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Call for submissions: Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 5

Writers, get your thinking caps on...we've got our latest call for submissions ready for you.

Call for Submissions

Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 5

To be published by Cleis Press in December 2019

Edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Make sure to read and follow the guidelines in full. Guidelines may be updated over the course of the open submission period. The call for submissions section of will always contain the most up-to-date version of these guidelines. For occasional BWE submission tips, follow @BWEoftheyear on Twitter and bestwomenserotica on Instagram.

This anthology is open to women, gender nonconforming, genderqueer and nonbinary authors only; if you do not fall into any of these categories, please do not submit to this anthology.

As in prior volumes, I want your best, boldest, hottest, most creative and diverse 2,000-4,500 word erotica stories. All stories must have a clear beginning, middle and end, with engaging characters and plotlines. Stories featuring creative plotlines have the best chances of being accepted. Unless the storytelling is exceptional, in most cases, plotlines and scenarios featured in prior Best Women’s Erotica of the Year volumes will not be included in this volume. Please note that final decisions will be made by September 30, 2019; if you cannot wait until then to hear back about your story, do not submit to this anthology.

Protagonists will range from single to coupled, of varying sexual orientations, races, ages (all characters must be 18+ for the entirety of the story), religions, fetishes, jobs, interests, locations and life experiences. First, second and third person narratives are all welcome.

The theme of this anthology is “Outrageous” and all published stories will touch on this theme (most without explicitly using the word “outrageous” in the story). I strongly encourage you to take that theme and run with it, keeping in mind that what’s “outrageous” to one character will be humdrum to another. The final book will feature a variety of characters exploring their own personal versions of outrageousness. While stories of sexual adventure and excess are extremely welcome, I’m also looking for stories that surprise the reader regarding the idea of outrageousness. Stories that don’t connect to the theme of outrageousness in some way will be rejected.

For stories featuring characters from marginalized groups, own voices stories are strongly preferred; if yours is an ownvoices story, you are welcome to mention that in your cover letter. This information will be kept confidential. If you’re not familiar with the term, see the creator’s definition of ownvoices here.

Stories in the final book will range from humorous and playful to intense and soulful to down and dirty, and will reflect a similar sexual, racial and age diversity as the stories in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4. Story submissions must be unpublished (never published, in whole or in part, anywhere, online or offline). No scat or incest, although age play will be considered as long as it’s clear in the context of the story that the characters are engaging in roleplay. No poetry will be considered.

In a nutshell: I want stories that blow my mind, that grab my attention and don’t let go, that say something new and exciting about sex and sexuality, that will appeal to longtime erotica readers and new readers of the genre. Make every word count. As you edit your story before submitting it, I encourage you to make sure each sentence serves a purpose and is advancing the story you’re telling.

I want stories that will make readers stop everything they’re doing and eagerly read every last word to find out what happens to your characters. I gravitate toward unique, creative, memorable characters, settings and scenarios. I will consider sci fi, fantasy, paranormal and historical stories, although contemporary stories will comprise the majority of the book. For an idea of the types of stories I like, see Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1, 2 and 3. If you submitted a story to Volume 1, 2, 3 or 4 that was rejected, you may resubmit it, but in most cases, a new story stands a far better chance of acceptance.

In the interest of publishing the largest number of authors possible, writers whose work appears in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1, 2, 3 or 4 edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel will NOT be considered for this volume, but contributors to previous Best Women’s Erotica collections by prior editors are welcome to submit work.

How to submit: Submit only 2,000-4,500 original, unpublished stories that are not being considered elsewhere. Word count applies to the text of your story, excluding story title and author name. Maximum two submissions per author. Stories CANNOT be under consideration elsewhere at any point prior to the book's publication date in December 2018. I want only original work that has never been published online, in print or in any format at all, including personal or other types of blogs. All characters must be 18 or over for the entirety of the story. US grammar (spelling, double quotation marks around dialogue, etc.) required.

Submit to with “BWE 5 Submission: Story Title” in the subject line by attaching a Word .doc or .docx file titled BWE 5 Story Title Last Name, using Times New Roman Black font. At the top of the first page, include legal name, pseudonym (if applicable), mailing address, phone (only to be used for urgent communication about your story) AND 50 word-or-under third person professional biography to be published in the book. Make sure you use an email address that you check on a regular basis (at least once a week). If you include a URL in your bio, it should be included in the first sentence in this format:

Rachel Kramer Bussel ( writes fiction and non-fiction.

All stories must have a title and byline (author name) included with the submission (no untitled 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. Title your document BWE 5 Story Title Last Name ("Last Name" must be the last name of the name you want published). For instance, if Elaine Smith, writing as Jane Doe, is submitting a story titled "Lovers," the file would be titled "BWE 5 Lovers Doe." 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 AS ONLY THE FIRST VERSION WILL BE CONSIDERED. SUBMIT YOUR STORY WITH THE TITLE, AUTHOR NAME AND WORDING YOU WOULD WANT PUBLISHED IF THE STORY IS ACCEPTED. MAKE SURE TO THOROUGHLY PROOFREAD YOUR STORY AND BIO BEFORE SUBMITTING IT. Your submission should be a throughly proofread, typo free document that you want to see published using the byline and biography you've provided. Only stories that are between 2,000-4,500 words and submitted by August 1, 2018, 11:59 pm EST will be considered. Please do not ask about exceptions to the word count or deadline as they will not be granted.

I will confirm that I have received your submission within 72 hours. I will respond with an acceptance or rejection to all submissions by September 30, 2019 at the latest. I will respond to all submissions by September 30, 2019 at the latest. If you have not heard back from me by October 1, 2019, feel free to follow up at that time. Please note the time frame and if you need a response sooner than September 30, 2019, do not submit a story to this anthology.

Payment: $200 and 2 copies of the book within 90 days of publication. Payment will be made only via Paypal (strongly preferred) or U.S check (only for U.S. addresses).

Deadline: August 1, 2018, 11:59 pm EST

For questions that aren't answered in the guidelines: Email (note that NO word count changes will be granted; stories under 2,000 words or over 4,500 words will be automatically rejected).


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