Call for submissions
To see writing guidelines other Cleis Press erotica anthologies Rachel Kramer Bussel is editing, click here.
For more advice on how to get published, see these articles written by Rachel Kramer Bussel:
Changes and updates made by made to this call throughout the submission period. Please refer to the guidelines here at bweoftheyear.com for the most up-to-date version.
Call for Submissions
Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 7
Edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel
To be published by Cleis Press in December 2021
You will stand the best chance of acceptance if you read the full call below and follow call the guidelines. They are intended to save time for all parties by delineating exactly what the editor is and isn’t looking for.
The theme for Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 7 is “surprise.” This anthology is ONLY open to authors who themselves are women, gender nonconforming, genderqueer and/or nonbinary who have not been published or scheduled to be published in the first six Best Women’s Erotica of the Year volumes edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel. Stories MUST be from the point of view of a character who is a woman, gender nonconforming, genderqueer and/or nonbinary. Stories can be in any tense, and in first person, second person or third person; the anthology will include a range of tenses and points of view. Consent must be clear throughout the entirety of the story for all characters mentioned; if it might read as any way unclear to any reader, then include language that makes it clear that all actions, sexual and otherwise, are fully consensual.
I’m seeking original, unpublished stories of 2,000-5,000 words, with a strong preference for stories in the 2,000-3,500 word range so I can include as many stories as possible. Make sure what you submit is much more than a sex scene; it should be a complete story with a beginning, middle and end and a plot. Readers should get a sense of who your characters are and what motivates them, what turns them on, and how they look, think and feel. Your story should be a standalone, but still make readers want to know more about your characters and their plotline when they’re done.
I will not elaborate too much as I both want authors to surprise me, and want to leave this theme open to interpretation. Stories selected for the book will all differ from each other in plot, so the more unique your storytelling, the greater your chances of acceptance.
I can tell you that I don’t want cliché or predictable surprises (so no characters jumping out of a cake unless it’s done in a completely jaw-dropping, unique way that’s essential to the plot). Eroticize surprise of all kinds, from all areas of characters’ lives. While surprises directly related to sex are welcome (such as someone surprising their lover or being surprised with a sex toy/sex act/sex event, etc.), so as not to be repetitious, the book will only include a handful of those types of stories. The rest will explore other aspects of surprise. Think about the concept as broadly as possible, using all the dictionary definitions of the word, especially “ to strike with wonder or amazement especially because unexpected.” The surprises can take place anywhere, from any source, as long as it helps advance the plot. I want an equal mix of protagonists being the source and the recipient of the surprises. Give me stories that readers will want to reread and will be thinking about long after they’re done. In the interest of giving readers an exciting reading experience, I am far less likely to include plotlines with scenarios that have already appeared in the Best Women’s Erotica of the Year series.
My priority is to publish the most refreshing, unusual, and creative stories I can. I’m far less interested in stories about strangers or friends hooking up for the first time than I am in characters with ongoing relationships, especially long-term relationship, and how the surprise element impacts them.
Give me stories about a wide range of humanity, rather than only a narrow slice of young, white, thin, straight, cisgender, conventionally attractive, able-boded, wealthy, city-dwelling women who live in the United States. Characters who fall into some or all of those categories are not off limits, but my intention is to include as diverse and varied stories as I can, especially the types of stories that are not ubiquitous elsewhere in the erotica genre and mainstream culture.
To elaborate on the range of stories I’m seeking, as with previous volumes, I especially welcome the following types of stories, which will be given priority:
Ownvoices stories starring and from the point of view of women of color
Ownvoices stories starring and from the point of view of transgender women
Ownvoices stories starring and from the point of view of characters with disabilities (see “Falling” by Charlie Powell in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 3)
Stories starring and from the point of view of characters dealing with mental health (see “Her Invisible Prison” by Jocelyn Dex in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 4)
Stories starring and from the point of view of characters with uncommon fetishes (see “Bibliophile” by Dee Blake in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 3)
Stories starring and from the point of view of characters with interesting or uncommon jobs and careers
Stories set within specific cultures or subcultures (see “On the Calendar” by Kate Sebastian in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 2)
Stories starring and from the point of view of characters overcoming trauma through reclaiming their sexuality (see “Infused Leather” by Dr. J. in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 3)
Protagonists in the book will range have varying sexual orientations, races, adult ages (all characters must be at least 18 years old for the entirety of the story), religions, occupations, fetishes, jobs, interests, locations and life experiences.. I welcome science fiction, fantasy, paranormal and historical stories.
The best way to see the types of stories I prefer is to read or listen to any or all of the five published volumes of Best Women’s Erotica of the Year.
Stories including scat, incest or any nonconsensual or questionably consensual elements will not be considered; age play will be considered as long as it’s clear in the context of the story that the characters are engaging in roleplay are all age 18 or over. No poetry will be considered. If you submitted a story to Volume 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 that was rejected, you may resubmit it if it fits the theme, but a new story stands a far better chance of acceptance.
