To go to the actual submission page of calls you are interested in, click on the DETAILS heading of each market.
The Other Stories
Upcoming Themes for Consideration
Time Travel - deadline April 5th
Alternative Realities - deadline April 19th
Pay: $10 a story
Word range: 2,000
Simultaneous submissions? yes
This is one of my favorite markets and communities. The Other Stories podcast is a project by Hawk & Cleaver and they are fun and responsive. I often listen to their creepy short stories when I am in the car.
These aren't the stories your mother used to tell you ... no, these are The Other Stories.
The Other Stories is a weekly short story podcast. A modern take on The Twilight Zone, Tales From The Crypt, or The Outer Limits. Sci-Fi, Horror, Thriller, WTF stories delivered right to your podcast feed every Monday morning.
"If you think you’ve got what it takes to terrify, scar and haunt our audience of 10,000 daily listeners, then we want your stories!
If accepted, we'll get our fantastic narration team to lend their voices, our editor will sprinkle some magic pixie dust on the track, and you could have your story heard by thousands of listeners each week.”
They’ve even purchased one of my pieces. I wrote a piece about a woman stuck in an immersion chamber in response to a call for stories about “Silence”.
Even though they have sent me five rejections, the tone of them is always encouraging. Here is one for “The Black Hole of Enlightenment” (still not picked up):
“Thanks for this. Although we did enjoy it, the ending didn't quite come together as strongly as we would've liked. We won't be running this one but would love to see more of your work.”
And another for “The New Mutants” (bought by Third Flatiron Publishing):
“Thanks for sending this story in! We always enjoy reading one of your stories when they come in. We think you've got a terrific voice! Unfortunately, this story didn't quite land as strongly with some of our readers as the others so we're going to pass on this one. I'd love to see more of your stuff, though, so please keep writing!!!”
Science Fiction, Horror
With the success of our first two MIDNIGHT anthologies, MIDNIGHT IN THE GRAVEYARD and MIDNIGHT IN THE PENTAGRAM, it’s time to roll out the 3rd in our ever growing series - MIDNIGHT FROM BEYOND THE STARS!
Silver Shamrock Publishing is announcing its Open Call for the MIDNIGHT FROM BEYOND THE STARS anthology.
We are looking for original alien horror stories with a The Thing/Alien/The Blob/Critters/Night of the Creeps kind of vibe.
This is the advice they give for Novel/Novella submissions, which gives you a feel for their tastes:
...GENRES ARE CLASSICS FOR A REASON. PEOPLE WANT TO READ THEM, BUT YOU HAVE TO BREATHE NEW LIFE INTO THEM. ATMOSPHERE, CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT AND STORY, STORY, STORY. WE CAN’T STRESS THIS ENOUGH. WE ENJOY GORE AND SEX, BUT IT HAS TO MAKE SENSE TO THE STORY AND BE JUSTIFIED. TOO MUCH OF EITHER AND IT SIMPLY BECOMES NUMBING TO THE READER.
2) WHAT WE DON’T WANT?
TORTURE PORN ROMANCE/EROTICA ZOMBIES SERIAL KILLERS - WHILE WE DO LOVE ASYLUMS/DERANGED LUNATICS, THIS IS HARD TO DO WELL. YOU WOULD HAVE TO WOW US! POETRY YOUNG ADULT REPRINTS SHORT STORY COLLECTIONS
Thank you for your submission of “The Patron Saint of Livestock” for consideration of inclusion in MIDNIGHT IN THE PENTAGRAM. As you can imagine, the competition is fierce and we’ve seen many wonderful stories. While I think your story has promise, it didn’t quite make the cut to be included in the anthology. I wish you luck in finding a home for it and would like to encourage you to watch for our future open calls and keep submitting. Good luck in all your future endeavors.
General Horror Flash Fiction
Deadline April 15th
Open to submission every month from the 1st to the 15th
Preference to Dread Inducing Stories
Founder: Alec Ebenstein
Pay: $10 a story
Word range: 500-1000
Simultaneous submissions? yes
Dread Stone Press is a new independent publisher based in Michigan. We make no bones about it – our goal is to publish the best in horror, but we strive to specifically amplify fresh voices in horror. While we love all kinds of dark speculative fiction, as the name suggests, our tastes tend toward horror stories that seep dread. That being said, if you have a story that fits an open submission call, we want to read it.
Please, for everyone’s sake, no rough drafts. Successful pieces will require little to no proofreading edits.
I've never submitted to this market.
