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Taking Submissions: Death of a Bad Neighbour: Revenge is Criminal

October 31, 2021

Submission Window: October 1st – 31st, 2021
Payment: 10 cents per word and royalties
Theme: Short crime or mystery stories to fit the Death of a Bad Neighbour theme

Anthology to be edited by Jack Calverley host of the CrimeCityCentral Crime City Central podcast

From the rock star in his fairytale Gothic mansion in Central London whose neighbour plans a double basement excavation, to the retiree in a fisherman’s cottage in the northeast of England whose neighbour tells lies to a court to acquire the back garden that is not theirs: we are plagued by bad neighbours.

One recent article in the Daily Telegraph Online which reported the trauma caused by at best inconsiderate, but at worst criminal, neighbours accumulated five hundred registered comments within half an hour of being published.

It does not take a crime writer to know that a plague of bottom-feeders calls for an exterminator. But it does take the creatively criminal-minded to come up with the bestest plan ever…

Such is the inspiration for “Death of a Bad Neighbour: Revenge is Criminal” – an anthology of all-new crime and mystery stories.

Submission window is October 2021.

Incidentally, the rock star is Jimmy Page, he of Led Zeppelin fame. His expansive neighbour is Robbie Williams, some crooner or other. And the original suggestion for an anthology came from Carter Blakelaw who was mid-discussion of his story “Tinnitus” at the time (please don’t use “Tinnitus” as a story title. Now it will sound second-hand).

10 cents a word plus a share of royalties

So, I’m after around 20 short crime or mystery stories to fit the Death of a Bad Neighbour theme, 2,000 to 5,000 words (you’re the best judge of the sweet spot length of the story you tell), paying U.S. 10 cents a word for first English language text (eBook and print) and audio publication rights (exclusivity of these rights reverts to the author 12 months after publication or 18 months after the submission deadline, whichever is sooner, and waived for Best Of collections). The submission deadline is October 31st 2021. Accept/reject decisions during December, if not before. Payment on acceptance.

Target publication date is April 2022. The anthology will be available ‘from all good bookstores’ in eBook and in print. Audio is scheduled to follow in July 2022. The anthology will remain in print, eBook and in audio indefinitely and a royalty will be paid pro rata by word count on each sale from the very first sale (approximately 0.75 per cent of net receipts per 1000 words after the distributor & store have taken their cut; this estimate depends on the final length of the anthology — these numbers are indicative only; I reserve the right to choose the distributor(s) and outlets and set cover price(s)).

(Please see the specimen contract linked-to below for more details of the terms — the specimen contract is indicative only and may not be exactly what is signed on the day. If your story is accepted be sure to check the contract you are offered and that the royalty distribution is acceptable prior to signing.)

One submission only per author. No simultaneous submissions. Anything submitted outside the October 2021 window will be ignored.

It must be fiction—not your personal vendetta

I’m not looking for extreme violence, nor explicit sex, nor strong language unless the story absolutely demands strong language. Nor is the anthology to be a collection of biter-bit tales. Think of it as on the tart side of cozy — not least because any act of revenge is going to be morally ambiguous. Beware that events or characters must bear no resemblance to real life events or characters (you will have to warrant this to be true to the best of your knowledge & belief in the contract). However, if you know what this hell is like, you can certainly share that feeling. Humour? Make me smile. Genre – SF, F, Romance or H? Maybe, but that’s not the main kick my readers will be reading for, and I must satisfy them. Literary? Admittedly more of a challenge — just bring stories with a bit of zest to my crime theme!

You are invited to think of the theme metaphorically as well: The Good Samaritan was a good neighbour, Hitler a bad one, and a deathwatch beetle that keeps you awake at night might turn out to be a mixed blessing. One of the tests for inclusion will be whether a reader who has suffered from a bad neighbour can connect to a story such as yours and find it elevating or cathartic, while a reader who has not so suffered might gain some feeling for what utter misery a bad neighbour drags in their wake. Whatever else, give your story a beating heart.

British English or US English? — use whatever English your story demands. Readers are sophisticated enough to understand the language that best fits a story. I will not be editing for any specific national or regional English usage.


  1. The specimen contract will be available here, shortly, for your perusal. If you need a handy guide to understanding contracts, you could do worse than check out the SFWA walkthrough of a standard anthology contract here, or hire a lawyer.
  2. I will shortly publish an email address where you can send questions (see below). Any question you ask may be turned into a FAQ, and I will publish a FAQ page as well.
  3. I will publish the submission process here before the start of October. I will require standard manuscript format in a single Word (.doc or .docx) or RTF file only. No PDFs nor any other alternative formats.

22nd July 2021 update
How do I contact you with a question?
Email your questions to: faq-me _CURLY_A_ jackcalverley _SPOT_ com

30th September 2021 update
What does your specimen contract look like?
The speciment contract can be inspected here: DOABN-specimen-contract-v003.pdf
N.B. The text of the contract is provisional. Please check carefully any contract you might ultimately be offered.

How to Submit Your Story

30th September 2021 update
The submission process
I will require standard manuscript format (modern or classic both OK) in a single Word (.doc or .docx) or RTF file only. No PDFs nor any other alternative formats.

Click here to understand standard manuscript format.

To submit your story for consideration in the anthology, please:

  1. Submit only .doc or .docx or .rtf file format.
  2. Submit the text in standard manuscript format (modern or classic).
  3. The story must be between 2,000 and 5,000 words.
  4. The story must be submitted before October 31st 2021.
  5. The story must reflect the theme of the anthology.
  6. Send the story as an attachment by email to anthology _CURLY_A_ jackcalverley _SPOT_ com.
  7. It would help enormously if you include story title and author or pen name in the document filename, e.g. The Poisoner Next Door by Alanza Uiara.docx.
  8. Include the word story in the subject line of the email, e.g. “My story for the Bad Neighbour anthology.”

I will acknowledge all submissions that conform to this specification by email or, if that’s not possible, post a message on this page as to why acknowledgements might be temporarily suspended.

Stories meeting all the submission guidelines will be read before any that deviate from the submission guidelines, which may end up not being read at all.

Via: Jack Calverley.


October 31, 2021