Unnerving Books

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The themes are fairly open (not interested in stories that revolve around people feeling unloved or out of place, nor sad tales about sad people being sad, seriously don't send me this stuff, I don't want it), but my favorite stuff resembles the glory days of horror 70s, 80s, even the early 90s. Stuff like Stephen King's Pet Sematary, The Shining, Carrie, Revival, Creepshow. Think Douglas Clegg, Ray Garton, John Saul, Michael McDowell, Thomas Tryon, and so on. Also, open to absurdity, splatterpunk, dark comedy, smut.



The themes are fairly open (not interested in police procedurals, nor copaganda, no cozy mysteries). Think the TV show Good Girls, violent road stories like The Hitchhiker and Duel, and dark family mysteries like Dark Places. Hard Case-esque stuff, authors like Donald Westlake, Sara Gran, Megan Abbott, Joyce Carol Oates’ suspense stuff (think The Corn Maiden and Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang), anything by Walter Mosley, sordid thrillers surrounding regular people, and so on. Smut welcome.


Think authors like Denis Johnson, Ottessa Moshfegh, Donald Ray Pollock, Annie Proulx, Donn Pearce, George Saunders, and so on.

The finished products will need to be between 20,000 and 110,000 words in length. 50/50 net royalties split. No contract fees. 5-year publishing terms. Send complete, polished manuscript, in a Word format to unnervingsubs@gmail.com Put genre of submission in subject line.  No PDFs, please.

Stories written using AI tech will not be considered.

If you have a finished project you think I might be interested in that doesn't fit the above, feel free to shoot me an email.

Preferred Query Letter Style for Standalone Submissions


Submit to: 

Subject line: Title/Name/Word Count

Example: Carrie/Stephen King/67,000 Words






Brief synopsis of pertinent information of story submitted.

Example: Carrie White is a chubby loser with no friends, a religious-obsessive and abusive mother, and the gift of telekinesis—skills which she hones in quiet loneliness. A cool couple feels guilty for a prior transgression and attempt to integrate Carrie into high school society, unaware it will trigger a revenge plot against the girl. Embarrassed and enraged by the plot, Carrie uses her supernatural powers to destroy the high school society, town, and mother who have kept her down.

Top five writing credits.

Example: The Glass Floor – Startling Mystery Stories (Fall, 1967)

The Reaper’s Image – Startling Mystery Stories (Spring, 1969)

The Blue Air Compressor – Onan (January, 1971)

It Grows on You – Mashroots (Fall, 1973)

Nine short stories – Cavalier Magazine (1970-74)


Bio, maximum of one hundred fifty words.

Example: Stephen King teaches English at Hampden Academy and earned his English degree from University of Maine at Orono. His short stories have appeared in several journals, magazines, and periodicals. He lives in Maine with his wife and their children.


Links to your social media accounts and website (if you have one).

Not on social media? I probably won’t publish you. Selling indie books is a team effort.

Final note: Unnerving books do not include trigger warnings as the only logical route beyond normalizing this activity is weaponizing it against free speech. (If you think this is an exaggeration, consider horror comic history, and the voluntary decision to follow the Comics Code Authority rules.) If this is a deal breaker, do not submit to Unnerving.

Points to note prior to submitting:

-I consider THE LAWNMOWER MAN a crowning achievement of literature.

-I am not impressed by big words or complicated sentences.

-Suspense is a vitally important factor of what I'll print.

-Character depth is just as important.

-Humor is good.

-I am very easily bored.

-Don't open a story with the weather unless it's deadly.

-To quote Mighty Mickey Goldmill: "Speed is what ya need."



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