The following market report, as well as the follow-up interview, are courtesy of Market Scoops by D.L. Snell.
E-Zine: Necrotic Tissue
Editor: Paige McCoy (interview with publisher Scott McCoy)
Pay Rate: $25 + a Necrotic Tissue T-Shirt
Response Time: Six weeks.
Description: We are into horror, both speculative and psychological. We assume all stories submitted are fictional, so if they aren’t, don’t ever tell us. Any cross over genres with a strong horror element will be considered. Dark humor, that is done well, (how is that for subjective?) is always appreciated.
Complete Submission Guidelines: Necrotic Tissue
1) Which authors do you enjoy and what is it about their writing that captivates you?
Until about two years ago, I had no idea how many quality small publishing houses there were. It still blows my mind how few people who love genre fiction are aware. My pat answer would have been King, Straub, Koontz and McCammon. I still love to read all of them, but I focus most of my book budget on Piccirilli, Keene, Waggoner, Tidhar and Russell.
Each writer is different in style and premise, yet they are all great storytellers who develop strong believable characters and put them in otherwise unbelievable situations. Even better, they sometimes create a character that shouldn’t work and yet they make them seem normal.
I no longer have to wait months or years for my next horror fix with so many talented writers. Also, only within the last three years have I learned to appreciate short stories. I used to want only big ol’ books that I could escape into for a few days, at least. I guess with age comes patience and an appreciation for variety.
2) What are your favorite genres? Which of these genres would you like to see incorporated into submissions to this market?
I like all flavors of horror and sci-fi, but less and less fantasy. The first few “real” books I read as a child were fantasy, but there is a limit to how many unicorns I can handle.
I think fantasy is the hardest to blend into a horror story, or at least those stories appeal less to me than others. The beauty of horror is that it can darken any genre. Necrotic Tissue does like a good sci-fi/horror mix and also dark humor.
3) What settings most intrigue you? Ordinary or exotic locales? Real or fantasy? Past, present, or future?
Ordinary settings made extraordinary appeal the most. A dangerous place, where one wrong turn can take you sideways to a nasty place. Present is the most comfortable for me and the easiest to pull off, but I’m a sucker for a story set in the past.
4) Explain the type of pacing you enjoy, e.g. slow building to fast, fast throughout, etc.
I regularly claim to not be an action junkie, yet I continue to select stories that build a fast pace or are fast throughout. If it is done well, I really like a fast opening with a slightly slower middle to develop the character, then a race for the finish. This is hard to pull off and it is easy to flounder in the middle, but when done well, it’s a great thing.
5) What type of character appeals to you the most? Any examples?
I’m a sucker for a regular person thrust into an unusual circumstance. It may sound cliché, but as a reader and a regular guy, I most associate with those characters. Also, since I have been through some unusual situations in the past, I prefer a character that has an edge and has an interesting history.
For a great story, it is important that the character take on the burden. There must be a choice against the darkness.
6) What is your policy on vulgarity and sexual content? (Question by Ralph Robert Moore)
Nothing too gratuitous, but if it is essential the story, then fine. We are not a young adult market; some of our stories are brutal, but with a purpose. The brutality or sexuality are not the story, but are integral to the plot or tone.
7) Horror and violence can be blatant or suggestive. Which one do you prefer and why?
Do I have to choose? It may sound like a cop-out, but I prefer suggestive to build tension followed up with a double scoop of blatant.
8) In fiction and in life, what do you find most horrific?
In fiction, it has to be situations in which there appears to be hope, but then that hope is dashed. So the stripping away of hope and the final realization that death is certain, but not yet arrived.
In life what I find most horrific is the possibility that I would die in a hospital bed after months of “treatment.” The complete lack of control and, again, the slow diminishment of hope over time to an inevitable conclusion.
9) What are the top three things submitters to this market should avoid?
- Abuse. It’s horror and some killing happens, but depictions of torturing children are a hard sell.
- First person past tense stories where the protagonist dies at the end. I know this has been done by some well-known authors, but it irks me. If the story ends that way, go third person.
- Unicorns. This is not a challenge, but I just can’t picture a good horror story with unicorns in it, and yet I get at least one every submission period.
10) What commonalities are among the stories you’ve rejected? Is there a particular aspect authors seem to get wrong? (Question by Martel)
Very slow beginning. If I hit page three and there is no sense of dread or building of tension, then I don’t want it. Short stories need to grab the reader from the first paragraph preferably.
Dead horses. By this I mean, don’t beat us over the head. I get a lot of stories where the writer uses six to ten paragraphs to describe in different ways that the antagonist or protagonist is bad, mean, smart etc. This goes beyond “show, don’t tell”; you can over-show too.
11) If you reject a story, how open are you to a revised version, or do you only want revisions upon request? (Question by Martel)
Rarely in the same submission period. If we think it is a good story that just needs some tweaking, we may say that. We don’t ask for rewrites anymore, but we are willing to see one in our next submission period. If the story is really loose and we just disagree on a couple of points, we will send a conditional acceptance. If it needs overhauling to match our tastes, we want the writer to think about it before expending the effort. After all, the rewrite may still not work for us, but the original may work for several other markets. If we think the story is really well done and just not our style, we usually say that. We don’t blow smoke; if we say that we mean it, and we hope the writer can find a home for it.
12) What trait are you seeking most in submissions to this market?
Courage. IF you are going to tell a tale of horror, don’t shy away from the premise that you have presented. The story must be true to itself, so if you are uncomfortable with the premise or the genre, write something you are comfortable with.
13) Any last advice for submitters to this market?
Make sure your story is the right length. There are some 100-word premises, some 2,000, 5,000 and some that are novel length. One of the biggest mistakes we see are stories that are too condensed or too stretched for the premise.