We are looking for, as the old Gutter guidelines put it, "well-written, fucked up stuff." This means nicely constructed stories in which things--that is, bad things--happen; stories that test boundaries and give readers something to think about while taking readers from A to B without getting lost.
**NEW AS OF SEPTEMBER 1, 2014: ALL WRITERS SUBMITTING MUST HAVE A FACEBOOK ACOUNT**
Seriously. I know Facebook--or the mere idea of it--bothers a lot of writers. I get it. Really, I do. Problem is, when we accept stories from writers without Facebook accounts, they are DOA; they go nowhere. Stories by writers not on Facebook get 1/20th the hits. And even if I am totally making up that percentage to make my point, it still adequately reflects the pain in the ass of doing all this work of reading submissions, formatting, getting a story on the site, only to watch our hard work--and yours--languish in obscurity. There is a terrific community of crime writers on Facebook. Meet them. Use them. And if you are still morally opposed to Facebook, that's totally cool. There are several other crime sites. Best of luck! Thanks for understanding.
So what kinds of stories do we want? I’m looking for the kind of stories you tell when you're with your pals down at the bar, knocking back your thirteenth beer. Blood ’n’ guts, sex ’n’ violence. The bank job that goes wrong; the drug deal that turns nasty; the beautiful lap-dancer who turns out to have a bigger cock than you. You get the drift. A good template to follow: I wanted this, I did that, and then it all turned to shit. In short, I like it when stuff happens in stories. I like a story less when it's a lot of talking in cars about the symbolism of a rainy parking lot.
Flash fiction is a quick punch to the jaw. Give me stories under 1,000 words.
Hit me fast, hit me hard.
Simultaneous submissions are fine. The truth is, we'll get to your story within the week in most cases, but if you find a home elsewhere, just let us know. We move fast, trust me. Please limit subs to one per reading period (which basically means, if we don’t take your story, give it a few before submitting again).
Be sure to include a short (70-words or less) bio at the end of your story.
Payment? Nothing up front, but I might buy you a beer at Bouchercon.
Last, I want to publish your story. Keep in mind, sometimes, a particular work just won’t fit. This isn’t a commentary on you as a person. It sucks getting rejected. I’m a writer, too. I get rejected all the time. I’ll try my best to respond personally. You try not to take it personally if I say no. And the best way to get in any magazine is to read it. I have my particular aesthetic like anyone else (and it’s easy to deduce).
Good luck & keep writing!
Joe & Tom, Flash Fiction Editors