Monday, June 13, 2011

Machine of Death, Vol 2

  • Antho: Machine of Death, Vol 2
  • Editor(s): Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo, David Malki !
  • Pay Rate: $200 flat fee
  • Response Time: We will respond by October 31, 2011
  • Reading Period: submissions are due May 1 - Jul 15
  • Description: Sequel anthology to Machine of Death (released Oct 2010). Every story has a shared premise: a machine that uses a blood test to predict with total accuracy how a person will die.
  • Submission Guidelines:

NOTE: Some questions in this interview were purposefully skipped. Unlike most markets, Machine of Death is looking for EVERYTHING (or almost everything). So the editor only answered the questions where he felt he had productive guidance to give.

2) What are your favorite genres? Which genres would you like to see incorporated into submissions to this market?
We’re looking for EVERY genre—or as many as possible. Every story in the book shares the same premise (a machine that uses a blood test to predict with total accuracy how a person will die), so we’re looking for writers who can interpret that concept in new and creative ways. Part of that is figuring out how this invention works in other genres that we haven’t printed yet.

We have yet to find the story that we decided to exclude on the basis of its genre or setting. So surprise us!

3) What settings most intrigue you? Ordinary or exotic locales? Real or fantasy? Past, present, or future?
We love locations that feel “real”. We like a story that gives us a sense of place and time, no matter where or when that might be. We love it when writers draw on their own experiences, research, or expertise to create a vivid, compelling, “lived-in” world. Write about what interests you, or what you know best. But the more you can place your story in a specific time and place, the better. Invented settings are fine too, but generic settings don’t excite us.

4) Explain the type of pacing you enjoy, e.g. slow building to fast, fast throughout, etc.
The pacing should match the story you’re trying to tell. We’re planning to publish stories that cover the gamut. But make sure that something happens in your story. Events must occur, characters must grow, ideas must be shared. (At least one of those—but more is better.)

Regardless of pacing, when the end comes, the reader should be satisfied. It’s okay to have loose ends or even ambiguity, but the main plot or character arc should be resolved. Don’t simply present a premise and end the story with the main character embarking on an adventure. Tell the story. Share the adventure with us.

5) What types of characters appeal to you the most? Any examples?
We’re looking for characters that the reader will want to spend time with. They don’t need to be likeable or virtuous all the time (or any of the time), but there should be some reason why we like being with them. We’re looking for all types of characters with all types of backgrounds, but in general we like to read about people who try to solve the problems they face and who can make us understand what they want and why.

We don’t like reading stories about unpleasant people who do nothing but complain, mock, argue, procrastinate, lecture, or cower. We do pass on stories if we can’t find any characters we like or care about.

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?
Every story in the anthology is about death in one way or another. But we don’t want this to be a book full of nothing but grim, sad tales. We’re looking for stories that contain a dash (or more!) of life. Give us humor, adventure, romance, excitement, compassion, big ideas, vivid settings, and memorable characters.

7) What is your policy for vulgarity, violence, and sexual content? Any taboos?
We don’t have any strict prohibitions regarding content. But we’d like this book to be something that the majority of adults would recommend to their friends. For that reason, we’ll be considering whether the handling of any vulgarity, violence, and sexual content would be unpleasant, offensive, or disturbing to most adults. If it is, we might have to think twice.

It’s important to add that this policy doesn’t extend to accommodating prejudices. We welcome stories with characters of any sex, race, nationality, religion, age, sexual orientation, political affiliation, and whatever else you can think of.

10) Any last advice for submitters to this market? Any critical do’s or do not’s?
Make sure to read our submission guidelines, and check out the free PDF of the first book to get a sense of the shared premise. But above all: surprise us!

For more scoops, go to

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

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

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