Through the wardrobe, into the woods, going under a mysterious highway bridge, crawling into a cave, logging in to an online game, escaping into a world within your own--wherever the portal is, you no longer are. In this anthology, a collection of portal fantasies follow protagonists from all parts of our world into a new, fantastic reality. These portals could lead to another planet, a different reality, a magical land in need of a savior, or a past version of our world steeped in steam, magic, or over-run by a villainous overlord. Stories of fantasy, LitRPG, sci-fi, literature, steampunk, time travel--so long as someone from one world passes into another--are acceptable.
This is a new publishing company, just founded this year. The Mission Statement says:
"SummerStorm Press is an independent author service for aspiring writers. We believe in following the traditions of those publishers who came before and do our best to lift authors up. Our mission is to give first time and struggling authors a leg up when they embark on their publication journey, allowing them to manage their own creative journey. SummerStorm Press does not believe creative writing and storytelling are for the pursuit of fame and riches. While we are a small operation, we give our all to get authors started. We take a percentage of royalties made from novel-length book sales and offer one-time payments for each story accepted into our anthologies. The profits from those book sales go to helping SummerStorm Press stay afloat as we give our knowledge and effort to our authors. Money made by the sales of our books goes right back into the production of the next book. Our goal is not to make you rich or ourselves rich."
I have not submitted to this market yet, but I find this call interesting. I love portal fantasy and have one previously published in Mannison Press's Little Boy Lost Anthology. (See works page of this website.)
The Grey rooms
Think R-Rated HBO styled shows where your story’s main character must be killed at the end of the story, or the narrative must heavily imply that the main character will die just after the story concludes.
1.) Stories must be original submissions. To be considered for the Grey Rooms, stories may not have been published in a printed or ebook format, or produced as a podcast or radio drama narrative.
2.) Your story’s main character must be killed at the end of the story, or the narrative must heavily imply that the main character will die just after the story concludes.
3.) In general, content in Grey Rooms stories is similar to what you might find in a Rated R horror film, or an HBO series. Violent acts, psychodrama, confrontational ideas, torture, and pulpy demonic explosions are all welcome additions to the Grey Rooms.
4.) Sexual encounters with underage characters, of any kind, is not acceptable content for Grey Rooms stories.
5.) Rape or sexual assault of any kind is never acceptable content for Grey Rooms stories.
6.) Abuse or torture of children is never acceptable content for Grey Rooms stories. While horror may happen because of children, or around children, we are not looking to publish fictional depictions of children suffering.
7.) Racially charged violence for the sake of it is never acceptable content for Grey Rooms stories.
8.) There are no genre restrictions to Grey Rooms anthology stories. While the frame story each season aims for a specific tone, anthology stories can be any space you desire to explore. In the past we’ve published mysteries, sci-fi, fantasy, love stories, and even a story with a fluffy stuffed bear.
9.) Above all else, the Grey Rooms is a horror podcast. That means that your story should be a horror story. Horror means a lot of things to a lot of people. We encourage authors to consider the many different ways horror can be considered (Alien vs. IT), genre-specific interpretations (Haunting of Hill House vs. The Conjuring), and how horror can speak to people beyond simple scare factor (Get Out, The Shining, Silence of the Lambs).
I've yet to submit to The Grey Rooms, but they are definitely on my radar. I am very excited by the idea of writing in a radio play format. (They will accept prose format this season.)
Horror, Speculative & Literary
Frost zone Zine
Frost Zone Zine is a quarterly anthology and wants spooky stories and eerie poetry. Their first issue was published in September, 2020. The website says: “The range of story types sought is broad: classic, gothic, supernatural, quiet, and psychological horror, near-future dystopian tales, other speculative fiction, realistic terror (extreme weather, danger in nature, being lost – to name a few), dark folklore and fairytale, dark fantasy, dark literary fiction, and more.”
Frost Zone Zine wants Supernatural. Quiet. Gothic. Paranormal. Eerie. Strange. Folklore. Magic.
Do not send material that is offensive, promotes or describes hate, torture, or abuse, is excessively gory or violent; no slasher. No religious, sexual, explicitly adult situations, or politics. No space opera. No fan fiction. No ‘formula’ stories. No derivative works. No media tie-ins, or current events/pop culture references.
They use greensubmissions.com and my rejection was posted there: Thank you for submitting "The Black Hole of Enlightenment". We will not be moving forward with this story, but wish you the best of luck with your writing.”
