Generic Submission Guidelines for Jolly Horror Anthologies


Note: These guidelines are generic and apply to all Jolly Horror Anthologies unless otherwise noted. Please see the actual call for submissions for each anthology to learn about any specific requirements.

Word Count: In general, Jolly Horror Press publishes short stories only. We like stories with a word count between 2,000 and 6,000 words. Please query us first if you are considering sending a longer story. The answer is likely a 'no', but you never know!

Diversity and Inclusiveness: Yes, we want stories from all sectors, from all kinds of people! We encourage submissions from women, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ community. We seek to include writers from all walks of life who have a scary/funny story to tell.

Things that we AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE: Stories that glorify the torture of children or animals. No rape stories. We will not accept anything that degrades or dehumanizes any group of people on the basis of race, color, creed, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or disability. Don’t waste our time or your own.

How to Submit: Please email your story as an attachment to jollyhorrorpress@gmail.com. Please make the subject line the words "Submission for NAME OF ANTHOLOGY by YOUR NAME." Please put the word count and the title of the story in the body of the email.

Submissions: Simultaneous submissions (stories you have submitted elsewhere but which have not been accepted yet) are okay, but if we accept then you must withdraw your submission from the other anthology. Likewise, if you are accepted there, please let us know so we can remove your story from consideration. Multiple submissions are okay, but we will only publish one story per author per anthology, unless we decide otherwise. We reserve that right.

Rights: We ask for first rights on any story we publish. This means that the story should not have appeared anywhere else, either in print or online. (This includes publication on an author's own website.) We no longer take reprints. When we publish a story, we ask for a period of exclusivity (usually one year), and the right to keep the story in print and perhaps in audio format when applicable. We don't place any limits on what you can do with your story after the exclusivity period.

Format: You may format your story however you like but a few things make us extra happy:

  • We use "okay" vs OK, O.K., ok, etc.
  • Time should be formatted as 12 p.m. vs 12pm, 12PM, 12 O'clock.
  • Spell out numbers less than 10, i.e. nine, eight...
  • Use an em-dash instead of a dash when separating parts of a sentence. No surrounding spaces.
  • Text alignment should be "justified."
  • At the top of your story, make sure you put your real name, email address, and word count.
  • For quotes vs italics for titles (such as a book or movie title) we follow the guidance on the Proofed website.
  • We use Merriam-Webster as our official dictionary and spelling reference.
  • Here is a great link for how to use numbers in fiction.
  • Here is a great link about the proper use of tense in fiction.
  • That's it! Not too complicated, right??
  • We would prefer the file format be MS Word. Please no PDFs or links to Google Docs! Please do not put the story in the body of the email.

    Payment: Payment differs per anthology, but it is the intent of Jolly Horror Press to pay market rates once we are established. During start up, expenses are high and profit is low, so we may have an interim period where lower than market rates are established for each anthology. Updated March 2020. We are still in that interim period. Trust me.

    Quality: Hopefully it goes without saying, but we're gonna say it anyway. Submissions should generally have already been edited. We are not your editor. Minor grammar issues and typos are okay, but constant bad grammar, plot holes, things don't make sense, or other editor nightmares are gonna get your story rejected before we've even finished reading it. So bring your A-game.