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Taking Submissions: All The King’s Men

March 31, 2016

Deadline: March 31st, 2016
Payment: Comic scripts: $12.50 per page.
Prose stories: $0.04 per word.

All The King’s Men is a two-volume epic science fiction anthology edited by Shane W Smith, the author of The Lesser Evil, Peaceful Tomorrows, The Game, James Flamestar, and Undad.

All The King’s Men takes a look at the lives of those on the periphery, ordinary people struggling to make sense of their lives and dreams in a galaxy torn apart by civil war.

Each of them is fleeing something different, but they’ve all come to the same place. When their ship is marooned in deep space, they pass the time by sharing stories. Things that have happened to them, events they’ve witnessed, rumours they’ve heard…

The anthology is seeking contributions from writers. Contributions may be in the form of prose short stories or short comic scripts. Submissions are open until 31 March, 2016. Please read the submission guidelines below for more information.

Writers: submissions are currently open!

All The King’s Men is not seeking contributions from artists at this time.

Before you get started on your pitch, please ensure you are familiar with the background information. One of the criteria your pitch will be assessed on is its suitability to the established universe, and the information provided will go a long way to ensuring you get past this hurdle. If you’re stuck for story ideas but want to contribute, please check out the story ideas page.

Any questions or concerns can be directed to [email protected]. At this stage, it is my intention to offer notes and feedback for every pitch. I am equally happy to work closely with you to develop your idea up front.

The most important piece of upfront advice I can give you, though, is: take your time. Take the time to read all the background information before you submit. Then develop your idea. Break it down. Build it back up again. Then do the same for your pitch. Hone it. Polish it. Make it shine.

1. The theme

All pitches should focus especially on the tagline of the book: the notion that sometimes it’s impossible to mend what has been broken. This will be the unifying thread between all the stories in the anthology, so it’s important that your pitch takes account of it. It doesn’t have to be central to your story, but it should be in there somewhere.

1a. Applying for one of the suggested stories?

Write a short pitch fleshing out the ideas a little, and explain why you’re the person to tell this story.

Make sure your pitch focuses upon the underlying meaning of the story. What does it mean to you? What would you like to say with this story?

Please also include the (anticipated) length of the story.

1b. Submitting a new, original story?

Pitch a short paragraph outlining your idea. This pitch should include some details about plot (beginning, middle and end, please!), but should focus primarily on the underlying meaning of the story. What are you trying to say with this piece, and why are you the person to tell it?

Please also include the (anticipated) length of the story.

If you’ve already written a story you feel meets these criteria, feel free to submit that, too!

2. The length

Don’t feel constrained by length. If your story needs forty pages or 8,000 words to tell, pitch it that way. If it absolutely must be a novella, convince me. Be aware that there is limited space in the anthology, and a limited budget to pay contributors, so longer stories may find themselves subject to negotiation with regards to scope.

3. What else to include

Please include, if available, a sample of previously published work and/or a writing CV.

Please also indicate in your email whether you’d be happy to be assigned a different story to write if your pitch is knocked back.

Also, please let me know whether you intend to submit a comic script or a prose story.

4. Where to send your pitch

Please send your pitch to [email protected].

The deadline for pitches: 31 March, 2016 (Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time).

You will be notified by email after this date if you are selected as a contributor to All The King’s Men. At this time, you will be provided with a contract outlining timeframes and confirming the rates of pay.

Page rates

Funding has been received from artsACT for this anthology. This money will enable contributors to be paid the following amounts. Please note that all amounts are in Australian dollars, and that these are minimum rates of pay that may be subject to increase.

Comic scripts: $12.50 per page.
Prose stories: $0.04 per word.

Submissions are open for writers now. All The King’s Men is not seeking contributions from artists at this time.

Frequently Asked Questions

This is based in an established universe, right? Do I have to use the same characters?
That’s right, but no, you aren’t required to use the same characters and locations. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that established characters are off-limits. I want this anthology to feature all new characters, all new locations, all new events, and all new problems.