Authors whose stories are accepted for publication will receive $225 and two copies of the print edition of the book on publication. You must follow the guidelines in full in order for your story to be considered. Authors may submit up to two stories for this anthology, either in separate emails or in one email, as two separate Word documents (see the how to submit section below).
The contract terms listed below are non-negotiable and include a one year exclusivity clause from the December 2021 publication date. If you would not be willing to sign these contract terms should your story be selected, do not submit to this anthology. Submissions outside the word count or received after the May 1, 2020 deadline will be rejected.
While I will respond as soon as possible to all submissions, authors may have to wait for an acceptance or rejection until December 31, 2020. If you cannot wait to hear back about your story until then, do not submit to this anthology. If you have not heard back by January 1, 2021, feel free to inquire about the status.
I will only accept ONE submission of each story; DO NOT send multiple versions of your story or expect to submit a rewritten version during the editing process. Submit ONLY your best, most polished, fully proofread work that you would want to be published with the story title, author name and bio you want published. The call for submissions section of bweoftheyear.com will always contain the most up-to-date version of these guidelines.
HOW TO SUBMIT
Submit only 2,000-5,000 original, unpublished stories that are not being considered elsewhere and would be exclusive to this anthology. Word count applies only to the text of your story, excluding story title, author name and author bio. Maximum two submissions per author. Stories CANNOT be under consideration elsewhere at any point prior to the book’s publication date in December 2021. I’m ONLY considering original work that has NEVER been published, in whole or in part, online, in print or in any format, including personal or other types of blogs. All characters must be 18 or over for the entirety of the story. U.S. grammar (spelling, double quotation marks around dialogue, etc.) required. Text messages should be represented using italics.
Submit to firstname.lastname@example.org with “BWE7 Submission: Story Title” in the subject line (substitute your story’s title for “Story Title”) by attaching a Word .doc or .docx or an .rtf file titled “BWE7 Story Title LastName,” using Times New Roman Black font. LastName should be the last name you’d want to be published under. If Dorothy Smith is submitting a story titled “The Bed” and she is writing as Jane Doe, her Word file would be titled BWE7 The Bed Doe and her subject line would be BWE7 Submission: The Bed. Each story needs to have its own Word document or rtf file; you can submit two story files in one email, or send them separately. If submitting two stories, use this format for your subject line: BWE7 Submissions The Bed and The Chair.
At the top of the first page, include your legal name, pseudonym (if applicable), mailing address, email address, phone number (only to be used for urgent communication about your story) AND a 50 word-or-under third person professional biography to be published in the book. Make sure you use an email address that you check at least once a week. If you include a URL in your bio, it must be included in the first sentence of your bio in this format, without hyperlinking or other special formatting:
Rachel Kramer Bussel (rachelkramerbussel.com) writes fiction and non-fiction.
All stories must have a title and byline (author name) included with the submission (no untitled or unbylined stories) at the top of the first page. Indent half an inch at the start of each paragraph. Use double spacing for the entire file; DO NOT add extra lines between paragraphs or use any other irregular spacing. If you cannot use Word, submit as both an RTF AND include the full submission in the body of an email, including title, story text, bio, name and pseudonym (if applicable), mailing address and phone number. DO NOT SUBMIT MULTIPLE VERSIONS OF THE SAME STORY UNLESS REQUESTED BY THE EDITOR. ONLY THE FIRST VERSION WILL BE CONSIDERED. Submit your story with the title, author name, bio and text you want published.
I will confirm that I have received your submission within one week of submission. After that, if you have not heard back from me with an acceptance or rejection or update by December 31, 2020, feel free to follow up at that time. Please note the time frame and if you need a response sooner than December 31, 2020, do not submit a story to this anthology.
RIGHTS, PAYMENT AND DEADLINE
Rights: For this anthology, the editor is buying exclusive rights in all formats for one year from the book's publication date in December 2021. After that year, the rights revert back to you. The non-negotiable contract terms all authors in the book will sign are below. If these terms aren’t ones you’d be comfortable signing, do not submit to this anthology.
Payment: $225 and 2 copies of the book within 90 days of publication. Payment will be made only via Paypal (strongly preferred and the only method of payment for non-U.S. authors) or U.S check (only for U.S. addresses).
Deadline: May 1, 2020, 11:59 pm EST (earlier submissions welcome)
For questions that aren’t answered in the guidelines, email email@example.com (note that NO word count changes will be granted; stories under 2,000 words or over 5,000 words will be automatically rejected).
If you’re story is accepted for publication in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 7, you will need to sign the contract terms listed below in order for your story to be published.
