Deadline: 31 August 2020
Payment: 6c per word for original stories, 2c per word for reprints (Australian currency)
Publisher: IFWG Publishing Australia (co-published in North America through the IFWG Publishing International imprint)
Note: Open to Australian writers only (citizens, residents and ex-pats)
To be edited by award-winning author Deborah Sheldon, Spawn: Weird Horror Tales About Pregnancy, Birth and Babies will comprise stories from Australian writers obtained via commission and open callout. The commissioned writers are the multi-award-winning and bestselling authors Isobelle Carmody, Jack Dann, Kaaron Warren and Sean Williams.
On-spec submissions are welcome from Australian writers of every persuasion including non-parents. Ideally, stories should be between 1500 and 5000 words, give or take. (Stories significantly longer than 5000 words would have to be outstanding.) Reprints will be considered, but must not be available for free anywhere online—the anthology will have only a small number of reprints, regardless. Artwork by commissioned Australian artists will complement selected stories.
The anthology will be a visceral, frightening read. Each story must nominally tick the box of “body horror” but there is no restriction on subgenre: anything from sci-fi to fantasy to gothic to supernatural to psychological and beyond will be given equal consideration. Feel free to play with the theme and not take it too literally. Ideally, your story should make the reader feel uncomfortably aware of their physicality, morbidity or mortality.
While graphic violence and swearing are acceptable, submissions must have a literary bent. Spawn: Weird Horror Tales About Pregnancy, Birth and Babies aims to deliver an elegant—and elevated—anthology of body horror.
What to avoid:
- Gratuitous gore used purely for shock value.
- Familiar tropes, such as Rosemary’s Baby, The Handmaid’s Tale, the face-hugger/chest-burster from the Alien film franchise, Martians kidnapping and impregnating female Earthlings, and so on.
- The submission of first drafts, often indicated by spelling and grammatical errors.
- First worldwide electronic and print rights in the English language, exclusive for one year, and non-exclusive rights thereafter.
- For reprints, non-exclusive rights apply.
- If the story is subsequently reprinted, please credit Spawn: Weird Horror Tales About Pregnancy, Birth and Babies (IFWG Publishing Australia) as the original publisher.
How to submit:
- Your story must be in a Word document, double-spaced, Times New Roman in 12pt.
- Your name, contact details and word count should be on the first page above the title.
- Use double-quotation marks, single space after full stops, first-line indents, page numbers, and Australian-English spelling. No tabs and no double-returns between paragraphs.
- Send to Deborah Sheldon at firstname.lastname@example.org with the story title and your name as the Subject heading.
- In the body of your email, provide an author bio of about 100 words (give or take), and include your Australian citizen/resident/ex-pat status.
- If your story is a reprint, provide the full details of its first publication in the body of your email, with links if possible.
- You can submit more than one story. Submit each story in a separate email.
- Stories that require anything more than line editing or adjustments for house style will be rejected. Please submit only polished work of a high standard.
- No simultaneous submissions, which means do not submit your story to another market at the same time.
- Give yourself the best possible chance—please do not ignore these guidelines.
- All acceptance and rejection emails will be sent by 31 October 2020.
- No feedback will be offered for rejected stories. Please don’t ask.
- Do not resubmit a rejected story, even if you have made substantial changes.
- Accepted writers will receive payment via PayPal or bank transfer within 30 days of the contracts being signed, rather than on publication.
- Accepted writers will also receive an ebook and one complimentary paperback.
Important note about the publication date
Spawn: Weird Horror Tales About Pregnancy, Birth and Babies was originally slated for release in February 2021. In response to the economic turndown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, IFWG Publishing Australia has decided to delay release of every upcoming new title. Therefore, Spawn: Weird Horror Tales About Pregnancy, Birth and Babies will be released later in 2021, with a strong likelihood of a mid-year publishing date.
Crowd-funding for a hardback edition, which would include illustrations for each story, is also being considered.
IFWG Publishing Australia will provide further updates on the anthology’s publication schedule in due course.