Sorting Through More Submission Calls

Dear Editor,

If you want submissions from any writer who isn’t a newbie him- or herself, you have to demonstrate that you know what you’re doing, that you know how the business works, and that you know the customary nomenclature. Specifically, something like this:

By submitting the story to the [We’reAllNewbies] Publishing, the writer transfers all print and electronic publication rights to the [We’reAllNewbies] Publishing editorial team. If the work is not chosen for publication, at the time the author is informed of this, all rights revert to the author. If the work is chosen, the author may not republish the story in print or electronic format until one year after the date of publication of the full anthology.

you’ve guaranteed that I and likely many other writers will never submit anything to you, ever.

Look, the last line shows that your heart is (probably) in the right place, sort of. I’m pretty sure I know what you mean — that if you choose Joe’s story, you expect him to sign a contract granting you exclusive rights for a year, so he doesn’t, say, post the story for free on his web site, making your anthology worth that little bit less to readers. I’m even willing to assume that you only mean to take English language rights, even though that’s not what you’re saying.

Because what you’re saying is that as soon as Joe sends you his story, you own (not have an option on, but own) ALL print and electronic rights — serial, anthology, e-book, webzine, arguably audio, everything — immediately, in ALL languages, EVERYWHERE. Do your homework; the big kids don’t play this way. Assuming this would even hold up in court, this is an outrageous rights grab that only a clueless newbie writer would submit to. And it’s an outrageous rights grab that only a publisher who’s a blatant predator or a clueless newbie would attempt.

I’m willing to be generous and bet you’re just clueless. Making yourself look this clueless, though, when you’re trying to get experienced writers to submit their work to you is a bad idea. Don’t do it. Learn how things are done and what the customary practices are in this business, then ask people to trust you with their fiction and their money.

Unless of course you actually are a blatant predator and are hoping clueless newbies will fall for your trick.

[Just FYI, your antho theme looked interesting. I’m not touching it, though, nor am I linking to it.]


Published by


Angela Benedetti lives in Seattle with her husband and a few thousand books. She loves romance for the happy endings, for the affirmation that everyone who's willing to fight for love deserves to get it and be happy with someone. She's best known for her Sentinel series of novels, the most recent of which is Captive Magic.