CONTRIBUTOR PUBLISHING AGREEMENT
Agreement dated , ____ between LEGAL NAME (”Contributor”), writing as PEN NAME, whose address is _____________________________________________________________________________ and RKB Enterprises, Inc. (“Editor”), whose address is ____________________ for publication of “STORY TITLE” (the “Work”) in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 7 (the "Book"), an anthology to be published by Cleis Press./Viva Editions (the “Publisher”). The parties agree as follows:
1. GRANT OF RIGHTS
(a) Contributor hereby grants and licenses to the Editor, during the full term of copyright in the Work, and any renewals thereof, the following rights in and to the Work, exclusively until one (1) year from the date of publication of the Book and non-exclusively thereafter: the right to reproduce, print, publish, transmit, distribute, license, sublicense, sell and otherwise exploit the Work as part of the Book in all forms and media now known or hereafter developed in all languages throughout the world, including without limitation the right to license and sublicense the Work as part of the Book in anthologies, magazines, book club editions and reprints; Braille editions; audio, computer disk, all electronic/cyber rights, CD-ROM and microfiche editions; first and second serial rights; dramatic productions of any kind (including without limitation film, television, video and audio productions); commercial and merchandising versions of the Book; and, the right to use all or parts of the Work for advertising, publicity or promotional purposes.
(b) The Contributor grants to the Editor and the Publisher the right to use Contributor’s name and likeness and/or biographical data in advertising, publicity and promotion for the Book.
2. ACCEPTANCE OF MANUSCRIPTS AND CHANGES
(a) Contributor agrees to make editorial revisions to the Work as reasonably required by the Editor and/or Publisher. The title of the Work may be changed only by mutual consent of the Contributor, Editor and Publisher. The final content of the Work must be acceptable to the Editor and the Publisher.
(b) The completed manuscript shall be deemed satisfactory in content to the Editor and Publisher unless within five (5) business days of its receipt by the Editor, Publisher or Editor gives Contributor written notice of the respects in which the manuscript is unsatisfactory. Contributor shall have five (5) business days from receipt of that notice to make and submit such changes.
(c) Editor has no obligation to include the Work in the Book for any reason. In such event, this Agreement shall terminate, all rights shall revert to Contributor, and Editor shall not owe Contributor any payment.
3. COMPENSATION: Provided the Editor accepts the Work for inclusion in the Book, the Editor shall pay to Contributor a fee of $225.00 within 90 days of the December 2021 publication date.
4. WARRANTIES AND INDEMNITIES
(a) Contributor represents and warrants that Contributor is the sole author of the Work and sole and exclusive owner of the rights conveyed in this Agreement; that Contributor has not previously assigned, pledged or otherwise encumbered those rights; that the Work is original; that the Work has never before been published or licensed for publication in whole or in part in any form except as otherwise expressly disclosed to Editor in writing; that the Work does not infringe upon any copyright, contains no matter that is libelous or defamatory, or that violates any right of privacy or other personal or property right whatsoever, or is harmful to the user or any third party so as to subject the Editor to liability, or is otherwise contrary to law; that the Work is not in the public domain in any country; that all permissions for any third party materials contained in the Work shall have been cleared and all permissions fees have been paid before publication of the Work; and that Contributor has full power to enter into this Agreement and to make the grants contained herein.
(b) Contributor agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Editor and the Publisher and their respective officers, directors, employees, licensees, successors, agents and assigns, against any and all claims, demands, costs, expenses, and judgments, including reasonable attorney fees arising out of any proceeding alleging a violation of Contributor’s warranties and representations hereunder.
5. AUTHOR'S COPIES
Editor will give to Contributor two (2) free copies of the Book.
This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties, and supersedes all previous discussions, representations, and understandings related to the subject matter of this Agreement. Nothing in this Agreement shall constitute a partnership or joint venture between the parties. If either party believes the other has breached the Agreement it shall notify the other that such breach must be cured within thirty (30) days of such notification, or action may be taken by the non-breaching party. In the event of any breach of this Agreement by Editor, Contributor agrees that Contributor’s sole and exclusive remedy shall be an action at law for damages, and in no event shall Contributor be entitled to interfere with, enjoin, or otherwise restrain Editor’s or Publisher’s rights to use, license, distribute, publish and sell the Book or the Work as contemplated herein. No modifications of this Agreement shall be binding on either party unless set forth in writing and signed by both parties. No waiver of any portion of this Agreement shall be effective unless in writing. The failure of either party at any time to require performance by the other of any provision shall in no way affect the right to enforce that or any other provision of this Agreement. No waiver of any breach of this Agreement shall constitute a waiver of any subsequent breach of the same or any other provision of this Agreement. This Agreement shall be governed and construed in accordance with the laws, and in the state and federal courts of the State of New York. Each party consents to the exclusive personal jurisdiction, and waives any objections to the venue, of such courts. The provisions of this Agreement are severable and if any of its provisions are held to be invalid, illegal or unenforceable, in whole or in part, the remaining provisions of this Agreement shall remain binding and enforceable. Contributor may not assign this Agreement without Editor’s prior written consent. This Agreement shall apply and inure to the benefit of each party’s successors, affiliates, heirs, and permitted assigns. .
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties have signed this Agreement as of the date and year first above written.
RKB Enterprises, Inc. Contributor
Date Signed: Date Signed: