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Blaze: Submission Guidelines

The latest anthology from Clarendon House was announced in the Inner Circle Writers’ Magazine a couple of days ago, and submissions for it are already pouring in.

You can subscribe to the magazine here, to see what all the fuss is about.

But I thought I would take the opportunity here to update the submission guidelines for this new book, which is called Blaze: The Inner Circle Writers’ Group Flash Fiction Anthology 2019. Most of these guidelines are the same as for past Clarendon House anthologies, but I have updated one or two points based on experience.


How To Submit

I accept submissions through Clarendon House Publications and its email address:

I try to keep track of all submissions as efficiently as possible. Please don't post me anything, as I work through email only. I need stories sent to me as single-spaced Word documents using Times font, size 12. Anything more exotic will be refused.

Clarendon House Publications is based in the UK, but I accept submissions from authors all over the world, as long as they are in the correct format outlined above.

No submission fee is required.

Please don’t submit more than one story to each anthology.

I understand if you want to submit to more than one publisher at a time, but obviously I must know immediately if a story you've submitted to me has been accepted elsewhere.

Why don't I take multiple submissions? Because if I'm offering writers a chance to win a paid anthology (see below), it's only fair that all included authors get one chance to win.

Editing Submissions

It is a condition of submission that the author must be open to me correcting punctuation, spelling, grammar or any other technical basics without always contacting them. If I have suggestions on how to improve a story in order to get it published, I will write back to the author and discuss things. As an editor, I am here to help authors make it, and all suggestions will be made with that in mind. If, after receiving feedback, the author does not wish to proceed, that is fine and will not bar them from future consideration for publication.

It is obviously in the author’s best interests to ensure that the submission is in the best possible shape prior to sending it to me. If the submission takes too much time to fix, it is likely to be rejected. It also follows from this that submissions must be the FINAL version as far as the authors are concerned - I will not be able to entertain any adjustments to documents (other than proofreading fixes as above) once they have been received.

The Order In Which I Consider Submissions

Obviously, I will favour those authors whose work I have already published. I will also favour subscribers to my magazine and members of the Inner Circle Writers’ Group, which should come as no surprise to anyone. The group is free to join here:

It would also be preferable - though not essential - for anyone submitting work to have at least read my book, How Stories Really Work. That’s because the book teaches the fundamentals of storytelling and guides writers toward being more successful and satisfied as writers.

So, to summarise:

a) subscribe to the Inner Circle Writers’ Magazine or at least join the Inner Circle Writers’ Group and be active within it.

b) Buy and read my book - again, not a prerequisite, but helpful all round.

c) Get your work edited and proofread professionally prior to submission. You can use me for this (see options here) or someone else.

What I’m Looking For In General

I’m looking for well-crafted stories. That means stories which have been designed to appeal to readers, not long, rambling first drafts or shapeless, incomplete collections of words which don’t make internal sense. Detailed guidance on what can be considered a ‘well-crafted story’ is given in my book How Stories Really Work.

Inner Circle Writers’ Group Anthologies are usually available in paperback and ebook formats.

Please note that I do not consider novel excerpts, or anything with illustrations or photographs.


Some publishers ask for first serial rights on any story they publish, which means that the story should not have appeared anywhere else, either in print or online. (This includes publication on an author's own website.) When I publish a story, I only ask that that story not be tangled up in any other prior agreement and be exclusive to Clarendon House Publications for one year after the date of publication. I don't ask for other rights, or place any limits on what you can do with your story after the exclusivity period.

Copyright remains with you at all times.

Word Count

Blaze is going to be a little different.

There are going to be three categories of ‘micro-fiction’: first, stories of 1,000 words or fewer; second, stories of 500 words or fewer; and third, stories of 50 words or fewer.

I want to see what you can do within those parameters. Nothing sexually or violently graphic or gratuitous will be accepted.


Clarendon House anthologies at present do not pay, but each accepted author receives a free e-copy of the complete anthology upon publication. As you can imagine, in an anthology with 10 to 12 authors, payments to each author are never going to be huge. Blaze might have as many as 100 authors.


Inner Circle Writers' Group anthologies each have a competition, in which the readers vote for the best story in each volume. The author of the best story in each volume is then offered an opportunity to publish a collection of his or her short stories with Clarendon House Publications - upon which royalties are paid. Accepted authors therefore have a path to becoming paid authors.

There have been eight winners of such competitions so far.

The onus is on the author to write the best quality story that he or she can so that the door can be opened to commercial success.


I do ask that accepted authors follow some simple marketing advice in order to try to ensure that production costs are covered, but I do not want to demand that they buy a certain number of copies or something like that, because then I'm positioned as one of those 'rip-off' publishers with whom it costs money to publish. I can only give recommendations as to actions they should take to boost sales so that their own names get out there. The more authors follow this advice, the better it is for everyone.

The advice includes using social media to spread the word, contacting friends and family, and so on. Nothing too strenuous, but any effort to market the finished anthology is a step forward for the author too.

Due to the nature of micro-fiction, I am expecting in the case of Blaze that there will be many acceptances to fill a book-sized volume. That means that it is unlikely that I will be able to maintain the Clarendon House tradition of having each author's name appear on the cover, but I will do the best I can.

Response Times

I aim to reply to all submissions within three weeks, although I will sometimes go over this during busy periods. If you're waiting for a reply from me, please keep an eye on your junk mail folder, as some replies do end up there. If you grow concerned, or have any questions about anything, you can always email me at

Join the Inner Circle Writers' Group on Facebook

The Inner Circle Writers' Group is all about fiction: what it is all about, how it works, helping you to write and publish it. You can keep up to date with live contributions from members, upload your own fiction, enter competitions and so on:
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