I discovered a call for papers over the summer for a YA-themed anthology for critical essays discussing YA Fantasy, Paranormal and Dystopian works… The call for papers was open ended, with the only noted agenda being to discuss said types of books. I submitted a proposal idea, was told it sounded good, submitted an abstract and was rejected.
In the essence of full disclosure, I admit I was late in submitting the abstract. I am also not especially well versed in abstract-ese, so I could have very well missed including some information they might have been looking for.
But I was also confused by the information I received in the response. On the one hand, the guidelines indicated the abstract should be less than 500 words, but there was no minimum indicated. Mine weighed in at under 100 (modeled after the one I had accepted for Worldcon last year), and I was told if I wanted to submit a different proposal, the abstract would need to be at least 250 words.
Okay, that I can deal with (doesn’t make much sense to me based on the information I had, but manageable…). What really confused me was the notice that my idea “doesn’t fit with the age range or focus of the anthology.” Let me say this again… “Huh?”
Of the half-dozen specific titles I indicated in my rough proposal (Narnia, Ender’s Game, HP & Sorcerer’s Stone, Graveyard Book, Hunger Games & Coraline), Ender’s Game is the only one that would be a stretch based on the three categories listed.
At this point, with no clear indication or suggestion for what sort of more specific material they might be looking for, I’m chalking up the experience as over and moving on. Pity, that… it would hace been an interesting project to be affiliated with.
Moral of the story: When calling for papers, please provide specific criteria for themes that you would like to discuss… that really would make it easier for potential contributors to either hit the right mark the first time.
So where does that leave me? With an idea to run with.
Besides being disappointed with the lack of clarity, I’m actually not to heartbroken about not being selected. With the way my schedule has been for the last few weeks, not to mention what I am looking at for the next three months, reading new books and rereading others for my references would have been a fairly large time obligation in order to do the job well. I do still intend to write it up, but I might shift the area to cover works beyond the scope of YA.