Five New (and Newish) Horror Markets for Short Fiction

Fall is upon us.

Just in time for Halloween, I thought I’d give you a reason to send out some short story submissions. Maybe dust off that piece you've been meaning to finish but didn’t think there’d be a market for. Or maybe you need an excuse to write something horrifying and new. 

This is not a best-of list. You want to know what the highest paying, most-difficult-to-get-a-story-published-in markets are, head on over to Duotrope and use the very exhaustive search function to find them. Just search for Horror, Professional rates (defined by Duotrope as 5 cents/word and above) and sort them in order of Acceptance Ratio, high to low. Start from the bottom.

Instead, I’ll give you a list of magazines and publishers that I’m currently into, or ones that are new and paying. I know a cent a word isn’t exactly job-quitting money, but well, we all know the deal, right? There are no anthologies on the list, as once they’re closed they’re gone for good and then this column would be useless to everyone a month from now.

1. Dirge

Dirge is an online magazine that publishes not only horror (and more!) fiction, but also non-fiction articles and editorials that cover what they describe as “dark culture.” As far as I’m concerned this covers everything weird, bizarre and spooky there is out there, across most forms of media including videogames, books, art, movies and so on. They're accepting submission both for short fiction and non-fiction of all kinds.

Dirge is currently crowdfunding their move into the print medium, and accepting submissions for the first issue, out January 2016, so this is a great time to send some stories in. Pays 6 cents/word.


2. Dark Moon Digest

Dark Moon Digest, besides having the good sense to publish one of my stories in issue #20 and a co-credited interview with Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead in issue #21, is a horror magazine that’s been around for a while. Recently under new management, at the hands of Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing and editors Lori Michelle and Max Booth III, they bumped up their pay to 1 cent/word (from the flat fee it was before) and brought back columns and articles, along with a general aesthetic overhaul.

Dark Moon Digest likes stories that might scare you a bit, but doesn't care much for the old, familiar monsters. Make it interesting.


3. Lamplight

You caught me, Lamplight is not a new publication. But in my defense, there aren’t that many new horror markets out there, not paying ones anyway. And Lamplight has been around for a while, and is good and wholesome and pretty. You should send them something.

Editor Jacob Haddon says he's not seeing nearly enough ghost stories or Weird ones with a capital W.

Lamplight is a market for literary horror fiction, both short stories and flash. While it hasn’t yet seen the wisdom in publishing one of my stories, I continue to bang on their door like that one zombie in The Walking Dead. I'm hungry. Are you?

Pays $150 per story, $50 for flash.


4. Black Girl Magic Lit

Black Girl Magic Lit is another brand new magazine. They publish speculative fiction by and about black women. Not strictly horror, but definitely open to it. Their mission statement says they’re out to “increase visibility for diverse authors, specifically women of color, and empower a wide variety of readers in the process.”

I reached out to editor Kenesha Williams to ask what kind of stories she’s looking forward to seeing. I’ll paraphrase: When it comes to things that go bump in the night, the key word is original. Send your unique monster stories, is what I’m saying.

Also out in January 2016, it pays 50$ per story.


5. DarkFuse

Included in this list because I think people kinda forget that DarkFuse doesn’t publish just books, but also short fiction. They accept flash fiction in the genres of horror, thriller, suspense, crime, sci-fi, bizarre or anything with a dark slant. Worth it for the wide readership, it's a tough market to crack and comes with the bragging rights to match.

DarkFuse Magazine pays 5 cents/word up to 2000 words.

Heard of another good, horror market for short fiction? Let us know!

George Cotronis

Column by George Cotronis

George Cotronis lives in the wilderness of Northern Sweden. He designs book covers and sometimes writes. His stories have appeared in XIII, Big Pulp and Vignettes from the End of the World. He is also the editor in chief at Kraken Press and Aghast: A Journal of the Darkly Fantastic. You can see his work at or read his rants over at his blog.

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