Payment: 1¢ per word, rounded up to the nearest $5
WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR:
Thoughtful, intelligent stories about alien life that has biology and evolution at its core.
Plausible first contact stories.
Communications difficulties with aliens.
Fatal misunderstandings between species.
Awe-inspiring alien worlds and ecosystems.
Creative alien designs extrapolating on biology and evolution.
Conflict and harmony between species.
Creative reproductive systems and life cycles that cause problems for the people who encounter them.
Intelligent alien body horror.
Sensual human-alien erotica.
To be able to create plausible aliens you have to have a basic understanding of biology and evolution, so that you can extrapolate to life on other worlds. But at the same time, a story should be entertaining. We don’t just want a worldbuilding infodump. There has to be a beating heart of storytelling. We are looking for memorable, sympathetic characters having amazing adventures and encounters with exotic, yet believable, extraterrestrial lifeforms.
WHAT WE’RE NOT LOOKING FOR:
Humans with funny noses and bumpy foreheads. Most aliens depicted on screen are merely actors with a bit of latex slapped onto their faces. The reason for that is twofold: First, it’s far easier to put some makeup on an actor than it is to make complex animatronic or CGI creations. Second, the general audience can relate to the aliens if they are humanoid. But we want to see sympathetic, relatable humans interacting with the unknown, unrelatable and unfathomable.
We’re certainly not looking for grey or reptilian aliens anal-probing farmers and dissecting cows. And we don’t want aliens to be merely a science fiction backdrop for a retelling of a World War 2 or Wild West story. The aliens themselves, and the interactions with them, should be the throbbing heart of the story.
EXAMPLE ALIENS WE LIKE:
The non-linear speaking heptapods of “Arrival.” The unfathomable planet-covering “Solaris.” The shape-shifting organism from “The Thing.” The bioraptor from “Pitch Black.” The silicon Horta from Star Trek Original Series’ “The Devil in the Dark.” The space-dwelling organism from Star Trek The Next Generation’s “Galaxy’s Child.” The bugs from “Starship Troopers.” The tiny neutron-star-dwelling Cheela from Robert L. Forward’s “Dragon’s Egg.” The creatures on Darwin IV from Wayne Douglas Barlowe’s “Expedition.” H. P. Lovecraft’s Old Ones. The giant creatures from Stephen King’s “The Mist.” The Kaiju from “Pacific Rim.” The NTIs from “The Abyss.” The giant worms from “Dune.”
EXAMPLE ALIENS WE DON’T MIND:
Xenomorphs are humanoid, but it is somewhat explained why. Predators are very humanoid but their faces and vision are creepy enough to make up for it. The prawns from District 9 are just human/crustacean hybrids but they are alien enough in looks and communication. The Moties from “The Mote in God’s Eye” by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle are just bilaterally asymmetric humanoids, but they are really well written with very alien biology and mental processes. Species 8472 from Star Trek Voyager are modified human form but are an honest attempt to make something different.
EXAMPLE ALIENS WE DON’T LIKE:
Vulcans, Klingons, Minbari, Narn, Dracs, Tenctonese, etc.
We acquire first world electronic rights. Pay is 1¢ per word, rounded up to the nearest $5, paid through PayPal within 30 days of publication.
There’s a Tumblr post that goes around Facebook every few years—about how much the OP wants an epic fantasy where the “chosen one” is a retired grandma with a lifetime of experience who goes on her quest with her knitting bag, two cats, and an attendant to manage her medications.
If you aren’t on Tumblr you may not know that there is practically a genre of Tumblr posts about “stories I want to see.” Most of them twists on common tropes and classic character types.
Write a story either based on a Tumblr-twists or whose premise would make a great Tumblr-twist.
Submit it to us on or before November 30th 2017.
Length: 4,000-25,000 words
Pays: on publication, $25 per accepted story
Cover letter should include: Your name/pen name, the title of the story, word count, and either a link to the Tumblr-twist that inspired the story or one-line premise that you think would make a good Tumblr-twist.
