Today, my guest is Karina Fabian. She and her husband recently released the second anthology in their Infinite Space, Infinite God series.
What Do Anthology Editors Want?
By Karina Fabian
By Karina Fabian
Last year, Infinite Space, Infinite God II, the third anthology edited by my husband, Rob Fabian, and myself came out. We’re very proud of it, not only because of its unique angle—Catholicism in science fiction—but also because of the awesome stories and varied approaches. It’s gotten a lot of great reviews, not only from Catholics, but from people of other denominations.
Editing, especially anthologies, is not an easy job. Unlike with books or magazines, they can take a long time to find the right mix, and as in our case, the editor may be shelling out their own money in order to get it done. (We paid our contributors a flat rate rather than deal with doling out royalties 15 ways every 3 months). We do it though because we believe in what we are doing—that it’s a worthwhile work or that it will bring in money or that it makes a valuable contribution to our chosen genre. However, we definitely appreciate when authors make our job easier. Here are some tips for helping the editor—and increasing your chances of getting chosen:
#1 Follow guidelines. I know that some authors think guidelines are there to discourage them, but really, most editors have a reason. For example, your following their formatting means they are not having to re-format 15 stories when putting the anthology together. Following their spelling or grammar guidelines also saves them time. It takes you an hour—less if it’s a find-and-replace issue—for your 3,000 words. Imagine how long it takes an editor to do 90,000—especially when everyone has done it their own way.
#2 Understand the spirit of the anthology. We were upfront about our anthology being about the positive portrayal of the Catholic faith and science fiction. Nonetheless, our inbox was filled with fantasy, non-Catholic stories (and just calling your generic minister “Father” does not make it Catholic) and even worse, stories that attacked the Catholic Church.
#3 Send polished work. Get it critiqued, spell check, go back over it for typos. (My secret: start at the end and look at each sentence, one at a time, going backward to the beginning.)
#4 Don’t expect a crit. All authors hate form rejections, but as many editors have said, “we can build our magazine/anthology/publishing house, or we can critique stories we don’t want.” When I do a critique, it takes me at least an hour for a story; imagine an editor with 30 stories to reject, plus accepted stories to edit, format and compile, plus their own jobs, family, etc.
#5 If an editor is nice enough to critique or at least give a reason for rejecting a story, don’t write back and argue. They made their decision and have moved on; not only will you not change their mind, you will only make yourself look, shall we say “high-maintenance.” Think of how they’ll consider your next story.
Karina, thank you for your guest post today. The information you shared will be helpful to writers thinking about submitting to an anthology.