DCP's books entertain readers with meaningful
dark fictionspellbinding stories with a minimum of
adult language and sex. DCP books give readers an entertaining,
thrilling, scary, imaginative read, leaving them with something
The Tales of Blood and Squalor anthology is CLOSED to submissions.
publish horror, dark crime, and psychological thrillers. Nothing else.
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 Milewithout the adult language.
Excellent story. Moral values. But too much profanity.
Which brings us to our next point...
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?
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
The standard for Dark
Cloud Press is R, but the nastiness needs to be integral 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....
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