Thrill Ride - Submissions


Thrill Ride – the Magazine / 
Edited by M. L. "Matt" Buchman



(Now closed for the 2024 season. Thanks so much! Be sure to sign up for the newsletter to be notified [last bar below].)

Year Three opens: 9/1 - 12/31/2024

Wait Time? Each year, I read and edit in the first two weeks of January for all of the next year. Expect to hear from me by Jan 15 re: edits and acceptance. By Feb 1, all contracts and TOCs will be complete and you'll be contacted re: acceptance or rejection.

This is a long and detailed proposal because I tried to anticipate as many questions as I could. Feedback is welcome (see form below). Invite-only submissions. (If you directly received an e-mail announcing this (including a group list) or you're holding one of my cards, that's an invite. Heard me announce it at a conference? That's an invite.).

Subs for 2025 issues will be live 9/1/2024 & close 12/31/2024. There are NO open submissions. Send submissions to: Submissions must follow the format detailed below to avoid immediate rejection.

Brief Overview

Buchman’s Thrill Ride - the Magazine (BTRM) is a quarterly THEMED anthology that gathers together the best and newest voices in original thriller and high-tension action-adventure short fiction. Each issue is themed (I mentioned that, right?).

Each high-stakes story is: character-driven, crisis-driven (personal, regional, or global), and a wild-fun ride.

There is no other market dedicated to thriller and action-adventure short fiction. The primary goal is vastly increasing exposure to each other’s audiences and, eventually, brand-new markets. The secondary intent is to make a little money.

The magazine pays using royalty share of an annual Kickstarter and then on-going sales. (Exclusive rights revert 90 days after the release of each issue. Non-exclusive rights continue.) BTRM is currently invite-only. No unsolicited submissions accepted. (Your submission must include where you saw the invite. If you are: previously published in Thrill Ride, are holding one of our business cards, saw an invitation on a private list, or received a verbal invite from the editor, that means you are welcome to submit.) 

What BTRM Publishes

Thrillers and action-adventure tales.

Thriller must be the core of the story. It must be high-tension and/or fast-paced. There must be a crisis.

  • James Frey states that a thriller is, "High stakes, nonstop action, plot twists that both surprise and excite, settings that are both vibrant and exotic, and an intense pace that never lets up until the adrenaline-packed climax."
  • A friend suggests, "It’s a pulse-pounder with a plot."
  • Personally, I feel that a thriller is about a character, in a setting, under extreme tension.

It can be three car chases rammed into 10k words (but the characters and tension must force the reader to finish the story before they can leave the bathroom). It can also be a story in which “nothing” happens, but the tension is a high-wire act for the reader. (Lee Child’s story “Section 7(a) (operational)” in Agents of Treachery is a fine example of this.)

Any time: If you want to write a riveting thriller in Victorian England, Ancient China, pre-historic Africa, Dutch Indonesia, Feudal Japan,… bring it on.

Any race / identity: Characters may be any race or gender identity. If you can write a riveting dog thriller, let’s see it.

Any thriller sub-genre (almost): medical, military, legal, crime, etc, except as below:

  • A love story must have the thrill-foremost. If "romantic thriller" was a recognized sub-genre...
  • Real world: Not interested in: mind readers, ghosts, fairies, aliens, etc.
  • Present day: Future tech up to “Tuesday After Next.” James Bond-esque gadgetry is acceptable. But spaceship battles, personal supersonic flying cars, etc. are outside BTRM’s scope. (Think Connery or Craig, not Moore or Brosnan. Think Dirk Pitt.)
  • No apocalyptica, but there can certainly be stopping the apocalypse.
  • Mystery, crime, or suspense stories must be first and foremost action-adventure or thriller.
  • BTRM only accepts original works, no reprints.
  • No serializations (except graphic novel-see below).
Each story must stand-alone (though it can be part of a series). We will certainly consider all four stories in a series, but each volume will include the best stories submitted to that theme, so each story must stand-alone as well.
  • Stories: 2,500 – 10,000 words (hard upper limit)
  • Flash Fiction: < 2,500 words
  • Poetry
  • Webcomic: up to 4 panels in a single issue
  • Graphic Novella (1 per year): 32-48 panels that make a serialized thriller story to be divided across up to 4 issues



If you want your story selected, do NOT go for the low-hanging fruit, the first idea, the obvious choice. Take your first 3 ideas and throw them out. Just because I say "Gadgets" and mention Bond, Bourne, and McGyver, it means PLEASE do NOT send me a Bond, Bourne, or McGyver-escque story--unless you put a hella-cool twist on their tail. 




