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Diabolical Plots Submissions

Submit To Diabolical Plots Magazine These are the submission windows we currently have planned, we are OPEN in these date ranges: July 1-14, 2022:

Submit To Diabolical Plots Magazine

These are the submission windows we currently have planned, we are OPEN in these date ranges:

  • July 1-14, 2022: General Submission Window (no theme)
  • July 24-31, 2022: Diabolical Thoughts  Submission Window (telepathy theme)
If it is not in these date ranges then we are CLOSED.

(Note that there is 1 submission per author per window. But you don’t need to hear back from one window before submitting to another window.)

David Steffen is the editor, who you may also know from reading The Long List Anthology series or from the Submission Grinder, which you can use to find markets for your writing and track your submissions.  Diabolical Plots is a SFWA-qualifying market, so if you have a personal goal to join SFWA, making a sale here would help you toward that goal.

If you have already read our guidelines and are ready to submit, you can SUBMIT HERE.

Diabolical Thoughts Theme


We are seeking telepathy stories of every shape and style. Stories might be as intimate as mind-readers in love, forever seeing themselves through their lover’s eyes; or as harrowing as a telepath on the battlefield, drowned in every iota of pain, fear and grief felt for miles. They might be as bizarre as telepathy tourism from alien planets, all cognitive connoisseurs who find humans to have a particularly piquant mindset; or as familiar as a job interview, which has simply gained a new mental level to spar upon.

Give us telepathic truck drivers; telepathic orchestra players; telepathic gladiators and magistrates and paramedics and revolutionaries. We cannot wait to see what you come up with. 

For this themed issue, our assistant editor Ziv Wities will be taking the wheel and making final selections. Of course, your story should still be a good fit for Diabolical Plots—check out our general guidelines for an idea of what that means—but what might win you extra points with Ziv?

Well, Ziv would love to see:

  • Telepathy taking on odd, unexpected shapes, or being used for odd, unexpected purposes
  • Mind-reading with unusual rules ⁠— perhaps telepathic bonds are permanent and binding; or perhaps someone’s only telepathic for one hour every week!
  • Societies that have adapted to the presence of mind-reading, and shaped itself around their implications
  • Stories using telepathy to explore themes of uttermost connection, and/or of uttermost invasion 
  • Stories using telepathy to explore different themes entirely!
  • And we’ll borrow two of  our Assistant Editor Kel Coleman’s points, which are true for our magazine in general and for our theme issues in particular:

Fiction that’s high on emotional resonance, low on unexamined imperialism

Any kind of prose—it can be ornate, experimental in structure or tone, or punchy and simple, as long as it is intentional and serves the story


Accessibility Note:  We recognize our submission form may not be accessible to all users. Please send us a message at our contact form or email editor[at]diabolicalplots[dot]com and we will make sure you can submit your story.

Genres:  science fiction, fantasy, horror (everything must have a speculative element, even horror).

Word count:  3500 words or less.  This is a firm limit.  If you submit a longer story, it will be rejected unread and that will count as a submission.  Do not query to ask permission to submit something longer–the answer will be no.

Pay rate: 10 cents per word.  Paying by PayPal is preferred by us, but we can mail a US bank check if you live in the US, and if you live somewhere where neither of these things are options, we are exploring other options.  We don’t want unavailability of payment apps for you to be a deterrent to you submitting!

Multiple submissions:  No.  In the past, Diabolical Plots accepted two submissions per author per window, but now we ask that you only send one submission per window.  Even if you receive a rejection before the window has ended, we ask that you wait until our next window to submit a new story.

Simultaneous submissions: Yes!  We strive to respond in a timely fashion anyway, but you can have your story in our submission queue while it is also in another publication’s submission queue, on the condition that you withdraw it immediately as soon as it is no longer available for us to consider if it is accepted elsewhere.

Reprint submissions:  No. That means you should not submit anything that has been published in any format, blog, e-zine, print, podcast, anything.  Sharing stories with other authors in login-protected critique sites like Codex or Critters is fine.

Resubmits:  No.  Do not send a story you’ve submitted to us before, unless we specifically ask for a revision and resubmit.

Estimated Resolution Time:  30 days after end of submission window.  If you have not received a response by then, feel free to follow the instructions for querying in the section below.  We will send initial responses to stories as we read them, which will either be hold notices or rejections.  Hold notices will be kept until after the slush window to winnow down to the final selection.

Diversity:  We encourage writers from underrepresented or marginalized communities to submit their work.  This includes, but is not limited to, writers who identify as BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, women, people with disabilities, and religious minorities.  We recognize the potential for bias to affect our reading of submissions, so we also encourage writers from these communities to self-identify in their Notes For the Editors if they feel comfortable doing so–the contents of this box will only be visible to our Editor and Assistant Editors.  This is completely optional and the omission of such information will not affect your submission.

Anonymity:  All identifying information should be removed from your manuscript prior to submission.  This allows our first readers to judge stories anonymously.  Please don’t include any personal information in the title field, the story itself, or the Notes For the Editor boxes.  Your story will not be disqualified if you forget to anonymize your submission, but please do your best.

Notes for the editors: Although our first readers do not have access to the information you share in this section, we ask that you still do not put your name in this box. This section is completely optional, but you can use it to share:

Personal experience or expertise, usually relevant to the story, that you would like our editorial team to keep in mind while reading; for example, if your story is about a librarian and you are a librarian

Information requested in our diversity statement
Whether the story is a translation (see the section below on translations)

Manuscript Formatting:  We prefer something close to standard manuscript format, but our submission form uses a plain text box, so as long as we can read it, we’ll read it.  If formatting like italics or bold are vital to understanding your story, feel free to use some notation to mark them, such as bracing text with _underscores_ for italics or *asterisks* for bold.  But if it’s not vital to the understanding of the story, don’t worry about it–we’ll do an editing pass in the case of acceptance and can talk about formatting then.


Speculative fiction–science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Everything should have a speculative element–that includes horror. Feel free to mix in other genres at will–a fantasy mystery or a science fiction romance.

And yes, we really mean it has to have a speculative element. If you submit a serial killer story with only mundane elements, even though that could be a horror story it’s not a speculative horror story and it will be rejected regardless of quality.

Things that we tend to really like:

  • Weird fiction
  • Sense of wonder
  • Strong character and plot arcs
  • Strong worldbuilding, hinting at more to see around the edges of the story
  • Philosophical food-for-thought
  • Straightforward, easily readable style
  • Religion, where the story does not try to convert the reader, nor does the story demonize religion
  • Platonic friendship between men and women



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Pawners Paper: Diabolical Plots Submissions
Diabolical Plots Submissions
Submit To Diabolical Plots Magazine These are the submission windows we currently have planned, we are OPEN in these date ranges: July 1-14, 2022:
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