SWMC/HBCS Rules and Guidelines

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Anthology Theme/Required Story Elements

  1. subversion of the classic tropes in masquerade stories and/or an unusual interpretation of the concept of a masquerade
  2. queer relationships—one anthology will feature wlw stories, the other mlm. We take a loose definition of wlw and mlm; we encourage people to suggest relationships involving genderqueer characters and/or polyamorous elements.
  3. a happy-for-now or happily-ever-after (HFN/HEA) ending.

If considering those elements sparks your imagination, read on to familiarize yourself with our rules and guidelines!

General Rules for All Contributors

  1. All contributors must be at least 18 years of age.
  2. You must be respectful toward your fellow collaborators and toward the anthologists at all times. We have a zero-tolerance policy toward fandom hate, kink shaming, anti-shipping, bigotry, racism, or other forms of abuse on our forums, comments, posts, and Discord.
  3. These anthologies will be published in e-book form and made available in print to the backers of a crowdsourcing campaign. After the campaign, e-books will be sold on the Duck Prints Press website. Assuming minimum funds are raised through our campaign, contributors will receive a free copy of the e-book; if funding allows, we hope to also be able to send contributors physical book copies, but we can’t guarantee that.
  4. This is a paid writing opportunity, and contributors will be required to sign a contract. As such, you must be willing to share your legal name and address to participate in these anthologies.
  5. We will primarily be communicating with contributors via e-mail and Discord. All participants must provide an email address they check regularly, and we encourage everyone to create a Discord account as well. Invitations to our Discord server will be included in acceptance emails. If you’re new to Discord, you can learn more about setting up a Discord account for yourself here.
  6. Please contact us if you have questions:
  7. Violations of the above rules will result in consequences ranging from a warning through a ban from working with the Press on future projects. The management team will decide consequences based on how many infractions take place and how severe those infractions are.

Application Guidelines and Process

  1. To qualify to apply, authors must meet the following minimum requirements:
  2. Interested authors are asked to submit a sample of their work (between 1,000 and 2,000 words) and a brief pitch aligned with the anthology themes (no longer than 400 words). You must specify if you are applying to the mlm or the wlw anthology, and you may not apply to both. Your submitted sample must function as a short story (as opposed to as a vignette, character study, or other non-story type of prose); we don’t care if it’s fanfiction or original fiction, previously published or otherwise. Samples may be extracts from longer works but must be understandable as stand-alone works, and they mustn’t require specialized knowledge of a specific fandom, meta, or pre-existing world.
  3. Your story pitch aligned with the “masquerades” theme and appropriate to the anthology you’ve chosen to apply to (either mlm or wlw) will be a significant factor in our assessment so please carefully consider your pitch. While you will not be required to adhere precisely to the idea you put on your application, since we will be rating submissions based on it, you will be expected to stick to the “broad strokes” of the concept you propose to us (for example, you could change whether a character was a lesbian or a bisexual, or cis or trans, but not the core plot or world concept). Make sure you save a copy for yourself before you submit your survey!
  4. You can read the rubric we use to review stories here. All submissions will be anonymized and rated by three readers using this rubric. Results will be statistically standardized and then averaged, and the authors of the highest-rated stories will be invited to contribute.
  5. Applications will be open from December 15th through December 30th, 2021. However, if we receive 150 qualified applicants, we will close them earlier, as we do not have the capacity to review more applications than that at this time. (Our first anthology received 102 applications in a similar 15 day period, so there’s a risk we could hit the 150—if you want to be sure to apply, don’t wait until the last minute!)
  6. If your story submission includes any of these elements you must tag it on your application survey: major character death, rape/non-con, dubious consent, harm to a child, death of a child, death of a relative, transphobia/homophobia/biphobia/etc., racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, ableism. Basically: if the material incorporates a relatively common trigger or is on a subject matter likely to make someone uncomfortable, please tag it! Also, please do not submit explicit story submissions when you apply for these anthologies. (We love erotica, but these aren’t erotica anthologies and we don’t want erotica submissions at this time).
  7. Each anthology will feature 18 stories, each up to 6,000 words long. We are reserving 8 slots in each anthology (a total of 16 slots total) for writers who have contributed to past Duck Prints Press projects and would like to work with us again. 20 applicants who have not worked with us previously will be accepted to work on the anthologies. If we don’t have enough “returners” to fill the reserved slots, empty slots will also be filled by new applicants.
  8. Returning authors will be asked to present us with their story pitch and will be selected based on the pitches they give. They do not have to submit a new writing sample.
  9. Understanding that we may experience attrition among recruited authors, applicants may also offer themselves as “pinch hitters.” If some of our first 36 accepted authors must withdraw, we will contact authors who have offered to pinch hit.

