Market Mondays: Sink Your Tentacles Into This

Apparently, there are a lot of markets with tentacly (it’s a word in my head, buzz off) logos.  This is another one.


They bill themselves as “the world’s premier horror fiction podcast” – this just may be true.  Their homepage also notes that children should not listen to their podcasts.

This is 100% true.

Pseudopod accepts quality horror fiction.  The editors seem to appreciate more graphic horror than many other markets, so if editors have been rejecting your work because it’s too ‘extreme’ then it may find a home here. Of course, if it was passed over because it’s crap you’ll still be out of luck.

From their website:

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.

We’re primarily interested in two lengths of fiction, which we’ve somewhat arbitrarily dubbed “short fiction” and “flash fiction”.

Short Fiction: This is the heart of our weekly podcast. We want short stories between about 2,000 and 6,000 words; we are quite hesitant to produce stories any longer than that, although we may occasionally consider exceptional stories as long as 7,500 words. Anything longer than that will not be considered at all. (You are almost certainly better off cutting it down to 6,000 or less, even if it has been published previously at a greater length. The longer a story is, the more brilliant it needs to be to sustain audience interest in audio, and Pseudopod stories in particular tend to be no longer than 5,000 words as a rule.) We currently pay $100 for short fiction at this length.

Flash Fiction: We sometimes podcast short five-to-ten minute “bonus” pieces between our weekly main episodes. For this we’re looking at fiction under 1,500 words, with a sweet spot between 500 and 1000 words. Yes, that’s really really short. That’s the point. Our flash pieces are frequently quirkier and more experimental than our weekly features. We pay $20 for flash fiction.

If you have a story between 1,500 and 2,000 words, we’ll make a judgment call, based on whether we think the story would work better as a featured story or a bonus. But most of the time we’ll buy it as flash fiction.

“Reprints”

We do not discriminate between previously published and unpublished works. We’re an audio market, and we buy nonexclusive rights, so it doesn’t hurt us if a story has previously appeared in another market. In fact, we encourage new authors to send their work to other markets first, and then send it to us for audio rights after the story has appeared. You’re welcome to give us first dibs on anything you like, but consider: if your story’s good enough for us to buy it, it’s probably good enough to sell to another market first. Why not try that, and get two audiences and two checks?

If the text of the work is currently available online for free, that’s great! Let us know in your cover letter so we can link to it in the web post if we publish your story.

Their Guidelines Page has a lot of other information that you should know before submitting.  For the love of all that’s sleeping in dark R’lyeh, please check the guidelines of this and any other publication before sending in your work.  It’s professional, it increases the chances of you making it past the slush pile by about 200%, and it’s just plain good manners.  Good manners will keep horror editor/authors from carving up a thinly-disguised you in their next cannibalism tales.

Seriously: bad things happen in editor/author fiction to writers who send sword-and-sorcery shaggy dog tales or SyFy franchise fan fiction to extreme horror markets.  You’ve been warned.

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