Become a published author
It’s easy to write a short story or novel. Really, it is. It’s tedious, but it’s easy. However, writing a good one is not. There are a lot of paths to getting published, one of which is available to you through a Facebook group called Authors’ Tale.
NOTE: Editor feedback is $5, not $10. Disregard that in the ad.
We also have an organization to send the money to, so disregard that as well.
What is the opportunity?
From June 1 to September 1, submissions will open for AT’s second anthology. But, Heart of a Child isn’t just a submission process. Every submitter has the opportunity to take part in an optional month-long workshop where stories will be reviewed and critiqued every week by fellow workshop members and by me.
What are the rules?
- Story must be 1,000 to 5,000 words (roughly)
- $5 entry fee
- If you don’t want to take part in the workshop, you have the option of paying for editor feedback whether your story makes it into the anthology or not.
- Story must be inspired by one of the prompts found here (members can get the password from the pinned post in the main group)
- Submission deadline is September 1 (unless you want to take part in the workshop, in which case submissions are due by August 31), but enter early so you can get ready for the workshop!
- Ready to submit? Submissions open June 1, so check back for the link! Until then, join this group if you haven’t already so you don’t miss out on updates!
What does that mean, Heart of a Child?
Heart of a Child is the theme of the anthology. Each story must be inspired by one of the writing prompts, but it must also follow the anthology’s theme. I know, confusing, right?
Think of it like this. If you wrote a story for our writing prompts as they came out each week, you’d have quite a few stories. But what on Earth will you do with that inspired work? Well, luckily, you have a chance to use at least one of them with the annual anthology, which is organized not by genre, but by a theme.
Why can’t we just write to follow the theme? What’s with the prompts?
See above, first. You have all this inspired work. You need a reason to use it.
Another reason is because of the challenge. Part of learning is reaching outside your comfort zone, and while some people might easily write for an anthology’s theme, the same person might struggle to follow the fifty or so prompts provided. Don’t back down. Accept the challenge.
Reason number three is because only Authors’ Tale members are allowed to take part in the anthology. It’s easier to keep track of that when only the AT members can see the prompts. That’s only a minor reason, though.
What if I can’t find inspiration in any of the prompts?
Someone might have inadvertently found a loophole in the system that we might continue in future anthologies to help a writer or ten out. There’s a free writing prompt. You just have to find it. It’s on the list.
Does it have to be about a kid?
No. Read that bright red text on the ad. It doesn’t have to be about children. It can be an adult who remembers his childhood, a grumpy pain-in-the-butt teenager who turns into this little girl when she hangs out with her crush. It can be about a man who meets a homeless boy and learns something from the experience. It can be about loss of innocence, a past or present that changes a child/adult forever. You have options. Don’t get grumpy because you can’t write about blood and guts. Accept the challenge.
What can I not have in the story?
I know the first thought is, “That’s no fun,” but what you might really mean is, “That’s a challenge.” It’s easy for most of you to put this stuff in a story. What’s difficult is doing something you’re not used to doing.
- Graphic violence
- Sex scenes
- Intimate moments (no foreplay)
- Extreme cursing (mild is allowed)
- Political opinion (these aren’t essays)
Or anything else you wouldn’t want to show a twelve-year-old. I know this “era” allows a lot of content to be considered appropriate for that age, but pretend you’re in 1999 again.
This isn’t a kid anthology. But it’s inspired by the heart of a child, so it must be relatively appropriate for that age group, even if it’s about an adult. We’ll have sections for both the child and adult age group.
How many stories are accepted?
Twenty. This number isn’t definite, but if the number changes, I’ll announce that.
Do I keep the rights to my story?
Yes. The only requirement, which you will see in the terms throughout the submission process, is that you do not submit your story to be published elsewhere until after the anthology is published in March 2018.
What if my story doesn’t make it into the anthology, though?
Then you have no obligation to wait. Send it anywhere you like, whenever you like.
Why do I have to wait?
Many stories published through AT will be original as they are inspired pieces from the writing prompts provided by the group every week. AT wants to embrace this.
Another more technical reason is that a lot of anthologies, magazines, journals, etc. request this or they request unpublished stories, and this allows AT to prevent you from going around a rule and getting in trouble later. It also protects AT from publishing a story that another publication has full rights to because an author decided to submit to them, as well.
Do I get paid?
Sadly, no. And neither do I. All profits from each anthology are dedicated to one organization, which gets featured on the cover. This opportunity is a chance for authors to get a different kind of return. The reason for this is because if you did get paid, it would be far from lucrative. Try dividing a dollar between 20-25 people. Now what more is giving that whole dollar to an organization seeking to improve the lives of thousands?
That is why we’re doing this. That’s not the only reason though. We’re writers, after all.
What do I get out of this besides my name on an anthology?