Thrill Ride - the Magazine does
NOT accept any AI submissions. Anyone who is detected as submitting an AI story will be permanently barred from all future submissions. We aren’t anti-AI. We’re here to promote author’s voices, not a machine’s (no matter the quality). We are a small operation with no ability to absorb a massive influx of submissions. If you abuse this, we’ll be forced to change to a closed submission process, shutting out otherwise potentially new voices, including yours.

Please do NOT wreck it for yourself and everyone else.

Slight exception: You may use AI to translate your story from another language to English, but please, please, please, have a bilingually fluent proofreader.


BTRM takes First World English rights in the following formats: e-book, print, audio. Ninety (90) days after publication of each issue, all rights revert except:

  • Non-exclusive World English publication in the complete anthology in all three formats.
  • Reprint rights for possible “Best of” style compilation editions that will earn share-based revenue as specified in “Payments” below.

Note: If you plan to later re-publish the story through KU or some other exclusive venue, don’t waste our time. Non-exclusive rights continue for duration of copyright except in extenuating circumstances at the publisher’s discretion. Magazine Closure: If the publisher closes the magazine and annual gross sales fall below $1,000 of all back issues combined, the Publisher commits to unpublishing all issues of the magazine and reverting all rights. If the Kickstarter fails, the editor reserves the right to redesign and relaunch the Kickstarter within 30 days. If that fails, all rights will be returned immediately and the magazine will close. Up-front costs will be absorbed by the magazine.


Each annual, 4-issue series will be initially crowdfunded through Kickstarter as a whole and then placed at a distributor for individual issue pre-orders and sales. All payments are share-based.

Shares Explained

  • Fiction (2,500-10,000 words) = 1 share
  • Fiction (<2,500 words) = 1/2 share
  • Non-fiction essay = 1/2 share
  • Web Comic = 1 share
  • Graphic Novella = 4 shares if it spans 4 issues
  • Editor = 10% of net* income
  • Publisher = 15% of net* income

*net = gross income after Kickstarter, credit card, and physical expenses. Physical expenses include: actual costs (print copies, etc at cost), and shipping (pre-paid by backers). Costs of cover design, layout, audio production (if exercised), website, fulfillment, accounting, etc. are from the Publishing House’s share.

Kickstarter: An initial Kickstarter will be created to fund the magazine. Funds will be paid to authors net 30 after Kickstarter deposits funds with Publisher.

Post-Kickstarter: The four yearly titles will also be placed on pre-order wide immediately after the Kickstarter. Each issue will be published through a profit-sharing site (D2D and/or Pubshare). Included authors will be required to have an account at the appropriate site. Payments will be made directly to Authors by the Distributor on their standard payment schedule.

Each individual issue’s income will only be shared by the authors in that specific issue (i.e. If issue #3 takes off individually, the income will be split by the editor and the authors of that issue.)

Kickstarter Exclusives: For Kickstarter exclusives, Publisher will solicit stories for reprint anthologies from the authors who had a story selected. This will entail non-exclusive, one-time publication rights to those stories. If your story is selected for an anthology of this type, it will earn an additional 1/4 share from the Kickstarter. The Publisher may also solicit those who are willing to tuckerize a character (rename a story character for a high-level backer). This too will earn an additional 1/4 share of the Kickstarter, though it will not affect the share split for the 4 issues’ on-going sales.

Future (Year 2 and beyond) Compilations: Any future compilations of original material will be produced through the Kickstarter (a reprint share) or the Distributor and each included Author and the Publisher will receive shares as per the schedule above. Inclusion will entail one additional promotion (see below) on or within five (5) days of the release date if they are released wide rather than as a KS Exclusive. Again, the primary focus is exposure rather than income. The more everyone promotes, the more we all make and the more “free advertising” we each get for new audiences and for the rest of our catalogs.

