UTS Anthology Quick Guide

Welcome, and congratulations on becoming a member of the UTS Writers' Anthology. UTS  has been creating collections from its writing program for over 25 years.

2019 schedule

The timeline for producing the Anthology may seem long at first but if you work backwards from the date the book must be available in the distributor's warehouse to guarantee supplying booksellers on time — not to mention the first launch — it's quite a tight schedule.

  • Call out for submissions: 27 Oct 2018

  • Editorial Committee selection announcement

  • Christmas Holidays – Brio closed: 21 Dec–14 Jan 2019

  • Contact potential Foreword writers

  • Finalise Title: 1 Dec 2019

  • Cover brief

  • Create shortlist of approx 30-35 pieces

  • Confirm author acceptance

  • 1st edit by committee and author

  • Collect author + editor bios

  • Front cover first drafts: 14 Jan 2018

  • Front cover second draft: 18 Jan 2018

  • Final cover image to distributor: 21 January 2019

  • Collate and order pieces, send single file to copy editor by: 1 February 2019

  • External copy editor: 1–24 February 2019

  • Back cover design drafting (need blurb and text by 28 February 2019)

  • Full cover draft:: 30 Jan 2019

  • Final full cover: 28 February 2019 (requires Foreword author locked in)

  • Approve copy edit by: 2 March 2019

  • Single text file to typesetter: 4 March 2019

  • Proofing (5 working days): 8–14 March 2019

  • Final full cover approval: 22 March 2019

  • Files to printer: 15 March 2019

  • Books into warehouse: 1 April 2019

  • Author and editor meet-up April 2019

  • SWF launch date 29 April—05 May 2019

  • Second launch TBC

This may go without saying, but deadlines must be met. If materials are not delivered to us on time, we cannot change the nature of space-time to make ink dry faster or make trucks break speed limits to get the books to us. If a deadline is missed at any stage it can jeopardise the entire space time continuum project.

The publisher relationship

The relationship between the UTS Anthology publisher is different from a normal publisher/writer relationship.

UTS has engaged Xoum as an on going partner to design, typeset, print and distribute the anthology. We publish the book under the Xoum Publishing imprint.

Normally the publisher gets to make all the decisions about what goes into a book and how it looks, in the case of the anthology this is all determined by you, the committee. Xoum will help you out all we can, advise when asked and keep you on track but essentially the choices are yours. 

The only caveat to this is that UTS, Xoum and our distributors, NewSouth Books, will need to approve the design to make sure that we maintain high standards, for the professional reputations of all three organisations.


Get the call out early and everywhere. The most effective are through teachers telling their classes, posters and social media – don’t rely on the UTS email channels.

If previous years are anything to go by, there will be about 300 stories, poems and articles. And the committee has the challenge of sorting through them all and collectively selecting the best.
    Now you're not all going to agree, that's just a fact of life, so you have to find a way to make group decisions that don't lead to bloodshed. One method, successfully used in previous years, is outlined below.
    Submissions are normally read with author names removed to prevent bias, so be careful what you say, most of the editorial committee probably submitted a piece of writing themselves.

We are currently using Submittable, to collect submissions as it enables the whole committee to read simultaneously, and without printing. It can also serve as a communications hub to gather notes on each piece as you read.

Please send your email addresses to dmhenley@briobooks.com.au and you will receive an invitation. The system is simple, click around. 

Some committees have used a simple yes and no voting system, and then tallied results for the highest ranking. But you could use tags or a point system if you so desired. You might also like to have a group discussion to argue for or against specific submissions. It's up to you how you decide, each committee has a different approach.

You should be aiming for about 30 pieces. If they are mostly shorter we can fit more in the book, but conversely if they are all long-form or scripts then the pages will fill up fast. 
Also, don't feel the need to pad. Only include the ones you think will make the collection the best it can be.

Rejecting pieces

Submittable can be used to communicate to the authors, and a polite rejection letter is always preferred by writers than never hearing from you. This can be sent to all stories you reject.

Accepting pieces 

You can also draft an acceptance letter with all the pertinent information and contact details, and send through the system.

Choosing a Title

The choice of title is left to the committee and the coordinators, with consultation from the publisher.

It's important to note that the anthology will always be affectionately known as 'the anthology' but the title you choose is what gives the collection its flavour and separates it from the previous years.

The title also drives the direction for the cover.

It is a good idea to check your title ideas on Amazon and Google. While a title itself cannot be copyright protected, it is good to avoid using a popular book title that can confuse booksellers and search engines.

N.B. The shorter the words in a title, the more space they can command on the cover. 

Cover Design

Here's how we do it. You choose the theme for the anthology and what you want to call this year's collection. Then we'll come in and have a meeting with you, chat about your vision, go through reference material (we'll bring some and you can bring some), have a laid back philosophical conversation about the meaning of life and how that relates to the UTS Anthology.

A week or two later we will bring you some initial designs.

Here's some things to remember. If you're after an illustration you need to add at least a month to the production schedule, to source the illustrator, book their time and for them to create it. Then you have to like what they've done because there won't be time or budget to get another.

Xoum does have in house illustrators and we will often create concepts featuring original illustrations if they fit with the theme.

Editing and proofing

Once all the stories have been selected you will then need to work with the authors to get their pieces into shape.

  1. Divide the number of stories by the number of people in the committee. Each person then has a subset of stories to edit in collaboration with the author.

