The following market report on the publisher, Graveside Tales, as well as the follow-up interview are courtesy of Market Scoops by D.L. Snell.
Publisher: Graveside Tales
Editor: Myrrym Davies
Pay Rate: No monetary advance; royalties average +/- 15%.
Response Time: 20 – 30 days
Reading Period: Twice yearly: March 1 – May 30 and September 1 – November 30
Description: Publishes horror and dark fiction novels, novellas, and anthologies with a supernatural angle, as well as select backlisted titles.
Complete Guidelines: Writer’s Guidelines
Note: Horror author D.L. Snell conducted the following interview to give writers a better idea of what the editors of this specific market are seeking; however, most editors are open to ideas outside of the preferences discussed here, as long as they fit the basic submission guidelines.
1) What authors do you enjoy, and why does their writing captivate you?
As a reader and an editor, strong world-building skills, compelling characterization and unique emotive style are qualities I cherish in an author. My list of favorites is a mile long, but the three that immediately spring to mind are Orson Scott Card, Clive Barker and George Orwell. Card does a wonderful job of creating recognizable worlds and vibrant, well-rounded characters. Barker has a knack for evoking a wide range of emotions over the course of a single story. And Orwell’s satirical style and dystopian settings are simply timeless; the content of his works is just as relevant today as it was when it was written.
2) What are your favorite genres? Which genres would you like to see incorporated into submissions to this market?
Horror titles—both large and small press—take up a large portion of my bookshelf, but I also enjoy comedy, sci-fi, fantasy, steampunk, mystery, political thrillers, and erotica. Bizarro and paranormal/pulp romance… not so much. We would like to see more genre blends, particularly those incorporating humor, science fiction, fantasy and Western elements.
3) What settings most intrigue you? Ordinary or exotic locales? Real or fantasy? Past, present, or future?
Ordinary, real-world locales are my personal preference, but I do not object to exotic or otherworldly settings when it comes to submissions. The time period does not really matter.
4) Explain the type of pacing you enjoy, e.g. slow building to fast, fast throughout, etc.
It depends on the story. Slow build-ups are great, provided the tension is maintained throughout. The same can be said of more action-oriented pieces. The consistency of the story’s pacing is more important to me than anything.
5) What types of characters appeal to you the most? Any examples?
I don’t have a preference when it comes to specific types of characters. All I ask is that they be fully developed and play their part in a realistic manner (and that includes engaging in believable dialogue). A manuscript featuring blatant stereotypes or unconvincing characters will probably not make it past the first round of reviews.
6) Is there a specific tone you’d like to set in your publication? What kind of voices grab you and keep you enthralled? Any examples?
Any unique, well-written horror story with compelling characters and an intriguing plot will be considered. While we do expect the tone to be dark, we are not looking for a specific kind of “voice.” We like to offer readers a variety of writing styles to choose from—a little something for everyone, if you will.
7) What is your policy for vulgarity, violence, and sexual content? Any taboos?
Graveside Tales does not usually censor its authors, but we tend to avoid publishing pieces containing overt racism, explicit depictions of child abuse, and pointless torture or rape. That said, as long as the content in question is essential to the story and not included solely for shock value, it will be considered.
8) What kind of themes are you seeking most in submissions to this market? In general, what themes interest you?
We are looking for solid, character-driven novels and novellas containing supernatural elements (think monsters and madmen). Genre blends are also welcome, provided the focus remains firmly on horror. Topics that have been overused, like post-apocalyptic zombies and clichéd paranormal romance themes, will likely be rejected.
9) Overall, do you prefer downbeat or upbeat endings?
Personally, I favor downbeat or open endings, but what I read for my own pleasure and what is acceptable in a submission are two different things. The story determines the ending, and as long as the ending is sensible and fits the work as a whole, its tone is irrelevant.
10) Any last advice for submitters to this market? Any critical do’s or do not’s?
Three things. One: do your homework on the venues to which you intend to submit, and only send those pieces that fit the publication’s requirements. When in doubt, query. Two: have a couple of beta readers review your work before sending it off. A proofreader’s input is invaluable in helping clean up grammatical issues or fill obvious plot holes. And three: follow the guidelines. I know every editor mentions guidelines in the dos and don’ts section, but you’d be surprised at how few submitters actually adhere to them. Your manuscript stands a much better chance of being reviewed promptly if it sticks to the requested layout.