Dark Horizons: Submission Guidelines

Dark Horizons is no longer active, having been replaced by the BFS Journal. Please see instead the BFS Journal submission guidelines.

Dark Horizons published fiction, poetry, articles and interviews.


  • All submissions must be in English.
  • We’re looking for all kinds of fantasy fiction: comic, contemporary, dark, fantastical, heroic, horror, mythological, science fantasy, science fiction, strange, supernatural, sword & sorcery, urban, weird and so on…
  • Stories up to 7,000 words are required. Longer pieces will be considered.
  • We are looking for original stories although reprints will be considered.
  • No simultaneous or multiple submissions.
  • Submit your manuscript by email as an attachment in rtf or in a Word.doc (not .docx) format. Do not include your story in the body of the email. We no longer accept postal or Google Wave submissions.
  • Mark the subject line: DH submission and include title and author’s name (e.g. DH Submission – Ill met in Lankhmar – Fritz Leiber).
  • Include your name, email address, title and approx word count on the first page.
  • Please include a brief bio. Note: it will not affect our decision with regard to your story, it’s just to save a bit of time later on if we accept your story.
  • Please state if you are a BFS member (needed to help administration – it won’t affect our decision).

Poetry: Subject matter as for fiction. Poetry submissions should be emailed directly to the poetry editor. Unlike fiction and non-fiction, poems should be included in the body of the email, not sent as an attachment. All submissions must be in English.

Any form will be accepted with a maximum length of 36 lines. To be honest, rhyming poetry in iambic pentameters will be a hard sell. However, it would be good to see sonnets, Villanelles or the odd Rondeau, or any other form you care to tackle. Tip: before submitting, read your poem out loud. Does it work? Check the metre. Does it scan? Look at your line lengths. Lengthy poems or sagas will be considered, but should follow instead the submission guidelines given above for fiction.

Non-Fiction: We are looking for anything that will interest the members of the British Fantasy Society, in particular interviews, overviews, critiques, biographies, histories, opinions, ruminations, and so on. We do suggest you contact us before writing any substantial article, to check on suitability and word count. Our readers are generally quite knowledgeable when it comes to fantasy, so don’t be afraid to suggest topics slightly off the beaten track. All non-fiction should be sent directly to the editor by email. Reprints are welcome.

Note to Publishers: We are always on the lookout for suitable people to interview. We would also be interested in providing our readers with previews of forthcoming books, in particular of non-fiction titles. Previews could take the form of an extract, deleted scenes, or (for example) a note from the author explaining the significance of his or her subject. Please contact the editor to discus.

Artwork: We are looking for artists in all mediums (including photography) prepared to illustrate stories and the front cover. Please email examples of your work to the editor (maximum size approx 500KB although high resolution images will be required) or refer us to your website or online gallery. You don’t have to commit to doing any artwork. We keep a mailing list of interested artists, and approach them when artwork is required.

A Bit of a Downer: The British Fantasy Society is a non-profit organisation and therefore DH is unable to pay for submissions (a copy of the publication is offered to contributors who are not society members). However, you will be in good company: Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, Louise Cooper, Stephen Gallagher, Brian Lumley, Mark Morris, Lisa Tuttle, Robert Holdstock and many others have all been published by the BFS.

You retain all rights to your work, allowing us only the right to distribute paper copies of the issue in which it appears. We will ask for permission with regard to using your work in other ways, such as an e-book version of the magazine for members. If at a later date your story is reprinted elsewhere, please acknowledgement its original publication in Dark Horizons.

Response Times: Dark Horizons is always open to submissions. Because the BFS Journal has a set page count each issue and the speed at which the DH file can fill, publication of your submission may take some months. Dark Horizons now has a reading team to speed up the submission process – so we aim to provide an initial response by four-six weeks.

Style Guide

  • These are intended to help you submit your work in a professional manner. Manuscripts not so presented may be returned unread.
  • Use an easily-read font such as Ariel at 12 point. Do not use fancy fonts or layouts.
  • Double space your manuscript.
  • Indent the first line of each paragraph using the Word for Windows ruler indent function, or with a single tab character – except for the first paragraph of a section or chapter, which should be full out to the margin. Do not use the space key to create indents.
  • Use italics for emphasis. No underlining
  • Do not over use the exclamation mark!
  • Single apostrophes for speech. Use double quotes for speech (or quotes) within speech (or quotes):  ‘Do you know what she said? She said, “Don’t you do that!”’
  • All submissions must be in English. Use British rather than US spelling – we will edit for this if your submission is accepted
  • Punctuation comes outside apostrophes in every case except in speech.
  • Use asterisks * or *** between sections with a blank line before and after them.
  • Possessive attribution on names depends upon the pronunciation: Charles’s not Charles’; Peters’ not Peters’s.
  • No full stops after initials: e.g. HP Lovecraft rather than H.P. Lovecraft.
  • Dates: do not use ‘th’, ‘st’ or ‘ed’. The date number precedes the month: i.e. correct format is 14 March, 2003, 24 December, 1965 etc.

For non-fiction

  • Maintain a bibliography of quotations used and other sources and list the full appendices at the end of the article.
  • Stick to the facts. Do not refer to people as having died ‘tragically’ – unless the circumstances genuinely were tragic.
  • Use the Word for Windows ‘Footnotes’ function for footnotes within the text where required.
  • When referring to episode titles within a series, the series name would be in italic, but the episode/story titles would be in single quotes. (e.g.: the Doctor Who story ‘Spearhead from Space’).

Updated January 2011

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