Category ArchiveAnswers

Answers &Vol2 Updates 13 Jul 2011 11:17 am by David !

Deadline clarification

For the sake of clarity: the deadline for submitting stories and art portfolios is one minute past 11:59 PM on the evening of July 15, Pacific (California) time.

This is also the deadline for entering any of our three guessing games on the Facebook page!

Answers &Vol2 Updates 03 Jul 2011 02:40 pm by Matthew

Can I submit a story? Yes, you can!

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 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!

Answers &Talent Show &Vol2 Updates 03 May 2011 12:56 am by David !

Volume 2 Submissions NOW OPEN!

Machine of Death Volume 2 submissions are now officially open! The full details of how to submit a story or illustration portfolio for possible publication in our next guaranteed-amazing anthology are right here. Please, spread the word!

We announced that there would be a follow-up volume at our talent show last week. Here’s the first piece of video from that — my incredibly successful performance of “Boom! And a Bear Comes Out” (the party hit of the summer).

Machine of Death Talent Show – Opening from Vimeo.

Then, at the very end of the show, after a packed lineup of amazing performances (which we’ll see more of soon), we made the formal announcement. Here’s the video of that — I apologize that the camera cuts off my head! I didn’t frame it very well, and for that I take full responsibility. To make the video more watchable, I’ve added some extra Malki-heads here in the blog to compensate.

Machine of Death Volume 2 Announcement on Vimeo.

Also, here are some submissions questions folks have asked, along with our answers! Feel free to leave more questions in the comments, or use our Ask Us Anything form.

Q: Will every submission (of reasonable length and proper SPG) be read?

A: Yes, of course! Though it should not be surprising that our patience is greater earlier in the reading period. So take the time you need, but it’s probably to your benefit to submit earlier than the very last second.

Q: By previously unpublished, do you mean ‘not appeared in print before’ or ‘not appeared anywhere before’? ’Cause I wrote a story almost immediately after I heard about the first book, and I put it on my livejournal. Do I have to write other stories, or take that one down, or nothing of that, to submit?

A: In this case, we mean ‘not appeared in a commercial publication before.’ We’ve heard from several folks who wrote their own stories on personal blogs right after reading the first book, and it’s perfectly fine to submit them! If it’s already been posted on your site, it’s okay to leave it up.

Q: Is there any problem with having multiple authors for one story?

A: Nope, no problem at all. One person should be chosen to be the point person for communication, though.

Q: I don’t know what quality/number of submissions were received the first time (and I do plan to submit a story myself), but I really hope that volume 2 will include a lot more diverse authors and characters than before — I was disappointed in the tiny handful of female main characters, for example. Definitely passing the word along to fellow writers!

A: To be honest, the balance of male/female characters wasn’t something we paid close attention to the first time around. We are definitely hoping for more diversity of all kinds in the next book, so more female points of view would be a great start! Thanks for sharing that challenge with our potential writers!

Q: Do you take submissions from people under 18?

A: We do, but it’s up to you to ensure that your parent or guardian is willing to sign a contract on your behalf in case your story is chosen. If so, great!

Q: I am a writer. My partner is an artist. Would you consider a submission that is, instead of a 7,500 word story, a 7-10 page (i’m just guessing here) comic?

A: We’re reluctant to ask anybody to do that much work just for a submission — but if you want to, you are welcome to! The final book will be 6 x 9″ black & white, so just keep that in mind when laying out the art.

Q: By “no simultaneous submissions,” do you mean not to submit another story in general until you email me back with a decision, or are you referring to emailing multiple stories in a single email? I am working on a second story, and was wondering if when I finish and get it refined enough, whether or not I can just send it out, or if only one un-judged story can be in your inbox at a time per author.

A: In publishing, “simultaneous submissions” refer to stories that are submitted to more than one publisher at the same time. We won’t be announcing anything about the Vol.2 stories until we’ve read everything and made our final decisions, so you can feel free to submit your stories whenever you like!

Now! What are you waiting for? Get writin’ and emailin’! We can’t wait to read your work. You have until July 15 to submit!