REQUIRE PROMOTIONS (Read this carefully)

Every author must promote each issue in which they have a story four (4) times at a minimum (more is better, of course):

  • Launch of Kickstarter
  • Within 3 days before end of Kickstarter
  • Within 2 weeks before actual release of issue including the story (while on pre-order)
  • Within 3 days after issue release date (to punch the algorithms)

Example: a story in 1 issue, requires 4 promos. A story in every issue would require 10 promos over the course of the year, 2 for the Kickstarter and 2 for each anthology release. How to promote is up to each author: newsletter, blog, social media, paid ads, etc. After each promo, author must send a note to: editor (at) thrillridemag (dot) com with the subject line: Your Last Name-Issue #-Promo done. No further reporting or detail is necessary. (If you’re in every issue, we want to receive 10 “Promo done” e-mails over the course of the year.)

NOTE: Authors who fail to do and report both KS promos may be removed from all issues prior to release and receive no shares. Authors who fail to do both promos for each issue they’re in, may be barred from all future issues. A reminder will be sent both before and on each date.


  • Current year – write your story(ies) ahead. Submissions open September 1.
  • New Year’s Eve Midnight – all submissions for all 4 quarterly issues due for exclusive consideration. This is necessary for the next year’s Kickstarter.

Stories submitted early are appreciated (to spread out editor’s reading) but will be shown no favoritism. Your story must be submitted before Zero Dark Thirty of the New Year (Eastern Time).

  • January – stories read, selected, and table of contents built
  • Feb 1-7 – Contract week. To be included, you must complete your contract this week. Also, solicitation of reprint stories and willingness to tuckerize for KS campaign done this week.
  • Feb 8 - Rights for all rejected stories are fully reverted. (They’re held until the 7th in case someone fails to execute their contract in a timely fashion and we need to fill the issue.)
  • Feb 9-28 (approx) – Crowdfunding campaign. (Table of contents complete, acceptance and rejection complete).
  • Mar 1 – All 4 issues up for Jane Q Public pre-order (no late KS pledges)
  • Mar 21 – Spring Issue Released
  • Mar 31 – Target date to complete payment of all Kickstarter funds to authors
  • Jun 21 – Summer Issue Released (Spring rights revert)
  • Sept 1 – Submission open for next year
  • Sept 21 – Fall Issue Released (Summer rights revert)
  • Dec 21 – Winter Issue Released (Fall rights revert)
  • Dec 31 midnight – Submission deadline for next year
  • Mar 21 (year following) – (Winter rights revert)


  • FIC002000 FICTION / Action & Adventure
  • FIC031000 FICTION / Thrillers / General
  • FICTION / Thrillers / Christian see Christian / Suspense
  • FIC031010 FICTION / Thrillers / Crime
  • FIC031100 FICTION / Thrillers / Domestic
  • FIC006000 FICTION / Thrillers / Espionage
  • FIC031020 FICTION / Thrillers / Historical
  • FIC031030 FICTION / Thrillers / Legal
  • FIC031040 FICTION / Thrillers / Medical
  • FIC031050 FICTION / Thrillers / Military
  • FIC031060 FICTION / Thrillers / Political
  • FIC031080 FICTION / Thrillers / Psychological
  • FICTION / Thrillers / Romance see Romance / Suspense (think romantic thriller)
  • FIC030000 FICTION / Thrillers / Suspense
  • FIC036000 FICTION / Thrillers / Technological
  • FIC031090 FICTION / Thrillers / Terrorism


  • Yes: strong character (#1), high tension, exceptional pacing, awesome setting, making the reader think, twists are also cool
  • No: excessively graphic or gratuitous anything (sex, violence, destruction, torture…). Content must serve the story. Your characters are welcome to swear, but don’t load down the expletives just for the sake of including them.
  • Positive spin: I tend to avoid overly dark or depressing tales. If you take me there, bring me back. I want to know that someone is, even fictionally, fighting the good fight and standing up against evil. More simply? The good side wins (even just WFN wins for now).

All that said, if your story is sufficiently amazing, we'll take it anyway.


Hint: Think outside the box.

