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Abyss Anthology

Flash Fiction Showcase

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Press FAQs

Abyss: Stories of Depth, Time and Infinity

Exciting news! Following the success of our first anthology, Vast, Orchid’s Lantern is opening its doors once more. Abyss: Stories of Depth, Time and Infinity will be our second anthology, and this time we’re seeking fiction that explores these metaphysical topics in any way you choose.

We want high-impact experimental pieces, streams of consciousness, unusual perspectives and fictional accounts of altered states. We want extrapolations and interpretations of our present reality, or visions of drastic changes. We want the literary and the speculative. The entertaining will be juxtaposed, or combined, with the philosophical. We do not want highly fantastical settings unless they explicitly link back to the theme. We want complete stories, not chapters of something bigger.

Please do not send us:

  • Stories of a racist, sexist or bigoted nature
  • Stories promoting particular religions or political stances
  • Vampires, werewolves, superheroes or magic
  • Erotica

We like: Maniac, Russian Doll, The OA, Mr Robot, Black Mirror, The Matrix, Philip K Dick, Mark Z. Danielewski, Franz Kafka, Clarice Lispector, Sylvia Plath, Hermann Hesse, Jean-Paul Satre, Kurt Vonnegut, Anna Kavan, Robert Anton Wilson, Aldous Huxley, Alan Watts and Terence McKenna.

Guidelines:

  1. All submissions should have fewer than 7,500 words. There is no lower limit because we are fans of flash fiction, so long as it is strong and impactful. We aim to have a variety of lengths in the finished publication.
  2. The initial deadline is 30th June 2021, but we reserve the right to extend this should we not receive enough quality submissions by this date.
  3. We will acknowledge receipt of all submissions, and respond with an accept, decline, or request for discussion within 30 days of the closing date. Please do not send follow-up emails unless you wish to withdraw your submission.
  4. Simultaneous submissions to other publishers are allowed, but please let us know straight away if you receive an acceptance so we can remove you from our list.
  5. Each author may submit only one piece for consideration.
  6. Submissions may have been previously published online, but must be removed prior to the publication of this anthology.
  7. We expect to publish the anthology early in 2022.
  8. Contributors will be compensated with a one-off sterling payment of 0.5p per word (£5 per 1000 words) and two paperback copies of the anthology.
  9. All stories will be checked for grammatical consistency (using British English as we are a UK publisher) and proofread prior to publishing, but we ask that all submissions are in a polished, complete state when you send them to us. Excessive errors or poor form will result in your submission being declined.
  10. A 50-word bio will be required for inclusion in the final anthology. It is not a requirement to send this with your initial submission, but you may do so if you wish.
  11. We are committed to diversity in literature, and as long as they follow our guidelines, we will give all submissions equal consideration. Whether you’re a new or established writer, we welcome your submissions.
  12. If selected we will request exclusivity on the story for a limited period, but copyright will remain with the author.

Abyss will be edited by C.R. Dudley, author of metaphysical collections Fragments of Perception and Mind in the Gap and editor of Vast: Stories of Mind, Soul and Consciousness in a Technological Age.

Submissions should be emailed to Caroline via submissions@orchidslantern.com with ‘Abyss’ as the subject line. Documents should be clearly marked with the author or pen name and story title on each page. By doing so, you accept our guidelines detailed above.


Flash Showcase

I would love to showcase a new flash story or prose poem on the website every week. Pieces will be submitted on a voluntary basis at first, with the view to making this a paid opportunity in future if it is successful.

Stories should have fewer than 1,000 words and must be in keeping with our preferred themes and interests:

  • Philosophical, psychological, mystical or scientific concepts explored through fiction
  • Autofiction and Creative Non-Fiction
  • Imaginings of the future
  • Unusual POVs
  • Subjectivity
  • Consciousness (ordinary and altered)
  • Identity
  • Memory
  • Dreams

Stories may be part of something longer but must also function as self-contained pieces.

Stories may have already been published elsewhere, as long as your submission to us doesn’t violate any terms you have agreed with other publishers.

You can submit again if you have been accepted before, but only one submission at a time please.

Send submissions to submissions@orchidslantern.com with ‘Showcase’ in the subject line. Stories should be attached (not linked to) along with a short bio as you would like it to appear on the footer of your story if published. I will also accept links to your own webpages or stores for the footer. Word documents preferred.

If your story is accepted, I will aim to contact you within a week to let you know your showcasing date and any minor proofreading/presentation points.

Caroline


The Press

Submissions to the press are open!

