Genres, Guidelines on Crime, Guidelines on Sexuality, Supernatural Beings, and Guideline on Characters
Please read through these guidelines thoroughly before sending us any manuscripts!
We currently accept ONLY fiction, but may consider non-fiction.
If you are uncertain in any way about any of the guidelines, ask us about it via email!
Romance and Erotica
N.B. Romance and erotica have a range of explicitness levels and which genre your story belongs to will be mainly decided on the basis of the explicitness and the quantity of sexual acts per story. Don’t sacrifice quality for explicitness. Explicitness is fine, but some readers may find it less appealing, if it becomes clinical or loses the flow of the story.
N.B. Techno-Sci-fi in 20th/21st C only (we’re not very keen on this category, so don’t get your hopes up, but if you feel your novel’s very good, send it and we’ll see); we may accept historically-based sci-fi, if well written
N.B. Take it under advisement – we won’t split hairs, because most people have a very poor knowledge of history, but where possible, since we are dealing with educated readers as well as those who aren’t that fortunate, please do research and include your sources (preferably at the end of the book, as an author’s note… that can also be fun to read!), especially if you are using historical people or facts or pseudo-facts for your plot. Under pseudo-facts, we understand: a) ideas that have, however erroneous, become entrenched in people’s perception of a specific era b) any fact that you may have built on those or on actual historic facts (contact us for details or if you have an idea)
N.B. No Dark Horror or Zombie Horror
No pointless gruesomeness, macabre, blood and guts, especially if you intend to overlap with the Romance/Erotica genre (don’t just suddenly drop guts on a couple who are trying to have a love story! Also consider that having a relationship may go sour if one of the partners is involved in blood and guts – such as a werewolf and a human); no religiously-based horror and macabre, no diabolical involvement; no ‘evil witch’ scenarios
N.B. Hauntings are fine, but no religiously-based hauntings (e.g. ‘all spirits are evil’), no diabolical involvement; no ‘evil witch’ scenarios
N.B. Include a minimum of either 20 to 30 short poems or 5 to 15 long poems per poetry anthology
Bad characters should be bad because of their actions. What is ‘bad’ often depends on the social surroundings, religious biases and so on, which, we feel, are not always an acceptable factor to decide a ‘badness’ or ‘goodness’ of characters. Generally accepted bad acts, be it pirating or plundering, as well as other, even more serious crime, may or may not have a human reason for it (really banal example is Robin Hood – a man doing a ‘bad’ thing while generally accepted, by those he helps, to be ‘good’) and there should always be a comparison offered, (e.g. ‘good witch/bad witch’ scenario – why are they good or bad? It’s actions that decide it, usually in connection to perfectly innocent bystanders, but make sure that those really are innocent bystanders). A character cannot just be a bad character because they are a witch, a vampire, a spirit, etc. No ‘moral’ endings or gratification of violence by giving an ‘evil/supernatural’ character a ‘proper and fitting’ end, such as being stoned, burnt at the stake, killed by an angry mob, even placement before a judge and executed for witchcraft is unacceptable. We feel that these are religiously-based hate crimes and any literature portraying them incites religiously-based hatred towards anything different.
Avoid ‘black and white’ scenarios, especially in the fantasy/supernatural/horror genres; however, there are situations where a character can and should be presented negatively, where you are dealing with unforgivable crimes, such as rape, serial killing, etc… No glorification or ‘understanding’ of psychopathic or sociopathic killers, i.e. ‘Jack the Ripper just had a ‘bad childhood’’.
Keep your heroes fair. The hero/heroine can kill an opponent if it’s done in a fair fight or duel (where applicable), but not for ‘moral’ or religious purpose. If possible, if the situation calls for it, make it self-defence or defence of someone else.
Avoid capital punishment where possible. In 20th and 21st C, we find it fairly unacceptable. Contact us for details if you have a question.
No pointless gruesomeness.
No torture of animals. If an animal death occurs or is mentioned for plot purposes (such as death of a horse during warfare), same rules apply as with people – no gratuitous blood and guts, and so forth.
No social, political or religious propaganda will be published.
Always contact us if you wish to discuss an idea.
We allow genre-overlap with exception of angst in sexual relationships on partner/partner basis (i.e. if your hero/heroine is in an angsty situation, that situation should not be caused by/exaggerated by his/her partner).
We are fine with conspiracy theory novels, provided they are realistic, keep to the plot and definitely name sources (‘some guy in the pub’ is not a source, unless you have done extensive research on a topic of technomyths/conspiracy theories and can, with supporting data, lay down a thesis for support of your work, fictional or otherwise).
Guidelines on Crime –
- Criminality of the hero/heroine – assessment will be case to case
- No crimes against humanity
- Hero/heroine cannot be someone who has committed an actual crime, e.g. serial killer, serial rapist, etc… Crimes that would not be acquitted in any court of law
- Awareness of realism in legal response in different time periods, e.g. legal response to ‘revenge killing’ in 18th C and 20th C is going to differ; piracy in 20th C or in previous times, etc. If you’re unsure, set the novel in an earlier time or a different universe/world.
Guidelines on Sexuality –
- Pairings can be any of the following (and logical permutations of the following): F/M, F/F, M/M. Anything including and up from a threesome is fine. If you go for further up than a foursome, it should have a lot of context to the story to explain what’s going on. We accept mixed relationships of any kind and have absolutely no problem if the characters in question have a different racial, religious, etc. background. We do not feel you need to specify ‘mixed relationship’ on the back of the cover or anywhere else (in text will likely tell people what they’re dealing with), as we feel such specifications are racist.
