The Limitless Light started as an idea. Just a thought. Wouldn't be great if there was an anthology of short stories centered on Jewish magic and mysticism, told by Jewish writers? I know of one other such anthology, but it came out six years ago. I think there's room for at least two in a decade, don't you?
So I put the idea out on Twitter and the response floored me. A flood of emails came in, each enthusiastic and supportive, hoping to participate in the anthology. I immediately started making plans, returning emails, gathering a slush reader group. And then one small detail brought me up short.
How exactly am I going to pay the writers? Because that is very important to me. Professional writers write for the love of it and to entertain, but also for their livelihood. A person can't survive on good reviews alone. Odd, I've never been able to trade a Four Star Amazon review for a bag of groceries. (I totally think that should be a valid form of payment.) Since I'm not wealthy, I knew I couldn't pay out of my own pocket and cross my fingers for great sales. Money is needed to pay writers, an editor, and for a cover that draws in readers. So...
That leaves me with two options:
After the line-up for the anthology is solidified, I can run a Kickstarter. I've never done one myself, but have watched several friends run some killer ones. I'm a quick learner, and I think I could do a really good job with it. It's a challenge I'm willing to take on, but I would need some support from everyone involved. The Backers Reward tier is not something I can manage alone. This option is a good one, but involves work and energy from the anthology participants beyond just writing a story and handing it in. Something to think about.
The second option is waiting until the line-up is in place and then shopping the anthology around to publishing houses and industry magazines. I've had a few editors express tentative interest, but it very much depends on whether they think they can sell it. I think they can. I think there's more of a market for this sort of speculative fiction anthology than many realize. In fact, there's an amazing Muslim anthology open for submissions right now, making its rounds on social media, and I can't wait to read it. And how many Knights of the Round Table/Lady of the Lake stories have we all read over the decades? If we shop the anthology, depending who buys it, it could make the stories eligible for industry awards and also put us into bookstores, not only online. But this route might take longer, and ultimately could go nowhere, and then we'd have to do the Kickstarter anyway. Again, something to think about.
I'm laying this out now, before you hit Submit, because it affects every accepted participant. I have my own preference for how to proceed, but I plan to work with the group as a whole and want to hear everyone's opinion. Anyone accepted into the anthology who is unhappy with the decision for acquiring funding is absolutely free to walk away before the process starts. If your story is chosen, we will have a more in-depth discussion on the details then.
To say I'm excited and honored to curate and be part of this anthology is an understatement. However it happens, I know it's going to be a stellar book, filled with magic and monsters and kickass Jews. I can't wait to help create it.
Project Submission Requirements
~ The writer must be Jewish. Culturally, religiously, ethnically, through conversion, or any combination thereof. This is an Own Voices project.
~ The story must center around Jewish magic and mysticism, as this is an anthology set firmly in the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre. That can mean a retelling of a bible story, using creatures of Jewish lore, or perhaps a futuristic story set on Mars that re-imagines David and Goliath in some way. The stories can be funny, serious, action packed, romantic, or frightening. Or all of the above!
~ The story must fall between 4,000 and 10,000 words. A little over or under can be worked in, or culled in the editing process, but submitting a 18,000 or 2,000 word story will not work for this anthology.
~ Diversity! Jews come in all shapes, sizes, colors, ethnicities, social backgrounds, and nationalities. They can be queer, disabled, and run the gender spectrum. The Tribe is many, and that many is beautiful. I'd love to see some of that beauty reflected in the stories submitted.
~ NOT ACCEPTED: Stories that have been previously published, contain offensive slurs, erotica, body horror, real person fiction, fan fiction, or religious tracts.
~ To be considered: Poems and art, depending on the publishing format. If your work fits into these categories, please label it in the email header as such.
Submissions will be open from October 5th- December 5th, 2016. Within 24 hours of sending your summary, you should receive an acknowledgement email. Upon receipt of that email, please reply and attach your story document. If you do not receive an email within 48 hours, please resend your summary submission.