A few examples:

  • A story in any volume may be in any thriller subgenre: military, legal, medical, domestic, political…
  • The first topic was Honor. There’s military honor, political honor (or dishonor), honor among thieves, tribal honor, mafia and Yakuza honor, Boy and Girl Scouts, friendship, honoring promises...
  • Unlikely Partners can be: police, military scouts, airplane pilots, an astronomer and an astrologist, a hostage rescuer and a geek hostage…
  • Play with: gender roles, ethnicity, culture, location, gender identity, age (YA thriller, Senior Citizen thriller)…

YEAR 1 (2023) - complete

  • Spring: Honor – Honor must be on the line or what drives the character.
  • Summer: Unlikely Partners – The team pairing least likely to cooperate and be successful. Think: Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Odd Couple, Remington Steele, Bill and Ted…  
  • Fall: No-WMM (Western white males) – There are far too many WWMs in thrillers. Time to hear other voices. None of the primary characters may be Caucasian males. Women? Trans? Asian, Indian, African, Latino…? Bring it on. Even better? We prefer setting these stories outside of: US, Canada, and Western Europe, Australia, NZ… (exception for Native American / First Tribes stories).
  • Winter: Betrayal – The coin-flip of Honor. What happens when whoever is most trusted, proves to be the opposite. Military unit, friend, family, la famiglia, spouse (Gone Girl)… Sounds like the perfect opportunity for a great Christmas / New Year / Hannukah / etc. thriller, doesn’t it? 

YEAR 2 (2024)

  • Spring: Sisters-in-arms – Over 15% of the US military is female. Some countries it’s over a third. Let’s hear their stories. Doesn’t have to be military (ice climbers, round the-world racing sailors…), but main characters must be female (or at least identify as such) and be life-dependent on each other in a crisis.
  • Summer: Gadgets – Think Q’s high-tech ala James Bond. Think Jason Bourne or McGyver’s low-tech. This story is about the crisis and the gadget. Remember to go outside the box (eg. don’t give us Bond, Bourne, or McGyver).
  • Fall: Adventure – Storm tossed seas, ocean basins, atop Everest, raid a gold mine… Take the reader somewhere they’ve never been and let them wonder how they’d survive. Think Eiger Sanction, Deepwater Horizon, The Abyss (without the aliens), Run Silent Run Deep, Lost.
  • Winter: Lone Wolves – Sometimes it takes only one person. That single, right person. Jack Reacher, Jason Bourne, Salt, Columbiana. Who is alone this holiday season? Who is on the outside, keeping those within safe? Or not?

YEAR 3 (2025)

  • Spring: Secrets – Where the hiding, or discovery of, a secret is the pivotal crisis.
  • Summer: Fast Cars – Or vehicles. Think Fast & Furious series in a short story.
  • Fall: Sidekicks – Maybe it isn’t the lantern-jawed hero or busty heroine who saves the day. Instead give us Robin’s, Tonto’s, or Moneypenny’s story.
  • Winter: Spies – Like Secrets except this time the person not the secret is at the center of the story.

YEAR 4 and Beyond (no order yet)

  • Accidents – When an accident launches the crisis…especially if it isn’t an accident! Think Lost, Castaway, or the bus crash in Romancing the Stone.
  • Capers – When theft goes to the edge, can they survive? The Italian Job(s), How to Steal a Million, Inside Man, a Mission Impossible hoodwink…
  • Conspiracy – Just because you think there’s a whole plan out there to get you, doesn’t mean there isn’t. Also political, military, social… Think anything from Bond to Bourne to Maxwell Smart.
  • Yesterday’s Ghosts – When the past raises its ugly head and brings all of its troubles with it.
  • Sticking It To The Man –Sometimes social justice outperforms legal justice. This isn’t merely about vigilantes, it’s about when the system runs out of control, who steps up? What happens next?
  • Aristocrats – Lives of the rich and fabulous, right up until something goes wrong.
  • Missing Persons - Kidnapped? Missing persons hunt? Maybe they dropped out and don’t want to be found.
  • Historical Thrills – An antique is “over 100 years old.” But a thriller is never too old. Before the First World War (pre-1914). Bring the tension and the authenticity.
  • Hidden agendas – Plans within plans. Secrets upon secrets. Each revelation shifts the target, task, situation.

Feedback & Questions