- No rape
- Consent – essential and that of both partners (or however many partners you choose to have in your story); dubious consent is consent with a hiccup due to a moral/social hangover (e.g. any situation where a pairing ‘shouldn’t happen’ according to social/‘moral’ ‘reasons’ and therefore one of the individuals gets uncomfortable), but the situation must be resolved between the partners (if you’re unsure about a scene, we are happy to evaluate it and give you an assessment, without any infringement of your author rights).
- ‘Bodice ripping’ – can include slightly dubious consent, angry sex (where the two or more people love each other but have an issue that they are working through and the tension escalates into sex, but they both/all have to be consensual, even if one of them starts the situation), social or ‘moral’ issues still on someone’s mind before they forget themselves, very passionate consensual sex (where it becomes literally bodice ripping). Very important – where the scene could be identified as rape by the readership, make consent explicitly clear, if not spoken, then definitely clear physically; it must be absolutely clear to an outside observer. If it lacks clarity, we’ll advise you.
- No Manipulation, Mild Manipulation only, provided the characters were interested anyway (case to case still!); under Manipulation, we include – any coercion, any imagined ‘responsibility’ or obligation, etc. Under Mild Manipulation, we include coaxing and trying to arrange the situation, so that the person(s) in question changes their mind, is exposed to a situation where they are likely to do so, etc.
- No use of power (power over someone), especially in incest context (see below)
- S&M – reasonable S&M is allowed; not allowed are unreasonable methods (electrocution, mental and emotional torture beyond reason – so not just mild toying, gentle restraint for the purpose of pleasure to BOTH partners, etc.; grievous bodily harm caused by application of the chosen S&M methods, unless the state of the being allows it – say, an angry sex scene between a warrior and a vampire princess – she will survive if he runs her through; this will be judged on case to case basis), physical injuries past the normal, i.e. worse than mild bruises, bite marks, scratch marks; no emotional trauma! No internal injuries with M/M (or any other pairing). If you have a question, just ask.
- Incest – we do not allow incest, but recognise the fact that certain situations that could be seen as ‘incest’ do occur and are not actually incest. Where the individuals are not at all related, we will assess on case to case (no incest scenario just for titillation); any contexts were the individuals have grown up together and are therefore likelier to have parent-child or sibling relationship to each other is not an option. E.g.: if the mother who doesn’t live with her daughter remarries a younger man and then dies, the daughter meets the man and falls for him – fine, because they don’t have a family feeling for each other; on the other hand, mother remarried when daughter was a teen and now is grown up, starts eyeing up her stepfather – nope, because there, a father-daughter relationship is more likely. Send an email if you still have questions.
- Age gap – the larger the age gap, the older the youngest individual should be
- Age – preferred setting is the 20s and on, due to a very wide spectrum of ages of consent in the Western culture. As consent can be given pre-18 legally, we find that forcing all characters to be 18 and 18+ negates that consent; however, since most people are likeliest to be sexually most active within their 20s and up till their 50s, we feel that the characters should be within this range. In this manner, we do not negate pre-18 consent, but offer the widest and fairest range of possibilities.
- No paedophilia or necrophilia (Undead, i.e. vampires, don’t count; werewolves are not considered undead; No zombie sex)
- No intercourse during shape-shifting; consent and penetration should occur during human form; with shape-shifters, the character has to fall for the human shape.
Sexuality should be human, barring higher activity of potential interest due to being a shape-shifter and where the animal form would potentially be more active (we may tolerate this, but are not keen on it). Under no circumstance should a concept of ‘being in heat’ remove consent (we’d prefer NO being in heat whatsoever, for reasons of consent, as plenty of authors use that concept to excuse the option of dubious consent or even rape), or ‘being meant/destined/fated for someone’ remove clear consent.
- No religiously/morally based consent, which means that the character has to sleep with/marry someone because a higher being/god/deity demands it; also, no socially-based consent, i.e. ‘you have to marry because you are x y z’. The character should not be doing any actions because they ‘must’ under the laws of their religion/etc, because, in our view, this is extremism, which we see as support to religious terrorism. There is some wiggle-room in historical context under certain circumstances, provided only if the actual sexual consent (and marital consent) is given freely by that person and would be given anyway. Case to case assessment will occur.
- The words ‘cunt’ and ‘dick’ cannot to be used as a descriptor of sexual organs, unless it’s someone swearing at someone, but not a hero/heroine. Heroes/heroines can swear, but should not use sexually derogatory terms for their partner(s). The sexual act should not be referred to in any derogatory manner, however, any orgasm cries where theoretically applicable will be judged by case to case basis. If possible, when writing historical fiction, go for the swearwords of the time, for the sake of consistency (plus, it’s fun).
- Hero/heroine cannot possibly exchange money/goods for sex or sexual favours, because that negates consent.
- Under no circumstances, should a partner seriously threaten their partner(s).
Supernatural Beings –
- Any human-sized elf or fairy creatures
- Centaurs (only if you have a good idea of how to avoid physiological issues in context of sex)
- Nature Spirits of any kind
If you have invented or use other supernatural beings not on this list, send us an email and inquire.
Guidelines on Characters –
Only use characters that you own or are in public domain, such as supernatural creatures.
For the use of any other characters, provide either the correct permissions** or clearly show that the applicable copyright has expired**.
** We can provide a ‘How To’ guide for these on request (these are currently a ‘work-in-progress’, so may take a little time to be sent).