Why it’s time to unleash your inner dragon, wizard, and savage barbarian
Ever wanted to write a story about badass dragons? Now is your chance to get published. WolfSinger Publications is looking for contributions to a fictional anthology featuring dragons: “Show us why you should never go into the business of dragons because they can see you as crunchy and taste good with ketchup” .
If dragons are too common for you, what about cryptids? Improbable Press is on the lookout for “weird, spooky, sweet, sexy and / or funny” stories of emerging cryptids, who are all kinds of monsters in global folklore. They don’t want “violence, horror or pain”.
No such ban from Silver Shamrock Publishing, which publishes two horror anthologies and seeks stories with a “The Thing / Alien / The Blob / Critters / Night of the Creeps kind of atmosphere ”.
These come from the last 33 calls to writers on the theme for submissions to anthologies or contests listed by Authors Publish. Such calls are made all the time. Many of them are meant for science fiction or fantasy on precisely defined topics. What intrigues me is how very specific and so weird these themes are.
The calls to write about generations, or a future world altered by climate change, are sufficiently predictable. But what about the stories inspired by Jules Verne? Or novels in the tradition of Nero Wolfe’s detective novels? Or stories about marine animals? Or stupid assassins? Or ink-themed queer science fiction?
I had to research some of these topics. What is Gaslamp Fantasy? Apparently, it’s a fantasy and historical fiction sub-genre. “Think about Steampunk, but less tech and focus on magic,” says Bronzewood Books, which offers additional detailed guidelines for those who want a chance to see its Halloween anthology.
These aren’t so much niche markets as they are tiny little slot machine markets – but probably very comfortable if you can get your feet wet. They are horses for lessons. Some short story writers who sweat because of their finely crafted prose yearn to see their work in The Paris review or The New Yorker. Other hard-working people would be very happy for a place in Skullgate Media’s anthology Winter Wonders, which is after “living snowmen, magical solstices, ice-crusted alien planets, whatever floats.” on your iceberg ”.
A few publications seek out work from writers who might otherwise be marginalized. Woodhall Press wants true stories for its Not white and woman anthology. Zoetic Press would like contributions on a theme of the industrial revolution for its Non-binary exam. And Fiyah The magazine, which publishes work by writers from the African diaspora, is looking for work for its Sound and Color edition.
Perhaps the strangest legend is for Sliced Up Press’ Burning Bodies – An Anthology of Menopause-Themed Horror. “Menopause can be hell,” he says, “so show us your demons, your darkest dreams, the bloodiest crimes or the scariest transformations.”