An intimate perspective.


Cold Open Stories is accepting submissions for Issue 2 of its original short story anthology. Issues provide authors and readers with a chance to explore new worlds and characters within the limitations and techniques of the short story format. Each Issue follows a prompt, for which authors must incorporate into the themes, motif, or narrative of their story.

Prompt: Cold


Submission deadline is September 15, 2022 @ 11:59pm PT

What are we looking for?

World & Character

Create an immersive, well-realized world that has distinct characters with clear goals.

Accepted Genres

Stories must fall within the genres of Dark Fantasy, Weird Sci-Fi, Horror, Western, Noir, or Speculative Fiction.

2,500 Word Limit

Stories must have a beginning, middle, and end - all within 2,500 words.

Ready to submit your story?


The Cold Open Stories Discord is a great place to talk with other aspiring authors. Get feedback on your story before submitting!


Format your entry submission according to the Standard Manuscript Format, and follow British English spelling conventions. 
The University of Oxford Style Guide is a great reference for this.


Save your entry submission as a .docx or .doc and attach it to an email.


In the body of the email, write your name, the title of the story, word count, your social media (or website if you have one) and a 100-word bio about yourself.


Edit the email’s subject line so it reads: ORIGINALS – ISSUE 2 SUBMISSION [STORY NAME] followed by the title of your story.


Submit your formatted email to 

Editorial Support

Stories that are selected for publication with Cold Open Stories will receive the support of a volunteer editor. Editors assist the author with constructive critiques to identify what works, what needs work, line editing, copy editing, and preparation for publication. Our goal is to guide, educate, and support aspiring authors as the strive for self-publishing or working within established intellectual properties.

The Fine print

Cold Open Stories is a place for authors to share their talents, get seen, and celebrate growth. We believe that diversity in fiction in an excellent way to find new voices and stories. We want this to be reflected in our content and welcome submissions from every race, nationality, gender, and sexual orientation. Want to learn more about how your Issue might be presented, promoted, and potentially read aloud? Expand one of the categories below for more details.

Reply Process

  1. Upon submission, writers will receive an email confirming that their entry has been received. 
  2. If the piece does not meet submission criteria, the writer will receive an email explaining why the piece has been rejected. If the writer does not receive a letter of rejection at this point, then the piece has met all submission criteria and will be passed on to the editing team for review. (This review process may take some time, potentially several weeks depending on the size of the amount of submissions received during any given period.)
  3. Once the piece has been reviewed, the writer will either receive a letter of rejection if the piece needs more work, or an offer to continue with the revision process in preparation for publication.
  4. Upon acceptance, the writer will work closely with the editing team in order to further revise the piece and come up with an end product that all parties are satisfied with.
  5. Once the piece is ready, both parties will sign a contract allowing Cold Open Stories permission to publish the piece. More about this process can be found below.

Our average initial response time is three to six days. If you haven’t heard back from us after a week, feel free to contact us as

1. The Author grants Cold Open Stories permission to reproduce and publicly distribute the short story in digital form on the Cold Open Stories website (
2. Authors maintain the ability to publish their work with other partners or websites, blogs, subreddits, but a “First published on" is greatly appreciated.
3. The Author agrees that the short story was written by them as an original work and was made for non-commercial entertainment.
4. The Author agrees that any edits to the short story’s content will be offered for review and consideration, and that creative control over these edits remain with the Author. Control over these edits are waived for formatting requirements necessary for posting on the Cold Open Stories website (font size, colour, page breaks).
5. The Author will maintain ownership of the short story. Publishing, submission, and selling rights remain with the Author if the story goes to print or it is shown there is a demand for it.
6. The Author will receive written credit on the Cold Open Stories website with a “Written By” acknowledgement preceding the short story. The Author will receive links to their social(s) and website (if available) and will provide Cold Open Stories with a brief biography to include on the site.

1. The Author assigns to Cold Open Stories the permission to promote the short story across social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for the purposes of directing traffic, generating readership, and reader entertainment.
2. The Author grants Cold Open Stories the permission to include extracts or passages of the short story in promotional materials.

1. The Author gives Cold Open Stories the option to adapt the story into an audio drama or dramatized narration (digital format) which would include dialogue by actors, composition of original music, and sound design. Creative control to make edits or changes to the short story to fit this adaptation is understood. Authors have the option to opt-out if they are not comfortable with this. 
2. The Author grant Cold Open Stories permission to publish, reproduce, and publicly distribute the produced audio drama or dramatized narration across streaming services (Apple Podcast, Soundcloud, Podbean, Spotify, YouTube) in serialized and completed formats.
3. The Author will receive verbal and written credit in the Cold Open Stories adaptation with a “Story By” acknowledgement.
4. The Author agrees that Cold Open Stories receives an exclusive first right of refusal for other proposed fan audio adaptations.

1. The Author agrees that the work performed in writing the short story was done on a volunteer, non-commercial basis and acknowledges that there is no employment relationship, remuneration, or salary offered by Cold Open Stories for the actions of publishing, promoting, or adapting the short story online.
2. Individuals or organizations who are interested in financially supporting Cold Open Stories or the Author will be directed to support the Author directly on their website or social accounts, or to donate to a charitable organization, identified by Cold Open Stories, which is committed to improving accessibility for multi-barriered populations.