Horror stories that incorporate some element of art or craft. This theme calls for stories that are fantastic, imaginative, spooky, scary, supernatural, horrifying, chilling, weird, amazing, twisted, light, or dark. Seeking imaginative and original stories that are supernatural, spooky, horrifying, chilling, weird, amazing, scary, light or dark.
the characters – artists, crafters, hobbyists, artistic tradespeople, or those who own, interact with, or come across their work.
the fruits of their labour (if they play a part in the plot) – toys, jewellery, wrought iron, stained glass, woodwork, paintings, knitted or sewn goods, ceramics, leatherwork, etc.
the plot: the plot has to move and not be weighed down with frivolity.
the writing: Well-constructed, concise, smooth transitioning original tales.
I have not seen or submitted to this anthology before. But it's unique, yes? (My mom is writing a story for this.)
Fantasy & Science Fiction
Clarkesworld is an award-winning science fiction and fantasy magazine. A SFWA-qualifying market, it was first published in 2006 and is one of the top places speculative fiction writers want to see their work. It comes out monthly, and contains interviews, stories, and articles. They accept stories from all over the world and say translations are welcome. They also have a podcast which features a story from the current issue.
The submission guidelines state: “Science fiction need not be “hard” SF, but rigor is appreciated. Fantasy can be folkloric, contemporary, surreal, etc. That said, there are some things that we’ve grown tired of and can be difficult or impossible to sell to us: (this is not a challenge) • stories that include zombies or zombie-wannabes • stories about sexy vampires, wanton werewolves, wicked witches, or demonic children • stories about rapists, murderers, child abusers, or cannibals • stories where the climax is dependent on the spilling of intestines • stories in which a milquetoast civilian government is depicted as the sole obstacle to either catching some depraved criminal or to an uncomplicated military victory • stories where the Republicans, or Democrats, or Libertarians, or . . . (insert any established political party or religion here) take over the world and either save or ruin it • stories in which the words “thou” or “thine” appear • stories with talking cats or swords • stories where FTL travel or time travel is as easy as is it on television shows or movies • stories about young kids playing in some field and discovering ANYTHING. (a body, an alien craft, Excalibur, ANYTHING). • stories about the stuff you just read in Scientific American or saw on the news • stories about your RPG character’s adventures • “funny” stories that depend on, or even include, puns • stories where the protagonist is either widely despised or widely admired simply because he or she is just so smart and/or strange • stories originally intended for someone’s upcoming theme anthology or issue (everyone is sending those out, wait a while) • your trunk stories • stories that try to include all of the above”
“Thank you for the opportunity to read "The Metamorphosis." Unfortunately, your story isn't quite what we're looking for right now. In the past, we've provided detailed feedback on our rejections, but I'm afraid that due to time considerations, we're no longer able to offer that service. I appreciate your interest in Clarkesworld Magazine and hope that you'll keep us in mind in the future.”
Fantasy & Science Fiction
Uncanny magazine specializes in stories that make you feel. Classifying itself as an on-line/eBook/podcast SF/F magazine, their cover art is breathtaking. It has won multiple Hugo Awards, a Parsec Award, and a British Fantasy Award. The two Editors-in-Chief; Lynne M. Thomas, and Michael Damian Thomas, have also won several Hugo Awards. It is a SFWA-qualified market. From the website: “Uncanny Magazine is an online Science Fiction and Fantasy magazine featuring passionate SF/F fiction and poetry, gorgeous prose, provocative nonfiction, and a deep investment in the diverse SF/F culture. Each issue contains intricate, experimental stories and poems with verve and imagination that elicit strong emotions and challenge beliefs, from writers of every conceivable background. Uncanny believes there’s still plenty of room in the genre for tales that make you feel.”
Lynne M. Thomas (co-publisher & editor-in-chief) said in a reddit interview: “For me it's not necessarily about a kind of story, it's about how the kind of story is executed. I'm interested in stories that are inclusive of the gamut of the human experience, and I want to see a bit more whimsy.”
“Thank you for submitting “The Patron Saint of Livestock” to Uncanny Magazine for consideration. Unfortunately, we’re going to pass on this one. It just didn’t work for us. We look forward to reading further submissions from you.”
The theme for the 2021 contest is:
Still Waters, Deep Thoughts.
This can be conveyed in the setting, plot, characters, dialogue…the only limit is your imagination. The theme must be integral to the story in some way and not just mentioned in passing.
Triangulation is an annual short fiction anthology produced by Parsec Ink, Parsec’s publishing wing. We publish science fiction, fantasy, horror and any other speculative fiction that catches the editor’s fancy. Since 2003, we have had a new theme each year. We pay for the work we select and issues are available online at places like Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. We are a small press known to produce a quality product.
