SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

Overview

If it inspires dread, we want it. The Dread Machine publishes dark fiction, speculative fiction, cyberpunk, science fiction, horror, and all adjacent genres. 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.

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, avoid cliches, and create a feeling of fear or dread, and that feeling must be central to the narrative. 

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

Word Count

ORIGINAL FICTION: Up to 3,500 words.
REPRINTS: Up to 7,500 words.
SERIALS: Up to 10,000 words.

Rates

ORIGINAL FICTION: $0.03 per word.
REPRINTS: $0.01 per word.

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 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 Dashboard. 

Edits

It’s exceptionally rare that submissions arrive in publishable condition. Nearly all stories require some degree of editing. Our Publication Agreement grants our team the authority to edit accepted stories for style, usage, and felicity. We never make substantial edits to any narrative’s plot, but we are committed to delivering outstanding, memorable, sharable stories to our subscribers. To satisfy this goal, our editorial team will ensure your story has been professionally treated to meet or exceed our readers’ expectations.

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.)

RE: Rejections

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

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 submitting your story through our critique form. If you have any questions, please review our Critique Process.

SUBMIT

Overview

If it inspires dread, we want it. The Dread Machine publishes dark fiction, speculative fiction, cyberpunk, science fiction, horror, and all adjacent genres. 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.

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, avoid cliches, and create a feeling of fear or dread, and that feeling must be central to the narrative. 

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

Word Count

ORIGINAL FICTION: Up to 3,500 words.
REPRINTS: Up to 7,500 words.
SERIALS: Up to 10,000 words.

Rates

ORIGINAL FICTION: $0.03 per word.
REPRINTS: $0.01 per word.

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 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 Dashboard. 

Edits

It’s exceptionally rare that submissions arrive in publishable condition. Nearly all stories require some degree of editing. Our Publication Agreement grants our team the authority to edit accepted stories for style, usage, and felicity. We never make substantial edits to any narrative’s plot, but we are committed to delivering outstanding, memorable, sharable stories to our subscribers. To satisfy this goal, our editorial team will ensure your story has been professionally treated to meet or exceed our readers’ expectations.

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.)

RE: Rejections

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

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 submitting your story through our critique form. If you have any questions, please review our Critique Process.

OPEN CALLS

CYBERPUNK & FUTURISTIC HORROR

We’re desperate for more androids, cyborgs, and urban dystopias.

A publication with this much neon deserves more cybernetics, hacktivists, clones, artificial intelligence, evil megacorporations, flying cars, space travel, intrusive surveillance, and electric sheep.

UNDERREPRESENTED VOICES AND PROTAGONISTS

We strongly believe representation matters. Our readers are very interested in reading authentic stories featuring diverse and intersectional protagonists. 

Send us tales of righteous Black covens, gay time travelers, Latinx Final Girls, and genderqueer vampire slayers.

The Dread Machine stands in solidarity with marginalized writers and is committed to amplifying their voices.

Submit

Short Stories

Become a Mechanist today! Send us your originals, reprints, and serials!

1986: The Anthology

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.