THE SUBMISSION PORTAL IS NOW OPEN!
Fiction submissions for issues 007 and 008 of Dark Matter Magazine ARE NOW OPEN, and will close on Sunday, October 31, at 11:00 p.m. CST. A link to our submission portal is below.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Our Submission Guidelines now include language to better guide and welcome writers and artists that work primarily in horror.
We are a sci-fi AND horror magazine, after all. Keep an eye out below for guidelines like this one that speak directly to horror writers:
For writers that traditionally write horror, don’t feel the need to change up your style or themes for our magazine. Just try and think of an engaging way to incorporate science or technology (or science/technology gone wrong) into your existing strengths as a storyteller. Sci-fi horror, cosmic horror, weird fiction, sci-fi thriller, and cyberpunk are some of the more obvious sub-genres to play in, but please feel free to get creative. Pop culture examples that we consider to be the perfect blend of sci-fi and horror would be pretty much any 80s sci-fi movie (The Terminator, Predator, The Thing, They Live, Running Man, Robocop, The Fly, Aliens, etc.), as well as works like The Invisible Man, The Shining, Jurassic Park, Frankenstein, and even aspects of The Matrix and Dune. In our opinion, the alchemy of science fiction and horror has produced some of the best art in the past few decades, so we’re very excited to read what you come up with.
Dark Matter Magazine aims to bring you stories that explore the shadow side of reality. This does not mean that we prefer gratuitous sex and violence, or that the story must be cynical or misanthropic. Even stories of hope and optimism can arrive at their theses after first taking us on a journey through the most downtrodden fringes of society, or the deepest reaches of space, or the darkest corners of the mind. But stories don’t always have happy endings either, and sometimes people get hurt.
Legendary Authors We Admire
We prefer to publish stories reminiscent of science fiction and horror heavyweights like Isaac Asimov, Margaret Atwood, Clive Barker, Albert Camus, Charles Beaumont, Algernon Blackwood, Jorge Luis Borges, Ray Bradbury, Octavia Butler, Robert W. Chambers, C. J. Cherryh, Arthur C. Clarke, Wes Craven, Michael Crichton, Blake Crouch, Guillermo del Toro, Philip K. Dick, Arthur Conan Doyle, Daphne du Maurier, Katherine Dunn, Harlan Ellison, Neil Gaiman, Elizabeth Gaskell, William Gibson, Charlotte Perkins Gillman, Robert Heinlein, Joe Hill, William Hope Hodgson, Shirley Jackson, Henry James, M. R. James, N. K. Jemisin, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Stephen Graham Jones, Franz Kafka, Stephen King, Ursula K. Le Guin, Thomas Ligotti, H. P. Lovecraft, Richard Matheson, Cormac McCarthy, Michael McDowell, Alan Moore, Edith Nesbit, Joyce Carol Oates, Flannery O’Connor, Edgar Allan Poe, Christopher Priest, Robert Sheckley, Mary Shelley, Dan Simmons, Clark Ashton Smith, Neal Stephenson, Robert Louis Stevenson, Bram Stoker, Paul Tremblay, Jeff VanderMeer, Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Chuck Wendig, and Oscar Wilde, to name a few. If you count these legendary writers among your inspirations, submit your story today. We’d love to give it a read.
For writers that use humor to explore the dark side of things, look to authors like Douglas Adams, Lewis Carroll, Stanislaw Lem, Mervyn Peake, Terry Pratchett, and Kurt Vonnegut for examples of what we’d like to see.
For poetry, Dante Alighieri, William Blake, John Donne, John Keats, and W. B. Yeats are a few of our favorites.
For you genre writers who are heavily influenced by literary fiction, we enjoy literary greats Emily Brontë, Italo Calvino, Michael Chabon, Agatha Christie, Wilkie Collins, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Alexandre Dumas, Kazuo Ishiguro, James Joyce, Rudyard Kipling, Haruki Murakami, Donna Tartt, and all the others included above, of course.
For those looking to submit short comics, a very, very short list of iconic illustrators we enjoy includes Gustave Doré, Edward Gorey, and Jack Kirby.
Word Limit: 1000-5000 words, no exceptions
Pay rate: $0.08/word paid at least 30 days prior to publication
Genres: Science Fiction and Horror
Sub Genres: If it’s dark fiction with a sci-fi element (even slight), we’ll read it. Cyberpunk will always win you bonus points, though.
Language: English and English translations
Reprints: Yes. We publish one reprint per issue. 1000-5000 words; $0.02/word paid at least 30 days prior to publication
Poetry: $30 per poem, paid at least 30 days prior to publication
Short Comics: 1-10 pages; $50 per page paid at least 30 days prior to publication; see our Art Guidelines below for more info and how to submit
Multiple Submissions: Yes, but our submission system will only allow for one submission from you at a time. If your story is rejected, please feel free to submit again right away.
