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Little Red Bird Literary Presents:

Dark Speculations: Tales of Various Shapes and Shadows

**Call for Submissions**

Dark speculative fiction anthology series

Submissions are currently CLOSED – We will reopen again November 1st!

Read our submission guidelines below and submit to us

Dark Speculations is a digital and print anthology series published by Little Red Bird Publishing’s literary branch. We currently plan to publish a volume per year (every October) containing about twenty or so pieces of your beautifully crafted dark tales. We accept short stories, flash pieces, poetry, and visual art.

We appreciate your interest in the Dark Speculations anthology series and hope the information on this page answers all your questions. If anything is unclear, please drop us a note at to let us know.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep up with publishing updates!

Submission windows

**As of now, Dark Speculations is accepting submissions only during particular submission windows. Make sure you are submitting your work during a window or you risk your submission being deleted unread!**

OPEN for submissions (submission window): November to June, or until filled*
CLOSED for submissions (publishing window): July to October

We are currently CLOSED for submissions for Volume 1, set to publish October 2023.

We will reopen submissions again for Volume 2 on November 1, 2023, set to publish October 2024.

*We suggest submitting as early in the window as possible, as we read and accept submissions on a rolling basis and will be closing submissions when all the slots are filled.

What we publish

As our anthology title suggests, we seek dark speculative tales. We are open to almost all genres as long as they are in line with dark themes (eg. dark sci-fi, dark adventure, dark fantasy, and so on). Our category is broad because we aim to publish stories in a wide variety of horror, sci-fi, adventure, and fantasy subgenres. We accept these works in all forms: short stories, flash pieces, poetry, and visual art. We don’t know what we like until we see it. In general, we welcome stories that make us think and tell us something about the human condition. Bonus points if your writing shows you challenge yourself and your readers to think deeply about your and their own mortality and morality. Psychological mixed in with speculative is more than welcome. Feel free to throw some creatures our way as well: werewolves, shapeshifters, zombies, and other such beasts. Keep us up at night, especially on full moons; we’ll love you for it. Explore various well-known or underrated spirits (eg. Wendigo, hauntings). We tend to favor fantastical and sci-fi elements set in realistic and familiar settings (think Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, or Lovecraftian horror), but these are just ideas. Feel free to surprise us, we love to be surprised.

Note that dark fiction is not necessarily synonymous with horror. Some books and films fall under the category of dark fiction though not necessarily horror. To name a few: The Joker, Requiem for a Dream, Gone Girl, Black Swan, American History X, Zodiac, You, Dark Knight, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

Check out our inspiration prompt video on how to unlock your mind to write dark speculative fiction.
Check out our other books for an idea of what we tend to publish.
Here is an article about what exactly dark fiction is.
Here is an article about what exactly speculative fiction is.

Check out this great infographic to get a better idea of the genres and sub-genres of horror – though we favor psychological, feel free to mix & match and bend genres in ways that surprise us and make us think!

Find original of this infographic here.

If in doubt, please don’t self-reject. You never know, we might just love that story you weren’t so sure about. If you are truly stumped, drop us a note and we will gladly help you out.

What we don’t publish

We don’t publish splatter or slasher fiction, or senseless violence without a deeper motive. There are plenty of other great publications out there for that. We prefer depth of thought behind any act of violence. Violence is acceptable, but it should be secondary to the point of your piece.

Simultaneous submissions

Yes, but please email us to let us know if your story has been accepted elsewhere.

Multiple submissions

We do allow multiple submissions within each category, but please wait until you receive a response from us before submitting in that category again. You may submit for all four categories if you like (poetry, fiction, flash, and artwork), but please do so in separate email submissions.

Content warnings

Use your best judgment as to whether it fits your story, but don’t self-reject because you assume we’ll find it excessive.


We welcome artwork emphatically! We are looking for pieces that reflect dark speculation. You may interpret that however you wish. We welcome any medium (paintings, drawings, sketches, photography, mixed media, etc.) as long as you have the rights to it and ensure that Dark Speculations will not be violating any rights by publishing it. Submit any and all artwork as attachments with your email submission – up to five pieces.


You may submit up to five poems per submission, all in one document.


You may submit a short story between 1,000 to 12,000 words (query for longer; anything less than 1,000 words should be submitted as a flash piece).


You may submit up to three flash pieces per submission all in one document – up to 1,000 words each (max 3,000 words total).


We do accept reprints as long as the piece isn’t publicly available online (so this excludes pieces published on blogs, Medium, or other websites). Pieces that have been published in other print or electronic magazines or anthologies, or behind a Patreon paywall are all fair game. Please let us know if the piece has been published elsewhere in your cover letter. If we accept the piece, we will need confirmation that any exclusivity periods have lapsed.


We request non-exclusive electronic and print rights for all written work, and the right to publish your piece in our current anthology volume. If the piece is a reprint, we will indicate its original publication within the anthology; please make sure you have non-exclusive rights to the reprint from the original publication.


