What we want
Beautiful writing showing engaging characters in science fiction or fantasy settings.
Genre: Science fiction and fantasy prose only.
Length: We accept submissions from 500 words up to a firm 10,000 word ceiling.
We prefer stories in the 2,000-6,000 word length.
Pay: We pay a flat rate of $.01/word.
|Reprints||No (except for translations never published in English)|
|Multiple||No (one story at a time)|
|Simultaneous||Yes (you can submit the same story elsewhere)|
|Rewrites||Only if specifically solicited (you’ll know)|
Open period: We are always open for submissions.
Diversity: We welcome stories from all authors, and especially those from traditionally under-represented groups. We read entirely blind, preferring not to know anything about submitters until we’ve formed an opinion about the story.
We will not accept stories that depict animal cruelty that is not essential to the story. We give bonus points for vegan-friendly stories. Stories that feature extensive hunting, fishing, etc. are not for us.
However, please do not include content warnings, as they prevent us from coming to the story with an open mind.
- Revision – we’re a demanding market. Most stories we publish have gone through at least 3-4 rounds of revision.
- Don’t do these things.
- Timing – we aim to answer within 24 hours, though sometimes travel or other obligations slow us down. Stories in our ‘maybe’ pile are generally reviewed on the weekend. Please don’t query until two weeks have passed.
- Tracking You can track our responses on Literarium, Submission Grinder, Duotrope.
- Rejectomancy – insight into things we see as weaknesses
- Statistics – occasional statistical information about our submissions
Exemplars: Jack Vance, Roger Zelazny, Patricia McKillip, Richard Llewellyn, Arthur C. Clarke, Richard Adams, A. A. Attanasio, Ursula K. Le Guin, George R. R. Martin, Sean Stewart, Richard Cowper, Walter M. Miller, Jr., Theodore Sturgeon, Samuel Delany, James Thurber.
Submission method: Electronic submission only, via our online portal (see button below).
Art: For cover art guidelines, click here.
Format: We ask for a modified version of the modern Shunn format, with no personally identifying information (no address, e-mail, phone, etc. on any page, including in the header). We provide an optional template here if you want to use that. We ask for submissions in DOC, DOCX, ODT, or RTF format. See our style guide for details.
Pay: We pay on acceptance, via PayPal. If you cannot use PayPal (i.e, your country is not on this list), we’ll try to work something out on a case by case basis.
Rights: We buy the following rights:
- worldwide electronic – to post the story on our website – exclusive for 6 months from the date of purchase, non-exclusive for the life of the magazine.
- non-exclusive print and electronic:
- to include the story in monthly, quarterly, and annual anthologies covering the period when the story is originally published in our magazine.
- to include the story in special limited edition issues sent to financial backers.
- to include the story in a best-of anthology published within the calendar year after the story is originally published in our magazine.
- non-exclusive audio rights
Contract: a sample contract is here.
I would love to work or an illustration for you publication. Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help out!
Hello, I’m traditional illustrator in love with dark fantasy and universe. Are you looking for illustrations as well?
Thanks. We definitely are looking for art. We’ll try to find a way to make that more evident. For the moment, please look about halfway down the page, or search for ‘art’ to find guidelines and templates.
Two questions about submissions here.
#1- Do you prefer straight or curly quotes?
#2- Your template has an assortment of fonts. Would you like us to keep those intact, or should the entirety of the document be set to Cambria?
I prefer curly quotes.
Modify the fonts as you choose, so long as the body of the document is in something standard (cambria, courier, calibri, etc.) and legible (12 pt).
The guidelines say not to include your name in the submission body or header. Does this mean in the submission subject and body of the email, or does it include the document itself?
This only applies to the document itself – the story.
Thank you for the prompt reply.
I tried to submit, but Submittable didn’t show any way to upload a story, only “title,” “genre,” and “word count.”
Apologies for that. The problem has now been fixed.
I am an abject failure. I grabbed the wrong file which has my contact info in the header. I do have one without, and meant to send that one. How may I retract the offending doc and resubmit?
I see you’ve already taken care of the issue. For future reference, just withdraw the submission in Submittable, and submit again.
Do you publish storybooks? Like a book with mostly pictures but text for each page? Thanks! –Leaf
So far, we’ve focused on pure text, though we plan the occasional story with mild illustration. I’d be willing to consider a storybook, but keep in mind the practical limits of web presentation.
Do you now, or will you ever, accept poetry? 🙂
We don’t now accept poetry, and I think it’s unlikely that we will. Nothing’s impossible, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
How long do you require exclusivity for accepted stories?