Simultaneous Submissions: Sure! But please notify us or withdraw your story from consideration at Dark Matter if it is accepted elsewhere before we render our own decision. NOTE: Other publishers have their own guidelines about simultaneous submissions, so please read those as well if you intend to submit to both us and them at the same time.
Time to Decision: We are currently looking at a response time of 30-45 days from submission until we render a final decision on your story. If you have not heard back from us after 60 days, feel free to query us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What We Want to See
Science fiction has often been called the genre of ideas, but we want stories that are more than just interesting in concept. We want stories that explore how human beings (or other sentient creatures) interact with and/or are shaped by the story’s central conceit. Time travel is interesting, but we want to know how time travel affects a specific person (your character) and the world they inhabit.
Polished Story Structures
We look for traditional one-act or three-act structures. We welcome stories that play around in these storytelling sandboxes, but we most likely won’t accept a story that outright rejects them. We love epistolary formats and we welcome them as submissions. Diary entries can still have an act structure, after all.
Science and/or Technology!
Yes, we want character-driven stories with traditional story arcs, but those stories still have to be science fiction. If your story can exist without the science or technology element, we probably won’t be interested. For example, we would reject Shakespeare himself if he submitted Romeo and Juliet to us with the only difference being that it was set aboard a space station. The science or technology doesn’t have to be 100% accurate, and you don’t need a PhD in physics to submit to us. You just need to write about the way science and/or tech, both real and imagined, affects the characters and worlds in your story.
For writers that traditionally write horror, don’t feel the need to change up your style or themes for our magazine. Just try and think of an engaging way to incorporate science or technology (or science/technology gone wrong) into your existing strengths as a storyteller. Sci-fi horror, cosmic horror, weird fiction, sci-fi thriller, and cyberpunk are some of the more obvious sub-genres to play in, but please feel free to get creative. Pop culture examples that we consider to be the perfect blend of sci-fi and horror would be pretty much any 80s sci-fi movie (The Terminator, Predator, The Thing, They Live, Running Man, Robocop The Fly, Aliens, etc.), as well as works like The Invisible Man, The Shining, Jurassic Park, Frankenstein, and even aspects of The Matrix and Dune. In our opinion, the alchemy of science fiction and horror has produced some of the best art in the past few decades, so we’re very excited to read what you come up with.
We look for stories that move. We understand that a story that takes place all in one room centered around a single conversation can be incredibly powerful and artistic. However, those stories most likely won’t fit with the vibe of our magazine. We want stories that are constantly pushing the narrative forward into increasingly deeper, darker, and weirder places. We also love slow burns, but narratives with a lot of thrust always win our hearts.
NOTE: For one-act structures, we understand that the above guideline is less applicable, but we still want something to happen in that one room, or happen as a consequence of that one conversation.
We want stories that make us feel things about the characters. We want to love certain characters and hate others. We want there to be a reason for us to root for one outcome over another. If we are left feeling indifferent to the characters and/or their plights, we will most likely pass on the piece.
We love open-ended stories as much as the next reader, but a complete absence of resolution will leave us feeling like the story needs more development.
A Little Bit of Risk-Taking
Yes, we love reading stories that riff off of a tried and true concept, but we really love stories that are unafraid to try something totally new. We love to see stories that combine genres and concepts in unique and interesting ways. We peddle dark matter, after all. We want weird. We want bizarre. We want stories that are unashamed of imagination.
Original characters and worlds only.
Our Submissions Are Currently Open
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Submit Your Story Today!
File types we accept: .doc, .docx, .rtf
Submissions must be in proper manuscript format.
We will not accept email queries. This is for your benefit as well. Email submissions can be less efficient and less transparent, and are more susceptible to scams and intellectual property theft.
Have you read our Fiction Guidelines?
If so, submit your manuscript now via Moksha.
Pay rate for cover art: $100 to license a reprint; $200 to commission a new piece
Visual Motif: Science fiction, horror, surreal, and all their sub genres
What We Want to See
Color Artwork for Covers
We will accept black-and-white artwork for the interior, but cover art must be full color. We prefer that short comics be in black-and-white.
Unique visual styles are welcome and often preferred.
We want images that tell us a story, even if that story is abstract.
Images must be sent to us as hi-res files (300 dpi/ppi) in order for us to accept them. We require RBG color profiles for digital and web, and CMYK color profiles for print. We will accept JPEG, PNG, and TIFF file formats (but we prefer the hi-res CMYK images to already be in TIFF format). Print pages are 6″ x 9″, so all native images will need to be larger than these dimensions so that they can be scaled down without loss of fidelity.
Digital art using photographic elements is welcome though.
Submit Your Portfolio or Short Comic Today!
Submit you short comic as a PDF, image files, or as a link to a shared cloud folder by emailing:
If you would like your artwork to be considered for one of our covers, or as artwork for the magazine’s interior, please email a link to your portfolio to: