Tales from The Lake Vol.6 submission guidelines:


We will accept submissions for the non-themed anthology Tales from the Lake Vol. 6 from November 1st, 2018 through January 1st, 2019. Compiled and edited by Mercedes M. Yardley and Eugene Johnson. Pays 3c a word (USD) upon publication.

Don’t miss out! In previous volumes we’ve published Jack Ketchum, Joe R. Lansdale, Graham Masterton, Ramsey Campbell, Elizabeth Massie, Tim Curran, Edward Lee, Gene O’Neill, Tim Waggoner, Bev Vincent, Kealan Patrick Burke, and many more.


  • Create believable, three-dimensional characters just as real as your friends and neighbors. The world these characters inhabit should be equally authentic, hitting all the senses.
  • We want stories that’ll haunt the readers for months to come.
  • Stories should be between 500 and 5,000 words max, with 3k to 4k being the sweet spot.
  • Originality is important—we don’t want your version of someone else’s story from yesteryear.
  • Although our arms are wide open, we’re more interested in fiction that reflects the modern. Kelly Link, Karen Russell, Joe Hill, and Damien Angelica Walters are prime examples of current dark fiction writers encapsulating the above in their work.
  • Quality of the work must be top notch! The authors mentioned above represent the high-water mark we’re looking for.


  • Stories sent before or after the submission window. These will not be read.
  • Rape stories or sexual abuse or any explicit abuse toward children or animals is expressly forbidden. This can however be mentioned or remembered by your character, but be subtle.
  • Stories that are not short horror stories.
  • Novels or novellas.
  • Stories with flat worlds.
  • To avoid too many writers writing about lakes, please keep in mind this is a non-themed anthology.


For this anthology we are paying 3 cents (USD) per word up to 5000 words via PayPal.


We DO NOT accept reprints, unless we approach an author for a specific reprint deemed suitable.

Simultaneous/multiple submissions:

We prefer you do not submit your story elsewhere while it’s being considered by us, especially if it’s been shortlisted. No multiple submissions, either. You get one shot. Make it count.


For the most part, acceptances will not go out until some time after the deadline. Rejections and shortlisting notices will go out sooner. Feel free to query by April 1, 2019.


We are seeking FIRST world rights, both in print, electronic, and audio forms as well as translation rights for an exclusive period of 1 year and then non-exclusive after that.


Submit your manuscript in Shunn Format (http://www.shunn.net/format/story.html) as a .doc or .docx attachment. Keep your cover letter brief, but relay any pertinent information. You should also include a short bio. Subject of your email should start with SUBMISSION and then the title of your story.

Please email your submission to: Lake6subs@gmail.com.

Are you familiar with our Tales from The Lake anthologies?

Make 2019 your year with our Speculative Daily Planners:
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Check out some of our On Writing books to improve your writing skills:

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Free On Writing eBook:

Here's a free eBook with On Writing advice from the likes of Jack Ketchum and Brian Hodge. Just click here to check it out.


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“Crystal Lake Publishing is everything a small horror press of distinction should be: committed to quality and beauty, forward thinking, and, above all, committed to readers and horror fans of all stripes.”

Kevin Lucia
Author of Through a Mirror, Darkly

“Crystal Lake Publishing have been a real pleasure to work with - professional, prompt, and with a true passion for the genre.”

Tim Lebbon
Author of The Silence and The Rage War

“Crystal Lake are good people doing fine work. Always worth watching for their latest.”

Jack Ketchum
Author of The Girl Next Door and Off Season

"It's always a pleasure working with Crystal Lake Publishing, an independent press whose professionalism mirrors the high quality of their work. So high, in fact, that their books are often shortlisted for This Is Horror Awards and in 2013 they were voted Publisher of the Year. If you're looking for an independent press at the top of their game, then congratulations you've just found them—long live Crystal Lake Publishing." Michael David Wilson, This Is Horror Founder

Michael Wilson
This Is Horror

“Crystal Lake Publishing is one of the best publishing companies I ever had the privilege of working with. They're tireless, organized, and their communication is superb. Every person I've worked with, from Joe Mynhardt to line editors to proof readers are friendly and exceptionally capable.  This love and care shows up in their diverse literary catalog, which ranges from short stories and novels to nonfiction. Crystal Lake is making me a better author, and that translates directly to a better experience to readers.”

Mercedes M. Yardley
Author of the Bram Stoker Award-winning Little Dead Red

Novel Submission Guidelines


Crystal Lake Publishing is officially opening for unsolicited novel submissions to fill a limited number of spots in our publishing schedule in 2019 and 2020. The submission period starts on December 01, 2018 and closes on December 31, 2018! We offer 40% royalties on eBook sales and 20% on paperbacks.


Crystal Lake Publishing has always prided itself in giving readers original, well-written, and memorable works, and it’s not about to stop anytime soon.

