Anthology Submission Guidelines and Schedule

Table of Contents

Anthology Theme

FOUND. Sometimes things are better off lost. And sometimes they were never meant to disappear. Either way, when they're found, everything changes.

Anthology Timeline

Want to keep track of anthology events? Here’s the shortlist of important dates:

January 1, 2016 12:01am: Submissions open. Be sure to follow the submission guidelines, which require both an online form and an email of your submission.

February 29, 2016 11:59pm: Submissions close. Make sure that you both fill in the online form as well as email your submission by this deadline. Late entries will not be accepted.

Marketing suggestions open. Once the submission process closes, we’ll switch over to accepting ideas for how to market the anthology. We’ll have a basic form that you can use as a starting point for suggesting events, marketing activities, tactics and more. We’ll try as many ideas as we can, and report the results to members.

May 1, 2016: Selection notifications will begin. If your entry is selected, you’ll receive a notification email, along with a contract. Once we receive back a signed contract, we will begin the editorial process.

May 31, 2016: All selections will be finalized and all entrants will be notified.

July 1, 2016: Pre-order opens for the 2016 Anthology, Found. This year you can pre-order your print book for delivery at the Colorado Gold Conference in September. Starting July 1, you can pre-order your book individually if you’ve already registered for Gold, or you can add your pre-order to your Gold conference registration. You’ll receive your book during the book signing on Friday night at the event. An eBook will be available for sale after Gold.

September 2016, Dates TBA: Launch party at Colorado Gold! There will be recognition for anthology authors, a table for book signings and more. Stay tuned for more details as we get closer to launch date.

September and Beyond: Marketing efforts begin! We will take your suggestions and turn them into reality. And then we’ll let you know how they went. These reports will come through the blog and the newsletter, so stay tuned to find out how your anthology is doing.

Submissions Guidelines

1. Eligibility

A. Only members in good standing of RMFW are eligible to appear in the RMFW anthology. "Good standing" means that membership status is current through Anthology publication in September 2016. CLICK HERE if you need to renew your membership.

B. Both published and unpublished authors are welcome.

C. Submissions will be accepted in the following genres:

  • Mainstream
  • Action/Thriller
  • Mystery
  • Romance
  • Speculative Fiction
  • Young Adult

D. No poetry, flash fiction, young reader (middle grade or younger), or erotica genres will be accepted.

E. Submissions must be original, unpublished works. Submission may not have been previously published or accepted for publication. "Published" includes self published or "independently" published works on major distribution websites like Amazon or Smashwords. "Published" includes publication in other anthologies, magazines or e-zines. "Published" DOES NOT include stories posted to your personal website.

F. Submissions must not be simultaneously submitted to other publications for consideration.

G. Entrants may submit as many entries as they like, in as many genres as they like, so long as they follow the submission guidelines.

H. Entrants must acknowledge their acceptance of the Anthology Terms and Conditions before their submissions will be accepted.

2. Format: Only Electronic Entries Accepted

A. Prepare a Microsoft WORD file (.DOC). Name the file the title of your story. (If your manuscript file is named the same, put your submission file into a new folder so you don't overwrite the original). Format this file as per the instructions below. NOTE: WordPerfect users - submit a .RTF file. Microsoft WORD users - save your file as a .DOC and NOT .DOCX to avoid formatting issues for the selection committee

B. Your name must NOT appear anywhere on the submission, only on the electronic entry form.

C. Use a 12 point Courier New font only. Double spaced.

D. Have 1” margins, top, bottom, right, and left.

E. Have 24-25 lines per page not counting header.

F. Show the title on the first page approximately 1/3 down the page, followed by the text of the story. SHOULD NOT INCLUDE A BY-LINE!

G. Have a header on every page showing the story title on the left and the page number on the right.

H. Be no shorter than 1,000 words and no longer than 15,000 words in length.

3. Submission Form

A. Click on the 'Submit Your Story' link above and follow the instructions on the submission form from January 1 through February 29 to submit your story.

4. Deadline

A. Submission will NOT be accepted until January 1, 2016 12:01am and MUST be emailed to the Anthology no later than February 29, 2016 11:59pm.

B. DO NOT snail-mail anything to RMFW.

C. All Anthology communications are through

Anthology FAQs

If you have a question about the anthology, please email Mario Acevedo at If the question is very specific, he will answer you back directly. If it’s a popular question, he’ll post it here.

1. Why is the Anthology limited to members-only submissions?

While it is true that in the past the anthologies have not been limited to members only, we have a few good reasons for choosing to limit submissions this time around.

First, the membership of RMFW has almost doubled since the 2009 anthology. That gives us a lot of talented writers to draw from, and while there may possibly be no such thing as too many great entries, there can be such a thing as not enough people to read through them all. So we felt it would be helpful to limit the entries in that way.

Second, the mission of RMFW is to help writers grow. The organization provides a lot of resources that are available to both members and non-members alike: the contest, the conference, along with some of the workshops and online classes.

