Tales of Blood and Squalor
Anthology Submission Guidelines
This anthology is OPEN to submissions
August 1 - September 30, 2017
or until filled.
Blood and Squalor
Wretched, low-class characters living in filth and poverty. With lots of misery and blood.
Dark Cloud Press is cobbling together a short fiction anthology of horror and psychological thrillers in ebook and trade paperback. The subject matter can be anything you want, so long as it includes both blood and squalor.
We all know what blood is. It’s spilled accidentally. Or worse, on purpose—often ending in death. But squalor…
SQUALOR: n. A quality or state marked by filthiness
and degradation from neglect or poverty.
Synonyms: sordid, wretched, seamy, seedy.
What We're Looking For
The best example of what we’re looking for in stories for this antho is season 4, episode 2 of The X-Files, titled “Home,” which aired October 11, 1996. Find it. Watch it.
Literary examples include:
- Jack Ketchum’s Off Season
- Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God
- Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood
Write an original story that adheres to the guidelines detailed here. Don’t be limited by this list, but here are a few examples:
- Murder in a trailer park
- Blackmail gone awry in the inner city
- Revenge in a failed mining town
- Sinister events on the rural farm
- Deadly dealings on the other side of the tracks in small-town America
NOTE: We’re not looking for anything as hardcore as Off Season (be sure to study our general submission guidelines). And no slasher stories with buckets of blood, either. But blood and squalor, yes.
We want atmospheric horror in a squalid setting, or scenes under squalorous conditions, wretched characters, and a psychologically thrilling conclusion spattered with blood.
Scare us. Shock us. Make us reel.
HINT: You've got a better chance at hooking the editor if you write like Donald Westlake instead of H.P. Lovecraft.
The anthology will contain 40,000+ words of original psychological thrillers and horror, 2500–5000 words each (3000–4000 preferred). It will be published in trade paperback and Kindle format, both available on Amazon.com.
- No previously published works.
- No multiple submissions.
- Electronic submissions only (.doc or .docx format).
- In your cover email, briefly introduce yourself, list your publication credits, and share what you’ll do to help market the book.
Your manuscript must follow the format guidelines listed under Manuscript Format. Microsoft Word .doc or .docx files only.
DCP’s books entertain readers with meaningful dark fiction—spellbinding stories with a minimum of adult language and sex. DCP anthologies give readers an entertaining, thrilling, scary, imaginative read, leaving them with something important to ponder.
If you want your story to pass muster, follow Content Standards.
August 1 to September 30, 2017, or until filled.
Rejections may come sooner, but acceptance responses will be sent starting in October 2017.
Publication is slated for Spring/Summer 2018.
First World English (print) and First World Electronic (ebook) rights for a term of three years from date of publication.
Three cents a word upon acceptance, no royalties. For more information, see Payment.
Email your story as an attachment (.doc or .docx only) to
with "TBS Submission: Story Title by Author Name" in the subject line.
Contact the editor at the above email address.
Good luck, and write well!
For examples of print publication quality, pick up a copy of Thou Shalt Not... or Perpetual Nightmares.
Future updates about the anthology will appear here. Check back.
8/2/2017 - HINT: You've got a better chance at hooking the editor if you write like Donald Westlake instead of H.P. Lovecraft.
8/3/2017 - READ THE GUIDELINES. Study them. If your story deviates in any way from the stated requirements, query first before submitting.
8/4/2017 - Paragraph one needs to contain a strong hook. Setting rarely achieves this. If the story action hasn't started by the end of page one, you'll likely get a quick rejection. We're seeing too many manuscripts that spend the first few pages describing a situation. Give us story—characters in action.
8/6/2017 - Poverty and squalor must be intrinsic to your story, but we're seeing quite a few where it's way overdone. Get to the story, and quickly.
8/11/2017 - We've seen a few manuscripts that don't follow proper formatting. If you want to increase your chances at acceptance, follow to a T the instructions at http://www.shunn.net/writing/coach/format.html.