Worst. Holiday. Ever. (a terrible family holiday romance anthology)

I promise: that won't be the final title of this anthology series. I'm looking for stories of loving couples doomed to share the holidays with HILARIOUSLY uncomfortable relatives. Give me your racist cousins, your drunken uncles, your belligerent brothers-in-law..throw in a religious zealot or two and a grandma who says whatever the f*ck she wants. Each story should have a unique plot dilemma made infinitely worse by the added tension of having to deal with the family.

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Interested? Here are the story guidelines:

  • 9,000 or fewer words (if it only takes you 5,000 words to describe your--I mean, your characters'--crazy families, be my guest)
  • Submissions must involve a family gathering in a holiday setting; surrogate families are fine, too.
  • No "falling in love" arc is necessary--these stories can be about established couples surviving the holidays together. 
  • The holiday can be anything (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, New Year's etc.) though there may be something wintery on the cover, so bear that in mind. The cover will be non-denominational
  • The humor element has to be obvious. However, the tone can range from farcical to dry wit. 
  • The story should feel satisfying but it's fine if it ends with a zinger instead of a buttoned-up "we-survived-the-holidays" moment. 
  • Using characters from your own/existing universe is fine (no need to invent brand new ones).
  • Synopsis and projected word count due October 1st
  • Full text due November 1st. Proof/ARC sent to authors by November 8th. Publication date would be November 15th. 

the right mix of stories

The primary goal is to harness the talent of a few formidable authors to yield a really fun read. Given the short time frame, I'll be limiting the group to experienced writers who can hit the deadline and simply send me something good. My target (read: the most I can manage) is 8-10 authors whose stories combine to paint a well-rounded picture of holiday highjinks. Ideally, it will contain:

  • A range of characters from varying ethnic, racial, and religious cultures
  • A range of pairings (M/F, M/M, F/F)
  • A range of romance genres (YA, suspense, historical, paranormal/speculative...because cross-species holiday dinners are awkward, too; bonus points to anyone who writes a turkey shifter romance set during Thanksgiving)
  • A range of settings

I know, I know...it sounds like a strange mish-mash. If done well, the collection should show that enduring the holidays is timeless and universal.

...and the Administrative and financial DETAILs:

  • This book will be indie-published/managed through my KDP account; co-authors can add their names via Amazon Author Central so that the book shows up under all of our profiles.
  • Business will be done through my LLC and a simple but clear legal agreement will be drawn up for the transparency and protection of all parties.
  • I'll front the money to have a beautiful cover designed, will pay for proofreading, formatting and other publishing costs (estimated cost: $500). If others in the group want to do broader promotion of the book, the group can chip in on a marketing pot. Receipts/costs/decisions around all upfront services will be made transparent to the group.
  • After the book earns back launch/prelaunch costs, all remaining royalties will be distributed evenly among participating authors. Again, sales reporting will be made transparent on a monthly basis and I will distribute royalties to all authors monthly during any period when the royalty amounts to $15 per author or more. In other words, if the book only earns $2.75 per author in royalties in April (when nobody cares about holiday books) I'm not going to print up twelve checks for $2.75 each. Regardless of distribution timing, monthly reports will be provided.
  • No exclusive rights to any story contained within belong to the anthology itself. Authors will be asked not to publish their stories elsewhere during a release push of 60-90 days. Following this period, authors may reprint or reproduce their stories wherever they'd like.

Final thoughts

The final thing you need to know is that this will be a drama-free project and a bullshit-free zone. I will send gentle reminders as we approach deadlines and will solicit no-pressure feedback on the book cover and other key assets. I will be transparent and communicative, but I won't overwhelm you. You've got stuff to do. Finally, because this won't be a huge anthology, it's currently being floated to a hand-picked group of prospective authors. If you know someone else who would be great for it, e-mail me and let me know!

So SIGN UP. Like, now.

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No long survey. Just tell me why you're interested in this anthology and what you might whip up. You don't need a story concept right this second. Just tell me enough to convince me you can pull one together.
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