The Concept – MCSI: Magical Crime Scene Investigation
Sometimes the tools that mundane detectives use to solve the crimes of the world just aren’t enough – sometimes you have to call on a little magic. We’re looking for urban fantasy stories that involve a crime scene and require the investigator to use magic or engage the aid of a magical being to solve the crime. Did the house’s hob see what really happened in the domestic violence incident? Does a detective come into possession of a genie’s lamp that will grant him one wish, and he uses it to solve the case that got away? Does your gumshoe use a tracking spell to find the perpetrator using a few strands of hair she found at the scene? The people in your world can use magic openly or on the sly, it’s all up to you. But your story must be urban fantasy, and involve a crime scene and magic in some way.
What we don’t want to see:
On page sexual assault, child abuse, or animal abuse – this is an immediate rejection. Your investigator may be trying to solve one of those crimes, but we will not accept a story with one of those crimes happening on the page.
Gratuitous anything – violence, sex, profanity, doesn’t matter. If it is not integral to the story and it’s not advancing the plot or character development, we don’t want to see blood, gore, or sex just for shock value’s sake (this goes for language too). We are not opposed to violence, sex, or profanity – as long as it belongs in the story and it’s not just there to shock and titillate. Think of how far we’re willing to go based on the well known movie rating system – if it would qualify for a PG, PG-13, or R rating, we’ll look at it. If it would be NC-17 or up, we’ll have to pass, thank you.
Thinly veiled fan fiction of another author’s world and characters. We’re looking for your original work.
Poorly researched magic systems or magical creatures from a culture you are not familiar with. If you are going to venture into new worlds or cultures, make sure you’ve done your research and you know all the rules, taboos, and how to pronounce the names.
What we do want to see:
Comedy, comedy, comedy! We truly don’t see enough of this in the slush pile and giving us something that makes us laugh will give you a leg up on the competition.
Diverse protagonists – we’ve got nothing against the classic gumshoes of the noir era (usually white males), but we want to see something new. This doesn’t mean we won’t accept a story with a white male lead, but you’re going to have to knock our socks off.
Magic systems and magical creatures outside of the typical European-based fare that’s dominated Western publishing for so long. Again, we want something new and fresh; and if you do use the more well known European-based magic and creatures, you’re going to have to wow us.
We’re looking for stories that fall in the 3,000 to 10,000 word range. We will consider looking at stories outside this range, but they need to be just too good for us to pass up. You have a much better chance if you keep the word count within our range. Please query us before sending a story outside of the word count guidelines.
We prefer unpublished, original fiction. However, we will consider including one or two reprints in this anthology, but only if they are overwhelmingly fantastic. Make sure you let us know if your story has been published elsewhere before.
We wish to purchase exclusive print, e-book, and audio rights for one year, and non-exclusive print, e-book, and audio rights for a period of five years after that, with the option to re-negotiate additional years of rights after that. We are asking for audio rights because if we can get funding, we also want to produce an audio version using professional voice talent.
Unpublished stories earn a onetime fee of $25 plus one contributor’s copy for the original terms of the contract. Reprints earn a onetime fee of $10 plus one contributor’s copy for the original terms of the contract. Payment is within 90 days of publication.
Sending your submission:
We will be accepting electronic submissions only. Make sure you put “MCSI” in your email subject line. No simultaneous or multiple submissions please. Send your story as a .doc or .rtf file to submissions at otterlibris dot com.
We will be open for submissions for the anthology beginning on October 1, 2017 and close to submissions on January 31, 2018. Any submissions received outside of this window will be deleted unread. We expect to respond to submissions throughout the window with a “no, thanks” or “we’d like to hold this for further consideration,” with final decisions going out approximately six to eight weeks after the closing date.
Expected Publication Date:
We will be running a Kickstarter to generate interest and word of mouth in June 2018, and we expect to publish the anthology in August of 2018.