Horror & Dark Fantasy

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Writers’ Guidelines

Current Submission Period: Nightmare is currently open to submissions indefinitely. We will post a closure notice on this page if we plan to close for any period of time.

Instructions for submitting to Nightmare follow. Please read everything on this page and read the magazine before submitting.

SUBMISSION PROCEDURES

Instructions: All fiction must be submitted through our Moksha online submission system, located at nightmare-magazine.com/submissions. Please do not email your submissions. If one of the Submission Type options is grayed out, that means we are currently closed to that Submission Type.

Guidelines: Nightmare is seeking original horror and dark fantasy stories. All types of horror and dark fantasy are welcome. No subject should be considered off-limits, and we encourage writers to take chances with their fiction and push the envelope. We do not accept simultaneous submissions or multiple submissions. You may submit one horror and one dark fantasy story once every seven days.

Format: Submissions should generally follow standard manuscript format, though we prefer single-spaced instead of double-spaced. Your manuscript may be submitted in either .RTF or .DOC format.

Word Count: We are open to stories of 1500-7500 words. Stories of 5000 words or less are preferred.

Pay Rate: Nightmare pays 6 cents per word for original fiction, or 1 cent per word for reprints. 

Rights: To see which rights we’re seeking, please view our contract template for original fiction or our contract template for reprinted fiction.

Cover Letters: Your cover letter should contain the length of your story, your publishing history, and any other relevant information (e.g, if you send us a hard sf story about black hole clusters and your doctoral dissertation was on black hole clusters, mention that). If you’re not sure what should go in your cover letter, this article on cover letters might help.

Questions/Problems: Email [email protected] for all fiction-related inquiries, or if you have any trouble using our online submission system. Please do not email your submissions to this address. All submissions must be submitted via our Moksha online submission system.

Rejections/Response Times: Be aware that we receive several hundred submissions every month during our submissions periods. As such, we cannot offer personalized feedback on each story. If we say, “send more,” however, it does mean that we hope to see something else from you. Most rejections will be sent out within two business days, while stories being seriously considered may be held for up to two weeks. Please do not respond to rejection letters, even just to say “Thanks for the quick turnaround” etc. We appreciate the thought, but it is unnecessary and will just clutter up our editorial inbox.

Diversity Statement: We believe that the horror genre’s diversity is its greatest strength, and we wish that viewpoint to be reflected in our story content and our submission queues; we welcome submissions from writers of every race, religion, nationality, gender, and sexual orientation.

Other Submission Procedures

Nonfiction: All of our nonfiction is currently assigned in-house. We are not open to submissions or queries in this area.

Art: If you wish to have your art considered for Nightmare Magazine (either horror or dark fantasy), please send an inquiry, along with a link to an online gallery (if possible), to [email protected] Please note that we only use 12 covers per year, and we only purchase pre-existing pieces of art; we do not commission original art for covers. We do occasionally commission original art for some of the fiction we publish, but that original artwork is all assigned in-house.

Additional Notes

Nightmare is edited and published by John Joseph Adams. You can see the rest of our staff on our Staff Page.

We welcome the submission of translations of stories from other languages. Stories that have never before been published in the English language would be considered “original.”

Sexual themes and stories with strong sexual content are acceptable, but Nightmare is not a market for erotica. If in doubt, feel free to send your story in and let our editors decide.

Nightmare is not a market for media-based fiction (i.e., stories set in the Hellraiser or Buffy the Vampire Slayer universes, etc.), or any kind of fan fiction. (Note: We don’t have a problem with people reading or writing fan fiction or media-based fiction, we’re just not legally allowed to consider publishing it.)

Nightmare is not a market for poetry.

If you’re not sure if your story is suitable, don’t query; please just go ahead and submit it and let our editors decide.

If editor John Joseph Adams has previously rejected your story, please do not submit it to Nightmare, unless it was rejected as being unsuitable for the market (due to theme, etc.) or unless it has been significantly revised to the extent that it is no longer the same story.

Nightmare is a qualifying market for membership in both HWA and SFWA.