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Taking Submissions: Nightmare Magazine

September 21, 2020

Deadline: September 21st, 2020
Payment: 8 cents a word
Theme: Original horror and dark fantasy stories. All types of horror and dark fantasy are welcome.

Nightmare is a horror & dark fantasy magazine edited by John Joseph Adams (current editor) & Wendy N. Wagner (incoming editor, starting Issue 101). All submissions from Aug. 2020 onward will be considered by Wagner for Issue 101 & beyond.


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

NOTE: If Nightmare is currently closed to submissions, please do not query asking when we’ll be opening again. When we know when we’re opening, we’ll make that information available on this page and spread it widely.

Simultaneous and Multiple Submissions: We do not accept simultaneous submissions or multiple submissions. You may make one submission to The Horror Lab category (or in the case of poetry, a batch of  up to 5 poems in one document) and one submission to our Short Story category every seven days (i.e., after submitting a short story you must wait seven days before you can submit another, but you can submit a piece of flash fiction to the Horror Lab before those seven days are up).

Instructions:  All fiction must be submitted through our Moksha online submission system. 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.

Questions/Problems: Email [email protected] for all submission-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 expect to receive several hundred submissions during our submissions periods. As such, we cannot offer personalized feedback on each story. If we say “send more” it means we really do hope to see something else from you. Most rejections will be sent out within a few business days, while stories being seriously considered may be held for up to a few 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.

Cover Letters: Your cover letter may include your name and other identifying elements. It should contain the length of your story, your publishing history, and any other relevant information (e.g, if you send us a fantasy story about the Byzantine empire and your doctoral dissertation was on Byzantine empire politics, mention that). If you don’t have credentials to cite, don’t worry! We care about your story, not your resume. If you’re not sure what should go in your cover letter, this article on cover letters might help.

Diversity Statement: Horror is for everyone! We encourage people of color, Black people, Indigenous people, Native people, women, people with disabilities, older people, LGBTQIA+, and anyone from typically marginalized or underrepresented communities to submit their work. Translations are welcome and encouraged—stories that have never before been published in the English language would be considered original work.

Confidentiality: An author’s personal information (name, address, email, phone, or secret identity) will not be shared with anyone outside our editorial staff, unless the author gives us permission to share such information.



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 are not currently seeking reprints.

Format: Please submit your manuscript in double-spaced Times New Roman or Courier font. Please include your byline as you’d like it to appear in publication, but we prefer to see no addresses or telephone numbers on the manuscript (including your email address is fine, though). Your manuscript must be in either .RTF, .DOC, or .DOCX format.

Word Count: For Short Fiction submissions, we are open to stories of 1500-7500 words. Stories of 5000 words or less are preferred.

Work previously rejected by LightspeedPlease do not submit work previously rejected by Lightspeed. (There is significant overlap between the editorial staff at Lightspeed and Nightmare, so it makes sense to share submissions between the two sister-magazines.)

Work previously rejected by FantasyWe welcome submissions that were previously rejected by our sister-magazine Fantasy.

Pay Rate:  Nightmare pays 8 cents a word for original short stories.

Rights: To see which rights we’re seeking, please review our contract template for original fiction & poetry.



“The Horror Lab” is where Nightmare puts a spotlight on experimental horror. It’s a place to explore the boundaries of form, trope, and genre—a playground for writers and readers alike. We’re looking for poetry (all styles and forms, but due to the limitations of ebooks generally and Kindle Periodicals specifically our typographical options are limited), flash fiction, and creative non-fiction. (And yes, dark fantasy is fine!)

Special instructions for poetry: You may submit up to five poems in the same document. (Our submission system will not allow multiple attachments.) We do not accept simultaneous submissions or multiple submissions. Do not submit more than one batch of five poems at a time. Please ensure that the title of the poems are in the manuscript!

Word Count: All Horror Lab submissions should be less than 1000 words. (For poetry, this means the total word count of all five poems in your submissions packet should fall under 1000 words.)

Pay Rate: We pay $40 for a poem and 8 cents a word for prose (including nonfiction and flash fiction).

Rights: To see which rights we’re seeking, please review our contract template for original fiction & poetry.



All nonfiction outside of “The Horror Lab” submissions are by invitation only, and all feature interviews are assigned in-house. If you wish to pitch an idea for an “H Word” essay, email [email protected] with the subject line “H Word Essay Pitch.” Essay pitches should be no more than a few lines, and should connect in some way to the theme of horror. Thought pieces which bring an interesting or unique perspective will be considered.

Pay Rate: Nightmare pays $75 per essay.

Rights: To see which rights we’re seeking, please view our contract template for nonfiction.



Though Nightmare previously featured reprints as part of our publishing model, going forward we are only open to original, never-before-published works. We plan to stay closed to reprints permanently; if that changes sometime in the future, we’ll update our guidelines accordingly.



Nightmare is edited by John Joseph Adams (through Issue 100), with Wendy N. Wagner incoming as editor in 2021, starting with Issue 101, and is published by John Joseph Adams via Adamant Press. You can learn more about our wonderful team on our Staff page.

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

Nightmare is not a market for media-based fiction (e.g., stories set in the A Game of Thrones or Buffy the Vampire Slayer universes, etc.), or any kind of fan fiction. (Note: We love fan fiction or media-based fiction as much as you do, but we’re not legally allowed to consider publishing it.)

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

Nightmare pays professional rates as defined by HWA and SFWA.

Via: Nightmare Magazine’s Moksha.


September 21, 2020