  2. Check stories for plagiarism (http://www.google.com/Top/Reference/Education/Educators/Academic_Dishonesty/Plagiarism/Detection/ )and copyright infringements. Please note, we cannot publish song lyrics or excerpts from poems. Any quotations need to be cleared for permissions and there is neither the time nor the budget to manage that process.

  3. Editors then complete edits on their assigned stories – working collaboratively and making suggestions rather than demands.

  4. Edited stories are then compiled into one document (in Word) in the order you want them to appear in the book. This is then given to the coordinators for them to read through and offer suggestions to take back to the authors.

  5. The final word document is delivered to Xoum for typesetting.

  6. The typeset document, called 'first pages' will be proofread by a Xoum editor.

  7. Proofreading queries along with the typeset pages will go to the editor for checking.

  8. The editors give the go-ahead to send the book to print.

  9. In 2011, Xoum created the first ebook edition of the UTS Anthology which means the introduction of a new step, that of checking and testing the epub file. This file will be ready about two weeks before the launch date and will require someone to read the document on one or more devices, check resizing, links etc.

NB. If anyone would like to go for extra points, we are happy to show one of you the new formatting skills that are being introduced into editing. This involves learning how to format a Word document to a typeset standard and how to use macros to cut down the workload. This is a job for one person who wants to get into the nitty gritty, and the challenge of editorial consistency in an anthology.

The Foreword

Each year the anthology traditionally has a foreword by a well known writer or alumnus. We usually like them to write 500-1000 words on life, the universe and the anthology.

They likely will want to read the stories so bear that in mind. And yes, the foreword should be proofed by the editor.

The hardest bit is wrangling a high profile writer or intellectual into writing one for you – UTS academics are well placed to connect you with writers of stature. Once you've made contact and got them to agree, the rest should be easy. 


Xoum will create an initial typeset inspired by the fonts and design of the cover and to squeeze all those stories into the 304 page extent that has been budgeted for.

For stories and poems with special layout requirements, please provide a sample of the desired layout or a print off of what the author is thinking. We'll do our best to make the dream work with reality.

Xoum will then send the committee a comment-able PDF that you can go through and mark up. This is final pages. Then we send it to the printer and wait, and wait ... And then the books arrive, everyone is happy.

Editor and Author copies

As part of being published in the anthology writers and editors receive two printed copies of the finished book.

Often people want to buy extra copies and authors and editors can buy copies with a discount. RRP = $26.95, Contributor copies are available for $15.

Each anthology has a coupon code to use when checking out, which reduces the cost by 40%.

2017: Contr2017


The UTS Anthology usually has two launches to organise, firstly at the SWF in late May and second at an inner west bookshop like Gleebooks.

Someone from the committee should contact each launch contact as soon as possible to make sure you are booked in and to find out what they require from you. Your supervisor can give you these email addresses. 

Typically events have 3-5 readings from authors in the anthology. Sometimes play readings or even dance. They also need someone at each event to launch the book – it may be the person who wrote the foreword or another author. 

On the Web

One or two members of the committee should be in charge of all things web. There are a number of pre-existing platforms to work from: the standard landing page to direct people too (www.utsanthology.com).

There is an ongoing Facebook page, and Twitter account, which are goods place to advertise the new anthology. You'll hand these on to next year's team, so don't drop the ball. 

The first thing you have to do is become an admin so you can post new content. Then you can start putting things up, the new cover, announcements like who's doing the foreword, you could announce the list of selected writers, extracts of bits you like, media mentions etc.


(an alphabetical list of words relating to a specific subject)

Distributor: the company that sells books to bookstores and manages the warehousing and distribution of the physical (and sometimes digital) books.
    Copy editing
    Structural editing
    Line Editing
Epub: a specific electronic book format used by iBooks, Sony, the Nook and others
Imprint: the name of the publisher brand for a particular stream of books. (Xoum has two imprints, Figment and Seizure)
Kindle: the Amazon ebook reading device/application, reads plain text files and it's own proprietary format.
Kobo: an alternative ebook platform that uses epub files.
Printer: the company that physically creates the books with ink paper and glue
Proofs: a print off of the cover and internal pages that come from the printer for printing.
Publisher: the company that prepares and issues books or journals.

Appendix A: Foreword Approach Letter Template 

Dear X,
2?th UTS Writers’ Anthology - invitation to write foreword
The University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) Writers’ Anthology showcases the work of emerging Australian writers; now in its 2?th year, it is the oldest and most prestigious Writing Program anthology in Australia. We, the editorial team of the 201? Anthology, would be thrilled if you would agree to write a short foreword for this edition, Hide Your Fires.

Previous foreword contributors include Delia Falconer (2008), James Bradley (2009), Nam Le (2010), Amelia Lester, Managing Editor of The New Yorker (2011) and, most recently, Anna Funder (2013).
In our discussions regarding the foreword, we agreed (unanimously) that having your involvement would lend a certain weight to this collection. The UTS Writers’ Anthology has helped launch many careers, and continues to provide readers with some of the freshest ideas in Australian writing.
We appreciate that you probably receive many such requests and understand that you must have a great many demands. However, if you're interested and willing to lend your support, we envisage the foreword to be a short personal note of around 600-800 words. In terms of timing, we would aim to provide you with the edited pieces in late January, and we would be keen to have the foreword by early February. Hide Your Fires will be launched at the Sydney Writers Festival in May 201?, observing a long standing tradition: if you will be in Sydney at that time, we would be delighted if you would like to attend.
More information about the Anthology can be found at http://www.fass.uts.edu.au/anthology/process.html.
Of course, if you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us.
Many thanks for considering our request,
Kind regards,
2011 UTS Anthology Editors