Dostoyevsky Wannabe Cities FAQ

So there are Dostoyevsky Wannabe's everywhere and we thought what does a Dostoyevsky Wannabe look like in a particular city? This is our chance to find out.

The anthologies in this series feature small selections of writing from particular cities (or areas of cities) around the world. Each book is accompanied by a local event timed to coincide with publication. The series was conceived by Dostoyevsky Wannabe (based in Manchester, UK) and works in open-source like association with minor literature[s] and with an ever-changing array of literary event promoters and literature magazines in different cities around the world.

Do Dostoyevsky Wannabe Cities events just cover cities or areas of cities?

We know it sounds weird but they can do both. A really big city like New York that is split into boroughs, etc (hence Brooklyn) could have a book just for that area alone (London could be similar possibly). Often the event just covers a whole city though.

I've been reading your submission guidelines. Are Dostoyevsky Wannabe Cities Option 1 or Option 2 books?

They come under Option 2 and we sell them at a very inexpensive price (almost at cost price).

How many editons of Dostoyevsky Wannabe Cities will there be per year?

You know we have no idea. We'll try and do as many as we can but we'll have to space them out because we have day jobs and lots of other Dostoyevsky Wannabe things to do and not all that much time.


I'm from an existing reading series or lit mag and we already host literary events. How can I get involved? What would I have to do?

We tend to solicit a lot of the Cities titles with people who we already know but DEFINITELY drop us an email if you're interested. We don't know how many Cities books we will do per year but when submissions are open we're open to offers for people who might want to guest-edit and put on an event. Basically, you'd just have to have an ok relationship with a venue and ideally be putting on a regular night anyway or have the means to put on a night and want to do something with writers in your city and with us. Whether you charge people to get in or however you pay for any of it or what money you do or don't make is nothing to do with us. We'll leave that to you.

Does there have to be an event that runs in tandem with the book and does it have to be in the same city?

Preferably yeah but it can be flexible. If you really can't do the event part or you are off to some writers conference somewhere and want to take the book on tour and have an event there (out of town) then fine.

We're a collective of people wanting to put on a Dostoyevsky Wannabe Cities event in collaboration with Dostoyevsky Wannabe? Can we?

Yeah for sure. Would make it easier for all of you to spread the effort wouldn't it.

So what's in it for us?

Well not that much really...the spirit of a bit of collaboration? Or maybe we're already associated for some reason and we like you and the feeling is mutual. It's a good idea if you already put on reading events and can just slot a DW Cities book and event in for interest's sake. Basically, we make an anthology with writers from your city and minor literature[s] sometimes do some interviews with them and we all promote it on social-media and hopefully people at the event have a good time.

Can you provide the books for us to sell at the events?

Sorry no, well not for free but don't feel any obligation to buy them either. We only really sell online. We don't really need to sell the books so we can survive or anything as they're print on demand, but if you want to you can just order them at cost price from Amazon and have a table of them and sell them for a slightly higher RRP to make a bit for your event to pay for any costs or whatever. Fine by us. We encourage it really.

We're already foregoing the market-rate for typesetting (around £1.10 per page) and foregoing the cost of creating the cover (market rate of around £500 for such a cover) so we can't do any more than that.

Need anything else from us? What about promoting the event?

We can pool our resources to promote online via our respective social-media accounts but local promotional materials (flyers or tickets or whatever) if you choose to do them are upto you. We may help with an Instragram optimised flyer if we have time.

Organise the event to suit your circumstances though and feel to promote how you see fit. Some photos would be nice to help show the event off online after it's happened.. We don't mind too much though if you can't do that. Upto you.

Does the event have to be a reading event?

Doesn't have to be no. It could be a collaborative fair maybe or something else. That's up to the event organiser.

How do we source the writers who will read at the event and be in the book?

Each book will need a suitable guest-editor who will do all of that. The event organiser might know and bring in the guest-editor themselves or they may all be one and the same. You'll maybe know writers who live in that area more than we do or we can make it an open call in that particular city or keep it a solicited call. That's all your business not ours.

How do I make money from organising the event?

Everything that we do ourselves at Dostoyevsky Wannabe is run on a zero-budget basis so we don't tend to make any money. If you can find a way to make money from such an event then we don't mind. A few things, we'd rather not be involved in any ticket price higher than, say, £8 (that's GBP or equivalent amount for different countries) and that's because we try to make everything that we are involved in very affordable. Plus, it's not the opera is it. Also we don't want any share of any event money.

