Over summer I submitted a short story to a competition ran by Electric Reads.
Electric Reads are a small independant company that helps writers self publish. They provide editing services, book promotion and even book design.
Here is their website > http://electricreads.com/
I am very lucky to attend a University (York St John University in the UK for those who don’t already know) that regularly emails its students with information about recent opportunities for submitting writing; whether it’s a magazine or a publishing/book promotion service like Electric Reads. The opening for submissions to their 2015 anthology of young writers was in July 2015, I submitted at the end of summer and the opening for submissions ended on the 31st of October. This was around the time of me being in Thailand and then coming back and having assignments to deal with for Uni so I was pretty distracted at the time, and thank god I was because after I got my first email back, notifying me I had been shortlisted I was incredibly nervous and apprehensive. It seemed too good to be true for me to be getting so lucky with only the second piece of prose I had submitted to anyone (the first was declined, uh oh).
By mid November Electric Reads had selected its final 25 writers who they wanted to publish, and well, long story short; I was one of them! Along with another fellow YSJ student and friend on the C.W course, Iram, we made up 25 writers who had never really been published before and who Electric Reads felt deserved to have their work shared.
From this point onwards I communicated with Vanessa who is one of the people in charge of dealing with the promotion and selecting for the anthology, she then emailed me making me aware that I would be contacted by my assigned editor who would help me perfect my short story, ‘The Drude’ for the final publication. My editor, Stephen, was incredibly helpful and worked hard with me to make sure my piece was reader ready. I exchanged three drafts with him which I then improved under his guidance.
The whole experience was honestly amazing and it’s only really now, two months after it was published and after reading through the anthology a few times that it has finally sunk in.
The publication is honestly so lovely. It has a beautiful duck egg blue cover and is a soft matte texture under hand (let’s face it matte is always better). Before each writer’s story there is a portrait photograph and a small bio (which I had to write in 3rd person eesh).
It is honestly such an honor to be next to all of these other writers, Iram’s story is on p. 77 and it’s amazing.
It is a very strange sensation looking at pages of your own words in a book that someone else has put together and formatted, so familiar and yet so alien. I had to take a few minutes to sit down and accept that what I was seeing was actually my own little short story. It’s a beautifully uncanny experience.
We also had the opportunity to write a little reflective piece on our story and on how we approach writing in general. I struggled writing this part, I won’t lie, it felt almost too self indulgent and I couldn’t find the right words for a while. But, once I stopped worrying about how mature, clever and interesting I sounded it came very naturally and I don’t feel too insecure (haha) about it anymore.
I can’t recommend reading Iram’s story, ‘The Cores’ more, it is so weird, beautiful, sad and interesting. I have no doubt that she’ll go far. She also has a blog which is > www.theredlippychronicle.com
Having the opportunity to be published in a book like this is invaluable. I can’t say how much it did for me in believing in myself. Electric Reads have done something very special here, and I hope they go on to publish more anthologies like this, because by god, young writers starting out need all the help they can get.