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There is no pay for any submission at this time. All rights remain with the author.
There is no submission fee or submission period. The Chamber accepts submissions 24/7/365.
Use email@example.com to query and to submit. Everything must be submitted by e-mail either in the body of the e-mail or a Word document (.doc or .docx).
In the subject line of your e-mail please state whether this is an article or review or poetry of fiction submission, your name, and the work’s title. For example: Article by Phil Slattery “Poe’s Raven: an Analysis”. This information helps filter out a lot of extraneous stuff if I have to search for it.
Please state the genre and/or subgenre of your work in your cover letter. I put the these in the Title line to make it easier for search engines to find stories and poems. I will decide what genre/subgenre the work best fits, if that info in not provided. However, I would prefer that the author provide it in case his/her opinion differs from mine. The Chamber accepts anything of a dark nature: horror, science-fiction, fantasy, grimdark, mainstream, romance, cyberpunk, steampunk, apocalyptic, and much more.
New perk for writers accepted into The Chamber: as of February 25, 2022, if you have one or more novels already published, The Chamber may add up to three to its new bookshop dependent upon various factors, the most important of which is if the Bookshop carries it.
Be professional. The less editing I have to do, the more likely you are to be published. In my experience, this is true of all publishers.
I reserve the editorial rights necessary to make minor changes needed for clarity (such as to correct typos and misspellings). I will never make revisions or major edits. It’s much simpler and easier to just reject the work or ask for a rewrite.
I will try to respond to submissions as quickly as possible, but please allow a couple of weeks before querying about your article/story. If I like your submission, I will publish it as soon as possible, probably within a month or two. This will depend on the backlog of submissions and other factors.
Do not send fan fiction.
Keep profanity to a minimum. I would like to reach as large an audience as possible.
Gratuitous sex, extreme violence, violence to children, rape and anything else that offends my personal sensibilities or anything that skirts the boundaries of the law will not be published.
Always re-check the guidelines before submitting. They may change without prior notice.
Interviews are by invitation only. However, if you have conducted a short interview of an author (or artist/illustrator) of horror or dark fiction, I will be happy to consider it for publication.
I am looking for articles, reviews, essays, dark poetry, and dark fiction of approximately 7,500 words or less including flash fiction, micro fiction, nano fiction, postcard fiction, sudden fiction, smoke longs, dribbles, drabbles, short shorts, six-word stories, mini-sagas, creepypastas, or of any flavor of short fiction that demonstrates the art of writing dark fiction. If in doubt about what I publish, query.
I will also accept:
- Articles of approximately 7,500 words or less on the art of writing dark fiction (of any length, poetry, screenplays, etc.) or on writing in general. Articles on foreign dark fiction are encouraged.
- Book and movie reviews, the more recently published or distributed the better, but I will consider reviews of classics works of dark fiction all the way back to Walpole (and before if sufficiently interesting). These must be approximately 7,500 words or less also.
- Articles on horror in other countries are encouraged.
- Translations of articles, stories, or poems from French, German, or Spanish are considered, but the original article/story/poem and its translation must not exceed the 7,500 word or less limit.
Use standard manuscript format (paragraphs together with first line indented) or flush left with a space between paragraphs. In both cases the right edge should be ragged. Please don’t mix the two in one document. My preference is for flush left, but I like the more traditional standard manuscript format too. This makes it easier for me to copy and paste into the website and easier for readers to grasp. I try not to tinker with format, because it is time-consuming and each author should be able to use their own idiosyncrasies. However, having all stories in an issue formatted the same does appear more professional. Either of these two links provide excellent advice for formatting a short story: “Story Writing Format: How to Format a Short Story + Examples and Templates” at Scribophile or “Proper Manuscript Format / Shunn” at Shunn.net.
A short bio of 50 words or less is optional. It may include your website, twitter handle, or any other social media identification you like.
Pseudonyms are fine, but please state them as the byline and include your actual name and contact info in the top left of the first page of the submission per standard manuscript format.
I am taking multiple submissions of up to three works at once. Once you have submitted, please wait until you have heard about that submission before submitting more.
I will take simultaneous submissions, but be professional and withdraw your work if it has been accepted elsewhere before being published here.
Reprints are okay but tell me when and where the article/story/poem was most recently published. You may include this in your submission or bio.
What kind of dark fiction and poetry does The Chamber want?
The classic of Chinese Taoist philosophy, the Tao T’eh Ching, opens with (depending on the translation): “The way that can be named is not the true way,” Tao being Chinese for way, and meaning, in a broad, nebulous sense, the way of life or the way of the world or the way of the universe. To me, with my, at best, rudimentary smattering of philosophy, this means that words cannot express the Tao/ the way; it is something that one must feel and experience and understand only on an intuitive level. Any attempt to express it in words is doomed to failure
This is like how I choose dark fiction and poems to include in The Chamber. The work must have a dark feel about it, though how to express that is problematic. It’s not necessarily horror. It can be noir or hard-boiled detective or sad or mystifying or any of a thousand other descriptors. It’s something that, although you can’t express it, you know it when you see it. It’s like trying to describe the taste of vodka or describing a sunny day to someone who is blind.
Jimmy Buffett once said “never try to describe the ocean if you’ve never seen it.” Of my ten years in the US Navy, I spent three years, one month, and one day at sea and many of my days ashore, I spent looking at the sea. Jimmy B. was right. It’s hard to describe the ocean to someone who has never seen it, because they just can’t grasp the feeling of power and eternity that it radiates. So it is with communicating the idea of literary darkness, at least to me it is anyway.
How do you discern then that your work of dark fiction or verse is dark enough for The Chamber? If you feel it’s dark, it’s dark enough. If your friends can read it without knowing what feelings it is supposed to get across, and they say, “Sh*t! This is dark!” It’s dark enough. Submit it. If I do not accept your work, use the opportunity to re-read your work dispassionately and ask yourself, “how can I improve this?” In my experience, that’s one of the best ways of learning to write well.
Critique your own works dispassionately, honestly, and fairly. Read good literature to develop a feel for what good literature is. For me, knowing what good literature is, is also like the Tao, one can only sense it; verbal descriptions are inadequate.
Other than that, the main things I look for in dark fiction and poetry are excellent, well-crafted, powerful writing, and I have a predilection for lean, muscular writing, though I may work with the author on this to some small degree if the story is powerful enough on the intellectual and emotional levels.
And as you will always hear from all other publishers, read a few issues and read the guidelines.
For more information on what constitutes dark literature, visit The Chamber’s Lexicon of Dark Literature.
/s/ Phil Slattery, Publisher, Editor-in-Chief, Chief Cook and Bottle-Washer, Head Honcho, Gofer, and HMFIC of The Chamber
This page was last updated on July 31, 2022.
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