Don’t be the 12th person to send us a Tiny Dragon story—we love the examples we gave, but there are lots more Tumblr-twists out there. (That said, if you have an epic tiny dragon story—send it!)
*where possible we have linked to the original post and/or the earliest post that fully encapsulated the idea. Sometimes the OP had closed their account and we needed to link to one of the re-blogged versions of the post.
Deadline: December 31st, 2017
Payment: 6 cents per word+
THE RAZOR’S EDGE, GUILDS & GLAIVES, and SECOND ROUND: A RETURN TO THE URBAR anthology kickstarter has hit its goal! If you have a story idea that fits one of the anthology themes, write it up, revise it, polish it, and send it in for consideration. I’ve posted the guidelines below.
THE RAZOR’S EDGE, GUILDS & GLAIVES, and SECOND ROUND: A RETURN TO THE URBAR Submission Guidelines
Zombies Need Brains LLC is accepting submissions to its three science fiction and fantasy anthologies THE RAZOR’S EDGE, GUILDS & GLAIVES, and SECOND ROUND: A RETURN TO THE URBAR. Stories must be submitted in electronic form as an attachment with the title of the story as the file name in .doc or .docx format. The header of the email should include the name of the anthology the submission is for along with the title of the submission (for example: WERE-: WereJellyfish Gone Wild!). The content of the email should also include which anthology the manuscript is intended for. Please send multiple manuscripts in separate emails. Manuscripts should be in manuscript format, meaning double-spaced, 12pt font, standard margins on top, bottom and sides, and pages numbered. Please use New Times Roman font. The first page should include the Title of the story, Author’s name, address, and email, and Pseudonym if different from the author’s real name. Italics and bold should be in italics and bold.
Stories for this anthology must be original (no reprints or previously published material), no more than 7,500 words in length, and must satisfy the theme of the anthology.
THE RAZOR’S EDGE is to feature science fiction or fantasy stories that explore the fine line between a rebel and an insurgent. It is a military science fiction and fantasy anthology. We are attempting to fill half of the anthology with science fiction stories, and half with fantasy stories. Stories featuring more interesting settings and twists on the typical themes will receive more attention than those that use standard tropes. In other words, we don’t want to see 100 stories dealing with the general fighting insurgents who joins their cause at the end. If we do, it’s likely that only one, at most, would be selected for the anthology. So be creative, choose something different, and use it in an unusual and unexpected way. We are looking for a range of tones, from humorous all the way up to dark.
GUILDS & GLAIVES is to feature sword & sorcery stories where a guild is featured somewhere in the story. So thieves, assassins, and dark magic, but with a guild or guilds incorporated into the story somehow. Obviously most such stories will be fantasy, but we are interested in science fiction takes on this theme. Stories featuring more interesting takes on the guilds, and twists on how they are integrated into the story, will receive more attention than those with the standard thieves guild or assassins guild. So be creative and use your guild in an unusual and unexpected way. We are looking for a range of tones, from humorous all the way up to dark.
SECOND ROUND: A RETURN TO THE URBAR is to feature stories where the time-traveling Urbar, first used in the anthology AFTER HOURS: TALES FROM THE URBAR, is a central part of the plot. The story may start in the bar, end in the bar, or be in the bar somewhere in the middle, but at some point a significant plot point must involve the Urbar. Stories featuring more interesting historical settings for the bar, and twists on how the bar is integrated into the story, will receive more attention than those with more standard uses of the bar, or where the bar is only incidental to the rest of the story. So be creative and use bar in an unusual and unexpected way, preferably in an unusual or unexpected era of history. In particular, you cannot use the same time period used in the anthology AFTER HOURS or that will be used by an anchor author of the current anthology (see the end of the post for time periods that are off limits). We are looking for a range of tones, from humorous all the way up to dark.
