Monday, April 28, 2008

Call For Submissions: HAUNTED LEGENDS

From Nick Mamatas:
Below are the submission guidelines for the forthcoming anthology Haunted Legends. We are releasing them now so that submitters have all of May and June and much of July to write a new story for us. Do not submit immediately. Do not submit trunk stories.


Haunted Legends, to be published by Tor Books, seeks to reinvigorate the genre of "true" regional ghost stories by asking some of today's leading writers to riff on traditional tales from around the world. We don't just want you to retell an old ghost story, but to renovate it so that the story is dark and unsettling all over again.

Classic tales of the Jersey Devil, the spirits of the Tower of London, ghost lights, and phantom hitchhikers continue to capture the imagination. The Haunted Legends difference is that our contributors will tell the stories in ways they've never been told before.

We pay 6 cents a word, up to 8000 words.

The open-reading period will begin on midnight, EDT of July 15, 2008 and end 11:59p.m., July 31, 2008.

All submissions must be emailed as a RTF file to Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas at Please send no more than one submission. Please send no correspondence, such as queries, to either before or after the reading period – all mail sent to the address at any time other than the reading period will be automatically deleted unread.

Note that much of the anthology is full and that a large number of ghost stories, especially those with an American or UK origin, are thus already “taken” by authors who have been personally solicited for work. Your best bet for this anthology is to go far afield – we are especially interested in renovations of traditional ghost stories from Africa, Latin America, and Asia, or in other tales that may not be well-known.

We also want to emphasize that we are interested only in traditional ghost stories made new again by the ingenuity of the writer. We do not want “campfire” versions of old stories, or slavish recitations. Think of new forms, new voices, new themes, new ways of considering these classic tales. Do not send us your trunk stories. It should be as though your version was always occulted within the classic rendition, but never before perceived or acknowledged.

And now, a brief AFAQ (anticipated frequently asked questions):

May I query you with an idea for a ghost story to make sure that it has not already been taken?
No, you may not. If you believe that your idea is already taken, you may wish to research another idea. Indeed, even if the idea has not already been claimed by one of the solicited authors, you may well still face competition from a dozen other variations in the slush. Novelty is your best approach.

Well, what if I query you anyway?
I may decide to give you a misleading answer, or no answer at all.

So how about if I query Ellen Datlow instead? She’s the nice one, anyways.
You have misapprehended the situation. Let us put it this way: when was the last time Ellen Datlow had an open-reading period for any of her original anthologies? She doesn’t want your queries either.

Can I just make up a ghost story?
No. You have to find an existing one and renovate it in an utterly brilliant fashion.

How will you will be able to tell the difference?
We are obsessive experts and we are friends with even more obsessive experts.

Is this all some kind of cruel joke?
I’d call it the end result of a large number of compromises, all of which were necessary to guarantee any sort of open-reading period.

This is madness! Why does everything have to be so hard all the time? We are we pitted against one another in these awful competitions, and for crumbs? Crumbs, I tell you, crumbs, as if we were starving rats! I hate you!
Fools! Your despair only makes me stronger!

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