How One Small Press Chooses Stories

How One Small Press Chooses Stories
December 26, 2016 No Comments » For Authors, OWS Features, Special Feature Stephanie Ayers

Bushmead Press is a small indie publisher that produced the Monsters anthology our creative director, Stephanie Ayers, and one of our contributors, David Wiley, have stories featured in. When Tyler Omichinski proposed this guest post, we were all for it. Have an inside scoop on how one small press chooses the stories for its anthology. Buy their books, because… books, anthology, indie authors!

How One Small Press Chooses Stories

At Bushmead, we’ve focused on primarily putting together great anthologies. We have three out already, and are working on more. Each time we work on a project like this, we have to make tricky decisions on determining which short stories we’re going to accept, and which one’s we’re going to pass on. Trying to get short stories out there in the world, and trying to help them find homes, can be so tricky for a writer. In light of that, we’re going to go over some of the things that we look at to see if it helps.

The Opening

We take pride in making sure to read every single story that we receive from start to finish. A good hook at the beginning, a weaponized short story that pulls people in is integral to the success of the story. Even if we like the rest of the story, we know that the beginning is integral for catching readers. Just because we’re willing to make it to the end of the story, or it has an amazing ending,

When we really love a story, we’ll contact the writer about re-working the beginning. In our experience, these can be really effectively rewritten in some instances, while other times we have more difficulty determining how to do that. The tricky often is, as a result, ensuring that your hook at the beginning of the story is red hot.

Fitting the Theme

It is surprising how often we get stuck with stories that are good, or that we really like, that just don’t seem related to the theme of the piece that we’re working on. In these instances, we need to remember that no matter how good a specific story is, we’re putting together a larger project. When a single story is out of place and doesn’t hit the theme, it is going to be jarring and difficult for the reader. In those instances, we generally have to say no thanks. We try to tell people when the stories are good, but if you aren’t submitting a proper theme, then we’re in a tough position.

Making sure it’s Different

This is the trickiest one, and one of the weirdest things for a writer to try to figure out. Whenever a theme is put forward as an idea, it is going to cause a lot of similar ideas from many different authors. Stories that are too similar are going to be fairly common, and we simply can’t accept both. In those instances, we’re forced to just take one.

Remedying this one is tricky, and there’s a limit to what can be done regarding it. A writer can always simply write the best story that they know how to, and find a way to ask deeper questions. Taking the first idea that comes to your mind can undermine creating the best story that you can. Interpreting it and twisting it, changing it, and remixing it, can be integral to creating the best version of the story that you can do.

Homes for Short Stories

The trick for each story that you write is to try to find it the right home for the story. With the right home, hopefully it will find the right people to read it. Unfortunately, that’s often all writers and editors can do, throwing bottles out into the ocean and hoping for the best with them. So do that, keep these in mind, and throw the best bottles you can out there.

[bctt tweet=”Throw the best bottles you can out there. #writingadvice #anthology #shortstory #ourwriteside” username=”OurWriteSide”]

– Bushmead Publishing

Bushmead Publishing is having a sale starting today and for the next few days. You can find the pieces here:

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Stephanie Ayers A published author with a knack for twisted tales, Stephanie Ayers is the Executive Creative Director of OWS Ink, LLC, a community for writers and readers alike. She loves a good thriller, fairies, things that go bump in the night, and sappy stories. When she is not writing, she can be found in Creative Cloud designing book covers and promotional graphics for authors.

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