The anthology is different. It’s a vehicle for showcasing RMFW’s talent, as well as for promoting RMFW’s members. This may be a departure from past anthologies’ intent, but I think it’s a reflection of the times in which we live – self-publishing is here to stay, there are serious questions as to the value of traditional publishing, and many authors are banding together to help each other rise above the noise. Not to mention that short stories are playing an increasingly important part in helping authors to distinguish themselves.

In that context, it makes sense to limit participation to members only – to put the weight of RMFW behind its members as they work hard to rise above the noise. This is not the only anthology opportunity out there – there are plenty of other places where non-members can submit short stories. If you value this opportunity enough, then I think it’s probably worth the price of membership, and if you’re already a member, this is yet one more way that RMFW provides value in return for your membership dues. I’ve found that you get what you pay for, and if you want to be successful at something, it takes an investment – time, and sometimes money too.

On the other hand, if you’re only paying dues in order to submit to the anthology, I would encourage you to rethink your stance. RMFW membership provides many, many benefits – personally, it's what helped me get published. In that light, the anthology is just a bonus of membership.

2. Found? Wow, a lot of secrets come to mind. Can stories be R rated? Or should we keep it PG-13? Or NR? Or PG? Or G? Or XXX?

Our preference would be to keep it PG-13, for the same reason that most movies shoot for that level of adult content: it leaves the anthology open to the widest audience. However, the anthology committee reserves the right to play this by ear. The theme sets up a lot of possibilites, and it may be challenging to keep the stories out of R rating territory. R won’t get a submission knocked out of contention, but it may result in a slightly longer editorial cycle as we make sure that all the stories work well together.

Erotica won’t be accepted for the anthology. For an anthology that aims to represent many genres, erotica has the potential to close more doors for its success than open them, unfortunately.

Can you have sex? Can you have foul language? Can you have violence? If it’s appropriate to your story, and not so excessive as to be offensive to a mass audience, then absolutely! And if you can’t tell, give it a try, and we’ll let you know if it worked.

3. The theme is fairly broad. How far can I stray?

Part of the submission evaluation criteria will include creativity in using the theme as well as how relevant the submission is to the theme. What we want like to see are stories where, as the theme says, "everything changes."

4. How many submissions will the book contain?

We are shooting for a 350-400 page print book. The number of submissions we accept will depend on how long the submissions are that we receive, and the overall quality of submissions.

This year, we are accepting longer stories than we have in the past, from 1,000 words up to 15,000. However, our goal is balance: some longer stories, some shorter ones. To give you some idea, here are some stats from the last anthology, Crossing Colfax: 15 stories were accepted from 50 submissions. Excluding the intro pages and RMFW material, that translated to 372 print pages.

We would love to publish 15-20 works in the anthology with representation from PAL and IPAL members, and unpublished authors.

5. If my story is accepted, do I get paid?

As much as we would love to pay for stories, at this point we’re not in a position to do so. But you’ll get a lot of great benefits from being an Anthology author:

  • Publicity. We plan to do more publicity around the anthology than we have ever done before – in part simply because more channels and opportunities exist to publicize the anthology than ever existed before. And considering PAL and IPAL members who would like to contribute to this anthology, we’re specifically looking for authors who have a book coming out in Fall 2016, so that we can help play a role in giving their new book a publicity boost as well. Free marketing is always good!
  • A publication credit. For those of you trying to stand out in an agent or editor’s slush pile, noting that you have had a short story published in an anthology is the kind of thing that can give you an edge over someone with no publishing credits to their name. This helps published authors too, especially if you’re trying out new genres.
  • Experience with the self-publishing world. If you’re struggling to figure out whether it’s worth it to try the traditional route or to break out on your own, this is a great opportunity to get some experience around what is involved without having to fully commit to the self-publishing path. For both marketing and publishing, we plan on full transparency into what the anthology manages to accomplish and any pitfalls we encounter along the way.
  • A tax deduction. RMFW is a non-profit organization. If you claim publishing revenue on your income taxes, we will provide you with a tax deduction consideration letter, where we will accept your story as a tax-deductible donation to our organization. It’s not a payment, but it is a recognition of the value of your contribution.

All that said, our contract will not lay claim to the rights to your story for all eternity – just for one year exclusively, and permission to retain it as part of the anthology on a non-exclusive basis thereafter. After the first year, the main rights revert to you.

In past anthologies, where electronic rights were not at issue, we did not ask to retain the right to include your story in an electronic version of the anthology, but we’d like to do that going forward – a non-exclusive right. This will help us keep the anthologies available over time.

Any money that the anthology makes will go towards helping RMFW members in some way, first, to fund marketing initiatives to support the anthology, and after that either as a seed investment in the next anthology, or through funding scholarships, workshops, or events for members. And all of the participants in any anthology committees are strictly volunteers, including the Editor.

We invite to see what you can find for FOUND and share with us tales of mystery, romance, fantasy, and more. Stories from the past, present, and future that reveal something that changes everything.

One thought on “Anthology Submission Guidelines and Schedule

  1. Due to minor differences in word processor versions, I find my manuscript can vary from 25-26 lines per page all the way down to 23 lines per page with the above specified margins, spacing, and font, when I open it on different computers. I hope this will not present a problem for your readers.

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