Submission Guidelines

Dark Dispatch follows Duotropes general guidelines to define flash fiction, short story, and novelette lengths.

Flash fiction refers to works 999 words or less.

Short stories are works of fiction 1,000 to 7,500 words in length.

Novelettes are works of fiction 7,501 words to 15,000 words. 

Standard Submission Guidelines

Follow the document formatting guidelines posted here

  • Times New Roman font
  • 12pt text
  • Centered title using title case
  • Centered byline under the title
  • Refer to this link for formatting information: Some rules have variations. In that case, we typically follow the first example. For ellipses … we follow the favored method.
  • Black ink only
  • No track changes visible
  • No underlining
  • Use italics sparingly
  • Double-space your document
  • Smart quotes, not straight quotes
  • Avoid all caps unless you’re presenting an acronym
  • No manually inserted page numbers or extraneous information
  • Section breaks should be 3 *** symbols centered with a blank line above and below
  • Proper document formatting should be used to automatically insert the first line of each paragraph 0.5” from the left margin – do not send documents with multiple tabs set in the ruler or use manual spaces or the tab button to insert the first line. This document explains how to set the first line indentations correctly. 

Save our document as a .doc or .docx file. 

Create a blank email.

Address the email to

Attach your submission

Add the submission type, story name, author name, word count, and date of submission in the subject header with dashes between each piece of information. For example, if your name is Kewl Runner and you’re sending a 3,257-word story called Fart of Death on January 22, your subject line should look like this:  

Short Story – Fart of Death – Kewl Runner – 3,257 words – Jan 22

Address your email to the project editor(s), not the first man you can find named on our site

Do not include a pitch for your story

Do include a bio written in third person between 50 and 80 words

Do include your paypal email address

DO NOT list every publication credit you have. First, we don’t read the emails before reviewing the story. Second, not to be rude, but we don’t really care. Every story’s evaluated on its merits, not your publication history.

We do not need to know if you’re using a pseudonym or have your physical address or phone number. We only need a working email address to contact you. In the event we offer to publish, we’ll need your real name and contact information for the contract. Personal writer information is confidential and, unless law officials have some reason to compel us to, we’ll never share your personal information with anyone.

Simultaneous submissions are fine as long as you withdraw your work immediately if it’s accepted elsewhere. 

Multiple submissions are limited to the terms of the submission call. 

Only send one submission per email. Emails containing more than one submission will not be processed. 

Please note:

We use a collaborative editing approach. This means writers have an opportunity to withdraw works if they aren’t satisfied with requested edits, and Dark Dispatch has the option to withdraw an offer of publication if we aren’t satisfied with the edits. This has never been an issue; however, anyone unwilling to even consider editing their work should not submit material to us.

We will not respond to submissions violating guidelines. For example, we do not accept RTFs and PDFs. Any submissions containing RTFs or PDFs will not be processed.


*If the submission call’s open to reprints* state the work’s a reprint and identify the name of the original publisher and date. For example, if was originally published by Nightmare in December 2018, you’d need to state that.

You must also add ‘REPRINT’ to the subject line with the submission type. For example, if your name is Kewl Runner and you’re sending a 3,257-word story called Fart of Death on January 22, but the story’s a reprint, your subject line should look like this:  

Short Story REPRINT – Fart of Death – Kewl Runner – 3,257 words – Jan 22

Failing to identify a reprint submission is grounds for withdrawing an offer of publication.

*If the submission call’s open to reprints* means the submission call will explicitly state it’s open to reprints and include a reprint payment rate with the submission call guidelines. If the submission call does not state it’s open to reprints and post a reprint payment rate, the call is not open to reprints and any reprints submitted will not be acknowledged.