Taking Submissions: Machine of Death 2

Machine of Death 2

Deadline: July 15th 2011
Payment: $200

Anybody can submit a story to Machine of Death, and we mean anybody. There are only two eligibility requirements: any story you submit must be written in English, and you (or a legal guardian, if you’re a minor) must be willing and able to sign a contract if the story is accepted. That’s it!

Our first book featured stories written by people who had never been published before, and people who make their living writing. There were stories by video game reviewers, lexicographers, comedians, poets, cartoonists, college students, and plenty of folks with totally square day jobs. Our writers were living in North America, Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia. (Africa and Antarctica — show us what you got!) We love this diversity; we think different viewpoints, different life experiences, and different writing styles make for a unique and awesome book. So yes, absolutely anybody can submit a story — including you!

This first section is about the technical details of how to submit. For more detailed information on what we’re looking for and what we’re not, go here. For artist guidelines, go here.

Submission Period

Submissions will be accepted from May 1 – July 15, 2011. We expect to make our final selections by October 31, 2011.


We pay $200 (US) upon acceptance.


Stories can be any length, but we recommend a length of 1,500 – 7,500 words. We will almost certainly be printing stories longer or shorter than these limits, but we expect most stories in the book will fall into this range.


We buy the following rights:

• World anthology rights in English and translation
• Audio and ebook anthology rights
• Film rights, with an additional bonus payout of $4,000 if your story is substantially used in any commercial movie or TV adaptation of Machine of Death

World anthology rights and audio/ebook anthology rights are specific to anthologies. These are non-exclusive licenses allowing us to use your story in an anthology only. Specifying “in translation” allows us to request that your work be included in any potential foreign editions as well.

You retain all other print rights. So you’re free to also sell your story to magazines, or websites, or podcasts, or as an individual short story (say, on Kindle), or in a collection of your own work, or even sell it to another anthology after our book has been out for a while. It’s your story, and you keep it — we just want to be the first to print it.

Film rights allow us to include your story in any conversations we have about adapting the general Machine of Death concept into a film or TV show. Buying the rights upfront means that if any producer is interested in an MoD movie, we can instantly say “Yes! Make it happen!” without unresolved rights issues scaring anybody off. (Plenty of movies don’t get made for lesser reasons.) We don’t know if there will ever be an MoD movie or show, but we’d love for there to be! And having the rights ready just in case increases the odds that it could actually happen.

Additionally, we expect to release a Creative Commons edition of the next book, just as we did with the first one. Most of the authors in the first book elected to release their stories under Creative Commons, but it’s not strictly required. If you have strong feeling about this either way, please let us know upfront so we can take it into account when reading your story.


We only accept email submissions. You can either paste your story into the body of your email message or send an attachment. If you are attaching, please use Microsoft Word (DOC), Rich Text Format (RTF), or Plain Text (TXT) formats only. Any word processor should be able to save a file as at least one of those formats. We’re not sticklers for things like double-spacing and paragraph indentation and point size. Just submit a file that is as readable as possible.

How To Submit

Send your story to submit at machineofdeath dot net. Please use the following subject line when submitting…

[MOD2] STORY TITLE – Your Name

So if your name is Sherwood Anderson and if your story is called “SWALLOWING A TOOTHPICK” then the subject line of your email should read…


This is in case we get two stories with the same title, so we can tell which one is yours. Please follow this format, so your submission does not get overlooked!

Next, in the body of your email, please include the following information…

• Title: The title of your story
• Pen name: How you would want your name to appear in print
• Word count: Approximately how many words are in your story

• Real name: Your real name (not a pseudonym or handle — this is the name that will go on the contract)
• Email address
• Phone number
• Short biography: This is optional, but we’d be happy to read a short paragraph or two about your previous writing experience, where you’re from, or any personal information that has a bearing on your story. No other cover letter is necessary.

All of this information is REQUIRED (except the short biography). Don’t ask us if you can omit one or more pieces of information because the answer is “NO”. However, we won’t share any of your personal information with ANYBODY, and we will only use your contact information to tell you whether your story was accepted, and then once to tell you when the book is finished. We will always try to contact you via email first — the phone number will only be used if we need to get in touch with you and email isn’t working.

If your story is accepted we’ll ask you to confirm all your information, and you’ll also have the chance at that time to write a new short biography for publication in the book.

Finally, we ask that each writer submit no more than 3 stories. Please send only previously unpublished work, and no simultaneous submissions. Otherwise, have fun! We can’t wait to read all your stories!

A special note to those who submitted to Volume 1

If you submitted a story to the first book, we would love to have you submit again to the second volume! However, in most cases we ask that you do NOT send the same story you sent the first time. We still have all the old stories on file, as well as our notes on them. There are a couple that we’ll be considering for inclusion in the second book, but for the most part we are looking for ALL NEW stories.

The only exception to this is if you have substantially changed your story since the last time you submitted. And I mean really really changed it. I don’t just mean you’ve gone through and cleaned up some grammar or cut out some unnecessary sentences. I mean if you’ve added, subtracted, or completely rewritten whole sections of your story. Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you have the same characters facing the same conflicts and ending the same way, then your story probably hasn’t changed enough.

But we would love to see something new from you!

Authors whom we published in Volume 1 are welcome to submit new material, but no preferential treatment will be given. You’ll just have to be exactly as good as before.

There are more writing details of what they are looking for located Right here!