Who’s the publisher? When will the book come out? What format?
All The King’s Men will be published by Deeper Meanings Publishing, an indie outfit based in Australia. Insofar as anything in life can be said to be sure, this is a sure thing. The book will be released simultaneously in digital and print formats worldwide upon the book’s completion (likely near the end of 2016, or early 2017).

Can I submit more than once?
Yes. If you have a hundred great ideas, send them all through.

How long should my story be?
About as long as a piece of string, I would think. Honestly, though, let the story dictate the length, not the other way around. Because the anthology has limited real estate available, shorter stories will be looked on more favourably, but you’ve got a concept for an longer and truly exceptional story, pitch it! And make it so good that I won’t be able to say no.

No. Really: how long?
All right. Gun to my head, I’d say the sweet spot for story length is probably around 15-25 pages (comic) and 3000-5000 words (prose).

Can I submit poetry?
Sure. I’ll consider it. We’ll figure out a fair rate of pay if your poem gets in.

I don’t have a CV/resume/writing credentials. Can I still submit?
Yes! I’m very excited by the prospect of hosting some first-time creators, and I want to hear from you.

I’ve already written a story I think would be perfect.
I’m cautious and wary of this statement. Did you read all the background information before making that claim? If so, I’ll take a look at your story.

So, does this universe have aliens/lasers/mechs/robots?
Read the books, please. I’m happy to help you tweak your pitch to fit the universe, but if we’re starting from square one, it’s going to be a lengthy process. You’ll have a much stronger chance of making your story fit if you know what you’re fitting it into.

What rights will I be signing over to you?
Because the anthology takes place in an established universe, the rights to the settings and characters are already owned by Zetabella Publishing and Deeper Meanings Publishing. You will be signing exclusive rights to your story and characters over to me, so I can sign them over to the publisher. This does not negate your right to be credited for your work. You will be fully credited at all times. You will not be able to create any new stories featuring the same characters, though.

What does the by-line look like?
Simple stuff. Your story will say “Written by: [your name]” on both the contents page and the first page of your story.

When do I get paid?
Slow down, Tex. You need to be accepted first. You’ll be paid 50% up front, as soon as the contract is signed, and 50% upon delivery of the completed, edited story.

Okay… so when can I get that contract?
The final creative line-up for the anthology won’t be confirmed until after March 31, 2016. Chances are you’ll be waiting until then to receive a contract.

I’m not from Australia. I’m from [insert country name here]. Can I still submit?
Absolutely. I’d really like to work with writers from all walks of life. All ages, all genders, all nationalities, all levels of ability. I want to hear from you.

Is there room for humour/noir/horror/[insert genre or genre mash-up here] in this anthology?
Sure beats every story being like every other, don’t you think? I’d like to hear your ideas!

Just how dark can I take this? I’ve got some intense ideas.
Send them in. Intense is good. Gratuitous, I have issues with, but intense is good. I’ll let you know if your ideas cross any lines.

I’m an artist, and I was hoping…
Sorry. I’ve hired artists in the past for other projects, but I’ll be serving as the artist for All The King’s Men.

Are you going to steal my idea?
No. God, no! Believe me, I’ve got more than enough ideas of my own. So many, I’ll never get to write them all. My writing life is complicated enough with just these; I don’t need to steal any more. Also, I’m a pretty honest dude who firmly believes that artists deserve fair credit and compensation for their work.

This anthology sounds familiar. When I Google it…
Yep, I know what you’re finding. I tried to launch this as a Kickstarter campaign at the start of 2014, but for a number of reasons, it failed to reach its target. I’ve spent the last eighteen months working hard to bring the book back to life, and was fortunate to obtain a sizable grant from artsACT to do just that. This isn’t a fly-by-night project; it’s been on my mind for around eight years, and has been front-and-centre of the drawing board for the last two.

Via: Shane W. Smith.


March 31, 2016