Thursday, May 5, 2011

Grand Mal Press

  • Publisher: Grand Mal Press
  • Editor(s): Darren Heath
  • Pay Rate: Token advance, 15% of ebook, 10% on paperback
  • Response Time: 2-3 months (for novels)
  • Reading Period: currently open to all
  • Description: Grand Mal Press is a new publisher of speculative fiction, including horror, sci-fi, mystery, and more
  • Submission Guidelines:

NOTE: Author D.L. Snell conducted the following interview to give writers a better idea of what the editors of this specific market are seeking; however, most editors are open to ideas outside of the preferences discussed here, as long as they fit the basic submission guidelines.

1) What authors do you enjoy, and why does their writing captivate you?
I enjoy a fast moving story with lots of originality. Economy of prose is important to me.... I want to let the story carry me away, I don't want to read complicated sentences. Prose should always flow in a way that is unnoticeable. I also enjoy realistic dialogue that moves the plot. In that regard, some authors I enjoy are Asimov, Pohl, Lansdale, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Richard Morgan, Stephen King, Jack Ketchum, Neil Gaiman, George R.R. Martin, Michael Marshall Smith.

2) What are your favorite genres? Which genres would you like to see incorporated into submissions to this market?
We are looking for a bit of diversity. So we'd like Horror, Sci-Fi, Mystery, mashups (or other public domain-related projects that are unique), as well as humorous speculative works in the style of Douglas Adams, et al.

3) What settings most intrigue you? Ordinary or exotic locales? Real or fantasy? Past, present, or future?
Again, we have diverse tastes. One of my editors really enjoys sci-fi set on other worlds, where as I love a good thriller set on Earth. But that's not to say I don't also read sci-fi set on distant worlds. The only thing that we, personally, are not crazy about is fantasy. However, we are looking for an editor who enjoys that genre so we can eventually include it.

4) Explain the type of pacing you enjoy, e.g. slow building to fast, fast throughout, etc.
I prefer a strong introduction that hooks me. After that it can get a bit slow, but as I mentioned above, I enjoy a book that reads pretty quickly and has a "ticking clock." I have read too many 1,000-page novels that just bore me with extraneous exposition and pointless scenes, whereas a quick 300 pager, if done economically, can leave me feeling like I spent my time well.

5) What types of characters appeal to you the most? Any examples?
I prefer male heroes/anti-heroes, especially detectives. Both the Robot series and Foundation series by Asimov are good examples. Or novels by Andrew Vaachs and Joe Lansdale. I recently read a novel called Sandman Slim which was the perfect amount of anti-hero mixed with a supernatural thriller. Stuff like that will catch my attention. Our other editor enjoys strong heroines and female characters. I am not very fond of vampires and werewolves, unless there is a truly unique twist applied.

6) Is there a specific tone you'd like to set in your publication? What kind of voices grab you and keep you enthralled? Any examples?
We are striving to have the perfect mix of great writing and great stories. It's hard to say that any one voice exemplifies that. Douglas Adams enthralls me, as does Frank Herbert, and they're two totally different styles. The key is that both have a storyteller's voice for words. Tell me the story in as fluid a way as possible. Get me lost in the words without me knowing it.

7) What is your policy for vulgarity, violence, and sexual content? Any taboos?
The usual. No sex with minors, no racism, no needless descriptions of cruelty... unless they serve the story in some manner. There's absolutely no need to describe a rape in such vivid detail that I'm grossed out, even if it explains the character's motivations. There are other ways to write that kind of scene. As for gore, it's fine but it needs to serve the story.

8) What kind of themes are you seeking most in submissions to this market? In general, what themes interest you?
We just want fresh ideas within proven themes, which hopefully doesn't sound too contradictory. If it's too weird we can't market it, but if it's a new take on something people already like, then that's perfect.

9) Overall, do you prefer downbeat or upbeat endings?
Depends on the story. I do like when the hero lives at the end. But that's just me.

10) Any last advice for submitters to this market? Any critical dos or dont's?
Just be sure to read our guidelines to see how we want stuff formatted. Feel free to query first, or at any time during the reading period.

For more scoops, go to

D.L. Snell writes with Permuted Press. He edited Dr. Kim Paffenroth twice, John Dies at the End once, and provided a constructive critique to Joe McKinney on his next major novel after Dead City. You can shoot D.L. Snell in the head at

To reprint this article, please contact D.L. Snell.

No comments: