We need your stories

Unexplored depths exist in the beautiful mind of every writer. A fragile castle with infinite chambers and corridors leading to unknown realms. At the heart of this impossible kingdom lies the throne room, a fantastic space that may contain everything—or nothing at all. Some say it's where the soul resides. Some think it's an endless ocean all creatives drink from. We call it The Great Void. Stories that materialize from these depths are truly remarkable. We are looking for such stories that are gripping, immersive, and worthy.

Aditya DeshmukhEditor

TGVB Writers' Portal

Once your story is accepted, this is where you’ll find the promo materials, review files, and other cool stuff!

SUBMISSIONS OPEN FOR THE FOLLOWING:

Website

Horror, Sci-fi, Crime and Mystery Fiction, Fantasy, Romance

No deadline

Taming Space

Space Opera

Deadline: 15 December, 2021

Extraordinary

Mythology

Deadline: 5 January, 2022

Beyond

Horror Flash Fiction

Deadline: 15 November, 2021

(this is a charity anthology; there’s no pay)

Fall Into The Abyss

Weird Fiction and Cosmic Horror

Deadline: 5 December, 2021

Website

 

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

We consider stories for two types of publications:

  1. Website
  2. Anthologies (approximately 20 stories per anthology)

Submissions: Open (check the deadlines mentioned above the images)

Response Time: We will try our best to respond in four to eight weeks after the submission period ends. The first wave of rejections is usually quick (two weeks after the submission period ends)

Word Count: 4,000–15,000 for website and anthologies; 500–2000 for flash fiction anthologies

Submission Fee: None

Rights: the copyright to the story remains yours. All we ask for are nonexclusive rights to publish your story

Payment:

  • Website:

Currently, there is no payment for website publications because the blog is not yet monetized and we are in the beta phase (which may last for eight to twelve months). Once we get the numbers, we will come up with a model (probably token advance) that will allow us to pay our writers as well as fund the growth of TGVB (YouTube channel, audiobooks, story podcast, etc). It is an important goal for us to reach the stage when we can pay a decent sum to our authors. However, it will take time as these are some hard times for small presses. But we are sure we will get there if we keep working diligently. While monetary payment is not possible at the moment, we still want to offer some perks!

  • Anthologies:

Payment is 40% net profit divided equally among the contributors of that anthology. Net profit accounts for discounts, returns, and printing cost; we do not subtract any cover art, editing, formatting, or promotion costs. In other words, we pay 40% of the money vendors (such as Amazon) pay us. If the anthology doesn’t perform well, we will pay a one-time payment of 5 USD to each author (if future royalty share exceeds this amount, the remainder will also be paid). We understand that this amount is quite low. TGVB is currently operating under loss. Payment will increase as we grow.

We believe in transparency. Our goal is to become a press our authors are super proud and happy to be associated with. Unfortunately, TGVB was founded not long before the pandemic of 2020. This is a difficult time for many industries. Small presses may not heal for a long time. Therefore, the profit earned from anthologies is quite small; the reason why we heavily invested in the website model. The one thing we can promise is that we will do everything we can to create absolutely gorgeous paperbacks and make them available widely. Print is a slow game. Eventually, the website traffic will help our books gain even more visibility, so we expect that the profit for anthologies will also rise. At that time, we will shift to the token payment model (along with royalties).

(Note: these payment terms are applicable to all previous TGVB anthologies as well)

Format:

(We have tried our best to keep our formatting guidelines standard. If you feel any guideline is extraneous or frustrating, please contact us and we will consider changing it.)

  • File type: .docx only (our system does not support any other format currently. But if there’s no way you can convert the file, send an email to thegreatvoidsubmissions(at)gmail(dot)com. However, while every story will be read, stories submitted using the TGVB Submissions Manager will receive responses faster.)
  • Font: Times New Roman, 12-point
  • Don’t include any details inside the document; start directly (we read submissions blind)
  • Use indents of 0.5 inches for paragraphs; don’t use tabs or spaces
  • Single space after periods. No unnecessary blank lines between paragraphs
  • Use *** (three asterisks) for scene breaks
  • Check your punctuation marks (em-dash should be em-dash, not a hyphen or two consecutive hyphens; ellipsis should be an ellipsis, not three consecutive periods; and please use curly marks for quotes, commas, and apostrophes)
  • No spacing around em-dashes and ellipses
  • No double spacing after periods. Use italics instead of underlines.

