Deadline: September 2nd, 2019
RBE’s first Western isn’t simply going to be filled with dusty tales of cowpokes and gunslingers no matter how romantic. Oh no – you know better than that! REACH FOR THE SKY is all about cowboys and aliens!
Recall that movie under the same name? Well, something like that is what we’re after. We want good ol’ fun tales of the Wild West filled with shoot-outs and war paint and gold rushes and stagecoach robberies and alien technology. Tales wherein sometimes the denizens of the West win and sometimes the invaders from darkest space triumph. When you think of visitors from the sky, naturally be thinking of predators, humanoid ducks, green lanterns, extra-terrestrials, and elephant hearts.
This anthology is RBE’s first foray into the scientific fantasies, and by rooting it in one of the oldest forms of storytelling the lone heroic figure, we aim to knock this title out of the galaxy! The requirements are simple: stories must be set in the American West (from the end of the Civil War to just before 1900), include some form of alien life, and employ the words “Reach for the sky” in some fashion.
We will be accepting 13-15 stories, and stories should be 2k-9k words in length. Nothing shorter will be read, and our sweet spot is in the 5k-7k range. Don’t hold back now – wow us with good ol’ heroic storytelling!
Submissions will remain open until we find the stories we want or through the end of Labor Day Weekend 2019. Response time on your first 500 words should be less than a week, while response time after we receive your full story should be less than two months. There are always exceptions, but we will strive to keep all informed.
Publication is intended for Christmas 2019. We will publish within months of closing, so depending upon acceptances, REACH FOR THE SKY could appear any time before or after the target. Again, we will keep all informed. Payment of $25 flat per story shall be rendered after publication. Authors will receive electronic copies and permanent discount on print purchases.
RBE’s general submission guidelines are always expected. Additional guidelines will be particular to each open title.
OPEN STRONG, for you only have 500 words to impress. RBE begins narrowing selection from the onset. The submission form will only allow you to insert the first 500 words of your tale. While we are willing to read the first 500 words of stories in progress, we are not eager to read unedited first drafts of those first 500 words. We are not offering feedback or suggestions of any kind on these openings. Rather, we are determining whether or not we believe your story has the potential to be accepted for inclusion in RBE’s next titles. It either does or it does not. Please exercise professionalism and some respect of yourself and our time, and deliver the best version of your 500 word opening that you can. We hope that it is also understood that these opening 500 words set the standard by which we will compare the remainder of a story should we ask for it. Do not short-change yourselves. If your opening grabs us, we will ask for the rest.
- Grammar and format:
- HELP our First Readers read your submissions! While not easing their reading won’t immediately disqualify you, obviously the more consistent and professional you make it, the more competitive you become.
- US English language/spelling
- 1″ margin on all sides
- standard 12-point type font, like the typical default Times New Roman
- double-space the entire text
- single space between sentences
- tabbed opening paragraph sentences — don’t leave an empty line between paragraphs
- double quotes on dialogue
- mark a change of scene or time with a centered #
- NO text bolded* or all capitalized* or of multiple colors or in wild fonts — *unless of specific purpose in your story
- Previously published stories may be submitted, with the expectation that you appropriately inform RBE of past publication history.
- Multiple stories may be submitted, though each must be submitted separately.
- Simultaneous submissions are allowed, with the expectation that you promptly inform RBE of any acceptance elsewhere.
- Rights and payment:
- Unpublished stories will be published under contract as First Time World Volume and Electronic Display Rights exclusive to RBE for 31 days; then shall be non-exclusive for so long as this title shall remain in print and so long as RBE exits.
- Previously published stories will be published under contract as World Volume and Electronic Display Rights non-exclusive for so long as this title shall remain in print and so long as RBE exits.
- Payment for contributors will always include cash, copies, and contributor discount on additional/future print purchases. These will be detailed in each open submission.
- Evaluation criteria — these are RBE’s three most important values when reading your submission:
- Does it deliver quality heroic adventure?
- Does it deliver on the theme?
- Does the storytelling regale? This sort of encompasses much of the ‘normal’ criteria: hook, plot, theme, pacing, dialogue, character. It’s how the story feels; does it make us forget we are not sitting at your feet around a fire?
Response times — RBE strives to keep folks informed in a reasonable amount of time. Response on the opening 500 words should be a week or less, while response on the entire story submission should be within two months. There are always exceptions, so feel free to contact us if you have not heard from us within those timeframes.
Thank you for your interest in appearing in a RBE title. We appreciate your enthusiasm for heroic storytelling and hope you enjoy writing to the challenge of theme! Questions may be directed to RBE at any time via our website or Facebook.
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