First Time Dead 1 came as the result of my own dealings with some of the small presses. I never EXPECT a story that I submit to be accepted. If you feel that sort of entitlement, you are going to eventually have a rude awakening. Of course that would mean venturing outside of your comfort zone.
Face it, rejection is a normal part of any writer's life. Anthologies are tricky. You are hoping that the editor has a similar mindset to you. I have had more than one story barely squeak in to one of our anthologies based on the score. (More on that in a moment.) Then a review comes out and it is that individual's FAVORITE!
The First Time Dead collection came as a result of something that happened to me early on. I sent a story and it was rejected. No problem. However, on that publisher's forum, another writer started grousing about missing the submission deadline (an entirely different gripe for another time). The editor comes in and says, "Just send it...no problem, you know that you are in."
ARE YOU KIDDING?
I really do not care who you are, but NOBODY should think that everything they write merits an automatic acceptance. So that is why EVERY single story for an MDP anthology has all of the author's info stripped before being forwarded to me. I read JUST the story and score it. The highest scoring stories make the cut. I have sent rejections to writers that I admire greatly. However, if the story does not "do it" for me...it doesn't get in.
Today the freebie was an introduction of sorts to a plethora of talent. None of these individuals had a zombie story accepted or in print when they submitted to this anthology. So check it out. Some names might actually be familiar now.