Flickr photo by TXMagpie
Every now and then, we get questions from folks asking us if it is true that they, as a member of some specific group, can submit a story for Machine of Death. Invariably, the answer to that question is YES.
You only have to meet two requirements to submit to the book: (1) You must be able to send us a submission written in English, and (2) someone (usually you — but not always) must be willing and legally able to sign a contract on your behalf. Here are some answers to specific variations on this question:
I’m a teenager… Can I submit a story?
Yes, you can! There is no age restriction on who can submit stories to Machine of Death. If you are considered a minor in the place where you live and if your story is accepted, you will probably need to have a parent or legal guardian sign the contract on your behalf. (In the U.S. and Canada, this will be true if you are under 18 years old.) As long as your parent or guardian is willing to do that, then there are no problems at all!
I’m a creative writing teacher… Can my students submit stories?
Yes, they can! The above answer about minor writers still applies, of course, but we also know that teachers sometimes have to be careful about sharing information about their students. If you’re a teacher who would like to submit stories on behalf of your students but have reservations about including their contact information, then please get in touch with us! We’ll gladly work something out.
This is the ONLY time when we’ll accept stories that don’t have the writer’s full contact information, and we WILL need full contact info from the submitting teacher so we can get in touch about our decisions. Also, if any stories are accepted, at that point we’ll need to contact the student’s parent or legal guardian to get a contract signed.
But look, basically the answer is: Send us a note, and we’ll work something out.
I live in a country that’s not the U.S. or Canada… Can I submit a story?
Yes, you can! We love getting submissions from other countries, and our first book included stories from writers living in the U.K., Ireland, Australia, South Korea, Argentina, Germany and Sweden. We’d love the second book to be just as diverse or more so. Your story will need to be written in some form of English, but otherwise your location is irrelevant.
There are occasionally some challenges in paying writers who live outside of the U.S. and Canada, but so far we’ve been able to work with all of our overseas contributors to find solutions that don’t result in massive fees. As long as you’re willing to be a little patient, we’re sure we’ll find a way to pay you too, no matter where you live.
I live in another country… Should I try to give my story a more mainstream (“generic American”) setting? Should I Americanize spellings?
Absolutely not! We encourage everybody to give their stories vivid, evocative settings that feel as real as possible. This could mean writing about the place where you live, or a place you’ve visited, or a place you’ve researched. It could even mean writing about a made-up place that you invented. But when it comes to settings, we prefer specific to generic! We are not afraid of settings that might fall outside the day-to-day experience of most of our readers.
Since places have their own vocabularies, there’s no need for you to Americanize your spelling or word choice, either. We have confidence that our readers can handle some regional variation from story to story. But if there’s a word or phrase that you think a wide audience might find confusing, feel free to explain it in your text.
I want to collaborate with another person… Can two people submit one story together?
Yes, you can! We’ll accept stories that are written by more than one person. Include contact information for all collaborators when you submit, but let us know which person we should communicate with primarily.
In the event that a story with multiple authors is selected for the book, you will each probably have to sign your own contract. The details of that may depend partly on the nature of the collaboration, however. The collaborators will then split a single fee in whatever way they choose to divide it amongst themselves.
May I submit as both an author and an artist?
Yes, you can! But we ask that you please keep the submissions separate, e.g. send an email with your story submission(s) and a separate one for art submission. If you don’t have an online art portfolio you can use a site like imgur.com to upload images, or just attach some jpg files to the email.
I submitted a story and then realized some minor error (a typo, I formatted the title wrong, something like that). Should I re-submit?
No, it’s fine. Now, you should absolutely double- and triple-check your submissions to ensure that you are presenting the best, most readable, most professional work possible — BUT if an error slips through we’re not going to chuck an otherwise great story out the window. We’d prefer to read perfect versions, but at this point re-submissions clog up our record-keeping enough that it’s less of a hassle to just overlook the typo.
Everything will be proofread before publication anyway, and if we think something (like a title) needs to be changed we’ll work with you on that, rather than turn down the entire story because of that.
If you have any other questions for us, use our Ask Us Anything form!
There are now less than two weeks remaining to submit your stories. If you need to run your work through a mental checklist to make sure it’s as polished as it can be, read our post about common short story pitfalls.
If you’ve already submitted, hooray! Thanks so much! We’re absolutely thrilled to see such a great response (over 500 submissions so far!) and we can’t thank you enough for taking the time to participate. We’re as excited to see MOD2 as you are!