The deadline for submissions is December 31st, 2017. Decisions on stories should be completed by the end of February 2018. Please send submissions to [email protected] You will receive a receipt email within a few days of receiving the submission and having it filed for consideration. Notices about decisions on the stories will be sent out no later than the end of March 2018.
If your story is selected for use in the anthology, you should expect a revision letter by the end of April 2018. Revisions and the final draft of the story will be expected no later than the end of May 2018. These dates may change due to the editors’ work schedules. Zombies Need Brains LLC is seeking non-exclusive world anthology rights (including electronic rights) in all languages for the duration of one year after publication/release of the anthology. Your story cannot appear elsewhere during that year. Pay rate will be an advance of a minimum of 6 cents per word for the short stories. For each additional $10,000 raised above the Kickstarter minimum of $20,000, we will increase this advance pay rate by 1 cent per word. The anthology will be published as an ebook and an exclusive mass market paperback edition, distributed to the Kickstarter backers. The book would be available after that to the general public in ebook and trade paperback formats. Advances would be immediately earned out by the success of the Kickstarter. Royalties on additional sales beyond the Kickstarter will be 25% of ebook cover price and 10% of trade paperback cover price, both split evenly (not by word count) between the authors in the anthology and the editors of the anthology.
Questions regarding these submission guidelines should be sent to [email protected] Thank you.
The following time periods were used in the AFTER HOURS anthology and are off limits for SECOND ROUND’s open call:
“An Alewife In Kish” by Benjamin Tate – Ancient Sumeria, circa 2000 BC
“Why the Vikings Had No Bars” by SC Butler – Viking Daneland, circa 9th century AD (reign of King Harald Fairhair)
“The Emperor’s New God” by Jennifer Dunne – Bar is in Venice, Italy, 1001 AD, story covers 1001-1002 AD
“The Tale That Wagged the Dog” by Barbara Ashford – Scotland, 14th century
“Sake and Other Spirits” by Maria V. Snyder – Feudal Japan, a fishing village near Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture. 15th-16th century.
“The Fortune-Teller Makes Her Will” by Kari Sperring – Paris, 1675-1680 (affaire des poisons time period)
“The Tavern Fire” by DB Jackson – Boston, Mass 1760
“Last Call” by Patricia Bray – Time period spans Georgian/Regency England and Europe, the Ur-Bar is in Switzerland, in 1816
“The Alchemy of Alcohol” by Seanan McGuire — San Francisco, CA, 1899
“The Grand Tour” by Juliet E McKenna – Austria, 1910
“Paris 24” by Laura Anne Gilman – Paris, France 1924 (Olympics)
“Steady Hands and a Heart of Oak” by Ian Tregillis – London, England, 1940 (Blitz)
“Forbidden” by Avery Shade – New York City, late 1980s
“Where We Are Is Hell” by Jackie Kessler – Present day(ish), location not specified but somewhere U.S., possibly near NYC
“Izdu-Bar” by Anton Strout- Near future, post-zombie apocalypse, somewhere near Albany, NY
The following time periods have been claimed by the anchor authors of SECOND ROUND and are off limits for the open call:
Jacey Bedford (June 30th, 1916, France, Battle of Somme, WWI)
Gini Koch (Old West)
Juliet E. McKenna (Mars, near future)
C.E. Murphy (undetermined)
Kristine Smith (Present day-ish, New York City)
Kari Sperring (Wales, 1400-1415)
Jean Marie Ward (1420s Nanjing, China)
Deadline: December 31st, 2017
Payment: 3 cents per word
Crystal Lake Publishing will be accepting submissions for the non-themed anthology Tales from the Lake Volume 5 from October 1st, 2017 through December 1st, 2017. In previous anthologies we’ve published Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Jack Ketchum, Ramsey Campbell, Elizabeth Massie, Rena Mason, Graham Masterton, Lisa Morton, Kealan Patrick Burke, Damien Angelica Walters, Joe R. Lansdale, Gene O’Neill, and Tim Waggoner.
We can’t wait to announce who will be headlining this anthology! One name we can already reveal is the inclusion of a brand new story by Gemma Files.
