If you've recently seen a call for submissions from Kissed Publications for its three-part After You've Done All You Can anthology of Christian short stories--such as this one, or this one--you may have been tempted to try your luck.
You might want to think again. There's a $100 (that's right, two zeros) submission fee per story, which you don't find out about until you've sent away for the guidelines. According to the guidelines, the fee will be refunded if your work is chosen for the anthology (though see below). If not...sayonara, one hundred bucks.
While legitimate contests often charge small reading fees to fund prizes and cover administrative costs, reputable publishers don't. A reading fee that's not associated with a contest is a strong warning sign of a publisher that, at best, is not terribly professional.
Author compensation for the anthology is equally peculiar. Contributing authors receive 100 copies of the finished book (customized with their name and photo on the back cover), which they can then sell at the list price of $14.95. All sales proceeds are theirs to keep--a potential profit, the guidelines helpfully point out, of $1,495. This is the only "payment" they get: there are no royalties, in other words. Still, the books are free, except for shipping costs. Or are they? The way the guidelines are written makes it sound as if they are, but remember that submission fee refund promised to contributing authors? There's enough ambiguity to the wording that I'm guessing that the books are the refund.
So we know how authors will make money (or not, as the case may be). How does the publisher make money? Well, there are the $100 submission fees from the writers who don't make it into the anthology. Writers can buy additional books at a discount if they feel they can sell more than 100 (pre-orders are encouraged). And for any books sold via regular channels, the publisher gets it all.
To be fair, there's some real expense associated with this project. The anthology will consist of three volumes of 12-15 stories each, so assuming that all three volumes appear, the publisher will have to pay, at minimum, for 3,600 books. Still, like so many noncommercial publishing "opportunities" these days, much of the financial onus is on the authors. And for authors who pay that outrageous reading fee and don't get chosen, it really is a losing game.
Kimberly T. Matthews, Kissed Publications' owner, also bills herself as a literary agent.