WITCH HOUSE is an amateur magazine that seeks to discover, inspire, and publish emerging horror authors who are enthusiastic about the pulp fiction tradition of a modern gothic literature called "cosmic horror." Writers in this tradition include (but are not limited to) the following: Edgar Allan Poe, M.R. James, Arthur Machen, H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert Bloch, August Derleth, Shirley Jackson, Karl Edward Wagner, Thomas Ligotti, Stephen King, and many more. "Cosmic horror" emphasizes helpless protagonists, unexplainable monstrous menaces, and fictional occult themes such as forbidden lore and evil conspiracy. Some "cosmic horror" blurs the lines separating mystery/noir, crime fiction, and horror, but it is distinguished by a dramatic deviation from the reality principle. At Witch House, we prefer lyrical, literary, and artful terror of the sublime that unsettles subtly rather than gross-out gore. Published by Spiral Tower Press.
• Submission deadline for our 2nd issue: Sunday, May 8th, 2022, 11:59p.
• Editorial decisions: Sunday, June 12th, 2022.
• Publication of Issue 2: Friday, August 19th, 2022.
Fiction Length: We prefer short, compressed stories that are nevertheless complete and cohesive narratives (1500 to 2500 words). These limits are firm. No more, no less.
Fiction Style: We prefer atmospheric horror that emphasizes disturbing and suggestive settings. We prefer renderings of supernatural horror to be artfully sketchy and sublime. Documentary descriptions of monstrosity rarely works for us. We generally prefer the first person perspective. We are open to experimental narrative techniques.
Poetry Length and Form: Submit up to three short poems, no more than 500 words of verse total. We are open to both formal and free verse poetry. We have a soft spot for sonnets.
Publication, payment, and rights: Issues will be published as .pdf files. If work is selected for publication in WITCH HOUSE, authors will (1) be paid an honorarium of $10 and (2) will be asked to provide, by contract, "First North American Serial Rights." In our opinion, this means that copyright is NOT transferred. All copyright stays with you, the writer; however, you will have sold/transferred a form of "exclusive use rights" called "First North American Serial Rights" (FNASR). This is the right to publish your unpublished work for the first time, and ONLY the first time, no more. The important thing to remember is that some professional publications may ask for FNASR upon acceptance of a specific work; you are not legally permitted to provide those for that specific work after publication in WITCH HOUSE, for you have already rendered their use to us. In other words, once you publish a work in WITCH HOUSE, that works' associated FNASR have been sold/transferred. You CAN publish your previously published work elsewhere as a reprint but only as long as that publication does not require FNASR. This is a long way of saying that WITCH HOUSE is an amateur publication, meant for showcasing emerging talent for the consideration of professional markets (which is why we kept the word count so low). In essence: save your best work for higher paying markets!
Submit: Proofread standard manuscripts should be sent to the editor/publisher, Jason Ray Carney, at email@example.com as .doc or .docx attachments. Include the following subject line: "WITCH HOUSE: [Last Name]." Please keep cover letters brief. A story title and a one- or two-sentence bio is sufficient.