If you're not setting out to make money at the event then that's fine too but we don't see the harm in event-organisers choosing to try and cover the costs for their participants, or their own time, etc. That strategy does get messy though and we'd probably advise that you try to get a free venue and don't take on loads of (any) overheads for yourselves. Again, note that the event is only put on in association and in collaboration with Dostoyevsky Wannabe and we can't be responsible for the event part, only for the book part.


I'm a writer and I want to be guest-editor and to organise an event? Can I?

Yeah fine. See above for event organisation and below for guest-editor info, etc.

I'm a writer and I've been invited to contribute to the book, what do I have to do?

Aside from writing, you'll probably have been contacted by a guest-editor. Speak to them. Also please note that we're only really interested in writers who're able to do readings for this as the events may often be reading events (not always).

Do I get paid for reading or submitting?

Not by us, no. How that works, in terms of the way in which the actual event part of this works, is down to whichever reading series we're partnering with so ask them. Our guess is that nobody gets paid, as usual. We're not getting paid either.

What's in it for me?

The usual chance to publish and read your work and talk about it to an audience both offline and on.

Do we get a free copy of the anthology?

We produce so many books this is impossible but you can basically get one at cost price online.

Will the main Dostoyevsky Wannabe people be there?

Sometimes. Sometimes not. You don't need us there anyway, we're no fun. Basically, we'll be there if we can make it but we're not globe-trotting super-wealthy people.

Does my work have to be available to be part-published online, should I be available for email interviews, etc?

If you don't mind yes. We're partnering with minor literature[s] for this and sometimes with other online literary magazines too so it'd be cool but we ask that you DON'T SUBMIT WORK PUBLISHED ELSEWHERE ONLINE because this can cause confusion and lead to the book being suppressed on Amazon.


How many writers should I invite?

Around 4 to 5 might be a good number. You can invite more but the basic cost price of each individual book will go up if there are too many pages.. We've re-thought this so that if you wanted it to be, it could be a big anthology (and subsequent event) with lots more contributors if you wish? See the next question.

How many words/poems per contributor?

We've been thinking about this as it's a tricky one to work out but we've had a go. Here goes:
as a rule of thumb we can sell a book of around 270 pages at around £6 (same size as Liberating the Canon) so it's a good idea not to go over that amount of pages for reasons of providing low-cost books (you can of course - upto you). This means that word count will roughly vary according to how many contributors. It's good to start with working out a max prose word count. We work on there being around 350 words per page of prose so if you ask your prose contributors for a maximum of 3,000 words per story and add the 4 pages that we need to add to each contributor for typographical reasons that would equate to 9 pages of text (3000 words divided by 350 words) plus the 4 pages would equal 13 pages per contributor. This should then give you an idea of how much room you have for poetry.

We like to give poems room to breathe and don't like to clump them together (unless that's something stylistic that the poet deliberately wants to do) so if (via the prose calculation) we're saying max. prose 13 pages (minus 4 for typesetting/layout purposes) then it's ok to maybe say to poets that, in a book where prose is maximum 3,000 words, poets will have room for either:

  • 8 one page short poems for their contribution OR
  • 4 poems if the poems are over one page
  • Or if they just want one epic poem then they have 8 pages to fill. 

Note: Obviously that means this all means that you can invite contributors as either poets or prose writers as part of the overall contributor tally but with a 3000 word max per contributor you can have upto 18 of either.

Of course, if you choose to have less in the way of contributors then that can lead to you asking for a higher max word count (just use the method worked out above). Also, if the book turns to be more like 100 pages then we'd drop the RRP to £4 instead.

This is all just a very rough rule of course. Prose writers won't always be bang upto the maximum but this gives an idea of how the word counts and book sizes could work.

Can there be any visual colour elements in the interior submissions?

Nope. It costs too much

Can there be imagery

Yeah as long as it's totally black and white but it will have to be portrait orientation and high-resolution (at least 300dpi).

Can you deal with super-experimental typography/layout of work?

This depends on a few factors. At worst we might have to put the piece in as a photograph somehow as print on demand doesn't allow things that their automated systems or print partners might flag up as 'errors' (i.e text printed over other text, redacted text, things like that).

When I've received all the work in from all of the contributors, how should I format it to send it to you guys at Dostoyevsky Wannabe?

Please read our Guide to the Publishing Process.

Do contributors get free contributor copies?

No sorry. We work on so many books and so many anthologies that giving away free contributor copies would bankrupt our already zero-budget way of doing things. That's partly why we try to price the books so inexpensively.