Dark Cloud Press

DCP's books entertain readers with meaningful dark fiction—spellbinding stories with a minimum of adult language and sex. DCP books give readers an entertaining, thrilling, scary, imaginative read, leaving them with something to ponder.

The Tales of Blood and Squalor anthology is CLOSED to submissions.

In General

We publish horror, dark crime, and psychological thrillers. Nothing else.

Click for more on genres...

Conflict & Characters.  We're looking for page-turning stories in which characters overcome (or don't overcome) the horrific. Conflict is the basis of drama, but readers won't care about the conflict, no matter how intense, unless they care about the characters experiencing that conflict. Give us living, breathing, hurting, hoping characters.

Plot. Stories should be well plotted. They must make sense, even if you're dealing with the psychotic or supernatural. We're looking for popular fiction, not literary musings. Get into the story quickly and keep the pace brisk.

Mood & Setting.  We like atmosphere and mood, description and setting. We're disappointed with fiction that gives no sense of place, fiction that's nothing more than characters floating through cardboard sets. Anchor us in the sensory, the concrete. Just don't overdo it.

Topics? Your imagination is the limit. Whether it's human evil or monstrous badness, make it fresh and unique. DCP is not looking for the commonplace: Don't send us anything with vampires, werewolves, or zombies. Even serial killers are becoming ho-hum. Instead of writing what others have done to death (pardon the pun), write something that horrifies you, something only you could write.

While we're looking for fiction with meaning and decency, please don't send anything moralizing or preachy.

We're not looking for fiction about religious topics. But can you have characters with faith? Absolutely. Characters struggling with faith? Sure thing. But faith or religion need not be the central issue in your story. (And we prefer that it not be!)

We want contemporary stories, exciting stories written skillfully, that leave the reader something to ponder.

What 's a book that DCP wished it had published? Stephen King's Green Mile—without the adult language. Excellent story. Moral values. But too much profanity. Which brings us to our next point...

Content Standards

The readers of DCP books are people from the ages of 14 and up who enjoy dark fiction but who aren't comfortable with the adult elements of similar fiction from other presses.

The process we went through in considering content standards for DCP books reflects our desire to publish fiction with different values. If your story were made into a movie, what would it be rated according to the MPAA designations?

Sex... to

The sex in your story should not be explicit or tawdry, but must be essential to the story. DCP does not publish erotica!

The standard for Dark Cloud Press submissions should be no more than PG-13.

Violence, Bloodshed, & Gore... to

Even the Bible earns an R rating here. You can't get much more graphic than hand-to-hand combat, slaughter, the dashing of children, eating human flesh, blood up to the horses' bridles, and birds feasting on corpses.

The standard for Dark Cloud Press is R, but the nastiness needs to be integral to the story.

Language... to

Foul language is something secular fiction could do with less of. Dark Cloud Press standard: on the PG side of PG-13—the less the better. If it wouldn't be said on network TV, don't include it in your story.

Submitting to DCP

The Tales of Blood and Squalor anthology is open August 1 - September 30, 2017, or until filled. Guidelines here.

We do not publish novels. Do not query about your novel.

The best way to get an idea of the kind of fiction we're looking for is to read one of our anthologies. Check out Thou Shalt Not....

Manuscript Format

Story manuscripts you submit must be in the following format:

  • Times or Courier, 12 pt
  • Paragraphs double-spaced with first lines indented 1/2 inch, ragged right
  • No extra space between paragraphs
  • One-inch margins all around
  • Microsoft Word .doc or .docx files only, sent as an email attachment

For more about proper manuscript format, see William Shunn's example.

 On this page:

 In General
 Content Standards
 Submitting to DCP
 Manuscript Format