Submission Guidelines

We no longer accept unsolicited submissions

However we do often run contests, and then submissions are open for contest entrants. Listen to the podcast for news on when our next contest will be. When a contest occurs, follow these guidelines for submitting your entry.

What We Want

The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine could be classified as a Speculative Fiction magazine. Speculative Fiction includes the genres of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror, as well as the many subgenres that fit under those large umbrellas. Yet, we still refuse to be placed into that small of category. We are a “Fiction” magazine. We want stories that are good; it doesn’t really matter the genre they may fit into.

Of course everyone’s ideas of what is good will differ. Our editors, Rish Outfield and Big Anklevich, are fans of speculative fiction, so writing in that realm will probably make you more likely to publish on The Dunesteef. We want stories with good pacing, interesting characters who are put into surprising situations, engaging dialogue, clear action, etc. You know, all the stuff you’ve already heard in all the books and in your college classes and so forth. Additionally, we are an audio market, so the story must work well in audio. Stories that use a lot of flowery language, but don’t have a lot of plot are not likely to make the cut. Humor is a plus as well. Even the most serious of stories could do with an injection of humor now and then.

There will be no applying of ratings to stories on The Dunesteef. All stories should be considered explicit and offensive until previewed by a parent. Parents should be the ones deciding whether the story is appropriate for children, not the publishers of The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine. Therefore, we will accept stories of all levels of expliticitness. Dark horror stories will be looked at with the same level of acceptance as childrens stories about unicorns. We’re not interested so much in gratuitous sex or violence, however, we’re not a porn magazine publishing erotica, nor are we a magazine aimed at serial killers or aspiring serial killers. We are highly unlikely to purchase stories focusing on rape, incest, child molestation, body mutilation, hate crimes, unsubtle religious or anti-religious propaganda, or current politics. Hopefully that gives you an idea of what we are looking for content-wise.

What are we looking for in the area of length?

Short Stories are mostly what we’re after. These should be between about 2,000 and 6,000 words in length. We won’t be counting exact words, so don’t cut out things because you think the story must be shorter. Again we want good stories, so don’t do things to them to make them less good. After all, Short Stories are not the only thing we’re looking for. If you do have a story that’s longer than 6,000 words, go ahead and submit it, we may even decide to serialize it into two episodes. If it’s longer than 7,500 words, though, please query us first (see the paragraph on novellettes, novellas, and serials for info on how to query).

Flash Stories are fiction that runs between 1,000 and 2,000 words or less, and we are also looking for stories of this length. Sometimes a shorter story can be a breath of fresh air in an oppressive room, and we’d like to include them as often as we can.  If your story is shorter than 1,000 words, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll accept it.  However, if you feel that your story is the one that will thaw our frozen hearts, then feel free to submit it, shorties are easy to read, so we won’t complain…much.

Novelettes, Novellas, and Serials are stories that are longer than 7,500 words. We’d really like to do longer works as well. However, reading these larger works will take up a lot of our time, we do have day jobs still after all. So if you have a longer story, send us a query and we’ll let you know. If you’ve never queried before, here’s how we want you to do it. Send us a synopsis of your story (a good one that will interest us in reading the story in its entirety), and the first 2,000 words or so. If we’re interested, we’ll ask for the rest of the story.

We pay 1/2 of a cent per word with a maximum payment of $10. It may not be much, but at least you can say you were paid for a story you wrote. Hopefully, if people like the stories, they’ll donate to us, and we’ll be able to raise that pay rate. Our goal is to be the highest paying short fiction market out there. Tell your friends about us, and help us gain listeners to reach that goal.

We accept reprints, but they do not receive any special treatment. Previously unpublished works will get equal treatment.

One other thing.  We’re not interested in stories that have been podcasted before on someone else’s show.  When I listen to a podcast, and they’re doing a story that I’ve heard before, I always skip on to the next podcast.  I don’t know how many other people do that same thing, but, just in case they do, we want to stay away from previously podcasted stories.  So, if your story has been on another podcast, please don’t send it to us, thanks.

How We Want It

If you think you’ve got a story we would like, please paste it into the body of an email and send it to submissions (at) dunesteef (dot) com, (if you’ve never seen an address like this before and are confused, just replace (at) with @ and (dot) with . and you will have the email address that you should send stories to). No attachments please, just paste it in the body of the email. We don’t want Word files, PDF files, or sound files of you reading the story. We’ll probably just delete any emails that arrive with such an attachment. Send it from the e-mail address at which you want us to correspond with you, because we’re just going to hit the reply button to respond to you.

On the Subject: line of the message, is should look like this: Submission: Title. Be sure to include the title of the story, but NOT the author’s name. Also it is VERY IMPORTANT to include the word ‘submission’ in your subject line. If you don’t include it your story will not be routed to the right person, so if you care at all about submitting your story (and why would you have done it at all if you didn’t?) then be sure to include the word ‘submission’ in your subject line. Thanks.

