Recently at Bete Noire we received an email that a link about us from duotrope appeared on Rue Morgue forums asking what we are like, and hoping that we aren't "bitter or contemptuous" because of our guidelines and website.
Not at all. In actuality, our editors are quite quirky and humorous, with a deep love for Weird Al, Star Wars, good wine, obsession with favorite movies, and heavy metal of the 80's rock persuasion. So let me further elaborate on our guidelines.
We don't want Stephanie Meyer's sparkling, angst ridden teenage romance vampires. We'd like a unique twist, not the old cliches. Cemetery Dance, Apex Magazine, Suedopod are the same: they want uniqueness.
We like all dark speculative fiction, from poetry to short stories and artwork. Splatterpunk: not so much and we'll tell you why. If we get rid of all the gross details of blood, guts, entrails and ookiness, if there isn't a story there, then its gore for gore's sake. It's one thing to write a story simply to gross people out, and that's fine. I like Rob Zombie's remakes, and the we love the Saw series (first three). But to just have guts and gore for the sake of describing it without a tight story underneath, well, we're going to pass.
At Bete Noire, we know what we're looking for in speculative fiction. While we aren't favorites of Lovecraftian stories and poems, we will and do, publish them.
The story's central idea is the probably the most important thing that is going to sell us. The descriptions of people, their conversations, the beautiful prose that it entails are just gravy for us if there's a good story there. We're simple like that; we like our meat (story) and potatoes (prose and descriptions).
What do we do for those authors and artists that submit? If we accept you, we let you know as soon as possible. We like our quick response time because we're writers ourselves and know what it's like to wait to hear about submissions. If we don't accept it, we give you a reason why. It might be something simple like, "too many grammatical errors and run-on sentences make for a choppy read, but please polish and resubmit", to the detailed like, "you had a character Jane come in with a bloody axe on page two, but there's no other mention of her."
We're far from snobbish, and we certainly aren't bitter towards our submitters. Do we like Edwardian and Victorian horror, and crave Hitchcockian type stories: sure. But like all editors, while we have our favorites, we by no means play favorites and do not insult our submitters.
For us, we find joy in reading new authors and their work. It's as simple as that.
So in the future, before bending an ear to subjectual gossip, drop us a line with your questions, concerns, dirty limericks; we won't bite. Girl Scouts honor.