publishing, Stories, Writers Co-op

Call for Submissions

The Writers’ Co-op invites submissions of short stories (and poems) for an anthology to be released later this year. No theme is set, but stories should broadly fall into the category of ‘weird’ (see below).

There is a maximum word count of 5000. But this is more a guideline than a strict limit – quality is the main criterion, not length. So a great story will be accepted, whether it’s 6000 words or 200 (flash fiction is welcome). But we’re looking for short stories, not novellas or extracts from novels – the story should be complete in itself. Though the anthology will be comprised mostly of stories, there will also be room for some poems or pieces of an experimental nature.

The deadline is 31st March 2018. Submissions should be sent in an attached file to curtis.bausse(at) with the subject ‘Co-op submission’. They may have been previously published on personal websites (or elsewhere) but authors must have full rights to them when submitting. Authors will retain said rights after the story or poem is published in the Writers’ Co-op anthology.

All proceeds will go to the Against Malaria Foundation. Why? Because the (hopefully not meagre but probably far from spectacular) royalties can make a big difference: $3 buys a long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito net which protects two people for up to three years.

That’s for the practicalities (if you have further questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch via the contact page). But what is meant by ‘weird’?

The question is addressed in the previous post, but since I’m here I get the chance to add my two cents’ worth (or grain of salt as they say in French). Like many categories, it’s fuzzy, because it stands in distinction to ‘normal’, and there’s no common acceptance of what is normal. Not all writers will approach it the same way, and so much the better – we hope for plenty of variety. At the core of weirdness, though, is the upsetting of expectations: normality, in the sense of what we’re accustomed to, doesn’t follow the course that led to us form those expectations. Where it goes – somewhere disturbing or hilarious – is entirely the writer’s choice. Or why not hilariously disturbing? Indeed, one advantage of ‘weird’ is that it allows for humour as much as for horror, so go for it!

How weird does it have to be? Anything from full on, over-the-top freaky to subtly odd and unsettling. So no worries if weird isn’t your usual style – a few deft touches can suffice. Those little moments of strangeness that don’t fit into what we know of the world or the people around us, those hints of a deeper mystery that defies explanation. Give us writing that shifts our perceptions, leads us to experience, bubbling up through the regularity and routine, the fundamental weirdness of life. To quote the Count of Lautréamont, author of the Chant de Maldoror, if your piece is ‘beautiful as the chance meeting on a dissecting table of a sewing machine and an umbrella,’ there’s every chance that we’ll love it.

We look forward to reading you.


Agnès Varda: La rencontre fortuite

39 thoughts on “Call for Submissions

  1. Talk about coincidence … you and I have co-contributed to an anthology before … and up until I formally retired last June I’d spent five years as a free-lance physical sciences consultant to a research project on mosquito control primarily funded by the WHO and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Needless to say I’ll submit something for your consideration! Best regards. Eric.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Karl Johanson says:

    “…splitting the (hopefully not meagre but probably far from spectacular) royalties between the authors is more trouble than it’s worth…”

    If you want to tell the writers the proceeds will go to charity, that one thing. It’s another to tell the writers they aren’t worth the effort to pay them… You might want to consider dropping that line.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Offending line removed. Clumsy? I see your point, though unfortunately it’s probably true. I’d love the royalties to reach a sum where it’s worth the complication involved (I think the clumsy word was ‘effort’ – it’s not a question of that). Not having attempted it, I don’t have much idea what that sum might be, but I suspect it’s higher than what will result. But that’s a matter of marketing – if we manage to shift enough copies through a collective marketing effort (and that’s the right word here), there’s no reason royalties shouldn’t be split. And I dare say that would incite contributors to participate more in the marketing side… On the other hand, if it’s purely a matter of principle (getting paid or not), there’s no point fixing a sum but writers could be allowed to decide for themselves. (See my reply to Carl’s comment below).

