Murder and Machinery. Open for submissions until July 31st, 2020. Publication expected 2021. We strongly recommend you read the classics in this vein to get a feel for the theme: The Lord of the Dynamos – H.G. Wells, The Pit and the Pendulum – Edgar Allan Poe, In the Penal Colony – Franz Kafka, The Lift – Arthur Conan Doyle, Moxon’s Master – Ambrose Bierce, for example.

What we want: Send us your terrifying tales of machinery old or new used as a means of murder or menace. We're looking for suspense, technological horror, even a little sci-fi or steampunk for this one. No supernatural fiction accepted; circuits instead of spirits, wires and switches instead of witches, cogs and spools instead of curses and ghouls.

Short stories between 2,500 and 7,000 words


Please note the rates quoted are not inclusive of transfer fees. The amount received may be slightly lower; typically 3%. We use PayPal to pay our contributors. If your submission is successful, you'll need an account. Alternatively, we can pay with an electronic Amazon gift coupon. Payment is made upon publication.

£40 pounds (GBP) for original short stories and a print copy*
£10 pounds for reprints and a print copy*

*Due to constant changes in international shipping conditions, it is possible we will not be able to send an author copy. This is particularly an issue for Australia. In this case, £15 will be added to your author payment to help cover much of the expense should you wish to order a copy yourself through your preferred retailer. We apologise for this less-than-ideal situation.

Please read the full guidelines below before submitting.



Please only submit one story per publication. No simultaneous submissions for original fiction.

The best way to get a feel for the kind of fiction we're likely to publish is to buy our previously published titles. This provides you with examples of accepted stories, demonstrates our high standard of editing, and helps finance future anthologies and increases the possibility of better pay rates.

Languages accepted: 
English and French / anglais et français
Black Beacon Books is based in France but publishes in English. As such, we accept submissions in both English and French. Any French submissions accepted will be translated into English for publication. / Black Beacon Books est une maison d'édition de langue anglaise basée en France. Nous acceptons des nouvelles écrites en français mais elles seront traduites et publiées en anglais.

What we expect from authors:
1) We strongly recommend you purchase a copy of a previous anthology to be sure you want to be part of our team. We're choosing stories for our anthology, but you're also choosing a home for your work. We want you to feel you've made the right choice.
2) Please submit quality writing and be prepared to work with the team to make your story the very best it can be.
3) If your submission is successful, we need you to help promote the anthology through word-of-mouth and online networking.

Legal disclaimer:
1) Original Fiction: Inclusion in the anthology means that you give BBB First World English rights (this means your story will appear in this anthology for the first time in English, covering both electronic and print publications). After the official release of the anthology, all rights revert to the Author, and BBB will not publish it in any other publication without your permission.
2) Reprints: We purchase Non-Exclusive Reprint rights, which means your previously published story can be sold to other publications at the same time and at any time after our anthology. Of course, it is your duty as the Author to ensure you retain the relevant rights to reprints submitted to us. You should tell us where your story was first published so we can provide appropriate credit to the original publisher within our anthology.
Details on rights can be found at Writing-World.



How to submit:
Please note that we use British English conventions. Submissions are encouraged from all over the world but be aware that the editor may wish to make changes to those containing North American usages.

- All grammar and punctuation to be used appropriately. This is your best friend:, and if you don't know how to use commas, visit these sites: and
In terms of comma usage, here are three simple examples of what we require:
Yesterday, I followed him home.
As soon as I hear from him, I'll let you know.
I bought an axe, rope, and a box of matches.

- It is highly unlikely that we will accept a story written as a narrative in the present. Please use the traditional first or third person past.

- Quotation marks to be single and curly/smart for general dialogue. Double curly quotation marks for emphasised words if really needed, eg. They entered the mound of rubble, making sure the splintered door didn't fall off its hinges. This was Stan's "castle".

- Only one space at the end of sentences.

- Formatted indentation for paragraphs. Do not use the space bar or tab bar.

- Scene breaks should be identified with a hash # preceded and followed by one line space. In a short story, there will generally be between zero and five of these. The hash is useful for signalling the beginning of a story within a story, or a change in narrative style, such as when the narrator is first introduced alongside his audience in a bar or living room before the text changes to his first-person recounting of events.

- The use of italics. Do not replace them with an underline. Italics should be used for titles (books, films etc) in the story, or for foreign words or phrases not commonly used in English (eg not for "spaghetti", "samurai" or "rendez-vous" but definitely for Ich liebe dich, buongiorno, or Éirinn go Brách. Thoughts should also be in italics and quotation marks kept for speech. For the names of places, restuarants, shops and so forth, just use capital letters, eg. Haunted Lighthouse Inn.

Honestly, the best way to find out what we want is to buy one of our titles.

Once you've finished your tale and edited it... and edited again, and asked your mum and dog to proof-read it, send it as a .doc (NO .docx) or .rtf file to blackbeaconbooks (at)
Be sure to include your contact details in your email and in the file. A short biography and links to your blog and social media pages are encouraged.

In the subject of your email, write: "BBB Anthology Submission". The file name should be: "Story Title" by "Author Name" (pen name if applicable).