Superstition: Book One of the “Fear, Uncertainty, and Doom” Series Writer Guidelines

Opens on July 1st, 2022

Last Updated: June 23, 2022

What we are looking for: Horror and dark fiction based around the theme of superstition in the broad sense. We are open to multi-genre stories as long as the horror or darkness is there.

Superstition

“A belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance, occurrence, proceeding, or the like.” (dictionary.com)

The superstitions can come from real life or be things you make up. What we’d like to see are stories where superstition prominently figures and directly drives the story in a major way. It isn’t enough if superstition is implied or the story merely features some mysterious and/or fantastic elements. We aren’t looking for stories that explain the origins of a superstition. The superstition can be something that ends up being bad, good, useful, mixed, etc.

If you want some examples of the sorts of things we have published consider checking out The Lost Librarian’s Grave anthology on Amazon. It is free to read if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber. Some general points:

  • Please remember this is primarily a horror and dark fiction anthology. I look favorably on multi-genre tales and the unusual as long as the darkness is there. I ended up rejecting quite a number of stories for our last anthology because they weren’t dark enough.
  • Most of the stories will probably have grim or otherwise unhappy endings but they don’t all have to. Sometimes a dark story can have certain touching elements or a happy or bittersweet ending. These stories tend to stand out because we don’t receive many and having one or two in an anthology can offer a nice change of pace. Two that stood out to me that we published in The Lost Librarian’s Grave were “Good Boy Anyway” by Briana Una McGuckin and “The Little People” by Kurt Newton. Another story of this ilk that also stands out to me is “Weary Bones” published in Little Paranoias by Sonora Taylor.
  • If your story includes some sort of mystery as a major element or is a detective story, try to come up with some twist or something unexpected. I look more favorably on such stories if I can’t figure them out until I get near or at the end. I think Doyle and Christie both did this well with their detective stories.
  • No fan fiction, including H.P. Lovecraft stories though general cosmic horror is certainly welcome.
  • Not looking for stories that are preachy or with a slant toward current politics. On the other hand, stories that explore general themes in a timeless way, and I think are well-done include Fahrenheit 451, The Yellow Wallpaper, and Slaughterhouse-Five to name three examples.
  • No explicit sexual content.

Deadline: We will close the anthology when it is filled and update these guidelines periodically to let everyone know how things are progressing.

Payment: $0.02/word for unpublished prose and $0.03/word for unpublished poetry, payable after we agree on any needed edits. Payment is based on the word count of the story or poem after editing. We can pay via Paypal or (if you are in the US) Zelle. We will also provide an electronic copy of the anthology to all contributors.

Rights: We purchase First English Language World Anthology Rights for publication in paperback and electronic editions anywhere in the world for one year after the publication date. After that, we retain Nonexclusive English Language World Anthology Rights to the work in paperback and electronic editions.

Reprints: No English-language reprints. We will consider a limited number of reprints of stories and poems that are English-language translations to which you own the rights and have never appeared in English.

Manuscript: Please send your work as a *.docx or *.doc file. Something close to the Shunn Modern Manuscript Format is appreciated. One big thing is please do not manually indent or space for paragraph breaks. Please set Word (or your word processor of choice) to do this automatically.

Story and Poetry Length: We are looking for stories from 500 to 10,000 words, though we’ll initially be keeping a special eye out for prose in the 2500 – 4000 word range. As that changes we’ll update the guidelines accordingly. We like to publish a range of different story lengths in our anthologies, including one novella if we get one that impresses all three of us.

Poems can be of any length up to 100 lines, though poems that are 50 lines or less will have a better chance. (Please make sure you indicate the number of lines in each poem.) We are also willing to print 2 or 3 very short poems on the same page. This could be especially effective if the short poems are all related or work together in some way. The anthology will feature 4 – 8 pages of poetry so I anticipate we’ll close early for poetry.

Simultaneous & Multiple Submissions, and Response Time: You may send your work to other publishers while Don, Occasum, and I are making our decision. All we ask is you let us know you are sending us a simultaneous submission and also tell us know if someone picks up your work before we do.

Please send only one story at a time and up to ten poems. You may send a story and poetry at the same time, but please do so under separate emails. If we reject your story you may send a second story if you wish. Please do not send more than two stories for this submission call unless we invite you to do so.

We will acknowledge receipt of your work usually on the same day but no longer than 3 days after we receive it. If you haven’t heard from us within that time, please feel free to query. Response time is up to 60 days though we’ll try to do better than this. If we don’t get back to you within that time frame you may contact us for a speedy update.

American English: We ask that you write your story in American English. We don’t expect you to be an expert in American English if you are used to writing in some other form of English; we are happy to make small changes here and there. However, if your story is set in a place where this would be appropriate, please feel free to add a few non-American English words where they would add flavor.

Feedback: We rarely provide feedback if we reject a story because of time constraints. We are more likely (if time allows) to provide short feedback if Don and I have previously published your work in one of our other anthologies.

Author Biography: There is no need to send a biography when you initially send us your work. If we publish your story or poetry, we’ll ask for a 50 – 150 word biography.

Where to Send Your Work: Please send your prose and poetry to Ann Wycoff, Editor, redwoodpresseditors@gmail.com on or after July 1st. Include “Superstition,” the title of your story, and the word count in your email title. If you are sending poetry, instead of your title and line count, indicate how many poems you are sending.

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