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Monday, October 26, 2020

Dread Machine submission guidelines

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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 However, if you wish to have your submission featured as an Exclusive, it must be previously unpublished.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.


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.

Read our Submission Guidelines before filling out the form below.


MICROFICTION: No more than 100 words.
FLASH FICTION: Up to 1,000 words.
SHORT STORIES: Up to 7,500 words.
SERIALS: 15,000+ words, at least 3 installments.
POETRY: You may submit up to three poems at one time.

Here at The Dread Machine, we like to keep things simple.

Step 1: Submit your work.
Step 2: Wait for us to contact you with an offer or a declination.
Step 3: If you receive an offer, you choose whether to accept, reject, or negotiate it.
Step 4: Once we make a deal, our team publishes and promotes your Machination on The Dread Machine.

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.

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