The following market report, as well as the follow-up interview, are courtesy of Market Scoops by D.L. Snell.
Magazine: Shroud Magazine
Editor: Tim Deal
Pay Rate: 2¢-5¢ per word
Response Time: 1-2 months
Description: Shroud Magazine publishes speculative fiction with a dark focus. In addition, Shroud features original art, film, music reviews, and articles that illuminate the thin veil between reality and fantasy.
Complete Submission Guidelines: Shroud Magazine
1) What authors do you enjoy and what is it about their writing that captivates you?
I am big fan of the mythic horror of Machen, Derleth, Lovecraft, as well as the masters of the last twenty years – F. Paul Wilson, Robert R. McCammon, King, Straub, and Koontz. However, there is a huge resurgence in modern horror that appeals to me. I dig Brian Keene because he creates characters that you care about, I love Tom Piccirilli’s use of language, his prose, I am captivated by Braunbeck’s settings and Nate Kenyon’s sense of place. I just read Joseph D’Lacey’s “Meat” and I am blow away by how real he made everything feel, and by the same token, I liked Jeff Strand’s “Mandible” because he took a far-fetched concept (“plus-sized ants”) and made it believable.
2) What are your favorite genres? Which of these genres would you like to see incorporated into submissions to this market?
As I said, I love mythic horror. I like the idea that we exist near a thin veil that separates us from eons of rich supernatural history. However, I am also a big fan of pulp and creature horror, as well as dark literature.
3) What settings most intrigue you? Ordinary or exotic locales? Real or fantasy? Past, present, or future?
That’s an easy one. I seldom budge from this: give me a present day ordinary setting that you know intimately, and I’ll be hooked. I want the setting to be a character as well. It does not have to be boring, but it has to be believable.
4) Explain the type of pacing you enjoy, e.g. slow building to fast, fast throughout, etc.
I like Brian Keene’s novels because the pacing is fast and furious and it keeps you engaged. However, I love a good build up filled with eloquent descriptions à la Lovecraft. The most important thing is making sure the pacing sucks the readers in initially and then helps them build a relationship with the characters.
5) What type of characters appeal to you the most? Any examples?
I am drawn to the everyman and to flawed characters. I love to see average everyday Joes find themselves in elaborate and horrifying situations. Also, I dig characters that have weaknesses, flaws, complexity – nuances. If a writer spends time developing their characters, then as readers we will care about everything they encounter, be it the annoyance of a drive-through order gone awry, or the appearance of Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos, in the character’s bathroom.
6) What is your policy for vulgarity and sexual content? (Question by Ralph Robert Moore)
I know this is the standard answer but it has to work within the context of the story. If it is even slightly gratuitous, then I’ll give it the boot. There are a number of publishing companies that make their dollar off of shock, but we are not one of them. If it make sense within the context of the story and the characters, then it’s fine, we’ll go the whole way with you.
7) Horror and violence can be blatant or suggestive. Which one do you prefer and why?
I appreciate subtlety, yet I can also appreciate horror “in your face.” It all depends upon the characters and the story.
8) In fiction and in life, what do you find most horrific?
Life. Especially the last eight years of it.
9) What are the top three things submitters to this market should avoid?
Vampires, serial killers, and post-apocalyptic zombie stories. I love all of these things, but they’re old.
10) What commonalities are among the stories you’ve rejected? Is there a particular aspect authors seem to get wrong? (Question by Martel)
I get tired of stories told in first-person. It just does not work for everyone and I feel it’s a bit self-indulgent. It is not an automatic rejection, and in some cases, like the Northern Haunts anthology, I have requested it.
11) If you reject a story, how open are you to a revised version, or do you only want revisions upon request? (Question by Martel)
I’ll ask for rewrites.
12) What trait are you seeking most in submissions to this market?
Originality, intelligence, and honesty to the point of vulnerability.
13) Any last advice for submitters to this market?
Write what you know and do not hold back.