From the book series’ website:
To everyone who previously submitted work to Volume 4, you can expect to hear back by September 30, 2018. If you have any questions, contact editor Rachel Kramer Bussel at bweoftheyear at gmail dot com and she will get back to you ASAP.
Call for Submissions – Extension
Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 4
To be published by Cleis Press in December 2018
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. Feel free to repost these guidelines as long as you link to this site (https://www.bweoftheyear.com/call-for-submissions), which will always contain the most up-to-date version of these guidelines. For occasional BWE submission tips, follow @BWEoftheyear on Twitter.
This is an extension of the original call; if you already submitted work, it’s still being considered and you will hear back by September 30, 2018. If you previously submitted one story, you can submit one more; all authors can submit a total of two stories.
This anthology is open to women, genderqueer and nonbinary authors only. I’m seeking 2,00-4,000 word original, unpublished erotic stories with women, genderqueer or nonbinary protagonists that touch on the theme of outsiders or the theme of risk. Stories without one of those elements will be rejected.
What I’m specifically looking for:
Erotica stories relating to current events (but that will still be sexy to readers in 20 years)
Ownvoices erotica stories (author and protagonist share a marginalized identity – for more information, see originator of the term)
Stories with transgender women as protagonists
Stories exploring a specific culture (see “On the Calendar” by Kate Sebastian in Volume 2 for an example)
Stories starring women who feel like outsiders because of an aspect of their sexuality
Stories starring women over 50
Historical erotica (see “Demimonde” by Valerie Alexander in Volume 1 for an example)
Humorous erotica (see “Starstruck” by Lazuli Jones in Volume 1 for an example)
As in prior volumes, I want your best, boldest, hottest, most creative and diverse 2,000-4,000 word erotica stories, written by and starring a wide range of women, genderqueer and non binary characters, from single to coupled, living in big cities and small towns anywhere in the world, of varying sexual orientations, races, ages (all characters must be 18+ for the entirety of the story), fetishes, jobs, interests and life experiences. First, second and third person narratives are all welcome. The two themes of this anthology will be Outsiders and Risk, as detailed below.
For this volume, I want stories that speak to the book’s themes of outsiders and risk, though those words don’t need to be used explicitly in the story but should be conveyed by the plot. In terms of outsiders, that could include any woman who feels like an outsider, whether from her relationship(s), her sexuality, her personality, her looks, her career, her age, her race, her religion, her family, her community, her workplace, her country, etc. Perhaps she is right to feel like an outsider, because she’s deliberately ostracized or left out; perhaps she would be welcomed by others but still feels like an outsider. Whatever the case, I want to read about how her outsider status is affected by her sexuality, and vice versa. Perhaps she is a refugee arriving in a new country, a virgin whose friends are all sexual libertines, a woman who’s made to feel her desires are untoward or unnatural, etc. The more creative and unique your plotline, the more likely your work is to be accepted.
In terms of risk, I want to read about women who put everything on the line in pursuit of love and lust, who take dramatic, daring risks that will make readers marvel at their passion. Maybe she quits her job, or dares to make waves in a long-term relationship. Maybe she pursues someone everyone’s told her is wrong for her, but she does it anyway. How is taking a risk sexy for her? What is she sacrificing, and why is she doing it? I want to read about women who are natural risk takers as well as those who are innately risk averse but are compelled to go against their instincts and take a risk anyway. I don’t want clichéd plotlines or generic characters; stories should be original, captivating and arousing. Stories can reflect current events, but shouldn’t be so specific that they will be out of date. Stories should be timeless enough to appeal to readers now as well as in ten, twenty or thirty years. Keep in mind that stories will not overlap in plotlines, so the more individual and memorable yours is, the more likely it is to be accepted.
I’m especially interested in hearing from and about: stories set outside the United States, stories set outside major cities, romantic erotica (they don’t necessarily need to have a traditional “happily ever after,” but happy endings are extremely welcome too), stories involving more than two people, stories in unusual settings, erotica touching on current events (though the story should be one readers ten or twenty years from now will also appreciate), stories with a feminist outlook (that may or may not have the word “feminism” or “feminist” in the text but convey a feminist worldview), BDSM stories, especially ones outside of the Master or Mistress dynamic, and stories starring women creative, memorable fetishes.
Stories in the final book will range from humorous and playful to intense and soulful, and will reflect a similar sexual, racial and age diversity as the stories in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volumes 1, 2 and 3. 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 from the first sentence 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 and advance the story you want to tell. Consider each sentence and ask yourself: Does it serve a purpose? Is it advancing your story? If not, cut it. 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. Contemporary stories will comprise the majority of the book but historical, sci fi, fantasy and paranormal stories are also welcome. 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 or 3 that was rejected, you may resubmit it if it fits the theme of outsiders or risk, but in most cases, a new story stands a far better chance of acceptance.
