Important Note: This Anthology is for writers 12 and under.
Whether it's scary eyes under your bed or a scaly hand reaching out of your closet, every one of us had a nightmare vision when we were kids. You fought back against the darkness in ways that were as logical to a child as they are strangely universal.  You made sure mom and dad left the door open a crack so you could see a little bit of that hall light. You had a nightlight that looked like some beloved cartoon character. You ran and jumped into bed so nothing could grab your ankles. Most important of all, you hid under the blankets because you somehow knew that if you couldn't see it, it couldn't see you.

All of that resonates with us, from our own childhood and from familiar fiction, but there is something else we all did.  We told the stories of our monsters. We cried out to our parents.  We talked about them to our friends. Or we would sit up nights at sleepovers with the flashlight under our chins to air out our scary laundry.  But in the end, it is all dismissed as "overactive imagination" or "kid stuff." Your parents tucked you back in and told you not to worry. Your friends laughed or squealed. But what if there was a way to give voice to those frights that you could hold onto?  

Starburns Industries Press is here to say that just because something is "kid stuff" does not mean it isn't totally awesome and worthy of putting into a book. We want kids to tell the world about their monsters before they grow up and forget about them. 

For young writers, ages 12 and under, we are all ears. Tell us your story. Show off your nightmares. We will listen, we will pair you up with an artist to bring your darkness into the light, and we will print it into a book to share with the whole world.

Young Nightmare Writers

This is your chance to tell the world about that creepy dream you keep having, or the scariest thing that haunted your nights when you were younger. Express yourself. Be you. No matter how weird, or silly, or scary that may be. Here are a couple guidelines to help you on your way:
  • Most publishers prefer receiving stories submitted as a .doc file. This is true for us too, but we are not against receiving a PDF of a scanned story, handwritten by a young writer. Someone over here knows how to type, we'll manage.
  • Nightmares should be approximately 250-1000 words. However, this is a flexible guideline. Hemingway once wrote a complete story using only 6 words. So, basically, anything is possible.

Young Nightmare Artists

We will treat each nightmare as a unique story. Some may warrant an experienced, professional illustrator to bring them to life. Others might be better suited to have a talented young artist like yourself create them. We prefer that second one and this is your place to submit your art:

  • You can submit a portfolio of past work as a PDF, JPEG, PNG, or any other image file for your initial review.
  • If we work together, the finished work for "Nightmares" would need to be 300 DPI (printable resolution) and preferably as a PDF.
  • You may submit your own illustrated nightmare if you are one of those awesomely rare people that can draw and tell a story (lucky you), but this is also your chance to find someone to collaborate with.
  • If you like to draw or paint or whatever in different styles, please include a sample of all of the styles you work in. You never know which look will work best for which story.
  • You are free to send as many files as you want, just keep it all in one proposal so it doesn't get confusing for us. And remember, less can be more. The urge to send everything you've ever drawn can be strong, but it's usually better to limit it to just your best work.

Important "But Wait, I'm Just A Kid" Disclaimer:

We understand that this is a big undertaking for young creators who most likely do not have a lot of experience with things like this. A parent or guardian will need to sign the below Publishing Agreement and include it with your submission to "The Book of Nightmares"

Download the SBI Press Publication Release Form

If anyone has questions about how to proceed, please feel free to email

We can't wait to see what you guys come up with! Of course it's scary stuff, but try to have fun.


The SBI Team

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