  • We’re looking for a diverse range of stories from authors of all walks of life. Give us unexplored story settings, different time periods, varied cultural backgrounds, and protagonists. The sky is the limits.
  • During our submission period we will be considering horror, dark fiction, and thrillers between 65,000 and 110,000 words. We don’t mind genre-bending concepts, so if you have a horror novel that has, for example, some sci-fi elements, we’ll still be happy to consider it for publication.
  • Unpublished work will be considered first, but we’re willing to have a look at out-of-print reprints, as long as the author retains all applicable rights. All previous publication information (for the submitted work only) must be disclosed in the cover letter, though.

Take note, however, that we are specifically looking for original, well-written, and memorable works. Anything that does not meet our high expectations will likely not be accepted for publication.


  • Fiction that is unoriginal or uses recycled themes. We like to be surprised!
  • No simultaneous or multiple submissions without notifying the editor first.

Please note that we will not consider the following submissions:

  • Poetry
  • Short stories
  • Children and Young Adult fiction (submissions for Children and Young Adult books will open in the future)
  • Educational/academic
  • Scripts for plays, television or film
  • Novellas
  • Science fiction
  • Fantasy (Dark Fantasy will be considered for acceptance, though)


  • Please use 12pt Times New Roman font, single-spaced lines, and indented paragraphs. Use italics (do not underline for italicized words).
  • Please include your full name, contact info, and word count on the first page of the document.
  • SELF-EDITING IS CRUCIAL! Make sure to self-edit your manuscript according to Monique Snyman’s preferences in Writers on Writing: Volume 1 (download the book for free here).


If you feel your manuscript falls within our guidelines, please send us the following:

  • 3 sample chapters (approximately 10,000 words). If more material is required you will be notified accordingly. Please do not send the entire manuscript at this stage.
  • A 1 page synopsis of the plot. Please make sure the synopsis is no longer than 1 page. We will not be able to review your manuscript without a synopsis.
  • Short author biography.
    • In the subject line of your email, please use: NOVELSUBS2018 – [ENTER MANUSCTRIPT TITLE] – [ENTER YOUR AUTHOR NAME].
    • Attach your manuscript, synopsis, and short author biography in either doc. or docx. file. (ONLY your cover letter should be in the body of the email).
    • Please send your submission to: monique.crystallakepub@gmail.com
  • Please ensure that your submission adheres to these guidelines. Submissions that do not comply with the guidelines stipulated above will not be considered for publication by Crystal Lake Publishing.
  • Submissions received before DECEMBER 01, 2018 and after DECEMBER 31, 2018 will be deleted unread.


Owing to the volume of submissions we receive, the initial screening process may, in some instances, take up to six weeks. All submissions are responded to via email. If you have not received an acceptance or rejection letter by mid-February, you’re welcome to query us.

Recommended Author Services:

If you're interested in these services, either click on those with links or email me (Joe Mynhardt) at crystallakepub@gmail.com to book your spot or throw some questions my way. You'll also find Crystal Lake Publishing's own mentoring services if you scroll down (there's even a great Goodreads post with 10 reasons why to sign up).

Sign up now for writing classes with Richard Thomas. Click now for a FREE Course Guide, and mention CLP for 10% off advanced classes.

Sharpen your editing skills with Frank Cernik. Whether you're an author or editor, take advantage of Crystal Lake's mentoring packages to book Frank Cernik for a full month (page down for more info on mentoring). You can also hire Frank if your novel needs some developmental editing. Just contact Joe at crystallakepub@gmail.com for more info or to book your spot.

Several author-centered tiers on Crystal Lake's Patreon page (monthly workshops and all non-fiction releases)

Joe Mynhardt's short story editing ($0.01 a word up to 10k only) - when available.

One hour in-depth Skype session with editor Ben Eads ($30)

Ben's editing services (1c a word)

Monique Snyman's editing services ($350 up to 80k words)

Stephanie M. Wytovich's editing services ($150 flat fee for a poetry manuscript edit of 70-100 pages. For fiction/non-fiction copy editing/proofreading: $30 an hour. For fiction/non-fiction content editing: $40 an hour)


Interior and cover artist. Email Luke at spoonsryuzaki(at)hotmail.co.uk for a quote (mentioning that you saw his info here will get you an even better price).

Interior layout ($100 for Kindle, ePub, and paperback. $75 for paperback only. $50 for Kindle & ePub only)

If you offer any author services you think we should check out and possibly recommend, just email me (Joe Mynhardt) at crystallakepub@gmail.com.

Crystal Lake Publishing's Mentoring Programs

Let us guide your career

Chris Musgrave Chris Musgrave, Author and Client

“A friendly and highly professional mentor scheme from the best of Crystal Lake's editorial team, with self-promotion and author platform advice from none other than Joe Mynhardt himself. The programme is tailor-made to the individual needs of a mentoree at any stage in their writing/editing career and includes a plethora of useful resources, one-to-one editing advice, and guidance from members of a press who clearly love and support authors, both established and new. I can't recommend it enough.”

Tom Deady Tom Deady, Author and Client

Crystal Lake's mentorship program is a highly personalized, month-long journey into the world of writing and publishing. Whether you're just starting your first story or you've published successfully, there is something for you in this program. The materials alone are worth the cost, but the one-on-one attention from Joe, Monique, and Ben are priceless. These folks are dedicated to their profession and honest about making you better at your craft. Highly recommended.”

