A lot of questions come up at the 42 Stories Anthology.
Q 1: When is the book coming out?
A 1: Soon after we've accepted 1,764 stories. Numbers are periodically updated in a blog here.
Q 2: Why 42?
A 2: Great question. Short: It's the answer to the universe. Long: In my teens, a friend recommended I watch the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy miniseries from 1981. I'd never laughed so hard and decided to read all of the books while recovering from my first three of eight back operations.
The Steampunk and impairment categories were inspired by the fact that I have metal holding my back together and fought to walk again twice. Don't feel bad for me. The latter surgeries in my 20s made me faster and stronger than ever before.
Through my recovery time, Douglas Adams hooked me into a witty world of insight and inspiration.
Then, in my 30s, I decided to gather a galaxy of voices, honoring my favorite writer and at the same time helping other authors find publication in this universe of rejection.
Your writing has value and I want to share it through your 42 words. Side note: I live in Japan where 42 is viewed as an unlucky number.
Q 3: Are you interested in doing interviews for the anthology?
A 3: Yes. Definitely. Please make sure the place that does the interviews is interested.
Q 4: Or how about letting someone post about the book in their blog?
A 4: Some writers already have posted about the anthology.
Jean Harkin's Blog: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9881421.Jean_Harkin/blog/tag/42-stories-anthology
A lot of bloggers and Pod-casters have strict rules and anthologies don't usually make the cut. Ask/post away. Let me know you helped promote the book and I'll figure out a way to thank you.
Q 5: In 42 words and third person, who are you?
A 5: B. A. Mullin, or Bam's a PhD student of linguistics at Temple in Osaka, MA in teaching & BA in English, concentration in creative writing. Taught craft of writing/editing for several years, English in Costa Rica, now teaching SLA in Japan.
Q 6: In 42 words, who else is working on the anthology?
A 6: It would take more than 42 words to name everyone. 8 editors and 9 readers are voting on all of the submissions. One is the main editor. One is also the publisher. 10 voting contributors. 10 artists. Also, there are 5 promoters.
Q 7: Why won't you let me submit multiple stories under the same name?
A 7: Because the theme is 42 and a multiple of 42 by itself is 1,764, so we will have 1,764 names and stories in the book. That said, submit each story believing it might get accepted with pen names included under the title and in the bio. Otherwise, voters would wonder why you sent us a piece you thought would get rejected.
More. The original plan was: accept one story by different authors. We, decided for time sake, four stories per writer was okay under the rule each work would have a different pen name. This way writers could send multiple submissions and we still followed the theme of the book.
Q 8: Do I have to use a pseudonym (pen name) if I only sent one story?
A 8: Nope. Pseudonyms are for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th submissions. Make sure every story you sent uses a different name and you're good on the name front.
Q 9: My story is a good fit for a bunch of your categories. How do I submit the story and follow the subject line guideline?
A 9: Write one category in the subject line, such as PP or Poetic Prose. In your email message, note which categories the piece fits. Two bonus points on this question:
P1: Please avoid putting more than one category in the subject line. That is merely our method of finding and organizing your story.
P2: Be careful when abbreviating. If you only write C in the subject line, your story could accidentally be categorized in Culture when you meant Clown or Thriller when you meant Tragedy and only wrote T.
Don't mistake the above two points for guidelines, they're suggestions to help you when submitting a story for the anthology.
Q 10: Do you still need artists?
A 10: All of the artists have been assigned for the book. However, a cover artist hasn't been assigned, so if you want to do a cover, front and back, for the book you can query us at the submission email.
Q 11: Can I send multiple submissions in a bulk email?
A 11: Please don't. In the guidelines, it has specific instructions about the subject line. Part of that guideline lists a category. This is so I know which of the editors and readers to send your work to, so no, you can't send multiple submissions in a bulk email. Doing so makes it extremely difficult on our end.
Send each submission separately.
Further, if you emailed rather than used Submittable, the acceptance or rejection email will be in response to your submission. How will you know which story was accepted or rejected if you sent us a bulk email of four submissions?
Q 12: Do I have to include my bio in every submission even if I'm sending multiple stories?
A 12: All submissions are separate, so please send a bio with every submission, especially so your pen name fits. Otherwise, it's going to be difficult to find your bio and you'll be making the editor's job harder. Also, don't try to cheat the pen name guideline by sneaking your real name into your bio. That defeats the purpose of having a pen name and isn't following guidelines requiring multi-submissions to have different names.
Q 13: When will you respond to my submission?