We accept science fiction, fantasy, and horror–and enjoy intelligent blends of the three. Stories without a speculative element will not be considered. We do not accept unsolicited reprints, multiple submissions, or simultaneous submissions. If we reject a story before the end of the reading period, feel free to send another. We love creative interpretations of our themes, but we do require the stories to be a solid fit. We run mature content only if we like the story and find the mature content to be integral to it. Please, no hate-ist stories (or any other -ist), stories with suicide, religious proselytizing or excessive, unwarranted violence. One of the editors is also not a fan of guns. We do not accept fanfic.
I submitted my story "Invasive Species" to one of Parsec Ink's contests in the past and got the most remarkable, helpful feedback from this team when it was rejected. Apparently my story "almost" made it. The insights from the judges were bang-on, and helpful. I used their advice, and then sold the story to DreamForge Anvil. I also interviewed the lady behind the literature if you would like to learn more about this contest and company.
Fantasy & Science Fiction
These two magazines are imprints owned by Longshot Press and some of the highest paying in genre fiction. They are proudly not a part of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) organization. Unfit Magazine is a pulp fiction style science fiction magazine with the tag line: “Fiction that isn’t fit for ‘them’! Toxic content. (Keep it secret!) We run with scissors. Banned by your Mother.” Unreal Magazine is also a pulp fiction style magazine focusing on fantasy. The tag line is: Let the magic take you away! Fiction that isn’t made for this world. So, let go. Get unreal for a moment.”
The submission pages suggest: “We want stories that are well written, intelligent, and enjoyable to read. We are looking for stories with metaphors and emotional ambiance and imaginative descriptive writing. Most importantly, we want original ideas.”
If you don't hear back from these magazines, you can assume your story wasn't picked up.
Futures is a venue for very short stories or ‘vignettes’ of between 850 and 950 words. The subject is typically near-future, hard SF, although this can be interpreted liberally. In short, what Futures is looking for is originality. To this end it is advisable to read as many previous Futures as you can, as stories that repeat themes already dealt with extensively are less likely to be considered than those that do something new and different. Futures does not consider reprints of stories previously published elsewhere.
OK. Take a seat. This won’t take long. Don’t worry about the alien, he always does that when he sees strangers, it doesn’t stain. I’m afraid I can’t offer you any refreshments — the service droid blew a fuse last week and the spare part is stuck on a shuttle somewhere between here and Titan. But, as I say, this won’t take long. If you’re sure you wish to send a story to the orbiting station that is the Futures submissions hub, it’s probably easiest if I upload the instructions via the mind link. Ah. Unusual. OK. Well, in that case I will have to spell out the protocols the old-fashioned way. The very first rule is, I’m afraid, prepare to be disappointed. This is not a bad thing, but as for any science-fiction outlet, Futures can publish only a limited selection of the stories we receive, so rejection is part of the process (and it is honestly no more fun to issue a rejection than it is to receive one). The second rule is that contributions to Futures are welcome from absolutely anyone, irrespective of whether they are writing their first story, or are professional or published authors. There are, of course, some basic requirements, so here are some frequently asked questions:
I've never submitted to this market before, but look at the pay scale! I definitely want to check this zine out.
Deep Magic is looking for stories that don’t rely on sex, swearing or violence. From the website: The name Deep Magic pays homage to C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia. From June 2002 to June of 2006, Deep Magic was a monthly e-zine operated by a nonprofit organization founded by three friends who had a mutual love of SFF and a desire to promote clean writing within those genres. Deep Magic is now a quarterly publication that pays professional rates for SFF short fiction, relaunched by the same three friends, with help of other industry professionals who join in Deep Magic’s mission to create a safe place for minds to wander. We will consider stories within any sub-genre (epic, paranormal, steampunk, etc.).
If you can tell a gripping story that doesn’t rely on sex, swearing, and graphic violence—you’ve come to the right place. If not, there are plenty of other magazines and venues out there. Move along. Move along (Jedi hand wave). Please consider reading Deep Magic to get an idea of the type of stories we publish. You can read our inaugural issue for only $.99. We are keeping the June 2016 issue at this special price so authors can check out our style without breaking the bank.
I've sent MANY stories to Deep Magic. They have all been rejected. However, they get back to you in a reasonable time, and I love the look/feel/mission statement of this publication.
want to really dive into selling your stories?
Get exclusive hints and background from the editors buying stories in today’s market. Read 12 tales purchased in the last 2 years and find out how they went from rejected to accepted.