Thursday, 16 March 2017

10 Reasons You Should be Submitting to Digital Fiction Publishing

Anyone who's been paying any attention to my work over the last couple of years will notice that I've become rather attached to Canadian small press Digital Fiction Publishing: Digital salvaged my collection The Sign in the Moonlight and Other Stories last year after Spectral Press went belly up, and the back end of 2016 saw the release of The Black River Chronicles: Level One, which I co-created with DFP head honcho Mike Wills; a sequel will be arriving before the year is out.  On top of that, I've lost track of just how many Digital anthologies I've been in.  (I mean, not because it's that many, just because my memory's rubbish.  But it's definitely more than a few.)

Obviously I consider Digital worth sending my work to; I wouldn't keep doing it otherwise.  And, in the wake of a bit of terrifically good news from them, I thought now might be the time to explain why, and to list some reasons that all genre writers should be jumping at the opportunity to push work their way.

1) They Pay For Reprint Rights
A cent a word, to be exact, which seems to be about the market rate - though the actual deal is rather better than that, as we'll come to in a minute.  But, right here, let's just acknowledge that there are very few markets that even accept reprints, let alone who trade in them exclusively.
2) Their Terms Are (More Than) Reasonable
Having been in since the beginning, I've seen a few iterations of the DFP contract, and it's only got better for writers with each version.  You don't often see a publisher bending over this far backwards to be honest and fair.
3) They Make Your Work Feel Special
There's a fair chance your story will be released as a baby e-book all of its own, as well as part of an anthology, and these are reliably gorgeous, as the examples scattered about hopefully illustrate.  Failing that, DFP is now edging into hardback releases, which are looking downright stunning.
4) They Publish Good Books
I'm a little biased on this front, for various reasons, but Digital have been putting out some very good product since the beginning.  I'm up to date with nearly all of the DFP collections I've had stories in, and I've definitely enjoyed the bulk of what I've read.  (The one novel I've found time for, Terry Madden's Three Wells of the Sea, was terrific too.) 
5) I'm Slush-Reading For Them
Okay, so maybe not a reason to submit as such, but if you send in a story for the Digital fantasy imprint once it reopens, or for the currently open Hic Sunt Dracones anthology of dragon stories, then there's a fair chance I'll be reading it.  And, if it's really good, I'll most likely recommend it for publication.
6) They Have Fast Response Times
Like, really fast for fantasy submissions, because I'm too obsessive-compulsive to let subs sit for long.  But averages across the various imprints range from a couple of weeks to at worst a couple of months, which is pretty damn good in my experience.
7) Their Books Get Attention
First Contact, for example, the original Digital Fiction Publishing collection, is up to fifty-seven reviews on Amazon US; I've been in a fair few anthologies, and not many get that kind of notice.  But then, that's at least in part because...
8) They Promote
 Right from the beginning, Digital has been pushing its books hard, with copious amounts of both time and money.  So if your works ends up in one of them, the odds are good that people will actually get to read it. 
9) They Pay Royalties
Nearly last up, the biggie, and the reason I decided to put this article together in the first place: have work published by Digital and you'll get a share in the profits from every single
  Digital book.  Once those shares exceed your initial payment, you get more money - and keep getting more money.  I know this because I just got my first royalty payment, and it was for a solid chunk of cash.  As far as I can tell, this basically makes Digital a co-op, and how marvelously insane is the notion of a co-op publisher?  If the list consisted of this one reason alone then that should be enough.
10) I don't have a point 10
Though I'm sure I could think of one if I really tried.  Um.  Their website is really shiny?  But, okay, not a reason to submit, as such.  Okay, how's this?  Digital even have the decency to pay their slush-readers, so the more submissions, the more money I make, and just maybe if you and I run into each other I'll have sufficient pennies saved up to buy you a drink.
Or, more likely, I'll buy more nineties anime to review here on the blog.  So hey, win, win.
So, look, Digital is open right now for that Hic Sunt Dracones anthology I mentioned, as well as for a second volume of horror stories by female authors, Killing it Softly 2.  You can find the guidelines for both of those here.  And most likely the regular fantasy, horror, science-fiction and flash fiction imprints will be opening for submissions soon.  Keep an eye out!


  1. In my brief writing career, I have received royalties after advances for exactly two projects: Gardner Dozois's Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirty-First Annual Edition, and Digital Science Fiction. Some other anthologies have paid advanced and promised royalties, but haven't yet earned out. Others have promised just royalties, but nothing yet. Michael is doing something right with Digital.

  2. Congrats on getting paid to read slush! DFP has published three of my reprints for Quickfic and I've got two other submissions, what's the hold up? Just green light mine and you can't lose! :-) One note, though--the dark blue print is hard to see against the black background. You might consider a different color...light green, perhaps. Orange always looks good against black.