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Open Call: The Deadlands

A tree logo for The Deadlands


The Deadlands exists in liminal spaces between life, death, and elsewhere. We are looking for fiction that concerns itself with death—but also everything death may involve.


December 1st (We will remain open to BIPOC authors for the month of December)


Up to 5k words


Original Fiction: 10¢/word Reprints: 1¢/word

Poetry: $50 (flat rate)



A ghost in a shadowed wood. An afterlife discovered through a rusted door. An abandoned house in the middle of a haunted field. A skeletal figure moving with intent toward something unseen. Death personified. Burials in troubled lands. A raised scythe against a clouded sky. Memento mori. The rivers of the dead. The sprawling underworlds beneath our feet. The Deadlands would love to see stories from a worldwide perspective, different cultures, different approaches to death. We welcome stories from everyone, everywhere. We are particularly interested in works by writers from historically marginalized and underrepresented backgrounds.

We are not simply a “horror market.” Sure, we want your horror, but we also want your litfic, your slipstream, your fantasy, your sf, your chicklit, your hist-fic, your everything fic. Death touches everything and so should our fiction.

Stories that feature characters impacted by someone passing away and processing the event of death are fair game, but will likely be a hard sell unless they also do something else. An apocalypse may be your setting, but it isn’t your story.


Stories about related subjects—zombies, demons, vampires, apocalypses, and the various undead—are not for us. We are absolutely not interested in seeing weird West stories, steampunk tales, or military fiction. We are not interested in stories involving Lovecraft’s mythos. Humor will be a harder sell than heartbreaking. If your story begins with someone waking up, it is not for us. We are absolutely not interested in AI-generated fiction, including, but not limited to, work generated with Sudowrite’s Story Engine.


The Deadlands will consider reprints, up to 5000 words, 1¢/word. Please note that the story is a reprint when submitting, and please list the market where it originally appeared. Stories that originally appeared on your Patreon would be considered reprints. We are much more interested in older stories, rather than those that have appeared in recent years.


Please do not submit reprints and originals at the same time. If a story is on submission somewhere else, please wait before sending it to us.




We love standard manuscript formatting, but don’t require your address on your manuscript. We will need your address if we’re buying your story to send you a copy of our annual book in which your work will appear.



Two weeks; if longer, your story may be in a second-round hold pile. You must wait 7 days after getting a rejection to submit again.


Four months of exclusivity to post your work (from the date of publication); first English serial rights; the right to archive your story with our website content; the right to print the story in our annual book. Click here to see more of our actual contract language.


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