Consider yourself challenged! Wily Writers challenges you to write a story for the following market and submit it. Wily members can join our L’il Workshop of Horrors group and post it there to get it polished up nice and bright before submitting it!
Are you in?
Executive Editor: Kevin J. Anderson
Edited by Kevin J. Anderson with an editorial team provided by Western Colorado University Graduate Program in Creative Writing, Publishing MA students. Anthology made possible by a generous contribution from Draft2Digital.
are you prepared for what you see?
A prince in disguise? A monster revealed? An alien race?
Mirrors can be truth-tellers, wish-granters, face-concealers, illusion-makers, even monster-summoners. Maybe the mirror shows an evil twin, or an echo of the life that should have been. Or a portal to another world. What happens when it shatters?
Once upon a time, no one knew the phrase “Once upon a time.” You’ve read the classic stories. Now write the lore you’ve always wanted to read. Explore this creative challenge from your own unique perspective informed by your roots, culture, and background. We want original fables, folklore, and fairy tales for an eclectic anthology showcasing a new dawn of an old art form.
Imagine a canon of diverse characters for today’s readers to love and loathe. Gaze into the mirror, whether literally or figuratively—classic or genre-bending, grim or whimsical, as long as it is new and fresh.
We are looking for original short stories (prose poems will also be considered) to include a mix of fantasy, science fiction, horror, magical, and romance elements. Must be appropriate for a “PG-13” audience. Please, no copyrighted characters. Previously unpublished stories only. Women, BIPOCs, LGBTQIA+, neurodiverse individuals, and other minorities are strongly encouraged to submit.
- Length: up to 5000 words (firm limit)
Rate: 6¢/word on acceptance.
Rights: First Anthology Rights and audio rights as part of the anthology; rights revert to author one month after publication; publisher retains non-exclusive right to include in the anthology as a whole.
Due: We are open to submissions from August 30 through October 15, 2021.
Multiple Submissions: No; one submission per person
Simultaneous Submissions: No.
Submit: A Microsoft Word or RTF file in standard manuscript format to
If you don’t know what standard manuscript format is, review, for example, https://www.shunn.net/format/classic/
Comment below if you’re accepting the challenge and especially when you submit!
Bookfunnel is a website that lets you create landing pages with download links for various uses.
You can use it to distribute free promotional stories, ARCs, and even a free copy of your work. They make it easy for both you and your readers. No more lost emails or other weirdness.
For example, use it to easily (and attractively):
- Distribute advanced reader copies (ARCs) to people you specify.
- Give out a free copy of your work in exchange for signing up for your newsletter.
- Setting up sales link pages that you can share with limited or broad audiences so people purchase your book. (A great alternative to making your own web pages for each book.)
- Providing an e-copy to reviewers.
- Viewing tracking data for the page, so you can see exactly how many people have downloaded the work.
You can view an example page for one of my freebie short stories. This one requires an email sign-up, but you can also set it up so it doesn’t require anything.
It does many other things as well, including:
- Connecting you with other genre-specific writers for promotional events, giveaways, and newsletter swaps.
- Posting a sample of your audiobook so you can easily share it with your readers in your newsletter or elsewhere. Great for pre-launch promotion teasers.
- Have your ARC readers sign up, and Bookfunnel will send them your ARC with a unique link that only works for them. They will then track whether the ARC was downloaded or not for you.
Bookfunnel is extremely affordable relative to the great service it provides. At the time of this writing, the most basic account is only $20/year, which is less than $2/month. To get all the features I mention above, it’s $100/year (less than $9/month).
Let me know in the comments if you’d like me to do a walk-through video of Bookfunnel for you.
Tips on Reviewers
Reviews can boost your sales if they’re good. If they’re bad, they can hurt your sales. Requesting a review is a risk worth taking.
- Don’t be shy about cold-contacting them.
- Look to see if they’ve posted review guidelines on their website (many have), and if so, follow them to the letter.
- Familiarize yourself with their reviews so you know whether they’re in sync with your style.
- Maintain a list of which ones you’ve contacted. Wily Writers has created an Excel spreadsheet for you to download, customize, and use: Wily Writers Reviews Tracker
- Over time, you’ll build a list of trusted reviewers who enjoy your work and recognize your name. You might consider sending hard copies to these reviewers.
- If sending to a reviewer who requires a hard copy (some places do), don’t expect any more from them. They may or may not actually do a review, and it may or may not be positive.
- It’s okay to send advance-reading copies (ARCs) of your book to reviewers even if your book is out—unless you made extensive revisions to the final version.
- Do share the review via your social media once it’s live. Share and share again later. This helps both you and the reviewer.
- Let Wily Writers know if you got a good review, and we’ll post about it in our public newsletter.
- Be on your most professional behavior with all reviewers.
- Remember that reviewers receive a TON of requests, so don’t be surly with them if they don’t review your book. Never let them see you sweat.
- Make it clear up-front that you’re offering an ebook version of your book if you’re not willing to send a hard copy. To make it easier on them, include a link to the download in your email to them. An excellent site for setting up a free download of your ebook is Bookfunnel.com.
- Never argue with a reviewer who has given your book a negative review, especially not in public. Bad juju.
- Never publicly berate a reviewer who has given your book a negative review. Burning bridges burns you more than them.
Every month, the Wily Writers Book Club reads a new dark fiction selection then discusses it in a Zoom meeting that we’ll record and post on the Wily Youtube channel.
We’ll schedule these in advance and all are welcome to attend. Check here for dates and times.
The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig
A family returns to their hometown – and to the dark past that haunts them still – in this masterpiece of literary horror by the New York Times best-selling author of Wanderers.
“The dread, the scope, the pacing, the turns – I haven’t felt all this so intensely since The Shining.” (Stephen Graham Jones, New York Times best-selling author of The Only Good Indians)
Long ago, Nathan lived in a house in the country with his abusive father – and has never told his family what happened there.
Long ago, Maddie was a little girl making dolls in her bedroom when she saw something she shouldn’t have – and is trying to remember that lost trauma by making haunting sculptures.
Long ago, something sinister, something hungry, walked in the tunnels and the mountains and the coal mines of their hometown in rural Pennsylvania.
Now, Nate and Maddie Graves are married, and they have moved back to their hometown with their son, Oliver.
And now what happened long ago is happening again…and it is happening to Oliver. He meets a strange boy who becomes his best friend, a boy with secrets of his own and a taste for dark magic.
This dark magic puts them at the heart of a battle of good versus evil and a fight for the soul of the family – and perhaps for all of the world. But the Graves family has a secret weapon in this battle: their love for one another.
Chuck Wendig is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Star Wars: Aftermath, as well as the Miriam Black thrillers, the Atlanta Burns books, Zer0es/Invasive, Wanderers, and the upcoming Book of Accidents (July 2021). He’s also worked in a variety of other formats, including comics, games, film, and television. A finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and the co-writer of the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus, he is also known for his books about writing. He lives in Pennsyltucky with his family. His agent is Stacia Decker, with Dunow, Carlson and Lerner.
Terribleminds is his blog where he rambles on about writing, parenthood, food, pop culture, and other such shenanigans. It is NSFW and NSFL.
Members are welcome to be part of the panel. You don’t have to be on camera, but if you are, then you will also be mentioned (with links) in the show notes! It’s an excellent (and perpetual) promotional beat for you and your works.
Come, participate, lurk, chat, and let’s discuss Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic.
July 2021 – Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s MEXICAN GOTHIC
Grab the Discussion Guide too!
June 2021 – Stephen Graham Jones’ THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS
Grab the Discussion Guide too!