PseudoPod is currently CLOSED for submissions.
For general information regarding our schedule, check out this post.
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 traditional publishing, 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/
1. The story must be no more than 500 words long, not including its title. Do not use the title to skirt around the word count. Word count will be determined using Google Docs.
2. The story must adhere to the general Pseudopod submission guidelines. Most importantly, it needs to be a horror story; other genres, including science fiction and fantasy, are discouraged. As a general rule, we will take a very liberal view of what constitutes horror, but authors should note that past experience shows that stories which attempt to skirt the genre restriction tend to fare badly in the voting.
3. The story must be original and previously unpublished. Stories will be posted on a members-only portion of the forum, so first publication rights will not be spent if your story does not win.
The person submitting the story must be the story's author (or acting for the author with express permission) and hold full publishing rights to the story. A story that is derived from a previous published work in another format (i.e. not a short story) is fine (assuming doing so isn't in violation of copyright, obviously).
If you are not sure whether your story counts as published or not (for example, if an earlier version has appeared on your blog but nowhere else), please write (PM or send a query to email@example.com with the subject line "QUERY") and ask before submitting. Please do not submit stories that have been entries in a previous Escape Artists contest.
4. The story should be submitted in its final form, as the author intends it to be read by the voting public. We may or may not allow minor typo corrections if those slip in, but as a general rule, we will not allow authors to submit changes to stories, especially not after submissions are closed.
5. Each author may submit only one story.
Included the body of the submission should be the title and the text of your story. Any byline will be stripped when the stories are posted in the contest, and will be revealed when either the story fails to advance, or ultimately wins. Feel free to request a pseudonym for the byline, but we will need a legal name if you win for prize purposes.
Winners will be paid $30, making this a pro sale of at least six cents a word.
Please blog, tweet, email, send postcards, telephone, summon demons, and otherwise get the word out.