All contributors receive a digital copy of the anthology upon its publication. We also promote our contributors on our website and social media. This is how we can afford to pay our contributors at this time. We hope to offer more payment as we expand and grow.

Submission guidelines

Please submit your written work in docx, doc, or rtf format, and artwork in png or jpg format.

For written work, please format your submission in Shunn manuscript format but REMOVE your name and other personal identifying info directly from the document itself. Please also avoid including personal identifying info in your document name. Our editors are only given the document itself during the first round of edits and they read blind.

Email all submissions here with the subject line “DARK SPECULATIONS – [Name of Your Piece] – [Your Name]”

Include a cover letter and short bio in the body of your email, and include your submission as an email attachment. The name of your attachment should just be the name of your piece. Let us know in the cover letter whether your piece is a reprint and its approximate word count. Don’t try to summarize your story or explain why it’s a good fit for our publication (if it’s a good fit, we should be able to tell by reading it). Please also include a list of any previous publications (if any) either in your cover letter or bio, and any pertinent biographical details only if they are related to your piece (for example, tell us you live beside a cemetery if your piece is set in a cemetery). Please avoid including any political statements in your bio. Feel free to include a link to your website, social media, etc.; if your piece is selected, the bio you provide will be published alongside your piece.

Here is an article on the best practices when submitting to publications. Please read this if you are unsure about submitting or if you are new to submitting, as it has all the information you need to submit without worrying your piece will be rejected due to not following the guidelines. If you are still unsure about something, feel free to reach out to us at We prefer you reach out to us beforehand than to send us something we will reject due to not following the guidelines.

We aim to respond to all submissions within four weeks. If you don’t hear from us within four weeks, feel free to query

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep up with publishing updates!

*NEW* Feedback

For $5 we now offer the option of receiving full feedback on your story submission. Please make the payment via our Ko-Fi page here, along with the comment: ‘SUBMISSION FEEDBACK’. Please also confirm somewhere in your submission email that you would like the feedback service. Please note that the feedback option is only applicable once payment has been made. Fee applies per story submission (for example, if you submit three flash pieces in one email you would need to pay the fee for each story or specify which one you want the feedback service on). Feedback service is only available for flash fiction or short story submissions.

Little Red Bird Publishing | Professional Book & Story Coaching | Publishing Consulting | Professional Editing | Marketing | Full Service Self-Publishing | Submit

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What is dark speculative fiction, and how do you unlock your mind to write it?


Other Dark Speculative Books Published by
Little Red Bird Publishing

Check out our other books
The Boathouse

Dark Slow-Burn Occult Supernatural Suspense

Benny’s Story

Young Adult Dark Fantasy Action-Adventure

Bad Blood

Young Adult Dark Fantasy Action-Adventure

Killing Jar

Young Adult Dark Fantasy Action-Adventure

Human Nature

Young Adult Dark Fantasy Action-Adventure

Benny’s Story

Benny’s Story

A teenage boy on his quest to prove that the creature he spotted among the dense brush one night as a child was not just a tale brought about from his vivid imagination.
Will Benny be able to let the past fade to fiction? Or will it come alive in the form of his worst fear?

Bad Blood CYOA

Bad Blood: Choose Your Own Story

Before Gabi is thrown into the depths of her chaotic adventure, you are invited to make her choices for her. Guide her in this ‘Choose Your Own Story‘-style teaser for Bad Blood: the first novel in the three-part series of Gabi-Lynne’s tale.

Bad Blood

Bad Blood

A teenage girl and her scientist guardian on their quest to rid the world of a strange blood-born disease that brings humans closer to their animalistic side.

Killing Jar

Killing Jar

As Gabi and Doc continue their quest to cure, they come face-to-face with something even more sinister than beasts who can’t control themselves: beasts who can.

Human Nature

Human Nature

Gabi struggles to keep her humanity as she and Doc continue on their quest, witnessing events that have led others to abandon all hope in winning the fight against this illness.

Scientist & Girl Series

Scientist & Girl Series

A young adult magical realism action-adventure series about a teenage girl and her scientist guardian on their quest to rid the world of a strange disease.

The Boathouse

The Boathouse

A standalone slow-burn psychological and supernatural suspense horror of two siblings descending into a harrowing world of isolation while on a trip to escape the hustle of city life.

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Dark Speculations: Tales of Various Shapes and Shadows

**Calls for Submissions**

Speculative dark fantasy, horror, and sci-fi anthology series

“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.”

-Joyce Carol Oates

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LRBP Intro
Professional Book & Story Coaching

We help you find the confidence to share your creations with the world and publish without fear.
Get guidance on the road to being published.

Professional Editing

Editing for every aspect of the publishing process for writers of fiction and general nonfiction. Are you a writer on a budget? Need your writing professionally edited? We offer editing at the story, sentence, and word level. Get a comprehensive edit.

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