In the interest of publishing a wide range of authors, those whose work appears in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1, 2 or 3 will not be considered for this volume, but contributors to previous Best Women’s Erotica collections are welcome to submit work.
Rights: non-exclusive right to publish your story in this anthology in print, ebook, and audiobook form. Authors will retain copyright to their stories. See exact contract terms below.
How to submit: Submit only 2,000-4,000 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 firstname.lastname@example.org with “BWE 4 Submission: Story Title” in the subject line by attaching a Word .doc or .docx file, double spaced, Times New Roman Black font with 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 either on the first page of your story above the title or in the body of an email. Make sure you use an email address that you check on a regular basis (at least once a week). Sample bio format with URL is as follows:
Rachel Kramer Bussel (rachelkramerbussel.com) writes fiction and non-fiction. She is an editor, author and blogger.
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 4 STORY TITLE LAST NAME, such a “BWE 4 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 BEFORE SUBMITTING IT. Only stories that are between 2,000-4,000 words and submitted by November 1, 2017, 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 to all submissions by September 30, 2018 at the latest. If you have not heard back from me by October 1, 2018, feel free to follow up at that time. Please note the time frame and if you need a response sooner than September 30, 2018, this is not the right anthology for you.
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: February 10, 2018, 11:59 pm EST
For questions that aren’t answered in the guidelines: Email email@example.com (note that NO word count changes will be granted – stories sunder 2,000 words or over 4,000 words will be automatically rejected)
If your story is accepted, you will need to sign a contract agreeing to the terms below in order for your story to be published in the anthology. If you are unwilling to sign this contract, DO NOT to this anthology
The parties agree as follows:
I. GRANT OF RIGHTS
Author hereby grants Editor, during the first term of the United States copyright, and any renewals thereof, in the “Work”:
a. The non-exclusive right to “publish” (i.e. print, publish, and sell) the Work as part of the Book in printed and digital form in English in the United States and its territories; and
b. The non-exclusive right to “publish” and license the Work as part of the Book in printed and digital form in English in other countries; and
c. The non-exclusive right to publish and license the Work as part of the Book in printed and digital form in English and the right to license, translate and publish the Work as part of the Book in printed and digital form in languages other than English in all countries; and
d. The following non-exclusive subsidiary rights to license and publish the Work as part of the Book in the United States and all foreign countries, to wit: anthologies, magazines, book club editions and reprints; Braille editions; audio, computer disk, all electronic/cyber rights, CD-ROM and microfiche editions; and television productions (including network TV, cable, and pay TV); and
e. The non-exclusive right to excerpt from the Work in non-book printed materials issued by the Publisher and/or its licensee for the sole purpose of promoting the Work, including, but not limited to, bookmarks, post cards, buttons, and t-shirts; and
f. The non-exclusive subsidiary right, for promotional purposes, to serialize the Work in periodicals, newspapers, and magazines.
II. ACCEPTANCE OF MANUSCRIPTS AND CHANGES
a. Editorial revisions to the Work may be made at the suggestion of the Editor and/or Publisher. The title may be changed only by mutual consent of the Author, Editor and Publisher. Editor has final say on the substantive content of the Work.
b. The completed manuscript shall be deemed satisfactory in content to the Editor and Publisher unless within ninety (90) days of its receipt, Publisher or Editor gives Author written notice of the respects in which the manuscript is unsatisfactory. Author shall have thirty (30) days from receipt of that notice to make and submit such changes.
c. Editor reserves the right to choose not to include the Work in the Book, if Publisher declines to accept it, or for any other justifiable reason. In such event, this Agreement is null and void; all rights revert to Author, and Editor does not owe Author payment.
III. WARRANTIES AND INDEMNITIES
a. Author represents and warrants that she now owns all rights granted hereunder, free of liens or encumbrances, and has full power and authority to execute this Agreement; and further warrants that the Work is original with her and not in the public domain. Author will give formal written notice of any previous publication of the Work upon presentation of the final manuscript, including editorial addresses of periodicals and/or publishers.
b. Author further represents and warrants that the Work does not infringe statutory copyrights or common law literary rights of others, and does not violate the rights of privacy of, or libel, other persons.
c. Author agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Editor and the Publisher, and the publishing of any reprint or book club edition of the Work licensed by the Publisher, pursuant to the Agreement, against any final judgment for damages (after all appeals have been taken) against them in any action arising out
of facts which constitute a breach of the foregoing warranties together with reasonable costs and attorney’s fees incurred by them in defending such an action in which such judgment is recovered.
Author shall retain copyright of the Work.
Author shall receive PAYMENT LISTED ABOVE to be paid by Author within 90 days of publication of the Book.
VII. AUTHOR’S COPIES
Publisher will give to Author two (2) free copies of the Anthology.
IX. SUCCESSORS AND ASSIGNS
This Agreement shall be binding on the parties and her respective heirs, administrators, successors and assigns.