SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

Overview

If it inspires dread, we want it. The Dread Machine publishes dark fiction, speculative fiction, science fiction, horror, and all adjacent genres. We do not accept religious fiction or erotica. All submissions must be in English.

We will accept previously published submissions. However, if you wish to have your submission featured as an Exclusive, it must be previously unpublished. We consider any work posted online (outside of private critique groups) to be previously published.

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 as many stories or poems as you’d like. Please use one form per submission.

Please send only your best work. We’re committed to establishing a competitive brand, known for producing high-quality fiction. In service of that mission, we are very 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, avoid cliches, and create a feeling of fear or dread. 

We highly recommend taking your time to compose a solid summary. If the summary doesn’t intrigue us, your submission may be rejected outright.

Word Count

MICROFICTION: No more than 100 words.
FLASH FICTION: Up to 1,000 words.
SHORT STORIES: Up to 7,500 words.
SERIALS: 15,000 – 20,000 words.

Tips

To increase the odds that your story will be accepted, we recommend the following:

Do not use passive voice unless it’s absolutely unavoidable. We prefer active fiction that makes readers feel present in the story. Readers find it extremely distracting when every other word is “is”, “was”, “were”, and “had been.”

Try to keep your short stories between 1,000 and 5,000 words. We accept short stories up to  7,500 words, but only rarely. The majority of accepted submissions range from 3,000 – 5,000 words.

Put the reader first. We adore artful and arcane writing, but it needs to be accessible for our readers. We consider story development to be a highly collaborative process that is most successful if we all agree our first duty is to the reader. If we feel your story could be more accessible to our readers, we will provide constructive criticism and suggested edits to help you get it published in The Dread Machine.

SUBMIT

Overview

If it inspires dread, we want it. The Dread Machine publishes dark fiction, speculative fiction, science fiction, horror, and all adjacent genres. We do not accept religious fiction or erotica. All submissions must be in English.

We will accept previously published submissions. However, if you wish to have your submission featured as an Exclusive, it must be previously unpublished. We consider any work posted online (outside of private critique groups) to be previously published.

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 as many stories or poems as you’d like. Please use one form per submission.

Please send only your best work. We’re committed to establishing a competitive brand, known for producing high-quality fiction. In service of that mission, we are very 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, avoid cliches, and create a feeling of fear or dread. 

We highly recommend taking your time to compose a solid summary. If the summary doesn’t intrigue us, your submission may be rejected outright.

Word Count

MICROFICTION: No more than 100 words.
FLASH FICTION: Up to 1,000 words.
SHORT STORIES: Up to 7,500 words.
SERIALS: 15,000 – 20,000 words.

Tips

To increase the odds that your story will be accepted, we recommend the following:

Do not use passive voice unless it’s absolutely unavoidable. We prefer active fiction that makes readers feel present in the story. Readers find it extremely distracting when every other word is “is”, “was”, “were”, and “had been.”

Try to keep your short stories between 1,000 and 5,000 words. We accept short stories up to  7,500 words, but only rarely. The majority of accepted submissions range from 3,000 – 5,000 words.

Put the reader first. We adore artful and arcane writing, but it needs to be accessible for our readers. We consider story development to be a highly collaborative process that is most successful if we all agree our first duty is to the reader. If we feel your story could be more accessible to our readers, we will provide constructive criticism and suggested edits to help you get it published in The Dread Machine.

Payment

Creators can get paid a variety of ways at The Dread Machine.

MACHINATIONS

We compensate contributors for accepted submissions in accordance with the following:

Poetry, Flash, and Micro: $20
Short Stories (up to 3,500 words): $50
Short Stories (up to 5,000 words): $75
Short Stories (up to 7,500 words): $100
Serials: Payment is calculated based on the length of each installment.
Reprints:
 $0.01 per word.

TRIBUTES

Mechanists have the ability to collect donations (“tribute”) from fans through our donation system. The Dread Machine awards these donations in full.

NARRATION RIGHTS

Mechanists can license the rights to narrate their Machinations. Mechanists set their own prices and authorize the sales to ensure their work only appears on channels and outlets they approve of. All purchasers are required to abide our Narration Terms & Conditions. From these sales, we take a $3 fee.

Mechanist Profiles

All authors and artists with approved submissions are given the title of “Mechanist,” along with their own contributor profile pages where their biographies, works, and social links will be located. Mechanists are automatically added to the Mechanist group and promoted to the Mechanist rank in our Discord server, where they can view and accept writing assignments from The Dread Machine.

As a community of creatives, we support our Mechanists by routinely promoting their work on our social media profiles by sharing links to their sites and events.

Rights

Domination of authors and  their creative works isn’t part of our business plan, nor something we’re interested in. Please feel free to review our Publication Agreement. If you have any questions, you’re welcome to email us or join our Discord server.

Response Time

We review all submissions within 14-21 days. If we expect it will take longer, we will notify you in advance.

Critique Policy

At The Dread Machine, we understand that art is highly subjective. As a rule, we do not offer unsolicited critiques. In our communications with creators, we aim to be constructive when we are asked to be. If you would like our feedback on your submission, indicate so by selecting the checkbox provided on the submission form. If you have any questions, please review our Critique Process.

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.)

Machinations

Become a Mechanist today! Send us your poetry, microfiction, flash, short stories, and serials. 

1986: The Anthology

Do you remember a time before the internet? Before we each carried a lifeline in our pockets? Before security cameras documented everything? Back when parents didn’t worry about their kids until after the street lights popped on? Do you remember how it felt to step into the neon-lit arcade on a Friday night, your pockets heavy with quarters?

For our very first anthology, we’re seeking dread-inspiring stories that take place in 1986—either the 1986 of our reality or an alternate version. Bring us back to a simpler, scarier time. Let’s make something radical together.