If you haven’t read Nightmare, you should. It’s a well-curated online horror and dark fantasy magazine with some non-fiction and podcast business going on as well. They have a subscription service, but there are also plenty of good stories available to read for free online. Although I would say subscribe; it’s cheap and it helps the writers. If you don’t want to help writers or spend the money, then I don’t know what to tell you. Go complain to someone else.
Nightmare has these little limited submission windows where it accepts new stories for consideration. By all accounts, it’s extremely selective. I don’t know that I’ll make this window, but I did recently mark some stories to read. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the kind of content a publication typically spews forth before trying to submit something to it – you may find that it’s not for you, or that you’re not for them. My stories tend to have humor in them, likely too much for Nightmare, but I still may try.
I did submit to a revival of J.N. Williamson‘s anthology series Masques, which were a huge hit in the 80s and 90s and then into the aughts, when Mr. Williamson passed away. He had a long and prolific horror writing career and I have read a couple of his books somewhere along the way. Horror writers Mort Castle and Tracy Knight decided that they wanted to pay homage to Williamson and to Masques. So, they threw some water on that bad boy and put out a submission call in 2016.
After I submitted, I got an email chastising me for not using manuscript format. At the time, I couldn’t recall reading that as a requirement in the rules, but I took it constructively, which the email asked me to do. In hindsight, I probably should’ve asked if I could resubmit correctly, but I didn’t, so whatever. I haven’t been rejected yet, but they just started up in February. Based upon the timing of others’ rejections and their submission dates, I imagine I’ll receive mine sometime in mid-March.
Again, this is the year of Beck’s Rejections, because I have to be okay with it. Shoot for the moon, Beck.
Anyway – use manuscript format. If the submission call doesn’t say to use it, but doesn’t say anything else, use it. I went back and looked, and I think the call did say it, and I just wasn’t paying attention. PAY ATTENTION.