Guidelines – The Haunted Life

Guidelines for “The Haunted Life: a Paranormal Anthology”

There are numerous television shows about it; ‘Ghost Hunters’, ‘Ghost Adventures’, ‘Most Haunted’, and the like. People go exploring old abandoned buildings, houses, architecture or even places that are still alive and thriving but have terrifying stories attached to them. These are the stories we’re looking for. We want the stories of ghosts and terrifying apparitions that people find – through dedicated purpose or by complete accident – and the experiences that come with.

It can be something as elaborate as someone trying to debunk a haunted house finding demons and releasing them to the world or as simple as someone realizing that the reason things keep happening in their house is because their dead mother is trying to keep an eye on them all these years later. They don’t necessarily have to be frightening or terrifying, and they could even be comical in nature, but they have to have a ghostly, supernatural aspect to them entering the life of someone ordinary.

It will be necessary to show the effects the spirits have on your characters as it pertains to the events and circumstances in your story. Avoid TELLING. Actions have consequences—SHOW those.

Develop your character[s]. Make us care what happens to them. Yes, sure, you care. Your task as a storyteller is to make US care.

This anthology is open to submissions as of 1 March 2018. It will close when filled—could be a month, could be a year.

Now for the vital statistics:

Word count for prospective stories should be between 4K [tight-ish] and 10K [loose-ish]. Remember, there MUST be a paranormal aspect to the story.

Do not put headers or footers of any kind on your submission.

The first page of your manuscript must contain your mailing address; the word count of the story; and if you live outside the United States, your Paypal addy or instructions on how to pay you if your story is accepted.

Indents are to be 0.25”. Double-space your manuscript. DO NOT use bold-face or underscores. If you want italics, use italics. Use a hard return at the end of each paragraph [this includes single lines of dialogue].

Submit your story as an RTF or Word attachment [do NOT submit IBOE] to Be sure to put HAUNTED ANTHOLOGY and the title of your story in the subject line. NB: As we use this address for most of our anthologies now, we need to know which anthology you are submitting to. If we don’t know, we will probably just delete your submission out of hand, without response.

There are some other things to remember, things to avoid.
• Sexual content not inherent to the storyline. No pornography.
• Explicit description of torture or sacrifice, human or otherwise. As a plot device, there is a way to present this without resorting to splatter.
• Violence or abuse against a minor, infant to teenager.
• Overuse of profane language. People curse, but not in every sentence.
• Hate language against a race, creed, or gender. Against monstrous races and gods, that’s okay.
• Quoting previously published material not in the public domain. This is a legal issue and will not be tolerated at all.
• No poetry.

Okay, now the good stuff:

  1. We are looking for 7 stories for this anthology.
  2. We will try to acknowledge receipt of submissions within two days. Actual response time is probably going to be between six weeks to three months.
  3. Story payment is $25. If your story is accepted, you will also receive a contributor’s copy.

Lead editor for this anthology is Bill Otto.

Queries should be directed to