      Liked by 2 people

      • GD Deckard says:

        To the questions, should all authors be paid or should individual authors be given the choice of receiving their share, I agree with Curtis’ initial statement. An accountant would have to charge more than the realistically expected total earnings to distribute them. My business compromise would be to pay any author their share of earnings, but charge for the cost of paying them. I could apply the difference that the authors would pay us towards future prizes 🙂
        But, I will go along with whatever Curtis decides on this.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. mimispeike says:

    It will be a feather in our cap to get a story accepted. I say money has nothing to do with it.

    (Easy for me to say. I’ve been broke all my life. The money I/we have now is all due to Eberhard’s savvy husbandry of my formerly mishandled finances.) I tell him that if we were to divorce, all we have is rightfully his, and I will be on the street, where I was headed when he popped into my life.

    And I mean it. I totally mean it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sorry, Mimi, but I disagree with you here. This is sounding more and more like a vanity press project. Count me out. I’m broke, unknown in the profession, frustrated more than words can express. But I hope I’m never so poor, desperate and/or degraded that I offer up my work for free while bleating: “Please, mister, publish me! I want all my friends to see my name in print! Please!”

      There’s no other way to put this. I’m sorry, folks. Bitterly disappointed here. Karl is right: It would have been one thing to ask for unpaid submissions; it’s quite another to declare submitting writers are “too much trouble” to pay. (And yes, I realize we’re probably talking royalties in cents here. So be it. It’s still payment vs. working for free.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • See above, Carl. Point taken regarding the word ‘effort’. And I know everyone’s idea of what a meaningful sum would be is different, so there’s no point even trying to fix one – you’re talking about a principle, not a sum. Which is fair enough, and for me to impose my pet charity without a discussion is unjust. There was a mention of the Book a Break morphing into this, which in my mind included the charity aspect, but that can be reconsidered. Maybe offer contributors the choice? “Would you like to give your potential royalties to the AMF? Or only keep them if they reach x dollars (fix your own sum.)” Something like that. Why not?
        We come at this from different angles, and all are respectable. I know that in my own case, while I’m keen to keep whatever coffee money I earn from my novels, I’m happier, when it comes to an anthology, with the idea that for some people it can buy much more than a coffee. Illogical, probably, but my way of reconciling my lifestyle contradictions.
        Either way, I don’t see this as a vanity project at all, nor involving any bleating. To (mis)construe it thus is a shame – if everyone sees it that way, it’s dead in the water before it’s even started. And it would also be a shame not to read whatever weirdness you would submit 😉

        Liked by 2 people

          • Ah, thanks, Karl! And thanks for instigating a new thought process in my mind – they’re rare at my age 😉Seriously though, if a flexible approach (choose if you want to be paid or give it to charity) helps to overcome oppositions based on (perfectly respectable) principle, then I’m more than happy to go that way. And once this matter is resolved, we can all go back to the main objective, crafting weird stories readers will love…

            Liked by 1 person

        • It’s understandable, Curtis: you made a couple of assumptions in terms of expediency and efficiency, with the best of intentions. I like the way you’ve course-corrected here and acknowledged the misstep. The dignity and duress of the poverty-stricken working-class writer should always be kept in mind by editors everywhere, methinks. An injured yet defiant pride in craft and ethical principles is, oftentimes, all we have left . . .


          Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Y’all,

    I find it weird that we can all agree to disagree about everything except money. I am saddened by Carl’s response on a personal level but I get it on a business level. I do hope Carl reconsiders his position and will join the others in this project. If not, I really hope there are no hard feelings on anyone’s side.

    I didn’t take offense to Curtis’ words because I think that if anyone should get paid for their time, it would be him. He will be putting in the super hard hours and making some very difficult choices about stories that are good enough and stories that are not. I do not envy him at all and I have no desire to throw myself out there as anything other than a author. Yes, I have years of experience as a full fledged chicken.

    As far as the option to collect any proceeds or to donate them to a charity. Giving the author the choice is probably the right thing to do. I am going to go on record stating that I am going to donate my small part of the proceeds to the charity. As for me, one of my goals in writing has always been to leave the world a better place than when I came into it so I hope we single-handily eradicate malaria with our words.

    Peace, Hope, Love, and Weirdness!

