M. L. Buchman presents:

Thrill Ride – the Magazine

Edited by M. L. “Matt” Buchman



(Open now for the 2024 season. Be sure to sign up for the newsletter to be notified [last bar below].)

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 2024 issues are live 9/1/2023 & close 12/31/2023. 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 currently no market dedicated to thriller and action-adventure short fiction. Time for us to make one.

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.)

Buchman's Thrill Ride Magazine thrillers action-adventure

Buchman's Thrill Ride Magazine thrillers action-adventure
Year Two draft covers will look much cooler in 2024 (more like the 2023 covers above).

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.

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.

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 / Poetry 1/2 share
Non-fiction On-theme Essay 1 share
Webcomic 1 share
Graphic Novella 4 shares if it spans 4 issues
Editor (Possible guest editors after Year 2) 10% of net income*
Publishing House 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.


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 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.)

Example (w/o physical costs):

  • Kickstarter: for Year One (4 issues) raises $4,000 (after fees)
  • Author has 2 stories across the 4 issues. (2 shares)
  • There are a total of 38 stories and 4 essays across the 4 issues, a total of 40 shares (to keep the numbers simple).
  • Minus publisher & editor percentages: $4,000 – 15% – 10% = $3,000
  • Per share value: $3,000 / 40 = $75
  • Author KS payment: 2 shares = $150 (If the KS raised $20,000, the initial payout  would $750.)
  • If publication through a royalty-share site (such as D2D or Pubshare) makes an additional $4,000 over time, an additional $150 will be paid directly to your personal account based upon the site’s standard payment schedule.

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 effect 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.

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

  1. Launch of Kickstarter
  2. Within 3 days before end of Kickstarter
  3. Within 2 weeks before actual release of issue including the story (while on pre-order)
  4. 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 with the subject line: Your Last Name-Issue #-Promo done. No further reporting or detail is necessary. (If you’re in every issue, I 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 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)

  • - 1-3k words / mystery, suspense, thriller / 5 issues in 5 years / no payment!! / heavily markets editorial services
  • - Italian language / release site rather than magazine
  • - 2013-2022(?). Their website and back issues appear to have mostly stopped at the end of 2021. Wider market: suspense, mystery, horror, and thriller. No pay rate listed. <5k words/story.
  • Fiction River – occasional issue, royalty share
  • ITW anthology – strictly invite only, strictly big name authors (annual fundraiser for ITW)
  • Hitchcock’s and Ellery Queen – are far more mystery/crime focused. This is pure thriller & action-adventure.

  • 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).

  • 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 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.

IMPORTANT: Read carefully. These are not arduous but they are specific. Incomplete submissions will be rejected.

  • The E-mail:
    • Subject: Submission
        Your submission shouldn't be in the e-mail, rather in the attachments. No "cover letter" required, the submission is judged by its story. (seriously "Hi, Here's my story" is just fine.)
  • Attachments: Don’t forget the attachments. (grin)
    • Text file – only one
    • Any graphics files (see Graphics Submission Details)
    • An author photo: square, 300 x 300 pixels (1" square at 300 dpi)
  • Text file
    • All text in a single file in Word .docx format only. Please include all of these elements in the original submission to be considered:
      • Include at top of Page 1: real name, contact info, word count, title, and penname (single or double space okay)
      • Author bio: (<200 words) including your website URL
      • Story Intro: “Why I wrote this story.” Make it personal and <250 words. This helps engage the reader in your voice.
      • Story
    • In-line graphics (Optional)
      • Maps, illustrations if you like to draw, limit 3/story
      • Each image must be in a separate graphics file per graphics specs
      • Please include a note at the head of the story saying [inline graphics exist] and a square bracket note in the manuscript at the proper location: [place graphic #n here]
      • Design elements not integral to the story, like themed scene breaks, will not be included
      • No cover image will be included before a story, so you don't have to make one
    • Poetry: Other than line breaks, we make no promises on formatting but we will try.
  • Other Details:
    • File naming:
      • Text file: Issue theme-your last name-title keyword
      • Your photo: Same as text file plus: -photo (If you're photo shy, just let me know in the e-mail so that I don't bug you to send me your photo.)
      • Graphics files: Same as text file plus: -# (to keep them in order)
    • Any submissions not following these criteria will be ignored (or eaten by my spam filter…then ignored)
    • All submissions are exclusive (see Timeline below)
    • You may submit one (1) item per issue (each author can be in up to 4 issues / year)
    • Space is limited. Each issue will be 60-100,000 words. Fortune favors the concise...a bit. If it's a great story, that will win out over length considerations, but the 10K is a hard cap.
    • Editor reserves the right to shift a story to another issue if it’s a better fit (and a great story)
  • Editing: It is presumed that all submissions are fully edited and proofed. BTRM editor will fix typos if noted, but this is not a copyedit or a proofread. If the manuscript is a mess, it will be rejected out of hand, (possibly unfinished and probably without option to resubmit).
  • Upon contract:
    • Author Ad (optional, no cost):
      • Each author may submit an optional 1-page composed-graphic ad to be placed with the Author bio. If it’s too ugly, it may be kicked back or thrown away. It must play well in e- (color) and print (B&W). I think it will have to be author- or series-centric to not trip Amazon rules. It may show a URL but it probably will not be hot-linked to avoid Amazon’s “too many links” problems. (Please conform to graphic submissions specs below.) Think: "If you enjoyed story title, you'll love my series..."
      • It must be submitted within 3 weeks of contract or it cannot be included.
    • You will also be solicited for optional Kickstarter contributions at that time. (See reprints above in  "Payments" and below in "Kickstarter")

