Three Time Travelers Walk Into … Guidelines for Submissions

Take any three famous people from history, toss them together, and have an adventure.

How they got together is up to you – you could do an origin story of how they first met or you could write the story as if they had been adventuring for years. You can use a time machine or a rip in space/time or quantum magic or whatever. You could have some sort of universal translator or you can have the language barrier be part of your plotline.

And these three people should be really separate if possible, from different cultures and times. That’s part of the fun…

I’m now accepting story submissions for this upcoming anthology. You’ll be in great company, with New York Times Bestselling authors and multiple award-winning authors like David Gerrold, Jonathan Maberry, Peter David, Allen Steele, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Adam-Troy Castro, Jody Lynn Nye, Gail Z. Martin, Keith DeCandido, James Moore, and L. Penelope!

Below are the guidelines for submission and some advice. Not following either greatly reduces your chance of acceptance. Follow the guidelines!

(The actual cover will look different)

STORY LENGTH AND PAYMENT: Try to keep your story at around 4000 words. This should be sufficient for what should most likely be a somewhat humorous tale. Take as many words as you need to make a great story, but if it is too long, it had better be so great that we can’t refuse it. We will pay 5 cents a word with a top limit of 5000 words. If you absolutely have to go over that limit, it won’t disqualify you but understand that we won’t pay extra. A good but padded story may get rejected over a concise, fast-moving one, because we want to fit in as many stories as possible.

No reprints. And only one submission. If you have two stories, send your best.

FORMAT: Standard submission format. Times New Roman, 12 point, double spaced. Your name, email, and word count at the top of the first page.  RTF format only, please.

Please include a short bio at the end in the same document. List previous publications or relevant experience in the bio. Don’t worry if you’ve never been published before. I have no problem accepting stories from first-time authors — but won’t overlook bad writing or spelling and grammar mistakes simply because you’re new at this. You’ll be held to the same standards as our professional writers.

DEADLINES:  The stories are due by Thursday, December 9th.  If you don’t get a response from me acknowledging receipt within a few days after you submit, please contact me to make sure it didn’t get lost in the internet somewhere.

My personal deadline for responding to everyone is January 6th. If you haven’t heard from me by that day, you can assume your story was rejected, but I will do everything I can to respond to everyone.

RIGHTS: First English Language Rights, with a 12-month exclusivity period (except for “Best Of” collections).

STORY IDEAS: As far as who to choose for your story: I’m looking for real people or people who are so ingrained in mythology that they could be real (Robin Hood, King Arthur, Mulan, etc.). Obviously, do not use any copyrighted characters or clearly fictional characters even if they are in the public domain (no Sherlock Holmes or Oliver Twist). If you are unsure, feel free to email me beforehand.

NOTE: Do not email me with a query like “I’m thinking of using X, Y, and Z. Would you be interested?” The answer is always “I don’t know; write the story first.” After all, the best idea in the world can fail if it’s poorly written. Only email me if you are unsure about whether a character you want to use fits my criteria.

Also, you should probably use fairly well-known people from history, because that’s what’s going to attract reader attention. Choosing three obscure people might hurt your chances of acceptance BUT what really matters is how good your story is. I don’t want to limit you or scare you away from a great story simply because you’re using three relatively unknown painters from different eras, for instance.

GENERAL ADVICE: Make sure there’s a story there. Often, I receive submissions that have a great concept but there’s no story underneath. The great concept is just the start of your story

Below is a recent zoom chat I had with editors Keith DeCandido and Randee Dawn, discussing how to submit to a themed anthology, what editors are looking for, and what will get you rejected quickly. (No, you don’t have to watch this if you don’t want to. There are no secret passwords or “cheat codes” in this chat.)

REJECTION LETTERS: I hate sending out rejection letters, having been at the receiving end of them myself, but that is part of the business. Please understand that if I reject your story, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is a bad story. In every single anthology I’ve edited, I’ve had to reject stories I like simply because I don’t have enough room. Or perhaps I have more than one story with the same characters or themes, and I can only choose one. And sometimes it’s just a matter of taste. A story I don’t like could be loved by a different editor. (It might help if you have read some of the anthologies I’ve edited before or even my own novels to get an idea of the kinds of stories I like.)

PUBLISHER:  This will be published by Fantastic Books with publisher Ian Randal Strock. Ian has published my last two anthologies (Release the Virgins and Across the Universe, with Randee Dawn). Virgins was very successful, and Across the Universe received excellent reviews from Publishers Weekly, the Library Journal, Asimov’s and Analog. (Details about those books can be found here)

SUBMISSION EMAIL: Send your submission to Michael.Ventrella@gmail.com and please put “Time travelers submission” in the subject line.

3 Responses

  1. […] Keith R.A. DeCandido is thrilled to be part of the upcoming anthology Three Time Travelers Walk Into…, which was just successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter. The anthology is now open to submissions—you can find the guidelines here. […]

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  2. […] Keith R.A. DeCandido is thrilled to be part of the upcoming anthology Three Time Travelers Walk Into…, which was just successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter. The anthology is now open to submissions—you can find the guidelines here. […]

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