Nightmare is currently open to general submissions. We will be temporarily closing to submissions on March 14 at 11:59pm ET, but we will then open submissions to our special issue (see below).
Instructions for submitting to Nightmare follow. Please read everything on this page and read the magazine before submitting.
WOMEN DESTROY HORROR! Special Issue
As a result of Lightspeed’s successful Women Destroy Science Fiction! Kickstarter campaign, we’re publishing a special issue of Nightmare called Women Destroy Horror! which will be published this fall.
The WOMEN DESTROY HORROR! special issue will be guest-edited by legendary editor Ellen Datlow. The issue will contain 8 pieces of fiction (twice the size of a regular issue of Nightmare), consisting of 5 original stories and 3 reprints, all selected by Ellen Datlow. Ellen will solicit 4 of the original stories and all 3 reprints, and will be reserving one original “slot” for a story submitted through our open submissions period. Nightmare staff will review the open submissions and present Ellen with a number of “finalists” to consider, and from those Ellen will select a story for publication.
• Who can submit stories for consideration for the special issue? Women.
• How do you define “woman”? A woman is any human being who identifies as one, to whatever degree that they do so.
• What can women submit? Horror short stories, 1500-7500 words. No dark fantasy for this issue (but you can submit that to our Women Destroy Fantasy issue).
• When is the submissions period? Submissions open March 15, 2014, and will close at 11:59:59 p.m. Eastern on March 31, 2014.
• Pay rate? 8 cents/word.
• Response time? Up to 45 days (because a special issue like this is more like an anthology–sorry for the potential delay!)
• Note: Stories submitted to the Women Destroy Horror! special issue will also be considered for Nightmare’s regular issues as well, if they are not selected for the special issue.
• When will the issue be published? October 2014.
• How do I submit? Submit via the following submissions portal: submissions.johnjosephadams.com/women-destroy-horror
• What the heck is this about? What do you mean by “destroy”? Read this and just substitute “horror” any time it says “science fiction” (more or less).
All fiction must be submitted through our online submission system located at nightmare-magazine.com/submissions. Please do not email your submissions.
Our submissions form asks for your name, email address, cover letter, story title, and story. 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 psychological horror story about serial killers and your doctoral dissertation was on the psychology of serial killers, mention that). All stories should be in standard manuscript format and can be submitted in either .RTF or .DOC format. If you have any questions about the submission process, or you have any trouble using our online submission system, please email firstname.lastname@example.org (but please DO NOT email your submissions to this address).
After you have submitted your story, a tracking number will be displayed and an automated email confirmation containing this information will be sent to you. If you have not received this email email@example.com to let us know. Your tracking number will allow you to monitor the status of your submission through our website, so please make note of it.
GUIDELINES FOR ORIGINAL FICTION
Nightmare is seeking original horror and dark fantasy stories of 1500-7500 words. Stories of 5000 words or less are preferred. We pay 5¢/word for original fiction, on acceptance. To see which rights we’re seeking, please view our contract template for original fiction.
All types of horror or dark fantasy are welcome; if in doubt, go ahead and submit it and let our editors decide. No subject should be considered off-limits, and we encourage writers to take chances with their fiction and push the envelope.
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.
GUIDELINES FOR REPRINTS
Nightmare publishes two reprints each month, but it is primarily a market for original fiction; a majority of our reprints will be directly solicited, but you may submit a reprint for consideration if you wish. For reprints, we are offering 1¢/word, on acceptance. However, we are only interested in considering stories for reprint that are not currently available online in any form. To see which rights we’re seeking, please view our contract template for reprinted fiction.
REJECTIONS & RESPONSE TIMES
Be aware that every month we expect to receive several hundred submissions. 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.
Stories should belong to the horror genre, and between 1500 and 7500 words long. Stories of 5000 words or less are preferred.
Payment for original fiction is 5¢/word, on acceptance. To see which rights we’re seeking, please view our contract template for original fiction.
Payment for reprinted fiction is 1¢/word, on acceptance. To see which rights we’re seeking, please view our contract template for reprinted fiction.
Sexual themes and stories with strong sexual content are acceptable, but Nightmare is not a market for erotica.
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.
Nightmare is not a market for poetry.
Do not query for fiction. If you’re not sure if your story is suitable, please simply 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.
You may not submit another story for a period of seven days after receiving a rejection.
Nightmare pays professional rates for fiction (5 cents per word), in accordance with both HWA’s and SFWA’s guidelines for professional publications. Please note that SFWA’s bylaws indicate that a market must be publishing continuously for at least one year before it can become a SFWA-qualifying professional market, though all sales made during the first year will be retroactively determined to be professional sales and thus SFWA-qualifying. (So Nightmare would become a SFWA-qualifying market in October 2013, pending SFWA board approval, and all sales made in the intervening period would retroactively become qualifying publications.)
GUIDELINES FOR NONFICTION
All of our nonfiction is currently assigned in-house. We are not open to submissions or queries in this area.