The Dead Inside Submission Guidelines

Cover art by Gemma Amor

Dark Dispatch is excited to announce we’re teaming up with Laurel Hightower (Crossroads, Whispers in the Dark) for The Dead Inside, an anthology of identity horror. Explorations of what happens when our core identities are stripped, altered, suppressed, or denied to us, whether by choice or not. The way parenthood turns you into a different person. How toxic masculinity shapes us and robs boys of their childhoods. Suppression of race, culture, or ethnicity to stay safe, get the job, or grab that publishing contract. Being forced to stay closeted for safety, acceptance, or love. How does a lifetime of suppression and self-hatred affect us? What might our lives have been like if we’d been able to break free? Who do we become when we perpetuate the same patterns? And who are we, really, when we strip down the outer skin of what we are?

The Dead Inside will be published in print and ebook formats.

Editors: Laurel Hightower and Sandra Ruttan

Publisher: Brian Lindenmuth

Submission Guidelines

Submissions to The Dead Inside closed midnight August 2, 2021. Valid submissions that complied with the guidelines will receive a response to their submission. Our priority at this time is processing valid submissions and choosing the table of contents. We will not respond to queries about submission status until after August 25, 2021.

  • Poetry
  • Flash Fiction (we favor submissions 400 to 850 words in length)
  • Short Stories (we prefer submissions 2,000 to 6,000 words in length)
  • NonFiction (we favor submissions 1,500 to 3,000 words in length)


  • Poetry: $25 per poem for print and ebook rights
  • Flash Fiction (300-999 words): $25 per story for print and ebook rights
  • Short Stories (1,000-7,499 words): $50 per story for print and ebook rights
  • NonFiction: $50 per piece for print and ebook rights

Reprints will be considered on a case by case basis and will be subject to a different pay rate. See reprint guidelines below.

Submission format for original unpublished works:

All submissions should be attached as .doc or .docx files. – .rtf and PDF files will not be read.

All submissions should use Times/Times New Roman/Courier New font.

Text should be in black ink, text size should be 12pt, and the file should not display editing changes or comments.

The email’s subject line should have the type of content-submission title-author’s name-word count-submission date. For example, if Windbags McBlowhard is submitting a 2,200-word story called Foul Wind, their subject line should read as follows:

Short Story-Foul Wind-Windbags McBlowhard-2,200-May 16

The email should include the following:

  • Paypal address
  • 50-100 word bio written in third person

A pitch or summary of unpublished submissions is not required.

Submissions should be emailed to

Simultaneous Submissions:

We accept simultaneous submissions but ask you to notify us immediately if your story is accepted elsewhere for publication.

Do not submit unpublished content that’s already under contract for publication.

Multiple Submissions:

Writers may submit two pieces in total. If you submit more than two pieces your submissions may all be disqualified from consideration. Please send a separate email for each submission.

Format for reprints:

Submission format for previously published works should follow the standard submission guidelines above, with one exception. In the body of your email, include one paragraph explaining where the work was previously published, when it was previously published, and include 2-3 sentences covering the content topic. You should also make it clear you have the right to republish the work in November 2021. If your prior publishing contract prohibits you from republishing the work by then, do not submit it. 


All payments will be made via PayPal. You must have a verified PayPal account to receive payment. Submissions without a PayPal address may not be processed.

We should also add the usual:

Extreme violence, sexual violence, derogatory language, hateful and harmful language of groups, people, or belief systems will not be considered. We welcome strong themes, but they do have to be relevant and serve the story.


If you do not receive an emailed response to your submission to The Dead Inside, your submission either hasn’t been received or it hasn’t been processed because it didn’t follow the submission guidelines. Receiving a general confirmation we’ve received your submission does not guarantee it will be processed. When we review your submission, if we realize that it doesn’t follow the guidelines, it may be removed from consideration without further correspondence. Status updates will be posted here, including a notice when all valid submissions have been processed.

Reprint Guidelines

Reprint submissions should follow all of the standard submission guidelines, with these additions:

  • Add REPRINT to the subject line of your email
  • Add a note in the body of your email indicating where and when the material was originally published
  • Provide the link to the content if it is currently online
  • Confirm the material will be removed from the Internet prior to signing a contract if accepted
  • Confirm the period of exclusivity from your former publisher has elapsed

Yes, if you published your work on your website, it has been published and must be submitted as a reprint.