Call for submissions
Click here to see additional erotica anthology calls for submissions from Rachel Kramer Bussel for Cleis Press.
Call for Submissions
Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 9
Edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel
To be published by Cleis Press in December 2023
Deadline: June 1, 2022
Feel free to share or repost these guidelines. Any changes to these guidelines will be posted at https://www.bweoftheyear.com/call-for-submissions
You will stand the best chance of acceptance if you read the full call below and follow the guidelines.
If you have any questions NOT answered below, email email@example.com with "BWE9" in the subject line.
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 eight 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 must be exclusive to this anthology for one year from the December 2023 publication date (see exact terms below).
The theme for Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 9 is “temptation.” I’m open to stories that explore temptation either as a main plot point or touch on it in some way. My preference is that story titles not include the word “temptation” or variations on it but can allude to it. Beyond that, stories should be as creative and varied in plot, characterization, setting and storytelling as possible. I gravitate toward stories that are unique, attention-getting and memorable and will be choosing stories that each approach the theme of temptation differently. I'm not looking for stories that are set during the 2020 lockdown or that directly reference current specifics of the COVID-19 pandemic in order not to date them, especially since this volume won't be published until December 2023.
I’m seeking original, unpublished stories and will consider stories between 2,000-4,000 words, with a strong preference for stories in the 2,000-3,000 word range due to space considerations. Make sure what you submit is much more than a sex scene; it should be a complete short story with a beginning, middle and end and a plot. Readers should get a sense of who your characters are, what motivates them, what turns them on and why.
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. Stories with any mention of infidelity/cheating will be rejected, but stories featuring consensual non-monogamy are welcome.
I’m 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 relationships, with one or more others. I’m especially looking for historical stories, sci fi/fantasy stories, stories starring and from the point of view of women of color (ownvoices strongly preferred), stories starring and from the point of view of transgender women (ownvoices strongly preferred), 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) (ownvoices preferred), 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 characters in their forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties or older, 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 set outside the home or outside the bedroom, stories featuring protagonists with fetishes, the less common, the better (see “Bibliophile” by Dee Blake in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 3 for an example), stories where a protagonist’s job or career figures prominently, and 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 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, personality types, 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 the first seven published volumes of the Best Women’s Erotica of the Year series.
Stories including scat, incest, infidelity/cheating, 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, 6 7, or 8 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 within 90 days of publication in December 2023 and two copies of the print edition of the book. 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 starting from the December 2023 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 June 1, 2021 deadline will be rejected.
Authors may have to wait for an acceptance or rejection until December 31, 2022. 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, 2023, feel free to inquire about the status.
I will only accept ONE submission of each story; DO NOT send multiple versions of your story unless requested 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 exactly the story title, author name and bio you want published.
HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR EROTICA STORY
Submit only 2,000-4,000 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 2023. 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 and must be clearly 18 or over throughout the entire text, with the exception of characters who are parents, who may refer to being parents provided underage children are never mentioned in any sexual context. U.S. grammar (spelling, double quotation marks around dialogue, etc.) required.
Submit to firstname.lastname@example.org with “BWE9 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 “BWE9 Story Title LastName,” using Times New Roman Black font and substituting your story’s title for “Story Title” and the name you’d want published for LastName. 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 in one email, use this format for your subject line: BWE9 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, such as this format:
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. I've been receiving many submissions in recent years that don't indent half an inch. If you submit any other format, I will send it back to you with a request for proper formatting, so to expedite the editing process, please follow my exact instructions. 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. Your contact information will be kept confidential and will only be used by the editor to contact you about your story. DO NOT SUBMIT MULTIPLE VERSIONS OF THE SAME STORY UNLESS REQUESTED BY THE EDITOR. ONLY THE FIRST SUBMISSION WILL BE CONSIDERED. Submit your story with the title, author name, bio and text you’d 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, 2022, feel free to follow up at that time. Please note the time frame and if you need a response sooner than December 31, 2022, 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 2023 (see contract terms below). 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 Venmo or PayPal (strongly preferred) or U.S check (only for U.S. addresses) unless you’re located in a country that doesn’t have access to Venmo or PayPal, in which case please indicate that in your cover letter along with your preferred payment method.
Deadline: June 1, 2022 11:59 pm EST (earlier submissions welcome and will receive priority)
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 4,000 words will be automatically rejected).
If you’re story is accepted for publication in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 9, you will need to sign the contract terms listed below in order for your story to be published. Please do not return these terms with your submission; a contract will be sent to you if your story is accepted for publication.
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 9 (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 2023 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 to be mailed by December 31, 2022.
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: