What We Want
Pseudopod is a genre magazine in audio form. We’re looking for horror: dark, weird fiction. We run the spectrum from grim realism or crime drama, to magic-realism, to blatantly supernatural dark fantasy. We publish highly literary stories reminiscent of Poe or Lovecraft as well as vulgar shock-value pulp fiction. We don’t split hairs about genre definitions, and we do not observe any taboos about what kind of content can appear in our stories. Originality demands that you’re better off avoiding vampires, zombies, and other recognizable horror tropes unless you have put a very unique spin on them. What matters most is that the stories are dark and compelling.
Since we’re an audio magazine, our audience can’t skim past the boring parts, so stories with beautiful language at the expense of plot don’t translate well. We’re looking for fiction with strong pacing, well-defined characters, engaging dialogue, and clear action. It can be beautiful too, if you’ve got all those other bases covered.
Dark humor is just fine, and we run it on occasion; but we are more interested in tragedy than comedy, and comedy is better received the more sick and morbid it is. Above all, we want stories that make us think, that stick with us, that make us catch ourselves checking the locks a second time before bed.
Holiday-themed stories (regardless of which holiday) are ideally submitted 4-5 months prior to the holiday in question. The same guideline applies if you have a book coming out soon and want to publish a short story with us to coincide with its release, and we’re always happy to delay publishing if the resulting timing is better for author promotion. (Although for a sure bet, you can always just grease our palms with a sponsorship two months beforehand — contact firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Pseudopod welcomes submissions from writers of all backgrounds. We are especially interested in seeing more submissions from people of backgrounds that have been historically underrepresented or excluded from legacy publishing markets, including, but not limited to, women, people of color, LGBTQ or non-binary gender people, persons with disabilities, members of religious minorities, and people from outside the United States. Our goal is to publish horror that reflects the diversity of the human race, so we strongly encourage submissions from these or any other underrepresented groups.
Payment and Rights
We pay the pro rate of $.06/word for original fiction, $100 flat rate for reprints, and $20 flat rate for flash fiction (stories below 1500 words).
PseudoPod buys nonexclusive audio rights, and nonexclusive electronic rights to distribute the audio file under a Creative Commons license.
Specifically, we use the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license. Briefly, this means that the entire world has permission to distribute the audio files for free, provided they give credit for it, don’t try to make money off of it, and don’t change it in any way. Transcribing it, extracting portions from it that exceed fair use, and mashing it up are all prohibited.
This license applies only to our audio performance of your work, for which we’ve contracted and paid you. It does not apply to your story itself; you retain your copyright and all rights to any other use of the story.
Format and Cover Letter
Prepare your manuscript in something approximating Standard Manuscript Format formatted in .rtf, .doc, .docx, and .odt.
In your cover letter, please include your legal name, byline (if different from your legal name), and the story’s approximate word count and (if a reprint) publication history. If you have any previous publications, feel free to list the most recent three, but this is optional and won’t affect your story’s consideration.
Once you’ve sent us your story, you will get an automated confirmation via email. Please query if you have not received this confirmation within 24 hours. After 60 days, if you haven’t received a response, feel free to query by email. Make sure to log your submission on the Grinder.
This portal is for the upload of completed narrations and hosting spots for PseudoPod.
If you want to audition for a narration spot, that process is handled through PodCastle. Check out those guidelines here: http://podcastle.org/narrator-guidelines/
We’re primarily interested in two lengths of fiction, which we’ve somewhat arbitrarily dubbed “short fiction” and “flash fiction”.
Short Fiction: This is the heart of our weekly podcast. We want short stories between about 1,500 and 6,000 words. The sweet spot is around 4,500 words which is close to 30 minutes of story.
Flash Fiction: We podcast, approximately quarterly, Flash on the Borderlands episodes that contain three flash stories with a common theme. Occasionally, we run short five-to-ten minute “bonus” pieces between our weekly main episodes. For this we’re looking at fiction under 1,500 words, with a sweet spot between 500 and 1000 words. Yes, that’s really really short. That’s the point. Our flash pieces are frequently quirkier and more experimental than our weekly features.
We do not discriminate between previously published and unpublished works. We’re an audio market, and we buy nonexclusive rights, so it doesn’t hurt us if a story has previously appeared in another market. If the text of the work is currently available online for free, that’s great! Let us know in your cover letter so we can link to it in the web post if we publish your story.
Multiple and Simultaneous Submissions
We do not accept multiple submissions; if you submit more than one story everything after the first will be rejected. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable. Please check the box on the submissions form to let us know that you are submitting this to multiple markets simultaneously.
The only exception to this is simultaneous submission of a single story to multiple Escape Artists podcasts (Escape Pod, PodCastle, and Pseudopod), which we ask that you avoid. When submitting to one Escape Artists podcast, please wait to hear back about it before submitting the same story to another.