There’s a fee for each individual entry and two entries are allowed per person. The fee is small, but the potential return is much more substantial. All writers get a free digital copy of the book when it’s published.
A complimentary short story workshop is offered with your entry. This is free, meaning you don’t get to submit your story just because you don’t take part in the workshop.
But you should take part in the workshop. This month-long venture is an opportunity for you to improve your story. Do that, and I promise you’ll come out a better writer. Our first anthology had fifteen people in the workshop, and every one of them benefited from it. I have yet to hear one of them tell me they regret the workshop. I hope you’ll feel the same way.
What organization receives the profits?
Children of the Nations will receive all profits from the publishing of the 2017-18 anthology. They seek to improve the lives, long-term, for children living in poverty. They work with many goals, including education and improvement of individual lifestyles. To learn more about them and their mission, visit their website.
Authors’ Tale is proud to support this organization, and we hope to keep them in mind for future anthologies as we will the first organization supported, Literacy for Incarcerated Teens.
What’s the fee for?
Fees go toward ISBN numbers for anthologies, giveaways for the book launch, and more regarding the Authors’ Tale anthologies. Anything earned from the book sales will finish covering these things (if necessary), but all profits after that will benefit a not-yet-determined organization.
This is a nonprofit opportunity, but it’s not just a way for you to get your name on a book cover. It’s an opportunity to learn and improve your writing. It’s a chance to be part of something bigger than all of us, to help people while we help each other and ourselves. This isn’t a paid opportunity for anyone, including me, but the return can still be priceless.
Twenty stories will go into the anthology, but whether your story makes it or not, you have the chance to take a few learned lessons with you. Don’t miss out, because that part is free.
Why is there an extra fee for editor feedback?
I want to discourage asking for editor feedback because while I’m willing to do it, I’m going to be working with the writers and their stories in the workshop, and I can’t stress how great of an opportunity it is.
I’d rather offer the workshop for free because of what it offers each writer, but if someone can’t put in the time, there’s no changing that. As a result, I decided to offer editor feedback for those who wanted to learn but didn’t have time for the workshop. I do, however, want to discourage it for people who simply don’t want to put in the work.
What does the workshop consist of?
The workshop is optional, but if a writer signs up for the workshop and doesn’t take part, their submission is automatically removed from the workshop and will be judged as is.
Each week, writers will focus on a different topic. With that in mind, writers will be required to read a minimum of two (three if you submit two stories for the workshop) stories written by others. You’ll be able to comment directly on the document, and you’ll be able to suggest changes. These two stories will be due, and anyone who does not participate will be removed from the workshop. This isn’t a one-for-one, and to ensure all stories receive two views, cooperation is required.
Make sure you can put in the time. It’s only two stories.
At the end of each week
When the week is over, download your document so you have a copy of all comments and critiques. Then, please remove all comments and suggestions from the online version of the document so your next readers can have a clean and easy read, which will benefit you. If it’s hard to read, it’s hard to help. Keep your online document clean.
You have that weekend to make any changes on your online version so you don’t receive the same changes the next week. This will also give your next round of readers a better story to read, and it will offer them the opportunity to see the story one step closer to completion, which will also give them the chance to make it that much better.
Why would I want my competition to read my story?
They aren’t your competition. Your story is on a different level than everyone else’s. Your story might have a different theme, genre, inspired meaning…You don’t know what your story does and doesn’t have in comparison to your fellow workshopper.
You also don’t know what I’m looking for or what the judges are looking for. The workshop is so you can improve your story. Put your best critique in the game because you expect the others to do the same. Help others, help yourself. Don’t treat the workshop like a chance to get ahead. You won’t. You’re not the difference between their win or loss. You don’t have that power. Sorry.
How does judging work after submissions close?
After submissions close, there will be an additional month between the judging process and the end of the submissions process. This month is set aside for the writing workshop, after which all stories will be revised, finalized, and sent to the judges along with those that didn’t opt for the workshop.
Judges are given a set of criteria to consider while reading stories. These criteria ask the judge to consider themes, storylines, plot, and elements regarding story quality. It’s not enough to try to make a story fit the theme; how close to the theme a story fits does not make a good story by default.
Judges will consider the stories’ elements as individual works and compare the execution of combining these elements with other stories of similar theme or genre. After choosing, the winning stories will go through the next or final round of judging to determine the best stories for the anthology.
How do I sign up?
Well, here’s the catch. You have to be a member of Authors’ Tale. Each submission has to be inspired by one of the short story prompts we’ve had since our first anthology. All the prompts are found here, the password for which is in the pinned post in the group on Facebook. You have until September 1, which is when submissions close, so you have plenty of time! Search the prompts for something inspiring.
So, do you think this is an opportunity for you? I’d say so, but only you can decide.
Write and surprise others, but keep learning and surprise yourself.
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