Taking Submissions: Spooky Magazine Fall/Winter 2024 Issue

Deadline: July 13th, 2024
Payment: 1 cent per word and a contributor copy
Theme: Cozy horror. Fun horror. Classy horror. Dare we say, wholesome horror?

Cozy horror. Fun horror. Classy horror. Dare we say, wholesome horror?

Oxymoron? We don’t think so. One place you can start your exploration of this idea is an article from Nightmare Magazine penned by one of our co-founders.

But perhaps the easiest way to understand what we mean is to read stories by some of the old masters we love: Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson, Robert Bloch, Roald Dahl. Watch classic episodes of ThrillerThe Twilight Zone, and Night Gallery. Read old horror comics. Listen to radio dramas like SuspenseQuiet, Please, and Inner Sanctum Mysteries. Consume enough vintage horror, and you’ll probably begin to get an idea of the type of thing that’s likely to appeal to us.

In short, we’re looking to provide a space for a type of storytelling that has largely gone out of style – dark and scary, but playful and approachable with an emphasis on plot. For a concrete example of the kind of thing we’re likely to love, grab a copy of our first issue, ON SALE NOW! To clarify further, here’s a list of things we want and things we don’t, which may help you hit the sweet spot.


  • Stories with a moral core. It need not happen in every tale, but we like to see good prevail (or at least evil punished). Ironic justice, in which cleverly nasty things happen to bad people, as in old EC comics, makes us chuckle with ghoulish delight.
  • Well-earned twist endings. There’s nothing we love more than a really good surprise or a clever way to subvert our expectations. Pull the rug out from under us and leave us gasping.
  • High concept settings and situations reminiscent of the pulps. Androids, ghosts, aliens, old castles, vampires, dinosaurs, deals with the devil, mad scientists, Wild West gunslingers, and so on. All are welcome. Give us thrilling adventures dipped in the macabre. Remember – old tropes are great, so long as your story is doing something new with them.
  • Tales of the fantastic invading ordinary settings. Bring terrible and unpredictable horrors into the suburbs, into our workplaces, into our homes.
  • Magical realism. Don’t worry too much about explaining how or why strange things happen. We are perfectly willing to accept that they do and move on to the good stuff in the story.
  • Playfulness and dark humor. We’re not looking for blatant comedy, but a certain level of mischief and glee will go a long way in making your story a fit for SPOOKY.
  • Classic Americana. Halloweeny hijinks. Campfire stories. Stuff that makes us feel like kids.


  • Grimdark nihilism that leaves us feeling hopeless.
  • Trope rehashes that fail to add an imaginative twist.
  • Floaty, dream-like milieus without a clear plot. We are fine with surreal occurrences, but things need to actually happen in your story.
  • Hard science fiction.
  • Sword and Sorcery or second-world fantasy.
  • Poetry (With the exception of horror haiku, see instructions near the bottom of our submission guidelines).
  • Excessive gore. A certain level of violence is to be expected, but we’re not a market for extreme horror. Less is pretty much always more when it comes to violent content here – we’re big fans of stories that imply rather than describe gruesome situations.
  • Excessive obscenities. We won’t lose our minds over an occasional “hell” or “damn,” but that’s about our limit. Keep it pretty much PG.
  • Graphic sex. Again, keep it PG. Any sexual acts important to your story should be implied, rather than described.
  • Kidlit. Even though we like fiction that is relatively family friendly in terms of content, children aren’t our primary audience. We aren’t Goosebumps, Scooby Doo, or Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Don’t send us stories about eleven year olds investigating werewolf sightings at their school playground.
  • Absolutely no abuse, violence, or sexual situations involving children.
  • Absolutely no racism, misogyny, or homophobia. Although we are going for a retro vibe with this magazine, we can keep what we love about old fiction while rejecting its pitfalls. SPOOKY is committed to treating all people with respect.

We shouldn’t need to say this, but…




SPOOKY Magazine seeks First Publication Rights in English, with six-months exclusivity from date of publication, nonexclusive thereafter, with the option to reprint stories in a possible “best of” anthology sometime in the future. We pay 1 cent per word, via PayPal, for original fiction. All accepted authors will also receive a print contributor’s copy of the issue in which their story appears.

SPOOKY does not accept reprints at this time. Authors retain copyright to their work.

SPOOKY is not purchasing artwork at this time.



All stories for SPOOKY should shoot to be 5000 words or fewer. If you’re over by a hundred or so, we won’t mind, but please don’t send us anything much longer. Shorter fiction usually serves our purposes better (and allows us to pack more stories into each issue), with a sweet spot of about 2500 or 3000 words.

Simultaneous submissions are fine, but please let us know if your story is accepted elsewhere. Hold off on multiple submissions until hearing back from us, but if we turn down one of your stories and our submission window is still open, feel free to send us another.

SPOOKY publishes two issues each year, in print – a spring/summer issue in April and a fall/winter issue in October. Our submission periods are October-November for stories to be considered for our spring/summer issue and May-June for stories to be considered for our fall/winter issue. Any fiction sent outside these windows will be rejected unread.

We aren’t super picky about this, but we prefer stories to be presented in some approximation of the Shunn Manuscript Format.

Please send all submissions to spookymagazineinfo [at] gmail [dot] com with the subject heading SUBMISSION: Story Title / Author Name.


Starting with Issue #2, SPOOKY will also consider horror-themed haiku poems. Because of haiku’s brief format, which lends itself to snappy punchlines, these can (but don’t need to) be a bit jokier than the fiction we’re generally after, leaning even into horror comedy territory.

We do not pay for haiku (sorry), but any authors who have haiku accepted and published in the magazine will receive a free digital pdf of the issue and their name included as a credit among the author bios.

Please don’t send more than 3 haiku for us to consider at a time.

Please send all haiku submissions to spookymagazineinfo [at] gmail [dot] com with the subject heading HAIKU / Author Name.

Via: Spooky Magazine.

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