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Taking Submissions: Elegant Literature: Killer Instinct
Deadline: August 31st, 2022
Payment: 10 cents per word, $200 for artwork
Theme: Killer Instinct
Note: There is ALSO a contest with the same theme that pays $3,000 though that one is a pay-to-play scenario.
Do you feel safe? Do you believe doors and locks will protect you? They won’t, but lies are necessary to distract us from the terrifying truth – killers are everywhere.
Life is full of danger. The wilds are home to fearsome predators. Sharks smell blood, and other territorial animals will rend you with tooth and claw for the misfortune of crossing their path. But urban spaces might just kill you quicker. Humans have the propensity to kill one another six times higher than the average mammal. Born killers and those brought to it by chance and fate, the true predators of the world wear familiar faces. Sharp teeth lurk behind kind smiles and watchful eyes. History is full of atrocities and bloodshed, and stories of our future suggest more to come. Even good people suffer intrusive thoughts, visualizing horrendous acts for a split second before recoiling. Beware strangers, but keep a closer eye on friends.
All new writers can submit work to the magazine. It’s free. We don’t believe publications should charge authors to be published. However, we have a specific submission process you must adhere to in order to have your work considered.
Our submissions window opens on the first and closes at midnight on the final day of each month. Each issue of the magazine is themed according to our monthly prompt. The prompts are designed to inspire ideas but leave room for you to tell the story you want to tell. You can always write in any genre. This month’s prompt can be viewed here.
We do host a monthly contest using the same theme, but it is not necessary to enter the contest to be published.
We have a uniquely streamlined publication process. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself, then check the FAQ for answers to any questions you might have. If you need more help, send us an email at [email protected].
There is no need to write a query or cover letter.
We do not require you to format your manuscript.
You must be a new or unpublished writer to submit. What does that mean?
If you want to read past issues of the magazine to get a sense of what we publish, click here.
Remember, submissions must follow this month’s theme.
Word Limit: 500 – 2000 words, excluding the title, no exceptions.
Pay Rate: Ten cents ($0.10) per word, including the title.
Genres: We accept all genres.
Rights: We claim first world electronic rights, and non-exclusive anthology and audio rights. We have one of the most favorable contracts for authors we know of, and also a uniquely streamlined publication process. Please take a minute and have a look at our easy-to-read overview here.
Copyright: You retain all copyrights to your work.
Simultaneous Submissions: Allowed.
Multiple Submissions: Allowed, providing they are different stories. We do not allow multiple submissions with different endings, or any similar minor alterations.
Acceptance/Rejection Timeline: One month from submission close. This ties into our streamlined publication process mentioned above.
Stories are evaluated on:
- Creativity. Surprising concepts and original twists are appreciated.
- Character. Who is often more important than what.
- Structure & Flow. 2000 words is not a lot. Keep the story moving.
- Quality Of Writing. Have someone edit your work. Twice.
Increase your chances of selection:
We see the same problems regularly while reading high volumes of stories, so keep this list in mind when writing and editing. Address these common issues and your work will stand out.
- Search and replace the following when appropriate: suddenly, started to, seems, that, had, just, simply, down, up, got, then.
- Also avoid: heart thudded, eyes flashed, blood pounded, ears screaming, chest heaving, tears streaking, mouth twisting, and the many other similar expressions. Use them when appropriate, but sparingly. We also see a lot of wry smiles, twitching lips, grinning, and gasping.
- Shifting tenses pulls the reader out of the story. Be careful to keep one tense throughout.
- Limbs are not distinct entities. They are a part of you.
My eyesI surveyed the scene. Her handShe felt for the light switch.
Eye color. People don’t usually notice it outside of intimate situations, and no one ever thinks about their own unprompted.
- When noting actions they must either a) advance the plot or b) reveal character/emotion. Example: pinching the bridge of your nose shows frustration and impatience. Quick-stepping into a shadowed alcove is a plot-related action. The character is hiding… will they be seen? Phrases like “stepping forward” or “I walked down the street” do not create tension, advance the plot, reveal character, or show emotion. Always ask if the action description serves a purpose and you will eliminate unnecessary words.
- Avoid backstory. There is limited space to tell your tale. Starting with a strong, action-forward scene should not be followed by the character thinking about how it all began when they were a kid.
- Stories about writers writing (or failing to write) are going to be hard sells.
- Stories that do not include the prompt word. It doesn’t matter how good your work is, you won’t be selected.
Elegant Literature uses an online submission system only. Do not email, mail, fax, or text us. Do not attempt to send us your work over social media.
If you are submitting to the Magazine via the Contest you must create an Elegant+ account and go to the Contest Submission page. If you are not entering the contest, you must create a free account and navigate to the Magazine Submission page.
Fill in your author details. There is no need for a cover letter. Add your story details. Copy and paste your story into the box provided. You may upload a file only if there is bolding, italics, or other text effects because they will not copy/paste well. We accept .RTF, .DOC, or .DOCX formats.
If you are entering the contest do not include your name or other identifiable details in the uploaded file. Judges receive the stories without names attached so their judgments can be unbiased. If they open your file and see your name you will be disqualified from the contest, although you will still be eligible for publication.
You will receive confirmation through a thank you message displayed on screen. If you do not see it, or if you believe something has gone wrong, please send us a message through the Submission Issue contact form. Our team will work with you to resolve any concerns. Do not submit multiple times.
Your submissions and all personal information are confidential and will not be shared with anyone outside the Elegant Literature staff. Your story will be published using the Pen Name, author bio, and website/socials that you include on the form. We only publish what you include.
Writers who are new or have never been published are encouraged to submit work.
Part of our mission is to promote new talent, so we ask authors with certain levels of publication history not to enter.
Please do not submit work if you have:
a) traditionally published a novel of greater than 40,000 words,
b) self-published a novel of greater than 40,000 words and sold 100+ copies,
c) sold four or more works of short fiction to markets paying 8c/word or greater,
d) self-published short fiction work totalling 10,000 words or more, with profits in excess of $500.
e) won a fiction contest with a prize greater than $2,500.
Published authors can still join the community and participate in the Community Workshops.
If you have not met any of the thresholds above, you are considered a new writer in the eyes of Elegant Literature and are eligible to enter the contest and submit to the magazine.
We are looking for cover art! The cover for each issue will be used on the digital magazine and on our website (we do not have a print issue at this time). We buy the rights for those placements and for use in marketing that single issue. The artist retains all other rights.
Payment: $200. The artist’s biography, a link to their portfolio, and any other websites or socials will be included in the issue, as well as a picture of the artist if they so choose.
Interested parties should please send the url of their portfolio to [email protected]
- About the Author
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Stuart Conover is a father, husband, published author, blogger, geek, entrepreneur, horror fanatic, and runs a few websites including Horror Tree!