The final piece in the speculative fiction umbrella is horror, though not all types of horror have speculative elements. This genre spans everything from zombies and non-romance vampires to twisted psychological fiction that has nothing more speculative than a glimpse into the dark side of humanity. The roots of horror stretch back to the origins of humankind, but the horror genre only became established in the 1970s, showing up in both books and movies to the point that some horror authors are familiar to the general public. Who doesn't know Stephen King, for example? Horror is no longer a secret hidden in the dark corners of speculative fiction and psychological literature.

Because there are so many flavors of horror, discovering what a magazine means in the guidelines can be difficult. Some magazines are specific while others just want "horror." Reading sample stories or issues is more critical for this genre than most because the different types are not just shades on a scale. Magazines interested in psychological, real-world horror might instantly reject a monster story unless it has the Scooby Doo technique of the monster being a mask or a metaphor rather than a supernatural being. Those who want something unworldly may turn aside a story in which the horror comes from the human heart rather than a world beyond the known one.

Since I am not actively pursuing the horror market, I pulled in an author who has sold several horror pieces and knows the markets, both pro and those with other reasons for pursuing. While horror has its own set of magazines, there are many crossovers with speculative fiction, so some of the markets he profiles below have appeared in the speculative fiction article as well, but his comments target their interests with regards to horror.

Richard S. Crawford's bibliography can be found here: He offers a list of solid markets for horror short stories. These are pro markets he regularly submits horror stories to, along with a couple of markets that haven't achieved pro status, but he feels are worth looking into.

THE MAJOR MARKETS by Richard S. Crawford

Cemetery Dance -

This is one of the major horror markets out there. When I peruse the "best horror" anthologies each year, it seems that many of them were originally published in this market. I submit stories which I feel are psychologically disturbing and overly dark. They haven't purchased anything that I've submitted, but I keep hoping that their tastes will improve. Note, however, that Cemetery Dance is currently closed to submissions. I'm not sure when they will reopen.

Weird Tales -

This is a classic market. It's gone in and out of print over the years, with various publishers, but it is, in my opinion, still the magazine that published H. P. Lovecraft, August Derleth, and others of that ilk. Because of their history, and what they normally publish today, I usually send them the stories that I think are, well, weird. Other markets may prefer stories that are easy to categorize, but I've found that Weird Tales is harder to pin down. They, too, are unfortunately closed to submissions, but they will reopen on January 1, 2011.

Pseudopod -

This one is a different market. They are not a professional market like the ones listed above, but they are definitely worth looking into. As a podcast market, Pseudopod favors stories which are strongly written, with tough characters and a definable plot. I mention them because they bought my story Indications (which, by the way, was improved immensely thanks to critiques received on the Forward Motion ( message boards), so I have a soft spot for this market, even if they haven't purchased any of my stories since then.

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction -

This magazine publishes the occasional horror piece as well. F&SF is, of course, the granddaddy of genre magazines, and to be published in their pages is quite a coup for any writer. I've sent them stories that I feel are well plotted, with strong characters, and where the horror elements, though integral to the stories, are really secondary to these other qualities. Again, though, they have yet to purchase any of my stories.


This is a quirky little market. While it is not a professional market, I mention it because several of the stories that they've published have gone on to win awards or be anthologized in some of the Best of... genre collections. The two pieces that I've published with them have been more comedic in nature than straight horror, and I've found that they prefer to publish stories written with strong, unique voices.

Richard S. Crawford has offered a good starting point for those interested in submitting horror short stories. Two other pro level markets worth a look are:

Apex Magazine -

This magazine has recently undergone an editorial change, but has been making a name for itself in the horror genre since it started as a semi-pro in 2005. Apex offers stories online, giving you the opportunity to explore examples of the type of story they want. Also, the guidelines explicitly state that they are only interested in horror or dark fiction with a speculative element.


Here is an example of a magazine that believes in spare guidelines, most likely to receive the broadest range of stories to choose from. It has been publishing steadily since 1999, and as well as normal submissions, there is also an annual fiction contest to try with your story. ChiZine, however, is one of the markets that caps short stories at 4,000 words, which may be a difficulty for some.

Dark Discoveries -

Just as there are many new science fiction markets, here is a new semi-pro horror online magazine that might be of interest, showing that keeping tabs on the new markets is a worthwhile endeavor. You never know when a new market might become well respected, and getting in on the venture in the beginning may boost your visibility.

Other horror markets can be found through resources such as and Since a story can only be accepted once, starting at the top gives it the opportunity to establish the highest profile possible.