From lovers touching for the first time to alien species making initial contact with our own planet, from estranged family members finding out about each other to machinery that sparks, what happens when they connect for the first time? Maybe your main character works in a call centre, maybe there is a significance to the first person in your contacts list, or perhaps the first time two people make contact is also their last?
In 2019 Didcot Writers will be putting together their fourth anthology of short stories. Find out about past publications here. Submissions will open on 1st January 2019, and close on 30th April 2019.
The anthology will be published as both a paperback and an ebook. Submissions are free for members of Didcot Writers (defined as someone who has attended one of our events and is on our monthly writing notices mailing list), but for second submissions and submissions from non-members a £6 fee will apply. You can find out more about our events at bit.ly/didcotwriters.
- Your piece must be prose of between 800 and 5,000 words, and relate to the theme ‘first contact’.
- Submissions are welcome from around the world but must be in English.
- The theme (and title) of the anthology is ‘First Contact’, your submission can be in any genre. Please choose a title for your story that is different to that of the anthology.
- Include your story title and name/pseudonym at the top of the first page of your manuscript. Do not use headers and footers or include page numbers.
- Regarding the formatting of the document please follow the below points. Making errors in formatting won’t have you automatically disqualified, but it will take time to sort it out, and we’d rather spend our time on other things. We might ask you to revise and resubmit: the earlier you submit your work the more time there will be to sort these things out before the final deadline of 30th April 2019. So:
- use Times New Roman, font size 12, 1.5 spacing
- paragraphs should be indented – use the Format > Paragraph menu options for this, rather than indenting manually with tabs or spaces
- likewise, do not put spaces between paragraphs as these will be timely to delete later and we may need to ask you to resubmit
- indicate section breaks with a centralised *
- In terms of punctuation and grammar, please adhere to the following:
- use single quote marks (if you want to be really helpful, make sure they are ‘curly’ rather than straight)
- use British English spellings (colour, defence, centre; also -ise endings, as in realise)
- only put one space after a full stop, and none at the start or end of a paragraph
- use em-dashes to indicate a breath or pause – like that
- do not use dots for abbreviations (Dr, TS Eliot, HSBC)
- no superscript formatting (29th September, 1st prize)
- Swear words and intimate scenes are allowed, but nothing excessive or too explicit.
- This doesn’t have to be the first time your submission has been published, but your work must be copyright-cleared for publication (please let us know if there are any terms and conditions attached, eg, putting ‘first published in…’ on your story). We will try to get back to you about whether we will be publishing your work by the end of June 2019.
- The copyright for any story we publish remains with the author, so you can publish it elsewhere as you wish. If you do publish it elsewhere in addition, we’d appreciate it if you could put ‘first published in…’ or ‘appeared in…’ our book, but this is not a requirement.
- Submissions may require light editing, but should be substantially ready for publication. We will send authors a proof copy to approve. The editors’ decisions are final.
- There will be no monetary payments to authors for work accepted. Any proceeds will go to Didcot Writers, a not-for-profit writing community.
How to submit
- Submit your work as a Word (or Word-compatible) document to email@example.com.
- Include in your email a 50-word bio about yourself that will be included in the book if your work is chosen for inclusion.
- If you would rather be published under a pen name, make this clear in your submission email.
Cost of entry
There is no fee for one submission if you are a member of Didcot Writers (see above), but if you would like to submit more than one piece, or are not a member, a £6 fee will apply for each entry. Payments can be made via Paypal, an invoice will be sent once you have submitted your work.
A limited number of bursaries are available for low-income and under-represented authors. If you feel you should qualify for one of these, tell us why in your email, and we will let you know whether it’s possible to allocate you a bursary.