Tales from the Lake Volume 5 will be edited by Kenneth W. Cain.
WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR:
We want stories that haunt the readers for months to come.
We prefer quiet horror and dark fiction with a literary bent. Don’t use gore for the sake of grossing us out. Use it sparingly, and only to further the story.
Stories should be no longer than 6000 words, but that doesn’t mean the story should use all 6000 words. Use the word count it takes to write YOUR story. The sweet spot will likely be closer to 4000 words.
Ground your stories in the REAL world.
Create believable, three-dimensional characters just as real as your friends and neighbors. The world these characters inhabit should be equally authentic, hitting all the senses.
Originality is important—we don’t want your version of someone else’s story from yesteryear.
Although our arms are wide open, we’re more interested in fiction that reflects the modern. Kelly Link, Karen Russell, Joe Hill, Damien Angelica Walters, and Mercedes M. Yardley are prime examples of current dark fiction writers encapsulating the above in their work.
Quality of the work must be top notch! The authors mentioned above represent the high-water mark we’re looking for.
WHAT WE’RE NOT LOOKING FOR:
Stories sent before or after the submission window. These will not be read.
Rape stories or sexual abuse or any explicit abuse toward children or animals is expressly forbidden. This can be mentioned or remembered by your main character, but be subtle.
Stories that are not short horror stories.
Novels or novellas.
Stories with flat worlds.
Stories about serial killers.
Stories about zombies, vampires, werewolves or ghosts need to bring something new to the table. You must have a unique premise.
To avoid too many writers writing about lakes, please keep in mind this is a non-themed anthology.
For this anthology we are paying 3 cents (USD) per word up to 6000 words via PayPal.
We DO NOT accept reprints.
We prefer you do not submit your story elsewhere while it’s being considered by us, especially if it’s been shortlisted. No multiple submissions, either. You get one shot. Make it count.
For the most part, acceptances will not go out until some time after the deadline. Rejections and shortlisting notices will go out sooner. Feel free to query if longer than 3 months.
We are seeking FIRST world rights, both in print, electronic, and audio forms as well as film rights for an exclusive period of 1 year and then non-exclusive after that.
Submit your manuscript in Shunn Format (http://www.shunn.net/format/story.html) as a .doc or .docx attachment. Keep your cover letter brief, but relay any pertinent information. You should also include a short bio. Subject of your email should start with SUBMISSION and then the title of your story.
Remember, submissions only open on the first of October. Early submissions will not be accepted. Until then, it won’t be the worst idea to familiarize yourself with the series (Vol.4, edited by Ben Eads, will be out in October):
Deadline: October 31st, 2017
Payment: $5, royalties, and a contributor’s copy
This annual collection of funny paranormal stories is the press’ flagship series. Your tale must be funny (no depressing endings) and have supernatural/paranormal elements. Examples of stories from previous collections: Homicide is summoned to a halfway house for the undead, a Shriner becomes a weregoat, and a mummy regrets hiring a cheap embalmer.
Story length should be 2000-6000 words. If you sub something of a different length, it better be really funny. The submission window is October 1st – October 31st, 2017. Please do not sub sooner. Publication of SF V will take place in April 2018 (our feet will be held to the fire).
Send your submissions to [email protected] with “Strangely Funny” in the subject line. If we buy your story, you will receive a free print copy of the book and a $5 USD advance on royalties. For further information on royalties and publishing rights, please go to our Guidelines and Payment page.
We are interested in all speculative genres (horror, fantasy, science fiction, slipstream, steampunk, magical realism, etc). We will also consider mysteries, thrillers, and action-adventure stories for this series.
Stories should be between 5,000-20,000 words in length
$25 for a six-month exclusive digital license. While we will consider previously published stories, the story cannot be available in digital format anywhere at the time of contract acceptance.
An additional $25 payment for a non-exclusive, perpetual right to publish the story as part of an anthology in digital, print, and audiobook formats the following year.