How to submit:

You’ll find the TGVB Submissions Manager at the right bottom corner of the page. Go there and TGVB’s virtual assistant Voidly will guide you with the procedure.

Please note that stories submitted without a summary will not be considered. We have only one editor. We cannot read all stories completely. We read the first three pages and the summary to determine the first cut. This sounds a little harsh, but please understand that this is the only way we can keep up with the schedule. This is a good thing for writers too because we can be quick in sending out the first wave of rejections.

A good summary should tell what the story is about. It should describe the main characters, the conflict, and the main plot points. If you’re following a standard plot structure, also mention that. All in 2000 characters (300-450 words). Think of it like a super-condensed outline.

The following submissions will not be considered:

  • Poems (single-author poetry collections will be considered in the future)
  • Screenplays
  • Stories with word count outside the word count range (100-200 words here and there is fine)
  • Stories sent before or after the submission period
  • Stories that do not belong to the genre or the theme of the anthology
  • Stories that may be hurtful to members of the LGBTQIA+ community or POC or any race. Stories that include these elements but treat them seriously and sensitively will be considered.
  • Stories that rely too much on shock value. Sometimes, such stories will be considered for certain subgenres of horror (but even then we prefer stories with substance)
  • Stories that were submitted in a previous submission period but were declined. Please know that we consider all possibilities before rejecting a story. So, submitting it again will not change our opinion. We will consider such a story only if it has been significantly edited; in this case, please describe the changes in the summary section.
  • Stories cannot be submitted without a summary. No blurbs in place of summary, please.

We have no problem with simultaneous submissions, multiple submissions (three max), and reprints. In fact, since we cannot pay much at the moment, we encourage you to submit reprints so that you can continue trying for well-paying publications for your unpublished stories and we can give your old darlings a new life. We love all good stories equally.

Before you submit, please read our understanding of a good story (and it’s not just ours—good storytelling is universal). The following passages are small because we don’t want to waste your time, but our editor has included all the main points. Upon reading them, if you think your story needs another round of editing, please consider doing that first before submitting; otherwise, your story may not get very far in the selection process. We read submissions several times a year, so you can even skip the current submission period if you need more time—the doors will be open before long.

That’s all! Thank you so much for considering TGVB. We really hope you will give us a chance. We are looking forward to reading your amazing stories!

WHAT IS A GOOD STORY?

Is your story gripping?

 

Whether we like it or not, our attention span is decreasing. It’s good because we quickly jump on to the next interesting thing, and so we can now explore more things. It’s bad because we may skip on something genuinely amazing just because we couldn’t give it more time. We cannot rewire the brains of the entire human species. So we must do the only thing that we can do: make stuff gripping!

This principle may be applicable for various things in life. It’s especially useful in writing.

Let’s say your story is absolutely nuts, but the start is a bit boring. You may not think much of it, but it acts as a wall. No matter how hard you try, a reader may never catch a glimpse of the beautiful garden behind it.

Dos
  • start with action
  • if an action scene isn’t likely at the start, consider restructuring the story; even boring stories can be made interesting with some smart structuring
  • or write something that establishes a connection with the reader quickly (such as an emotional scene)
  • you may also try a surprising statement–though there’s a risk that the line may not work for everyone and besides it can take a lot of time to come up with something really good.
Don’ts
  • don’t start the story with a lengthy description
  • no purple prose (this applies usually everywhere)
  • take care that you bring in other elements of the story too; two pages of endless action where the reader cannot grasp what the heck is going on can get frustrating

Is your story immersive?