In the body of the message we want:

The word count of the story, rounded to the nearest hundred words.

Your name. (Your actual name. We can publish the story under a pseudonym if you want, but we need to know who’s legally offering us this story and to whom the check should be written.)

Your mailing address. (This is for contract purposes. It will be kept confidential.)

The title of the story.

The author of the story. (This would be where to put in your pseudonym.)

The text of the story.


6200 Words

Joe Blow
123 Road St.
Mytown, CA 99999

Dear Rish Outfield and Big Anklevich:
I would like to submit my story “The Lamest” to
your podcast. Thank you.

by Joseph R. Blow

“You are the lamest!” she said.

It wasn’t the first time Bill had been called that, but in this particular situation, it wasn’t the response he was looking for.

“Come on, baby,” Bill said, “Why you gotta be like that?”

She was putting on her coat as she headed for the door. He’d had enough. He pulled the lever. The green one. A hole opened in the floor beneath her. There was a moment where she seemed to hang in the air, like the coyote in the old Warner Brothers cartoons. Bill almost expected her to hold up a sign that said, “Yikes!” She didn’t. Instead she fell screaming into the crocodile tank below.

Hopefully, you get the idea.

Also, we do not accept multiple submissions. That means one story at a time. As long as we are not overwhelmed by story count, we will send your story back to you and ask you to submit it later when we have finished reviewing your first submission. If we become overwhelmed, we’ll simply delete your email and forget we ever received it. Simultaneous submissions are okay. That’s one story submitted to several markets at once. Just be sure to let us know it’s submitted elsewhere as well.

What You’re Telling Us

By submitting a story you understand and agree that:

  1. You are the original creator of the work submitted to us;
  2. You are the copyright holder of the work;
  3. You are not prohibited by any prior agreement from the transfer of non-exclusive electronic and audio rights to the work;
  4. All information in the contact and cover sections of your e-mail is accurate and truthful;
  5. You accept sole responsibility for any false statements or encumbrances upon rights not disclosed to us.

If we buy your story we’ll send you a contract, and you’ll be bound to all of the above. So if you aren’t willing to agree to it now, you’re just wasting our time, and we have little enough of that already.

What We Do With It

Once you’ve sent us your story, we will review it and respond to you via e-mail. We are trying to respond to everyone within a month. So far, we’re keeping fairly close to that schedule. If it takes longer than six weeks, then your story has probably been promoted to the possible purchases. If it’s been more than three months, send us an email to find out whether we’ve lost your story or not.

If we decide we’d like it for our podcast, we’ll send you a contract in e-mail. You will sign it and send it back to us via e-mail (after scanning it), or postal mail. Then we’ll pay you via check or PayPal and start producing.

The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine pays 1/2 of a cent per word with a maximum payment of $10. When we receive sufficient donations or sponsorships to pay more, we’ll pay more. We know how quickly word gets around about SF markets, and we’ll do our best to treat people right.

During the production process we may contact you with questions about the story, its background, or pronunciations. We’ll also ask you for a brief bio, and an author’s note about the story. We hope and expect that you’ll be available to help us, as a good performance makes all of us look good. Unfortunately, as everything we do is on a somewhat fluid schedule, we usually can’t give you an accurate timetable of when your story will appear in the podcast. We’ll notify you when it’s up, but not necessarily before.

What the World Does With It

The audio files The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine produces are released under a Creative Commons license. Specifically, we use the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license. Briefly, this means that the entire world has permission to distribute the podcast for free, provided they give credit for it, don’t try to make money off of it, and don’t change it in any way. Transcribing it, extracting portions from it beyond fair use, and mashing it up are all prohibited. This license applies only to our audio performance of your work, for which we’ve contracted and paid you. It does not apply to your story itself; you retain your copyright and all rights to any other use of the story.

We know that Creative Commons licensing is scary to many writers, and it’s certainly a radical break from traditional rights that expire after a period of time. Our take is this: when we create a podcast, we are putting an MP3 file on the Web. That MP3 file is going to get downloaded and copied onto thousands of hard drives, CDs, iPods, and other portable devices across the world. That’s the point. We want people to listen to it. But once you’ve done that, you can’t take that file back. There is no way to delete the file everywhere it exists. There are some highly fallible ways to lock things down, but DRM sucks, and even if we believed in it it’s too complicated for us to implement.

So from a purely practical perspective, we can’t make our content expire. And we can’t stop people from copying our files, nor should we. Given that reality, why not give our listeners to the full legal right to do what’s totally natural for an audio file (copy it, share it with people, and listen to it whenever they want), but make equally clear to them what they can’t do (share the story outside the podcast, or alter it in any way at all)? That’s our reason for the Creative Commons license. We’re not trying to plant a philosophical flag in the ground here; we’re just trying to reflect reality.We hope you’ll agree with our reasons and choose to share your story with us. If you don’t, then we’re deeply sorry, but we feel it’s better that you know this now, before you make the decision to submit.

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