IMPORTANT: Read carefully. These are not arduous but they are specific. Incomplete submissions will be rejected.

  • The E-mail:
    • Subject: Theme(s)-list
      • "List" is where you saw the invite. This is essential. BTRM is an invite-only magazine at this time. Do not assume I’ll recognize your name (I apologize for being total crap with names). Your submission shouldn't be in the e-mail, rather in the attachments. No "cover letter" required, the submission is judged by its story. (seriously "Here's my story" is just fine.)
    • Graphics-only submissions (webcomics or graphic novella) require:
      • Text file: a Word document including:
        • Contact info
        • Full title
        • Penname
        • Author bio: (<200 words) including your website URL
        • Intro: “Why I created this.” Make it personal and <250 words
      • Graphics:
        • In .jpg or .png format, sent as separate files, not embedded in the Word document (in Word = auto-reject). Each panel should be approximately 1500 x 2400 pixels for best visibility on average mobile phone screen and printed page.
        • If colored, it must look good in both e- and B&W print editions.
        • Webcomics or Graphic novellas should be sent with each panel as a separate, numbered file.
        • Graphic novella may have 1-panel cover and 3-panel "the story so far" (1 for each quarter) (optional).
        • Don’t forget your author photo
    • Other Details:
      • File naming:
        • Text file: Issue theme-your last name-title keyword
        • Your photo: Same as text file plus: -photo (If you're photo shy, just let me know in the e-mail so that I don't bug you to send me your photo.)
        • Graphics files: Same as text file plus: -# (to keep them in order)
      • Any submissions not following these criteria will be ignored (or eaten by my spam filter…then ignored)
      • All submissions are exclusive (see Timeline below)
      • You may submit one (1) item per issue (each author can be in up to 4 issues / year)
      • Editor reserves the right to shift a story to another issue if it’s a better fit (and a great story)

(This is still very rough. Suggestions welcome.)

thrill ride thriller magazine buchman

Rewards: (KS exclusive: all issues sent 2 weeks early)

  • $2 – 1 e-story by the editor and our thanks
  • $10 – Issue #1 ebook (Sidekick acknowledgement in Issue 1)
  • $40 – Issue 1-4 ebook (Team Member acknowledgement in all 4 issues)
  • $100 – Issue 1-4 print book (Hero Member acknowledgement in all 4 issues) [US only, shipping included]
  • $150 – Be a character in a story (1 slot/issue, max 1 issue per year per person)
  • $500 – Lifetime e-subscription (Founder acknowledgement in all issues--ever!) [no guarantees of how long we'll run, but we have hopes]
  • $750 – Be a character in every issue!
  • $1,000 – Lifetime print subscription (Founder acknowledgement in all issues--ever!) [no guarantees of how long we'll run, but we have hopes]

Add-ons (+$)

  • $20 - copy of The Great Chase game (that's 1/3 off) + shipping [game publisher to keep this income]
  • $?? - who else has a game to include? [You'll get 100% of funds, but you must fulfill.]
  • $40 – Issue 1-4 AI-read audio (visible only to $40 e-book level and above)
  • $150 – Issue 1-4 hardback w/ dustjacket?? (visible only to $40 e-book level and above) shipping included (US only)

Stretch Goals: (Levels to change based on speed of funding)

  • $2,000 – halfway there (nothing happens, we're just halfway)
  • $4,000 – funded
  • $7,500 – we make paperbacks
  • $10,000 – everyone >= $10 gets audio of 1 story by editor
  • $12,500 – we make audio + everyone >= $40 gets KS Exclusive reprint antho 1
  • $15,000 – Be a character in a story (add 2 more slots per issue)
  • $20,000 – everyone >= $40 gets KS Exclusive reprint antho 2
  • $25,000 – we make hardback (Kickstarter Exclusive)
  • $30,000 – Everyone >= $40 gets KS Exclusive AI-audio of reprint antho 1
  • $35,000 – Everyone >= $40 gets KS Exclusive AI-audio of reprint antho 2


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