I'm in the midst of working on three volumes of the Best Women's Erotica of the Year series at once, promoting Volume 1, which is out in print, ebook and audiobook, finalizing the table of contents for Volume 2, which will be published in December, and doing some early promotions and brainstorming, and spreading the word as wide and far as I can about the call for submissions for Volume 3 so I can meet my goal if receiving 500 submissions.
It's a lot to juggle, especially with two part-time jobs that combine to make a six-day-a-week full-time job, but I'm happy to do it because I'm incredibly honored to be at the helm of the series. For me, editing a series is different than editing a one-off title, because I know that each book does not stand alone. They stand as sequels to all the ones that came before them (in this case, starting with Best Women's Erotica edited by Marcy Sheiner in 2000 through Best Women's Erotica 2015 edited by Violet Blue, before the series changed to using volume numbers and I became editor).
As I'm editing, I also envision the same readers reading all of the volumes I'm editing, and I keep that in mind when I'm selecting stories. I try not to repeat scenarios or pick anything too similar to what's come before; I think of it as wanting the stories to echo and complement each other, to speak to each other but not duplicate. So one thing I'd love to see in Volume 3 is another outstanding pop culture reference erotica story, similar to what Lazuli Jones did with "Starstruck" in Volume 1, but outside the comics/superhero world. I also have subjects that for whatever reason, didn't yield many submissions for Volume 2, so I am definitely on the hunt for the perfect trans woman erotica story or stories for Volume 3, and some stories about older female characters. I know I may not get everything on my wish list into every given volume, and I don't know for sure that I will get to edit more, but that's why I'm putting my heart and soul into promotions, so that I can hopefully keep on editing the series for a long time to come. That being said, it's fiction, and part of the beauty of any writing is that everyone will approach it with their own ideas and experiences and angles, what writer Todd Henry calls your authentic voice.
It also helps me on a personal level when I have to do my least favorite task, sending rejection letters. I just sent out over 200 rejection letters for Volume 2, and that is such a hellish experience it deserves its own post. Suffice it to say, it makes me feel like a terrible person and never want to go through the process again, but what gets me through it every time is knowing that I will most likely have new anthologies on the horizon and a rejection today might mean an acceptance on another story next year, or the next or the next.
This mindset helps me get through sending rejections but on a more positive note, it also helps me conceptualize what I want my role to be as editor. I am taking a more pro-active approach to Volume 3, reaching out to groups and websites and authors I think might appreciate the call, and doing my best to spread the word while there's still 5+ months left before the deadline. I'm not against one-off anthologies, but I feel extra excited about the possibilities for the series, and maybe even doing some joint readings from multiple volumes, if I'm lucky.
To conclude, if you know anyone who might be eligible and interested in submitting their erotic fiction to Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 2, please pass along the writing guidelines to them. If you want to help me get a head start in spreading the word about the amazingness that will be Volume 2, please add it to your Goodreads want to read list.
Labels: anthologies, anthology, anthology editing, Best Women's Erotica, Best Women's Erotica of the Year Volume 1, call for submissions, Cleis Press, editing, Lazuli Jones, pop culture erotica, Rachel Kramer Bussel