The Dread Machine publishes futuristic dark fiction, speculative fiction, cyberpunk, slipstream, and science fiction. We love art and have decided to start accepting cover submissions. Here are the rules:
No generated art. Robots won’t be taking artist jobs at The Dread Machine. We love Midjourney and use it to create the feature images on this site, but we prefer not to use generated images on our covers. (You are welcome to join our Discord and generate some feature image art with us there, though!)
All submitted art must be entirely unpublished. Please don’t post your submission online until after it has gone through our blind review process.
We accept simultaneous submissions. If someone else snatches your submission up before we do, we’d appreciate it if you’d immediately remove it from our queue by withdrawing via Moksha.
We accept multiple submissions. You may send us up to three art submissions simultaneously. Please do not combine your submissions. Each must be rated and reviewed independently.
We use an entirely blind submission review process. Remove all personal identifying information from your file before uploading. Put identifying information in your cover letter, not in the filename or on the art piece. Our team should not know your name, address, phone number, or email address, nor should they have a long list of your professional accomplishments or links to your social media profiles. Please remove this information entirely, or your submission will be rejected for not following the guidelines. This is a firm policy. In addition to valuing your privacy, we believe all artists deserve a fair shot. Submissions must stand on their own, apart from the artist’s notoriety and achievements.
Domination of artists and their creative works isn’t part of our business plan. The Dread Machine requires a royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, display, distribute, and publish your artwork in any of our materials (promotional social media ads, mostly). You retain all other rights to your artwork and will always be credited. If you have any questions, you’re welcome to email us or join our Discord server.
We pay $300 per cover, plus two paperback contributor copies.
Payment is sent via Paypal immediately after formatting is complete. We do not utilize other third-party invoicing or payment apps (Square, Venmo, Wave, Intuit, etc.).
We strive to review all submissions within two months, but we sometimes run behind. Before inquiring about the status of your submission, we encourage you to check your submission status on Moksha.
Our print issues measure 6 x 9 inches, but spine thickness varies, depending on the issue’s length. We recommend working on an 8 x 11 canvas, placing focal elements on their own layers. During the layout phase, artists may need to make slight adjustments to keep elements of the artwork from being obscured by the cover text. Download a recent version of our template here.
You may submit files in .pdf, .jpeg, .jpg, .png, or .svg.
Please do not email any of our staff asking why your submission was declined. We have a large team of Gatekeepers who are responsible for reviewing submissions. The Executive Editor (Alin Walker) only sees submissions that have been approved by the entire team, including both the Acquiring Editor (Monica Louzon) and the Managing Editor (Timothy Burkhardt).
To keep our response times as short as possible, all rejections (and acceptances) are forms. We understand that people dislike forms. Unfortunately, we don’t have the capacity to send personal responses. You can learn about our forms (and more) here.
We take author and artist protections very seriously and do our absolute best to protect the content we publish. You’ll notice that you can’t make selections, drag and drop, right click, or download images. Should any of the works published here be ripped off in any way (we’re looking at you, YouTubers and podcasters), we’re willing to help creators seek justice and, if necessary, revenge. (We’re quite partial to arson, but we’re open to other options.)
Here are some examples of the styles, colors, moods, and themes that are resonating with us right now. We love images that tell a whole ass story. Show us bizarre and beautiful places, unsettling scenarios, and nightmare-inducing creatures. Bring us to neon-drenched cities and our post-human future. Get weird with it. Make us feel something.
(Oh, and don’t follow Alin on Tumblr unless you’re really into Disco Elysium, synthwave, and retro post-futuristic liminal spaces.)