Accepted Contributor Guidelines and Rules

  1. Accepted authors will be asked to complete a short biography suitable for inclusion on the Duck Prints Press webpage, on our social media accounts, and as part of promotion for the crowdsourcing campaign. You will have to provide a name for this biography. You may use your real name, a pseudonym, or a pen name; you may not use an online username. Basically: it has to look like a name. “FakeName” would not be acceptable. “Fake S. Name” would be.
  2. After you’re accepted, you’ll be paired with one of our editors and with another writer contributing to the anthologies. The editor will be available to help you with complications you run into during the process, but will not fully edit your story until after the final check-in. Your author-partner will help with alphaing, betaing, brainstorming, and you will be expected to do the same for them.
  3. We will be rigorously editing all contributed stories to ensure they meet professional standards of formatting and grammar. We use the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition, as our standard style guide, with some modifications to meet our own standards and preferences. We will do our best to work with you, help you learn, point out things that don’t work, and highlight things that do work. If this level of editing and betaing will be too difficult for you to endure, please don’t apply. If you become defensive or aggressive with your editor, or otherwise act like a jerk, you’ll receive a warning. Subsequent infractions will result in your potentially being removed from the project and/or banned from contributing to future Duck Prints Press projects.
  4. You must meet all deadlines. First drafts of stories for these anthologies will be due on April 15th, 2022; you can review the full schedule here. If you are concerned that you’ll miss a deadline, please contact the mods as early as possible, and we can work with you. Don’t commit to this project if you don’t think you can meet these deadlines. If you miss a check-in without having already come to an alternative agreement with us, you will be removed from this project. If you ghost completely (as in, don’t contact us to explain yourself), you’ll be permanently banned from contributing to future Duck Prints Press projects.
  5. Authors who complete their stories and sign a contract in accordance with all of the above will be paid a baseline of 1 US cent per word, up to a total of $50 per author. Depending on the success of our crowdsourcing campaign, we will raise this amount to as high as 8 US cents per word. Your legal name and address will be required for the contract, so if you’re not comfortable providing those, do not apply to contribute to these anthologies. You’ll be asked to sign the contract once you and the editors have agreed on a final version of your story. You may withdraw from the anthologies at any time before you have signed, but you will not be paid (nor will we print/include your story) if you withdraw without signing the contract. You can see a generic version of a contract here
  6. We have high hopes that we’ll find all our authors to be wonderful individuals with whom we work well, and it is our expectation that those with whom we successfully work, and who enjoy working with us, will be invited to participate in future paying Duck Prints Press projects, so please do your best! We’d love to invite everyone back!

Story Guidelines

  1. Stories must be new and never-before-published. You may not “repurpose” a fanfiction—if the story was previously published as a fanfic, you may not “rebrand” it to make it fit these anthologies.
  2. The worlds and characters in the stories must be original. No fanfiction is allowed, nor are stories featuring original characters inserted into an existing setting.
  3. Stories must incorporate all the elements of the Anthology theme. These elements are:
    • subversion of the classic tropes in masquerade stories and/or an unusual interpretation of the concept of a masquerade.
    • queer relationships—one anthology will feature wlw stories, the other mlm.
    • a happy-for-now or happily-ever-after (HFN/HEA) ending.
  4. To facilitate and hasten editing, we will ask that you review our style guide (it’s not online yet, but will be within the next month or two, well before the posting deadline), which discusses various formatting and SPAG matters, especially those where we differ from the Chicago Manual of Style (17th Edition). Also, we ask that all check-ins be submitted to us as Google documents; .docx is also acceptable. Please do not use PDF!
  5. Stories must be longer than 3,000 words. The maximum length allowed is 6,000 words. Depending on formatting constraints, we may permit small amounts of latitude over the 6,000 word limit; however, no one will be paid for more than 6,000 words under any circumstances.
  6. Stories must be primarily in English. Individual words or small chunks of text/dialog may be in a non-English language. If you use any non-English words, a reader should be able to infer their meaning from context, or a translation should be offered as a footnote.
  7. Stories must be rated General or Teen audiences. If you’re not sure a specific idea will fall within that range, we encourage you to contact us and ask.
  8. Stories must have a “Happy for Now” or “Happily Ever After” ending.
  9. Once your story is completed, we will help develop a tag list for it, similar to the “Additional Tags” section on AO3. You can see the most up-to-date version of the controlled vocabulary we use here.
  10. The following elements are not permitted in works in these anthologies: explicit sexual scene,s graphic depictions of violence, major character death, rape/non-con. Note that, since we use an extensive tagging system for our publications, you will be expected to tag/warn for dark elements or -isms. We prioritize protecting readers over preventing spoilers.
  11. Please don’t share your work in progress outside of the Duck Prints Press Discord. If you’d like to publish a small sample (no more than 100 words) as part of a meme, work-in-progress update, or similar social media usage, that’s acceptable—please let us know so we can share and boost your post on our social media accounts!
  12. Once stories are complete, authors will be asked to select an excerpt of their story for use in promoting sales of the Anthology. Excerpts should be no more than 250 words.
  13. Payment will be sent to authors once a final version of the story is agreed upon by the authors and book editors. If we raise enough in the crowdsourcing campaign to meet our stretch goals to pay authors above the minimum, that payment will be sent within six weeks of the conclusion of the campaign.

Have a question not addressed in these rules? Check our FAQ, e-mail us, DM us on Twitter, message unforth#6748 on Discord, or send us an ask on Tumblr!