A 13: Within six months. Please avoid querying before six months. If you've waited longer than six months, email a query about your story with the subject line of your submission included within your email.
Q 14: What's the Craft of Writing Category?
A 14: It's a special guest writer category. Not stories, rather interviews from writers. The people in this chapter will be the judges for the Story of Excellence. If you feel you have what it takes to enter this category, please email me. However, there's a 1% chance of acceptance into this category.
Q 15: Are you still accepting stories for this anthology?
A 15: Yes. We have not reached our goal of 1,764 stories after two years of our call for submissions. The book is halfway there however. We'll reach the mark as a team.
Please relay the submission call to your writer friends so we can get the book out faster: call link.
Q 16: Why are your guidelines so cryptic?
A 16: I'm not some old angry guy with a lit cigar glaring at a screen. Many people work with me to vote on the stories for the anthology, so structure, professionalism, and organization is important. Also, there's only five guidelines repeated in different ways with detailed examples of exactly what to send. The editors help when writers make mistakes rather than shoot back a standard rejection without a reason. If that's cryptic, by all means, send your story somewhere else.
Q 17: Does the title really have to be 42 characters?
A 17: It has to be between 40 and 44 characters long, so about 42 characters, including spaces and double-checked at wordcounter.net. Don't physically count the characters. Just use the site we recommend and we will too, matching numbers.
There was an instance a writer sent a title that was seven characters long. My email requested that the author follow guidelines and I explained the title part was important in order to match the theme of the book. The author's response was, "My title is long enough." A rejection was sent and the story was never read. Please follow the guidelines, or your story will not be considered by us.
Q 18: Which categories receive the least submissions?
A 18: Indigenous, Sword & Sorcery, Steampunk, Thriller/Suspense, and Mystery respectively.
Q 19: How can I help my writer friends get their story accepted?
A 19: Refer them to the guidelines and example story. Tell them to format their work correctly. Getting everything right doesn't mean we'll accept the work, but the process is usually much faster when someone follows guidelines. Authors submitting can simply copy the way the example story looks and their story will appear as if it's ready to be added to the book.
Which do you think an anthology publisher will like more at first glance, a story that looks like it's ready to be added to their book, or a story in a random format within an email?
Q 20: How will I know my story was accepted?
A 20: Three steps.
1) You'll receive an email of congratulations or notice through Submittable depending on how you submitted your work. Recommendation: Check your spam folder twice a month. You might miss an acceptance from us or someone else.
2) It's important that you reply and accept terms or your story will not be accepted. After about three months of the author not responding to an acceptance invitation the story is considered rejected. However, there is a lot of leeway if they respond later.
3) Step three is here for comedic purposes only and doesn't count. There are two steps.
Q 21: How will the Story of Excellence be announced?
A 21: After the special guest judge selects the Story of Excellence, the winner will be emailed, boasted about in a blog, and social media platforms. The winner's story will be highlighted as the featured piece for their respective chapter in the anthology. To save time, it is likely all 42 winners will be announced in one blog. Bonus announcement: There will probably be a video of the winners' stories being read. No confirmation at this time.
Q 22: My first story was rejected by your voters. Why should I bother sending another story?
A 22: Okay, I completely made this question up, but there are 42 categories. If your first story is turned down, just try writing a new one and sending it to a different category. We want to share your words with the universe, so don't give up over a rejection.
You know what I do? When my stories gets rejected, I reread the work and make changes, then send the piece elsewhere. That's gotten me over one hundred publications. I'm not bragging, just saying you shouldn't give up. Keep trying. A lot of stories rejected by this anthology have been accepted by other publishers after the person who submitted a story took my advice: revising and sending the story somewhere else. I hope in addition to sending the rejected story somewhere, you'll give our anthology another go with something new, but if you don't we understand.
Q 23: If I make a mistake when submitting, does that mean my story will be rejected?
A 23: No. It means you'll get an email from me or an editor asking you to make a revision. We all make mistakes and it's no big deal. The only reason you'll get rejected over guidelines is if you're rude about it when we email you for a revision, or don't reply.
Q 24: BAM, are you the publisher of the 42 Stories Anthology?
A 24: MacKENZIE Publishing has stepped in and taken on that role, helping me avoid a lot of red tape so to focus on compiling the anthology and submissions. They offer editorial and proofreading services too.
Q 25: Which charity is the pot for?
A 25: United Through Reading. The editors, artists, and voters of the 42 Stories Anthology selected this charity.
From their website: