Submissions as in stories sent to me, not submission as in me getting tied up and spanked or anything (calm down, the lot of you. I remain as much a dominant as ever, and whether that reassures or disappoints you is your business, not mine.) I am currently working my way through the submissions for Scandalous and enjoying myself quite thoroughly.
I remember reading a foreword from a well-known editor (who I won’t name, because this editor, now deceased, was a fairly horrible human being and the separation of art and artist is a topic for another day) along the lines of: some editors hate the submissions pile and that’s weird, why be an editor at all if you don’t like submissions?
Over the years I have read and assessed a lot of submitted manuscripts; some were for imprints or anthologies where the final decision would lie with someone else and my role was to weed out the possibles from the utterly unsuitables, and some have been for anthologies where I have overall control. I still approach every pile with anticipation, looking forward to those stories that have me punching the air and leaping about with glee. There’s a lot of joy in contacting a new author and letting them know how great their work is and that it’s going to be published, because I remember the thrill of my own first acceptance. The sheer delight in getting the Yes never fades, now you mention it…
There can be a guiltier pleasure, though, in the ‘What the FUCK were you thinking?’ stories: not so much the stuff that’s just indifferent, unoriginal or badly written but the spectacularly bizarre. Decades ago, when I worked on a softcore porn magazine which received a steady stream of hopeful fiction submissions despite the fact that we did not publish fiction at all, we got a story that became something of an office legend. It wasn’t terrible: I recall it being passably written. It was just so spectacularly inappropriate for the magazine, being a horror story about a soldier whose severed head leapt up and bit someone, with no erotic content or context at all. The Rule 34 anthologies have provided me with plenty of conceptually jaw-dropping stories that I have happily published, but I can also entertain select company at length by listing the stuff that I turned down.
Yes, I promise you, there was an erotic story about sex with Pot Noodles. If we get around to a Volume 3 at some point, you might want to see if you can top that as an idea.