Great! Now you have a solid hook. The next challenge is to maintain the immersion the hook brings. There are several things to consider here. Here’s a checklist.

  • The two basic things: character motivation (people do something because they want something, and that’s why characters who behave in the same manner are more realistic and relatable) and conflict (if the character gets to the end goal with no conflict, good for them! But that isn’t a story worth reading)
  • Are there any plot holes or inconsistencies? These destroy credibility and pull the reader out of the immersive experience.
  • How is the pacing?
  • Have you fleshed out the setting and is it significant to the story? When you alter the setting and the story just doesn’t work, that’s when you know that you have an appropriate setting
  • Check for POV slips. Make sure you’re filtering the narrative through a particular POV lens.
  • Show not tell (like 80% of the time) and sometimes tell not show (only when you want to get from A to B fast and scenes in A aren’t worth experiencing)
  • Does the plot conclude properly? Don’t let a reader think uh…that was it? or even worse wait, this makes no sense! A good resolution is one where the protagonist gets what they want (or makes peace with it). Or it all ends catastrophically, which is understandable in some genres like horror.

If all these story elements are working properly you’ll have an immersive story. Sometimes, the immersion can be so strong that a reader may remember the story months or even years after they first read it. Let’s aim for that!

Is your story worthy?

Every story is worthy in our minds. But sometimes we may not be able to transfer our thoughts to the paper properly. The previous suggestions will help you improve the story, but one final thing remains to be highlighted: the significance of the story.

A story can mean many things. Some writers and readers obsess over a story’s meaning, but we primarily look for how entertaining it is. If it is something that keeps the reader fixed on the screen, makes them forget where they are or what they are doing, keeps them immersed until the end, the story is significant.

You’re a writer. This simple fact makes you amazing. You know what you’re doing. If you’re investing so much thinking and time into your story, if you’re making it worth your time, it will be worthy to us and it will be worthy to our readers.

Some basic tips

  • Be original. An entirely original plot may not be possible, but a story has several elements. Fundamentally every story can be reduced to the same structure; however, don’t focus just on the tree. You can rearrange the branches and reshape the leaves. You can recolor them in so many ways. These details will help make the story stand out from the slush pile.
  • We are not a fan of cliches and tropes that can be seen everywhere, but it’s important to check that the story satisfies the genre expectations.
  • When you’re done with the final draft, work on another story. Don’t look at the story (or think about it) for a couple of days. Read it again with fresh eyes. You’ll spot some more embarrassing errors right away. The next step is editing. Hire an editor, self-edit further, or have someone beta read your story. After considering and inserting their suggestions, proofread the story carefully. One funny fact is that many writers don’t spot their errors until they hit submit (one of the mysterious and frustrating habits of the subconscious maybe). So perhaps try emailing the story to yourself and see if this magic works for you? One last tip is to either print the story out, record it, or use text-to-speech tools. When you experience the story in a different medium, the errors can be spotted more easily. By the way, take a look at the editorial services we offer here at TGVB and contact us if your story needs some more love (hiring our editorial services doesn’t guarantee acceptance, but it can increase the odds because an edited story is going to be a lot better than a non-edited one). Please note that we won’t decline the story just because of few typos. So, don’t panic and ask for permission to resubmit if your subconscious kicks in a little later. We will overlook minor mistakes if the story is awesome.
  • Ensure that you follow the submission guidelines. Unfortunately, stories submitted without the summary will not be considered.

SUBMISSIONS MANAGER

TGVB Submissions Manager is designed to make the submission process a breeze. If you run into any technical issues, please contact us and we will get in touch as soon as we can. Note that the system will keep running forever, but please do not submit the stories outside submission periods. Thank you for your interest!

STORY STATUS CHECKER

We will send an email to convey the status of your story (acceptance/rejection) at the end of the selection cycle of that particular anthology or the website issue. We also have Voidly here who can give you the answer anytime you want—well, at least after three weeks, though it can take as much as eight weeks depending on the submission period. Some tend to be much busier than others.

Want to check the status of your story?

Yes