We publish:

– Philosophical Speculative Fiction
– Metaphysical and Visionary Fiction
– Weird Speculative Fiction
– Occult and Mystical Fiction

In the following formats:

– Novels
– Novellas
– Prose
– Short Story Collections
– Experimental works such as streams of consciousness, blends of fiction and non-fiction, unusual literary forms

Please take some time to check out our website, FAQs, social media and other releases to get an idea of what we are about before submitting.

We are fine with simultaneous submissions to other publishers, but please let us know if the work is accepted elsewhere so we can remove you from our list.

We are an inclusive press, and love to hear from authors however they personally identify. We will never reject a manuscript based on factors such as race, gender, sexuality or disability.

We will not tolerate abuse – any email that we consider abusive to us or anyone else will result in an automatic rejection.

If you have something you think we might like, please send an email to Caroline at submissions@orchidslantern.com with ‘Press’ in the subject line. Tell us about your book in the email and attach the manuscript as a Word document, with your name in the header or footer of each page. You can also use this email address to ask any specific questions you might have about what we are looking for.

We will acknowledge receipt of all submissions, but after that please allow 3 months for a formal response.


Press FAQs

Why choose an indie publisher?

Many writers are fed up with the process of traditional publishing: with the lengthy timescales involved, with having to operate through an agent, with the fact that many are unwilling to take risks on out-of-genre works, single-author collections or novellas. We’ve heard many stories of creative control being completely out of of the authors’ hands, and expectations of the authors’ own contribution to marketing being unrealistic.

Yet, self-publishing isn’t for everyone either. If you want a polished book with a professional look and feel, it involves studying editing, design, marketing and more. This can consume money and time, which is simply not available to every writer.

An independent (‘indie’) publisher is typically much smaller than a household name traditional publisher. They can can afford to be more dynamic in their processes, give a personal touch to each project, and provide the benefits of self-publishing without the burden of taking it all on yourself.

What is the downside to working with an indie publisher?

The downside is we just don’t have the reach or budget of large traditional publishers, and at Orchid’s Lantern we will never deny this. Your books will not automatically appear on the shelves of the big high street stores. The quantity of books sold is largely down to the efforts put in by both parties, but it is unrealistic to expect them to be in the same region as the big five could acheive. Because of this, you are also unlikely to receive a considerable advance. Instead, most indie publishers operate on a royalty share basis.

There is potential risk for authors in choosing an indie publisher over traditional, in that they may not be as financially secure in the long term. The other side of this coin, however, is that they are also often willing to take more risks on your behalf and will offer ‘get-out’ clauses to ensure all rights return to the author in the event of collapse or dispute.

Why choose Orchid’s Lantern?

Our mission is to publish within niches we have a passion for and are often overlooked by other publishers. We love ‘think’ fiction that explores humanity’s relationship to the world around us and the ways in which our own ontology may surprise us. This goes hand-in-hand with science fiction, but we are not married to any one genre. We love pieces that get right inside the workings of consciousness and explore unique subjectivity as well as collectivism. We love short stories, novellas and experimental works as well as more traditional-length novels.

We believe we have the drive, passion and experience to add value to fiction within this remit. We are currently in our infancy, but we hope that by focusing on such niches, over time we will build strength in a brand that other seekers will recognise.

Are you a ‘vanity’ press?

Vanity presses prey upon authors by having them pay to be published. There is little (if any) consideration for quality or marketing. This is absolutely not what we do. You will never be asked to pay for services up front and our quality control is of utmost importance to us.

What will I get if you publish my work?

Manuscripts taken on by Orchid’s Lantern will have a dedicated project manager who wants to make it into the best version possible, just as much as the author does. After an initial consultation, you will be appointed an editor to work with, a cover designer, a typesetter and a proofreader. Some of these may be the same person, and could be in-house or external depending on the specific requirements. You will also be allocated a marketing budget, which we will manage and spend on things like review copies, branded gifts and advertising. All books will be taken along to any shows and conventions we attend, and offered to our small network of independent bookstores in the UK. We will stay in touch with you and give transparent updates on the state of sales and reader responses.

Why don’t you have many titles?

So many small presses go to the wall from taking on too much too fast. Our approach will be to start small and build up as and when we are able. We began by publishing some of Caroline’s own works and a couple of anthologies, and from those alone we are now in a position to invest in work from other authors. The intention is to take on only a couple at first and focus on making them a success. We will not take on any project unless we are confident we can add value, and we are aware finding manuscripts that are the right fit for us may take some time.

Who makes up the Orchid’s Lantern team?

There are only two of us currently. We are a wife and husband team, with tasks/expertise split as follows:

Caroline Dudley – Selection, Project Management, Editing, Proofreading, Marketing, Book Design and Administration

Cy Dudley – Selection, Beta-reading, Book Design, Typesetting, Direct Sales and Distribution

We also have a network of trusted professionals in all of these areas who we will subcontract work to as required.

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