Tuesday, 1 November 2016

The Fiction Desk Ghost Story Competition 2017


The Fiction Desk Ghost Story Competition 2017


Most of the stories we publish at The Fiction Desk are more or less realistic, but we try to stray outside that from time to time: some genre fiction should be part of any balanced reading diet. One genre that we particularly like to feature is the ghost story.

The competition is judged by Rob Redman, editor of the anthology series and founder of The Fiction Desk.
To enter

The 2017 competition will open for entries on November 1st, 2016. Sign up for our newsletter to keep updated on this and other Fiction Desk projects.

The list of winners of the 2016 competition can be found here. Their stories will appear in our next anthology.
Note: what counts as a ghost story?

'Ghost story' can mean a lot of different things, from an encounter with an actual phantom to more unusual paranormal phenomena and unexplained events. All types are welcome, so feel free to experiment: we're very unlikely to disqualify a story for stretching the definition of a "ghost". Keep in mind that our general readership (and by extension our judge) may be more likely to respond well to psychological chills and unexplained mysteries than in-your-face gore.

You might find it helpful or inspiring to read previous winners and shortlisted stories, collected in our anthologies New Ghost Stories and New Ghost Stories II, and Separations.



Short Story Submission Guidelines


The following guidelines are for general submission for publication in our anthology series. For competition guidelines, see menu on the left.

How to submit
What we're looking for
There's no deadline
International submissions
Rights
Word count
Payment
Submission fee
Multiple and simultaneous submissions
Our response times
How to submit

At the moment, we're only accepting submissions through our online submission form. This helps us keep track of all of the submissions as efficiently as possible. Please don't post us anything, as it won't reach the right people.
What we're looking for

The best way to get a really good answer to this question is to try reading us: every publisher has different tastes, and if you take the time to discover what we publish, you'll find it much easier to decide what to send us. Our anthologies are available in paperback and ebook formats. See here for details.

One other thing to note is that we're looking for stories about people and places, rather than about writing itself. If the most important thing about your story is its quirky narrative technique, or if the character is a writer who's writing about the challenges of writing a short story about the challenges of being a writer, then it may not be for us.

Please note that we do not consider novel excerpts, or anything with illustrations or photographs.
There's no deadline

When we've finished work on each short story anthology, we move straight on to the next. So there's no need to rush: just send us your work when you feel it's ready.
International submissions

Although we're based in the UK, we accept submissions from authors all over the English-speaking world.
Rights

We ask for first serial rights on any story we publish. This means that the story should not have appeared anywhere else, either in print or online. (This includes publication on an author's own website.) When we publish a story, we ask for a brief period of exclusivity (usually six months), and the right to keep the story in print. We don't ask for website rights, or place any limits on what you can do with your story after the exclusivity period.
Word count

We are able to consider stories that are between 1,000 and 20,000 words in length; please do not send anything longer or shorter than this. (Most of the stories we publish are between about 2,000 and 7,000 words.)
Payment

As of May 2016, we now pay £20 per thousand words for stories we publish (eg £80 for a 4,000 word story, or £120 for a 6,000 word story). Contributors also receive two complimentary paperback copies. The stories we publish are also eligible to enter the Writer's Award, a cash prize of £100 for the best story in each volume, as judged by the contributors.
Submission fee

We charge a £3 submission fee for each story submitted to us. This helps with our running costs (we do not receive any external funding), and allows us to devote more time and attention to the submissions we receive. It also enables us to work a little faster: we aim to respond to all submissions within two weeks. Our form now includes an option to purchase one of our anthologies instead of paying the fee. Payment can be made at the time of submission, via credit card or PayPal.
Multiple and simultaneous submissions

It's fine to send us more than one story at a time. In fact, we prefer to see two. Please don't send more than three, though, and please send them through the form one at a time, and not together in one document.

We do understand if you want to submit to more than one magazine at a time. However, please let us know if a story you've submitted to us has been accepted elsewhere!
Our response times

We aim to reply to all submissions within two weeks, although we will sometimes go slightly over this during busy periods or holidays.

If you're waiting for a reply from us, please keep an eye on your junk mail folder, as our replies do sometimes make their way there. If you submitted more than three weeks ago, and have not heard back from us, please check your junk mail folder again. If there's nothing there, email us: submissions@thefictiondesk.com. It would be very helpful if you could include your submission code (the number you received when you fired off the submission).

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