end, gender will not decide if you get in, only the quality of the work will, but I'd like the opportunity to be able to include a wide selection of authors so please submit.

Finally - this is not an Australian anthology. There is not a set number of spots for any nationality. If I end up accepting stories from a dozen different countries and Australia isn't part of that, I'll be disappointed, but so be it.

Now - get writing, edit it to within an inch of its life, gain external feedback, check the guidelines, polish and submit! (not to me - send them here)

I'm counting on you!


  1. This is great info, BT. I can't wait to see how this antho turns out!

  2. Completely fabulous, as announcements go. A very exciting project, and well worth the suspense. Best of luck with it-- can't wait to see how it all comes out!

  3. Congrats! I sent my submission in this morning!

  4. Congrats! You already kicked out my story though. LOL! It's going to be tough, with so many submissions.

  5. congratulations! I was looking at this antho the other day and trying to figure out a story for it.

  6. Congrats, BT. It should be a great experience.

  7. What great news. How interesting for you to be able to see the workings from the other side of the fence.

  8. That's awesome and exciting! Congratulations!

  9. Now I expect at least one, if not more, subs from eveyone here.

  10. The guidelines state an upper limit of 7500 words; I see no lower limit set. Is there a suggested/preferred lower limit?

  11. Hi mazzz - I've read a few subs at less than 1000 words. If you can tell me a great story with a beginning, a middle and an end, which includes a good hook, in less than that - go for it.

    In the end, a story will take as many words as it takes to be fully told - no padding and nothing missing.

    As for a preferred length - anything under 7500 words - just tell your story to the best of your ability but keep in kind I have very limited space. If you're closer to the upper limit, then it needs to be kick arse. If you're going to pin me against the wall and threaten my kids, I'd say under 4K would be a good aiming point, and then you better run because I don't like my family being threatened ;c)

    Good luck with your submission!