Wednesday, 10 May 2017

So you want to submit to Little Basket, eh?

Little Basket has been published two years in a row now, and Fixi Novo has recently announced that we are going to do a third one. I've been lucky, proud, and honoured that I've been chosen to be co-editor three years in a row now (along with people like Tsiung Han See, Catalina Rembuyan, and Eeleen Lee, who are much cleverer than I am).

So what is Little Basket? Little Basket is an anthology of new Malaysian writing, published annually. Each year we seek to publish exciting new works, whether short fiction, poetry, comics, or creative non-fiction, by upcoming or established Malaysian writers, or non-Malaysian writers writing in and/or about Malaysia. If we were feeling any more pretentious, we'd call it a "literary journal" but we're trying not to be pretentious, so we shan't call it that.

If you're familiar with what Fixi Novo (and its parent company, Buku Fixi) publishes, you'd know they usually publish fiction that lies on the more pulpish end of the literary spectrum. That's still true with Little Basket, but as editors, we like to think we're open to anything, as long as it tickles our fancy.

With that said, here are some tips for submitting to Little Basket. We've gotten a lot of queries over the past few years about how to submit and what to submit so I figured it would good to compile a basic kind of "listicle" (I hate that word) for those who are interested in submitting.

TIP #1: Buy a copy of Little Basket
Or better yet, buy both editions! They should be available in any of your major bookstores (Popular, MPH, Kinokuniya, etc.) and if not, they are available from either of the two branches of Kedai Fixi in Sunway Putra Mall and Sunway Velocity Mall. And those options are not suitable for you, you may purchase a copy online from Buku Fixi's website.

The most important thing about buying a copy is that you are supporting a local publisher and are contributing towards the possibility of Little Basket continuing in the future.

The next more important thing is that all you actually need to know about submitting can actually be found in the book itself! From what email to send to, what the word limit is, and when the deadline is.

This seems to be the most sensible advice because if you want to submit to a publication, wouldn't you like to read it first to get a sense of what sort of material they publish? Yet you'd be surprised how many people submitted to Little Basket last year without even purchasing the previous issue. (We could tell because these people asked questions that betrayed the fact they hadn't read Little Basket before.)

So that brings me to...

TIP #2: Read Little Basket
By actually reading the publication you're actually submitting to, you'll get a feel of what sort of writing we like and if you pay enough attention you might see that there's a running theme (cough food cough).

But don't think you can get away with writing exactly like what we've already published. The point of Little Basket is to publish new writing after all.

TIP #3: Send us your best stuff
And by that I mean, don't send in your stream-of-consciousness piece that you wrote for your blog last night complaining about your break-up. Send us your coolest stuff! Your freshest stuff. Stuff that comes from the heart, or your deepest, darkest recesses of your mind, no matter how zany and wacky it is!

But most important of all, send us stuff you've polished, rewritten, and double-checked and triple-checked. A few typos here and there are fine, but if the main character changes her name half way through, you might not have put enough effort into it before sending it in.

TIP #4: Don't complain about our criteria if you intend on submitting
So every year we've had at least someone question our policy of accepting stories with "only" 2000 words. 2000 words is not enough to tell a good story, these people claim. It's a shame we will not be able to accept your more-than-2000-word story so I guess we will have to choose stories from all the other great writers in our slush pile instead.

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