This is noted on the guidelines page – “exclusive for 6 months from the date of purchase, non-exclusive for the life of the magazine.”
Would you be interested in poems about guns?
No. We’re strictly a prose magazine, though I think it’s great that poems are out there.
Will the response time for Gun Control stories be as swift as it is for the regular issues?
Not exactly. Submitters will get an immediate automated receipt acknowledgement. Stories we’re considering will receive a ‘hold’ request within a few days. Beyond that, we won’t make decisions until after 30 September, at which point we’ll choose finalists and start working with authors on revisions. So, from today, most submitters would get a preliminary response within two weeks. Finalists will take longer.
That makes sense. Thank you for responding!
Is the 10K word limit firm? I have a novella but would want to check whether it would be permissable to submit it.
“Feedback” read as if it was referring to another story, not mine. Criticism included misuse of a word not even in the story. “Narrative arc” a kind of pat default response. If anything, character too engaging. Feedback totally unhelpful.
Well, we do our best. I would note that the title you typed in the submission box didn’t match the title of the document you submitted (which is the one we gave feedback on). Maybe the wrong attachment?
I appreciate your comments. Other magazines that have provided good feedback are The Colored Lens, Allegory, Fabula Argentea, Kzine, and Cast of Wonders. I almost always rewrite after getting comments, and have been successful getting the rewritten stories published. So it’s really helpful!
Thanks for the feedback. One line of the feedback reads, “Prose: 3.”
What does that mean?
How close it is to what we look for. See http://magazine.metaphorosis.com/guidelines/rejectomancy/
Does my submission need to have page numbers in the footer? Or anything in the header?
No. Title and page numbers in the header are helpful, but in no way mandatory.
I don’t think I have a lot of curse words in my story. But, will you accept it with such language? I’m assuming this isn’t something for young children, but I don’t know if you have a preferred age demographic. I can very easily edit out the curse words. But, the character speaks like I do so sometimes there’s a bit of foul language.
We aim for adults. Swearing makes no difference, so long as it has a purpose in the story. Gratuitous swearing isn’t interesting.
I agree. Thanks.
Thank you for your quick review of my entry. I’m sorry it wasn’t up to snuff. How long must I wait before trying again? As in, would I be able to try for your next issue? I’ll put extra effort into the next story, focusing on the areas in which my previous attempt was lax.
You can try again as soon as you like, though I generally only read once per day. We buy stories anywhere from 1 to 4 months in advance.
I submitted a story but never received an automatic response. Does that mean i didn’t actually submit it?
It almost certainly does. I don’t find a record of any submission from you, and you can check this directly in your Submittable account.
Would a story that has been previously published but edited/partly rewritten since then still be covered by the ‘no reprints’ rule? I have a story that was published last year in an anthology by my local writing group but I’m reworking it at the moment. I think it would fit the tone of your publication so was wondering if it is worth submitting to you.
I would consider that previously published, and thus not eligible.
Fair enough. Thanks for getting back to me 🙂
My short story has some violence. there is a reason as it leads to the final statement.
Is violence a deal breaker? It is not gore violence, (ex. “the blood spurted from his vein and splattered on the wall”). More like (ex. She shot him in the throat)
I don’t have any issue with violence that serves a purpose.
I write quotes along with prose and poetry. How may I use it?
I’m not sure I follow the question. We’re a prose-only venue, so we wouldn’t be interested in publishing just a quote (a very short piece).
Hi, do you accept submissions of translated stories? I’ve translated a science fiction/fantasy 19th-century French story. It’s in the public domain. Thanks.
I’d consider translations of contemporary stories, but not of those in the public domain.
You mention that the stories you publish have usually undergone 3 to 4 revisions. Can you think of any favorite resources teaching revision that might lead to a story you’d want to publish?
That’s a good question. There are many resources available for improving writing skills, but I don’t specifically recommend any one on how to revise. However, there are a few things you could consider on how to improve your writing.
I just want to take a moment to thank you for giving comments on stories. I am a complete neophyte when it comes to story writing. I enjoy doing it. I may never get a story published, but I am okay with that. What I do like, is the opportunity to learn and grow. Your comments are a great help. Thank you very much for what you do.
I’m happy to do it while I can. Note that those who submit many stories to us may want to scrutinize the Rejectomancy page with care.
Do you mean high fantasy specifically? No urban fantasy?
Any kind of fantasy is welcome.