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Thursday, April 8, 2021

DREAD MACHINE ANTHOLOGY SUBMISSIONS

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Deadline: May 31, 2021 11:59 PM

THEME

Identity, security, and community are inexorably entwined.

We’re looking for stories touching on at least one of these themes. We want you to explore the boundaries of who we are, what makes us feel safe (and at what cost), with whom we choose to surround ourselves, and our darkest secrets.

Let’s explore how they influence us and our perception of reality.

IDENTITY

Identity is formed by not only things like race, culture, and class but also by the relationships we cultivate, the opinions and moral codes we adopt, and our choices. What secrets lie in the dark expanses between where we came from, who we think we are, and how we want others to perceive us?

SECURITY

Security—stability, order, dependency, structure—is an innate human need. In practice, security tends to be an illusion designed to make us feel more in control over our surroundings. What makes us feel safe, and what are we willing to sacrifice to feel that way? What happens when safety nets aren’t there to catch us when we fall? What dreadful secrets are we willing to keep to preserve the status quo?

COMMUNITY

Humans often seek security through community. We align ourselves with others who share our interests, culture and religion, geographic location, and workplaces. How well do you really know your neighbors, your friends, your coworkers, your family? How do we build these communities? What erodes a community, makes it crumble?


SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

+ All submissions must inspire dread. Genre definitions tend to be subjective, so we encourage you to become familiar with the stories we’ve published here to get an idea of what sort of content we’re seeking.

+ All submissions must be original, unpublished, and between 2,000 and 10,000 words. Stories should earn their word count, however. If your story is closer to the maximum, we will expect it to contain a narrative worthy of every word. We are not flexible on the word count, so please don’t request an exception.

+ Authors are permitted to submit up to three stories, but none may be simultaneously submitted anywhere else, nor may they be resubmissions of stories we have already declined.
PAYMENT

Authors whose stories are accepted for publication will receive payment ($0.08 per word), a free copy of the premium hardcover, and two free copies of the paperback.

RIGHTS

You can review the publication agreement for Darkness Blooms here.

WISHLIST

We want:

DARK, FUTURISTIC STORIES
CYBERPUNK
DIVERSE PROTAGONISTS
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
UNIQUE DYSTOPIAS/UTOPIAS
UNCONVENTIONAL SOCIETIES
HARD SELLS

We’re not likely to accept:

EROTICA
FOLKTALES
MYTHS/LEGENDS
PANDEMIC STORIES
LOVECRAFT PASTICHE
FANTASY (SWORD & SORCERY)
HARD PASSES

Don’t bother submitting:

SUICIDE
TORTURE
CHILD/ANIMAL ABUSE
SEXUAL ASSAULT/INCEST
SCHOOL/MASS SHOOTINGS
GRAPHIC DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
WRITERS WHO SUBMIT STORIES CONTAINING ANY OF THE THEMES ON OUR "HARD PASSES" LIST WILL BE PERMANENTLY BANNED.
INSPIRATION

HOW TO SUBMIT

STEP 1: READ THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES.

We’re pretty low-maintenance as far as publications go. You’ll find no finicky, proprietary formatting rules or strict typography requirements. However, to keep from wasting our time and yours, we do ask that you read the guidelines above and acquaint yourself with our Publication Agreement before submitting.

STEP 2: LOG IN OR CREATE A FREE USER ACCOUNT.

You do not require a paid subscription to submit, but you must be logged in before the link to our submission portal will become visible. This prevents spammers from flooding our system and ensures we can tie your user account and author profile to your story, should it be accepted.

STEP 3: COMPLETE OR UPDATE YOUR AUTHOR PROFILE. 

Go here and edit your profile. If your story is accepted, your biography information and profile image will accompany it. Be sure to link your socials and author website, if you have one. Bonus points are awarded if you upload a profile photo of yourself playing a kazoo with great enthusiasm.

STEP 4: TRAVEL THROUGH THE PORTAL.

Once you’re logged in, buttons to our submission portal will appear below, like magic! Click and you’ll be teleported to Moksha, where you can submit your story. Moksha allows you to see where your story is in our queue, also!

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SUBMITTING TO THE DREAD MACHINE!

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