    Liked by 6 people

  5. Perry Palin says:

    In the short video Harlan Ellison rants against working for nothing for the benefit of Warner Brothers, and I’m with him on that. On the other hand, I have given stories to not-for-profits and charities when I knew that was the rule going in.

    I am not a professional writer. I’ve sold some stories, and I’ve made a little money from them. I have met professional writers and artists who do make their living from their words and art, and who would not work for free for a corporate entity, but who donate their work generously to causes they believe in. Last spring a known mystery writer donated his time and talent, including a story yet to be written, to our local library. The event raised about $2,000 in a couple of hours, and he tore up the check for his appearance fee.

    I’l try to submit something. If my story is included and there’s any revenue at all, I’ll direct my share to the charity of Curtis’ choice,

    Liked by 3 people

  6. GD Deckard says:

    Count me in as a donator to the Against Malaria Foundation in the event of my story being accepted.
    (‘Course, I won’t submit a story if I get involved in selecting the stories for publication.)

    Many thanks to Eric (BELIEVING SIGHT UNSEEN), Mimi, ROBAKERS and PERRY PALIN for their understanding.
    Especially, thanks to CURTISBAUSSE for publishing the anthology and, as Rob says, “putting in the super hard hours and making some very difficult choices about stories that are good enough and stories that are not.” And to ATTHYSGAGE for his (perhaps impressed) service as the Anthology Editor.
    Thanks even to 🙂 that troublemaker 🙂 KARL JOHANSON for graciously jumping back into the conversation with, “You guys are awesome. Best of luck with the anthology & hope it does well for the charity!” I have to like Karl for his grace.

    Time now to spread the anthology’s Call for Submissions!
    What are the best ways to do this? Anyone have suggestions?
    Please share your ideas so others might use them.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. DocTom says:

    Late to the dance as usual. Having visited Uganda last year and seeing the poverty there, I’d be happy to donate any royalties to the AMF assuming I have a story published. I will submit one.

    As far as marketing, see if you can list it with Duotrope. It has a large viewer base, all looking for places to submit their writing. Here’s the contact info

    BTW, if they tell you there’s a fee let me know. I’m a paid subscriber which might help a bit with that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • GD Deckard says:

      Thanks! looks good, but I’ve not seen it before and I am not a member. Perhaps you would be good enough to submit our generic announcement?

      Submissions are invited for a short story anthology to be published by the Writers’ Co-op. No theme is set but stories should broadly fit into the genre ‘weird’ – to be interpreted as you wish. Maximum word count is 5000 (we’re not strict on that). No minimum word count. Deadline: 31st March. Entries to be sent to curtis.bausse(at) with the subject heading ‘weird story submission’. All entries will be acknowledged and decision of acceptance or not will be notified as soon as possible after the deadline.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. DocTom says:

    Hello GD,
    The main requirement is that we’d need you to add a contest announcement and rules page here which must be directly accessed by anybody (no password required). You will also need a designated editor, and I’d suggest that under payment you just list none.
    Their guidelines appear pretty straightforward, so since you would need to set up the contest page, I’d suggest you look over the Criteria for listings at . In particular, look over the guide for “fledgling” publications all the way down at the bottom of the page. You might want to consider the possibility of making this an annual event, in the same way Curtis runs his “Book A Break” contest every year.
    There’s also a helpful guide for editors and if you have any questions you can ask them about it.
    Unfortunately, you’re the Web Master here so you’ll need to do this, but if there’s anything I can do to help, let me know.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for that link, Tom – looks like a good place to go for. I’m not sure it matters who submits the application – we’re all a collective webmaster! On the other hand a separate page is definitely needed, which I was going to do anyway for better visibility after the blog post slips down the posts page. And yes, it would be nice to make it annual (especially as this is the last year of the Book a Break), but first I guess we need a name. Any ideas?

      Liked by 1 person

  9. victoracquista says:

    Just moved into new home on Monday and enjoying being reconnected to the web. Many tasks at hand, but I do intend to work on something to submit. I am on board with having proceeds go to charity. Special thanks to Curtis for ironing out the details and doing the grunt work.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Pingback: Anthology Submissions | writers co-op

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