SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

Overview

The Dread Machine publishes futuristic dark fiction, speculative fiction, cyberpunk, slipstream, and science fiction. We do not accept religious fiction, fetish horror, or erotica. All submissions must be in English.

We will accept previously published submissions, but not those that are available to the public online. If your story already appears online for free, publishing it would negatively impact both our SEO and that of the other publisher. We will accept previously published stories that are available online only if those stories are hidden behind a paywall.

We do accept simultaneous submissions. If someone else snatches your submission up before we do, we’d appreciate it if you let us know so we can remove it from our queue.

We accept multiple submissions. You may send us up to three stories simultaneously.

Remove all personal identifying information from your file before uploading. Put identifying information in your cover letter, not in the filename, header, and/or footer of your story. We use a blind submission review process. Our readers 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. We believe all writers deserve a fair shot. Stories must stand on their own, apart from the writer’s notoriety and achievements.

Please send only your best work. We’re a small team with a tight budget, but we’re committed to establishing a competitive brand known for publishing high-quality fiction. In service of that mission (and out of necessity), we are extremely selective and strategic about which submissions and authors we invest in. Before submitting, familiarize yourself with the content we have already published on the site. Do your best to ensure your submission is free of obvious typos and grammatical errors. Content should be well-written and avoid clichés. Not every ending has to be dreadful. We welcome wholesome and happy conclusions.

WISHLIST

We want:

  • DARK, FUTURISTIC STORIES
  • CYBERPUNK
  • LITERARY SCIFI
  • MAGICAL REALISM
  • ALTERNATE REALITIES
  • DIVERSE PROTAGONISTS
  • UNIQUE DYSTOPIAS/UTOPIAS
  • UNCONVENTIONAL SOCIETIES

HARD SELLS

We’re not likely to accept:

  • EROTICA
  • VIGNETTES
  • FOLKTALES
  • CONFESSIONS
  • MYTHS/LEGENDS
  • PANDEMIC STORIES
  • LOVECRAFT PASTICHE
  • FANTASY (SWORD & SORCERY)

HARD PASSES

We won’t publish anything celebrating:

  • SUICIDE
  • TORTURE
  • PEDOPHILIA
  • RELIGIOUS FICTION
  • CHILD/ANIMAL ABUSE
  • SEXUAL ASSAULT/INCEST
  • SCHOOL/MASS SHOOTINGS
  • GRAPHIC DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

To avoid a potential ban, Please query before submitting stories that feature themes listed under our "Hard Passes."

Word Count

Word count limitations are based on our budget and not negotiable.

ORIGINAL FICTION: Up to 5,000 words.
REPRINTS: Up to 7,000 words.

Edits

It’s exceptionally rare that submissions arrive in publishable condition. Nearly all stories require some degree of editing. You can learn more about our process here.

Rates

Payment is calculated based on the word count of the final draft.

ORIGINAL FICTION: $0.03 per word.
REPRINTS: $0.01 per word.
POETRY: $10 per poem.

Payment

Payment is sent via Paypal the first Monday of the month a story is scheduled to be published. We do not utilize other third-party invoicing or payment apps (Square, Venmo, Wave, Intuit, etc.).

Rights

Domination of authors and  their creative works isn’t part of our business plan. Review our Publication Agreement. If you have any questions, you’re welcome to email us or join our Discord server.

Response Time

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.

RE: Rejections

We have a large team of Gatekeepers who are responsible for reading submissions. The editor only sees stories that have been approved by the entire team. Please do not email her asking why your story was declined.

Copyright Protections

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.)

Stay informed