Spearheaded by Joe Mynhardt and three Crystal Lake editors (Monique Snyman, Ben Eads, and Stephanie M. Wytovich), we’re offering three unique mentoring programs to authors (including fiction, poetry, and career guidance). 

Over the last six years, Joe Mynhardt has edited fiction and non-fiction from the likes of Wes Craven, Jack Ketchum, Graham Masterton, Joe R. Lansdale, Lisa Morton, Jonathan Janz, Kealan Patrick Burke, Tim Waggoner, William Meikle, Jonathan Maberry, Mercedes M. Yardley, Ramsey Campbell, Edward Lee, and hundreds more. Joe is also the founder and CEO of Crystal Lake Publishing. He's living the dream by working full time from home, and loves helping others achieve their goals.

Ben Eads has edited fiction that has been published by Cemetery Dance, Dark Discoveries, Dark Regions Press, Crystal Lake Publishing, and Omnium Gatherum. He is currently editing Tales from The Lake Volume: 4, featuring Joe R. Lansdale, Damien Angelica Walters, Gene O’Neill, and Kealan Patrick Burke.

Monique Snyman started off her career by editing dissertations for university graduates before she branched out into fiction and non-fiction. Over the years, as a content editor, she’s worked with a variety of authors at different levels in their careers, trying her best to make an otherwise daunting experience as pleasant as possible. She is currently the in-house editor at Crystal Lake Publishing, and has been nominated as the Best Editor of the Year at the SAIR Books Festival in 2015.

Stephanie M. Wytovich is an American poet, novelist, and essayist. Her work has been showcased in numerous anthologies such as Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, Shadows Over Main Street: An Anthology of Small-Town Lovecraftian Terror, Year's Best Hardcore Horror: Volume 2, The Best Horror of the Year: Volume 8, as well as many others. 
Wytovich is the Poetry Editor for Raw Dog Screaming Press, an adjunct at Western Connecticut State University and Point Park University, and a mentor with Crystal Lake Publishing. She is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, an active member of the Horror Writers Association, and a graduate of Seton Hill University’s MFA program for Writing Popular Fiction. Her Bram Stoker Award-winning poetry collection, Brothel, earned a home with Raw Dog Screaming Press alongside Hysteria: A Collection of Madness, Mourning Jewelry, and An Exorcism of Angels. Her debut novel, The Eighth, is published with Dark Regions Press. 
Follow Wytovich at http://stephaniewytovich.blogspot.com/ and on twitter @JustAfterSunset​.

Shortly after his Fulbright teaching grant, Frank Cernik switched from editing literary magazines to developing novels. Since then, he has worked with independent authors in every genre from workplace comedy to space opera to medical suspense and horror. He helped found the Editorial Freelancers Association's Diversity Initiative and its Welcoming program in 2017. The two things he wants now are to strengthen literary communities and a sweet ghost tattoo.

Here are just a few aspects our mentoring programs cover:
  • Creating believable characters
  • Creating believable worlds
  • Dialogue & Description
  • Interacting with readers
  • Showing vs. Telling
  • Themes and layering
  • Plotting (unless you’re a pantser)
  • Story structure
  • Editing your own work
  • Enhancing your voice
  • Building a brand and a long term career
  • Search engine optimization for your books
  • Website plug-ins for authors
  • Marketing & Copy Writing
  • Brainstorming sessions
  • Writing emotional poetry
  • Developmental editing

Choose between our services to best satisfy your needs (and wallet)

Email Joe Mynhardt at crystallakepub@gmail.com with your choice, or if you have any questions. These spots fill up fast, so you need to book your spot a few months in advance.

  • Full mentorship program

    Limited to three clients a month, this option will give you access to two of the four Crystal Lake editors as well as the publisher for a full month’s mentoring. This option is not purely for editing your existing stories, but for improving your craft and moving your career forward. This option costs only $150. You’ll also join an exclusive mailing list for weekly inspiration and tips from the team. Just email Joe Mynhardt at crystallakepub@gmail.com to book your spot.

  • Mentoring by a Crystal Lake editor

    Limited to three clients a month, you get to choose one of our four editors to not only help you get your work in peak condition, but to teach you new techniques, skills, and exercises. For poetry, Stephanie M. Wytovich is the one to choose. To sharpen your editing skills, Frank Cernik is the one. And $75 is all it takes. Just email Joe Mynhardt at crystallakepub@gmail.com to book your spot or ask a few questions.

  • Career mentoring by founder and CEO of Crystal Lake Publishing

    Limited to three clients a month. Publisher and Crystal Lake owner Joe Mynhardt has been promoting Dark Fiction authors since 2012, and for a full month Joe will work with you on reaching more readers, marketing online, building a brand, and brainstorming the best options for your career ahead, focusing on your strengths. You’ll also join an exclusive mailing list for continued support. This option is a giveaway at only $80. Just email Joe Mynhardt at crystallakepub@gmail.com to book your spot.